USDA Crop/Weather Report

USDA California Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (May 23, 2017) – At the beginning of the week, some light scattered showers fell across the central/northern Sierras, northern coastal mountains, and far northern mountains. The heaviest precipitation fell along the windward slopes of the central and northern Sierras, where up to an inch of rain fell. Temperatures were cold enough in the mountains early in the week to allow for additional snow showers in the northern Sierras, at elevations above 6,000 feet. Warmer temperatures by the end of the week resulted in the most snowmelt we have seen so far this year. Snowpacks were limited to one to two feet above 7,500 feet in the southern Sierras; two to four feet above 7,000 feet in the central Sierras; and six feet above 6,000 feet in the northern Sierras/northern mountains. During the end of the week, a building upper-level ridge brought dry conditions and much hotter temperatures.

Temperature highs were in the 40s to 80s in the mountains, 70s to 80s along the coast, 70s to 90s in the valley, and 70s to 100s in the desert. The temperature lows were in the 20s to 30s in the mountains, 40s to 50s in the valley, 40s to 60s in the desert, and 50s to 60s along the coast.

Winter wheat was being green chopped for silage, with harvest nearing completion. Harvested fields were being disced and planted to silage or other forage crops. Alfalfa fields were making excellent progress; and being cut, dried, and baled. Corn continued being planted, and earlier planted fields were growing well. Corn fields were being injected with nitrogen to promote growth. Cotton was emerging and being irrigated. Rice was being planted.

Grapes and stone fruits were developing well with the favorable weather and water conditions. Some grape leaves were removed to promote air circulation and light access to developing bunches. Thinning of immature stone fruit continued. New fruit tree orchards and vineyards were irrigated. Irrigation system maintenance occurred in some orchards. Pomegranate and Olive bloom continued. Mechanical and chemical weed control continued in orchards. Cherry harvest was in full swing. Plums, apricots, early peaches, and nectarines were harvested in the San Joaquin Valley. Late Navel orange harvest was finishing up for the season. Valencia orange harvest continued. Old citrus orchards were pulled to make space for new citrus plantings.

Almond nut development was progressing well. Pistachio, walnut, and almond orchards were irrigated and fertilized. Some orchard floors were sprayed with herbicides and fungicides.

In Monterrey County, harvest of lettuce was ongoing.  Early summer vegetables continued to grow and the fields were being prepped for harvest. Early planted melons were being picked. Zucchini was being harvested. In Fresno county, early planted tomatoes had fruit. Peppers continued to be planted. Broccoli for seed was being prepared for cutting.

Foothill rangeland and valley dryland pasture forage quality remained primarily in fair to excellent condition. Drying out of grasses was noted in the foothills of the southern Sierras. Supplemental feeding of livestock was very limited due to the abundance of quality range. Sheep grazed on retired pasture and dormant alfalfa. Bees were active in melon and vegetable fields.

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