USDA California Crop/Weather Report

USDA Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (April 5, 2017) – A gradual warming trend throughout the week was felt as the transition to spring weather and drier conditions continued.

Light showers associated with a departing system affected the state on Monday along the Sierra foothills into the northern mountains, with another system bringing additional light rains mid-week. Precipitation was light this week across the state. Tuesday was a dry day, with Wednesday and Thursday seeing widespread moderate rains across the eastern half of the valley, Sierras, and northern and northwestern mountains. Most areas in the mountains received up to one inch of rain, with the eastern valley seeing closer to a quarter inch. Temperatures were still cold enough at the higher elevations in the mountains to squeeze out some additional snow this week. Flurries and snow showers were seen in the northern mountains on Monday with little to no accumulation. Wednesday and Thursday brought four to eight inches of new snowfall at elevations over 8500 feet in the northern mountains Sierras, with two to four inches in the higher elevations around Mt. Whitney. Overall warm temperatures led to continued snowmelt at all locations, with snow cover restricted to elevations above 6,000 feet. Snowpacks were still very thick with five to six feet in the southern Sierras, eight to twelve feet in the central Sierras, and ten to fifteen feet in the northern mountains.

Temperature highs were in the 40s to 60s in the mountains, 50s to 80s along the coast, 60s to 80s in the valley, and 60s to 90s in the desert. The temperature lows were in the 10s to 40s in the mountains, 30s to60s in the desert, 30s to 50s in the Valley, and 40s to 50s along the coast.

In the San Joaquin Valley silage and alfalfa’s first cutting was done.

Field work in vineyards including pruning, tying, berm sanitation, and brush shredding was winding down as bud break progressed in vineyards. Cherries and some early varieties of stone fruit continued to bloom. Strong winds across the Central Valley knocked off petals and hampered bee activity. The citrus harvest including some late navel oranges continued. Some orange groves were hedge-rowed and skirted.  Seedless tangerine groves continued to be netted to prevent cross pollination by bees during bloom.

Almond bloom wrapped up for the season with some reports from early orchards of a good set. New orchards of almond and walnuts continued to be planted as growers pondered the partial water allocations recently announced and how to make the best of the available water. The week’s winds accelerated the drying of orchards flooded earlier this year. Orchard clean up continued in some of the most impacted areas.

In Monterey County, head lettuce harvesting will begin two weeks later than last year due to no-host quarantine in December and heavy rains in January and February.  Strawberry harvest picking up slowly; early picking of nearly-ripe berries were pushing into market.  In San Mateo County, seeds were being sown and fields were being readied for the growing season.  In Colusa, Sacramento, Solano, Yolo, and San Joaquin Counties, the asparagus harvest was well underway.  In Tulare County, producers were growing winter vegetables and selling produce such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and carrots at Farmer’s Markets.  Onions were maturing.

Foothill rangeland and valley dryland pasture forage quality continued to improve. Supplemental feeding of livestock waned in response to the favorable range conditions. Sheep grazed retired pasture and dormant alfalfa. Bees were active in stone fruit orchards.

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