The latest California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Sacramento, Calif., released April 18.

Weather

The start of the week in California (April 11) had weak high pressure building over the state.

Temperatures were near normal for early April. Daytime highs were in the 60s and 70s in the valley, 50s along the coast, and upper 40s and 50s in the mountains.

By Wednesday, a cold low entered northern California. Rain and snow fell north of Stockton. Snow levels were down to 3,000 feet in some locations. The heaviest precipitation was around one-half inch in the Eureka area. Isolated thunderstorm activity was reported Wednesday in the Sacramento Valley and surrounding mountains.

Southern California stayed dry with daytime highs just below normal during the mid-week.

Thursday through Sunday, high pressure rebounded quickly with drying conditions throughout California with daytime highs a little above normal. Valley highs were in the 70s and 80s over the weekend. Desert daytime highs were in the 90s.

Field crops

Drying conditions improved for the first cutting of alfalfa and the harvest of winter forage mixtures. Winter wheat harvest for silage continued as well as the oat harvest. Winter grain crops progressed with wheat, barley, and oats heading out.

Rice field preparation continued with tillage and leveling. Cotton planting was ongoing along with corn.

Sunflower seed planting continued. Spring field work continued with weed control in small grain and alfalfa fields, pre-plant herbicide applications, and ground preparation.

Fruit crops

The Navel orange, Valencia orange, and lemon harvests continued normally in the San Joaquin Valley as the grapefruit and mandarin harvests neared completion. Grapefruit and lemons were picked in the desert and coastal regions.

Grape vineyards showed strong shoot growth across the state. The prune, pear, and cherry blooms were finished. Kiwi orchards and citrus groves bloomed.

Strawberry nursery planting continued in Siskiyou County while strawberry and blueberry fields in east Fresno County were in bloom. Field work and spraying were ongoing in orchards and vineyards.

Nut crops

Growing conditions in almond orchards were good as irrigation and fertilizer was applied. Observed pest activity was very low with some spraying for spider mites in Kern County.

Pollination was underway in walnut and pistachio orchards as catkins continued to elongate on walnut trees. Blight control sprays for walnuts were ongoing.

Vegetable crops

The lack of rain last week allowed growers to continue planting squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, and other vegetables. Picking started on a limited volume. Tomatoes were planted without hot caps.

The planting of mixed summer vegetables is in full swing for peppers, string beans, bitter melons, eggplants, tomatoes, and shinqua in Tulare County.

In Fresno County, harvesting continued for spinach, broccoli, lettuce, and cabbage. Garlic and onions showed excellent progress. Processing tomato planting was nearly complete. Carrots grew well.

Madera County reported fresh tomato transplanting. Tomato planting continued as bell pepper planting began in Merced County. Asparagus harvest continued in San Joaquin County as tomato bed preparations were underway.

Sutter County reported field work, pre-plant herbicide treatments, and ground preparation as tomato transplants began. The dehydrated onion crop was planted in Siskiyou County.