Sacramento, Calif., (July 11, 2017) – Another hot and dry week as this midsummer heat wave continues across most of the state. Measurable rainfall was limited to the area immediately surrounding Yosemite N.P. on Thursday, where very light showers fell. A few light showers were also reported in the mountains surrounding the LA basin on Sunday. Summer temperatures led to continued snowmelt in the mountains, which continues to be the sole source of groundwater recharge across the agricultural areas of the state. A band of broken snow cover approximately 30 miles wide in the central/southern Sierras still exists at elevations above 9500 feet. A few patchy snow fields continue to exist in elevated sheltered areas around Tahoe. The peak of Mt. Whitney is no longer completely snow-capped. Maximum snow depth is estimated at about 2 feet in places, with 2-4 feet on Mt. Shasta. The most extensive snowfields are currently located in the mountains in the vicinity of Yosemite N.P. and Stanislaus National Forest.
Temperature highs were in the 60s to 80s along the coast, 70s to 90s in the mountains, the 100s in the valley, and 100s to 120s in the desert. Temperature lows were in the 40s to 60s in the mountains, 50s to 70s on the coasts, 60s to 70s in the valley, and 60s to 90s in the desert.
In Fresno County, the wheat harvest is almost complete. Alfalfa fields were growing well and the cycle of cutting, windrowing, and baling was under way. Alfalfa for seed production was also growing well while being pollinated by honey and leaf-cutter bees. Spraying for lygus and aphids took place in alfalfa. Cotton appeared to be growing well, but was hit hard by lygus and aphids. Sweet corn and silage corn continued to show good growth in June. Sorghum was still being planted and being treated with herbicides and insecticides.
Peach, nectarine, apricot and plum harvest was in full swing. Cherry harvest was complete. Apricot harvest was winding down for the year. Fruit orchards and vineyards were irrigated. Pesticides were applied to pomegranates. Fungicides and insecticides were applied to grapes. Valencia orange harvest continued. Regreening in citrus has become more common due to the elevated temperatures. Packers were color sorting to compensate. Ruby Red grapefruit were harvested. Olive orchards were pruned. Harvesting continued in blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry fields.
Walnut, almond and pistachio orchards were irrigated. Mechanical and chemical weed control continued in nut orchards. New almond orchards were planted. Pistachios were fertilized. Walnuts were sprayed for coddling moth.
Summer vegetable season has started off well! Basil, bittermelon, cucumbers English, Armenian, and Pickle), daikon, eggplant (Italian and Japanese), melons, okra, peppers (bell and jalapeno), tomatillos, tomatoes, squash, and zucchinihave all started to be harvested and are showing up in roadside stands and at farmer’s markets. Market onions have started to be harvested around Fresno County. Growers continued to plant fields of melons, eggplants, cucumbers and squash. Harvest has begun in early planted tomatoes. Tomato fields continued to be fertilized, pesticides applied, and were cultivated by hand-weeding crews. Garlic was maturing nicely. Melons grew well and increased in size rapidly over the last month. Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon harvest started towards the end of the month. Lettuce for seed production was maturing. Drip tape was pulled in garlic fields to begin to dry out.
Hot summer days continue to dry non-irrigated grasses and forbs. Rangeland was reported to be in good to very poor condition depending on elevation, aspect and soil moisture. Fires across the state raged in forest and rangeland, forcing some animal evacuations. Cattle continue to be moved to higher elevation range. Milk production was impacted by the poor nocturnal temperature recovery. Sheep grazed on retired pasture and dormant alfalfa. Bees were active in alfalfa for seed, melon, sunflower and vegetable fields. The availability of wild forage for foothill bees was diminishing.