USDA Crop/Weather Report

USDA California Crop/Weather Report for Week Ending February 19, 2017

Sacramento, Calif., (February 22, 2017) – Another warm and wet week across the State as a strong Pacific system moved inland. The system brought rain to most of the State, with mountains receiving snow. Temperatures cooled through Friday, before rising slightly over the weekend.

Dry weather ruled the State on Monday and Tuesday with the exception of some light sprinkles across the far northwest. On Wednesday, a storm system began to bring rain to the northern half of the State with up to three inches falling in the far northwest, tapering off to about half an inch along the I-80 corridor. As lighter amounts were seen further south to Fresno. Thursday through Saturday heavy rain for most of the State, with the Santa Barbara to Oxnard area receiving the most, at over four inches of rain. Deserts areas received scattered rain on Friday, totaling a quarter of an inch. Sunday brought more rain to the State, but with much lighter amounts as the storm system moved inland. One to two feet of new snow fell in the Sierras, and two to three feet in the northern mountains. Temperatures allowed for a slight increase of the snowpack in the northern mountains and in the north and central Sierras, while the southern Sierras snowpack remained unchanged.

Temperature highs were in the 30s to 50s in the mountains, 50s to 60s along the coast, 50s to 70s in the desert, and 60s to 70s in the valley. The temperature lows were in the 20s to 30s in the mountains, 30s to 50s the desert, and 40s to 50s in the valley and along the coast.

Growers continued to wait for fields to dry out sufficiently to resume planting winter grain and field crops. The planted grains and field crops continued to mature, reaping the benefit from all the recent rain, and a few sunny days. Winter wheat and oats were maturing very well.

Pruning, discing, weed control, and pre-bloom spraying continued where orchard floor conditions permitted. Aerial applications were made where field conditions prevented ground application. Olive groves were pruned. Pruning, tying, berm sanitation, and brush shredding started up again in the drier vineyards. The standing water in vineyards and orchards continued to cause concern for the health of the trees and vines. Early varieties of nectarines and peaches were blooming in Fresno County. The Navel orange harvest was slowed by the rainy conditions. Tangelos were harvested.

As field conditions permitted, walnut orchards continued to be pruned. Almonds were beginning to bloom across the state. Bee hives were staged in preparation for the pending bloom season, though muddy conditions forced many hives to be left on drier ground outside almond orchards.

In Tulare County, winter vegetables continued to mature. The drier weather in the county allowed the harvest to resume.  New fields continue to be prepared for spring planting.  Strawberry fields continued to thrive.  Blueberries continued to be planted, weather permitting.  In Imperial County, spinach, broccoli, and some lettuce were being harvested late at night. In Fresno County, some winter vegetable fields were soaked with soil saturation and no field work was able to be performed. Organic onions were being planted.

Non-irrigated pasture and rangeland continued to improve due to the winter’s precipitation. Range was reported to be in fair to excellent condition. Supplemental feeding of livestock continued to decline as range conditions improved.

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