California: Drought Continues to Hurt Small Grains – USDA
Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending January 19, 2014.
A stubborn high pressure ridge maintained its grip on the West Coast this week and resulted in dry and unseasonably warm temperatures across California. This pattern, combined with a surface based high pressure center located over the Great Basin, resulted in an offshore wind pattern which developed into a moderate Santa Ana wind episode across Southern California. Daytime high temperatures across Northern California ran 10 to 20 degrees above normal.
Overnight lows in the clear and dry air fell below normal levels with widespread frost across the region. High temperatures across the North reached mid-70s and a few locations hit the lower 80s, with overnight lows in the 30s. Highs in the 80s were common in Southern California where a few locations experienced highs in the lower 90s. No measurable precipitation was reported during the week.
Grain growers reported crop loss due to the freeze and have no plans to replant. Small grains were irrigated and treated with herbicides. Non-irrigated silage and wheat plantings continue to suffer from drought conditions and have not germinated. Alfalfa fields remained dormant.
Navel orange harvest was ongoing. Lemon harvest remained active. Satsuma mandarin and Clementine tangerine harvests were slowing. Murcott tangerine harvest began. Avocados were harvested. A few persimmons were still harvested in Tulare County. Farmers continued to prune kiwi and grape vines. Pre-emergent sprays were applied to stone fruit trees. The prolonged lack of rain was of concern to growers across the State. The irrigation of permanent crops continued.
Almond buds began to swell. Almond, walnut and pistachio orchards needed irrigation due to existing drought conditions. Tree removals were ongoing and land was prepared for tree planting.
In Tulare County, fields were prepared and planted with winter vegetables. Onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage continued to grow. Leeks were harvested in San Mateo County and many fields remained in the growing stages. Processing tomato fields were bedded and received fumigation in Fresno County. Broccoli and lettuce harvests were ongoing. Baby carrots were harvested. Fresh onions were planted. Fertilizer and herbicides were applied to processing onions.
Range and non-irrigated pasture remained in poor to fair condition. Drought conditions persisted across most of the State, with extreme conditions throughout most of the San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast. Livestock supplemental feeding of hay and grain continued. Sheep grazed some alfalfa fields. Bees were moved in preparation for the imminent almond pollination.
Some Grain Belt analysts question USDA’s latest 2016 farm income estimates as overly optimistic. They doubt growers were able to shed as much in input costs this season as USDA’s