Fresno, Calif., (May 10, 2017) – Across the County, grain crops matured rapidly in April. Fields of oats, triticale, wheat and winter forage were green chopped for silage. While other fields of barley, oats, and wheat were cut, windrowed, and baled. Fields used for grain started dry down. Rice fields continued to be prepared for planting in the Firebaugh District.
Alfalfa received a first cutting for the season and fields are growing well. Cotton planting continued around the County. Cotton fields planted early in the season had emerged and were growing well. Cotton planting acreage continued to climb as 100 % water allocation was received. The garbanzo bean crop showed some good growth.
Grape vines started pushing new growth and vineyards continued to be disced, and had applications of copper, fungicides, and herbicides applied as needed. Raisins are being packed and shipped to Hong Kong, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, Israel, Malaysia, and Panama. Early varieties of stone fruit were nearing maturity but there were a few reports of minimal hail damage. Weather conditions resulted in a much lighter fruit set in apricots, nectarines, peaches, and plums; with the bright side being, reduced labor costs for thinning the fruit. Cherry growers reported isolated light hail damage and medium levels of cracking due to above average rainfall. Almonds were reported to have good fruit set and pistachios nuts were maturing. Walnuts were treated for Codling moth. Apricots, almonds, Asian pears, date palms, dry figs, nectarines, peaches, pecans, prunes, and walnuts were exported to Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. Nectarine, plum and peach bud wood was exported to Spain.
A few rainstorms delayed some vegetable planting and fumigations around the County. Strawberries were harvested throughout April and were being offered at roadside stands. Blueberry harvest started and asparagus continued to be harvested. Tomatoes for processing and fresh market were still being planted; while earlier fields farther along were being cultivated, irrigated, and treated for pests or weeds if needed. Planting of peppers also continued. Garlic and onion fields were irrigated, treated for disease and weeds as needed; organic fields where hand weeded. Cantaloupe, honeydew, mixed melons, and watermelon fields had germinated, with more acreage still waiting to be planted. The price for head lettuce and cole crops set records due to supply and harvest continued throughout the month. Carrots where harvested and replanted for the next crop. Sweet corn showed good growth and cultivated for weeds. Peppers and lettuce seed was exported to Australia when asparagus was exported to Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, and New Zealand.
By the end of the month all citrus districts had declared petal fall. Citrus harvesting continued and orchards that had been harvested were treated with post-emergent herbicides; foliar fungicides, nutrient applications and Gibberellin sprays started as well. Grapefruit, lemons, mandarins, Navel oranges, tangelos, and Valencia oranges were exported to Chile, El Salvador, French Polynesia, France, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, and Republic of Korea.
The few storms in April kept the eastern rangeland green, with lots of feed for grazing cattle and sheep. The western costal mountain started to dry and brown. Cattle and sheep were also sent to retired farmland areas to graze. Citrus/ Bee Protection area restrictions were lifted in all districts after petal fall was declared. Bee hives continued to be removed from some orchards and shipped back to other states. Some hives were placed in cane berry and blueberry fields, along with pomegranate orchards to take advantage of the bloom.