USDA California Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (June 20, 2017) – A departing upper-level trough early in the week left cooler air across parts of the State with a few lingering showers on Monday. Rainfall was mostly limited to Monday across the far northeastern corner of the State near Alturas, which received just over half an inch of rain on Monday.  A few isolated sprinkles moistened parts of the central and northern Sierras on Monday, as well. This quickly gave way to a building mid-level ridge over the southwestern United States, which brought dry air and hot conditions to much of the State.

Temperatures rose dramatically last week, with very hot temperatures across nearly all parts of the State except perhaps the coastal northern areas. Very warm temperatures helped accelerate snowmelt in the mountains. Both Mt. Whitney in the south and Mt. Shasta in the north were still snowcapped on their peaks, with Mt. Shasta expected to remain so for some time. Snowcover elsewhere is now limited to a band about 40 miles wide between Tahoe and the Sequoia National Forest, at elevations above 8,000 feet. There was still eight feet of snowcover at these locations, with the area just north of Yosemite still estimated at six feet of snowcover.

Temperature highs were in the 50s to 60s along the coast, 60s to 80s in the mountains, 90s to 100s in the valley, and 90s to 110s in the desert. The temperature lows were in the 40s to 50s in the mountains, 50s to 60s along the coast, 50s to 70s in the valley, and 60s to 80s in the desert.

Silage corn planting was completed. Fields were being prepared and planted with summer beans, Sudan grass, and silage sorghum. Wheat harvest for grain was approaching completion. Small grains such as oats and barley were being cut and baled, or harvested for grain. Alfalfa fields were making excellent progress and being irrigated, cut, and baled. Corn planting continued and earlier planted fields were growing well, with some developing tassels. Cotton was being irrigated and growing well.

Peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums continue to be harvested. Some orchard floors were lined with reflective plastic to improve color prior to harvest. Grapevines continued to have leaves removed to allow for improved air circulation and light around the developing bunches to improve color. Kiwi fruit were thinned. Cherry harvest was wrapping up for the season. Navel orange harvest was nearly complete. Valencia orange harvest continued.  Grapefruit harvest was drawing to a close. Old citrus trees were being pulled to make way for new citrus varieties. Since bloom was complete for seedless tangerines, removal of the protective netting began.

Weed control in almond orchards was ongoing. Pistachio, walnut, and almond orchards were irrigated and fertilized. Mechanical and chemical weed control operations continued in nut orchards.

In Colusa County, row crops such as tomatoes were growing at a fast pace.  In San Joaquin County, tomatoes and sweet corn were growing well.  Summer vegetables were harvested and offered for sale at local Farmer’s markets.  Field ground preparation and planting of crops continued.  In Fresno County, tomatoes were kept fresh by continual irrigation.  Red onions, carrots, and peppers were harvested.  Onions for seed were irrigated.  In Tulare County, summer vegetables were harvested and shipped domestically.  Italian squash, peppers, and cucumbers were harvested.  Eggplant and tomatoes continued to grow and mature.  In Imperial County, spring melons and sweet corn were harvested.  Some growers reported exceptional yields.  Dehydrated onions were harvested and shipped out of the valley for processing.  Large insect activity was reported in onion fields.

As the summer heat dries out the grasses and forbs, range and dryland pasture forage quality began to deteriorate. Foothill range and valley dryland pasture was in fair to very poor condition. Some cattle were moved to higher elevation range. Sheep grazed on retired pasture and dormant alfalfa. Bees were active in vegetable fields.

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