USDA Crop/Weather Report

USDA California Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (February 28, 2017) – Another wet week, with temperatures staying steady. Widespread freezes were reported Thursday through Saturday across the State.

Rainfall followed a similar pattern Monday through Wednesday, with the heaviest rains falling in the northwestern mountains, and the northern and central Sierra foothills. Four to five inches of rain fell in these places, with two to three inches in the northern and central valley. Rainfall tapered off to the south, with up to one inch in the southern valley and along the coast down to the Los Angeles area. Additional light rains fell on most of the State for the rest of the week and into the weekend. Most areas outside of the far southern coast and deserts received an additional quarter inch to half inch of rain. Cold temperatures and an active weather pattern led to yet more snow in the mountains, with up to two feet falling in parts of the central and northern Sierras. The northern mountains received another foot of snow, with the southern Sierras receiving under six inches. Temperatures were cold enough for an overall increase of the snowpack in the central and northern mountains, while a slight decrease of the snowpack was seen in the southern Sierras.

Temperature highs were in the 20s to 50s in the mountains, 40s to 60s along the coast, 50s to 60s in the valley, and 50s to 70s in the desert. The temperature lows were in the 10s to 30s in the mountains, 20s to 30s in the valley, 20s to 40s in the desert, and 40s to 50s along the coast.

The planted grains and field crops continued to mature, reaping the benefit from all the recent rain, and a few sunny days.  Growers waiting for excess water to dry up in the fields.

Pruning, discing, weed control, and pre-bloom spraying continued where drying orchard floor conditions permitted. Olive groves were pruned. Pruning, tying, berm sanitation, and brush shredding continued in the drier vineyards. The standing water in vineyards and orchards continued to cause concern for the health of the trees and vines. Herbicides were applied in some vineyards. Early varieties of nectarine and peach were blooming in Fresno County. Cherry bloom began in Tulare County. The Navel orange harvest resumed. Recent rains impacted the overall quality of the citrus. Zutano avocados harvest was ongoing. Tangelo harvest continued. Date trees were planted in Imperial County.

As field conditions permitted walnut and pistachio orchards were pruned. Saturated soils and high winds toppled some walnut and almond trees in the San Joaquin Valley. Almond bloom was progressing well across the State. Rain and wind caused some almond petal drop. As flooded orchards dried and conditions permitted, beehives were moved in to facilitate almond pollination.

Drying conditions allowed for fields to be prepared for cultivation in Madera, Fresno, and Tulare County. Ground was being prepped for planting tomatoes. Herbicide was being applied to onions. Strawberry fields continued to thrive. Carrots continued to be harvested.

Non-irrigated pasture and rangeland continued to improve due to the winter’s precipitation and warming temperatures. Range was reported to be in excellent to fair condition. Supplemental feeding of livestock was waning as range conditions improved. Bees were active in the blooming almond orchards. Sheep grazed retired pasture, harvested broccoli fields, and dormant alfalfa.

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