USDA Crop/Weather Report

USDA California Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (March 14, 2017) – Temperatures warmed up last week between 10 and 20 degrees, with a drier pattern taking hold over much of the State. Rainfall was largely confined to the northern one third of the State, with generally light rains falling along the central/northern valley, central/northern coast, and snow into the central/northern Sierras on Monday through Wednesday.

Mountain snowpack decreased for the first time since last fall. Although snow showers fell on the central/northern Sierras early in the week with up to three inches of new snow accumulation, warm temperatures helped produce an overall decrease in snowpack by about one to two feet. Very heavy snowpacks continued in the mountains, with Lodgepole in the southern Sierras still reported over four feet of snow on the ground. Deeper snowcover was seen in the central and northern Sierras.

Temperature highs were in the 40s to 60s in the mountains, 60s to 70s in the valley and along the coast, and 70s to 90s in the desert. The temperature lows were in the 20s to 40s in the mountains, 30s to 50s in the valley, 30s to 60s in the desert, and 40s to 50s along the coast.

Alfalfa broke dormancy but growth was slow. Alfalfa fields continued to be sprayed for weeds. Growers started preparing ground for the upcoming cotton season by tilling, making furrows, and applying herbicides.

Pruning, discing, weed control, and pre-bloom spraying continued. Olive groves were pruned. Herbicides were applied to some vineyards to combat the increase in weeds after an exceptionally wet winter. Early varieties of stone fruit, including cherries, apricots, and plums, were blooming in the San Joaquin Valley. Harvest of Cara Cara and Navel oranges, lemons, and mandarins continued. Fungicide applications were made to some citrus orchards. Recent rains impacted the overall quality of the citrus. Orange groves were hedge-rowed and skirted.  A few seedless tangerine groves were netted to prevent cross pollination during the pending bloom.

As field conditions permitted, walnut and pistachio orchard pruning resumed. Almond bloom was progressing up the state with some areas nearing completion. Fungicides were applied in some almond orchards.

In Colusa County, harvest began on asparagus.  In San Joaquin County, sunshine and warm weather allowed farmers and growers back into the fields.  In Fresno County, spring carrots were harvested and beds were prepared for summer carrots.  Winter crops of broccoli, cabbages, and cauliflower were harvested and sold in local markets.  Garlic and onions around the county were growing well and had herbicides applied.  Growers planted tomatoes and prepared fields for eggplant.  In Tulare County, squash was planted in hot tunnels.  New fields were prepared for spring planting.  Previously planted onions continued to progress well.

Warming spring conditions and plentiful precipitation promoted lush forb and grass development. Non-irrigated pasture and rangeland continued to improve with much of the state’s range reported to be in excellent to fair condition. Supplemental feeding of livestock continued to diminish as range conditions improved. Calving was ongoing in Shasta County. Bees were active in almond and early stone fruit orchards. Lambing season in Fresno County was underway. Sheep grazed stubble fields, idle cropland and dormant alfalfa.

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