Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending April 13, 2014.
A high pressure ridge was centered over the West Coast at the start of the week, bringing dry and warm conditions to California. The temperatures peaked on Tuesday and Wednesday, with high temperatures reaching the 80s and 90s across the interior valleys of both the north and the south. The axis of the ridge shifted eastward as the week progressed and temperatures were not quite as warm after midweek, although they were still well above normal for the time of year.
By Friday an upper level low pressure system moved across California. Although this system did manage to cool temperatures slightly it did not bring any significant precipitation to the State. In fact, no significant precipitation was reported the entire week.
Alfalfa fields were progressing very well as most growers completed a second cutting. Alfalfa and oats were harvested for hay and silage. Wheat continued to head out with roughly three-quarters of the crop headed by week’s end. Three-quarters of the crop was rated good to excellent. Cotton planting continued at a rapid pace due to ideal conditions in the Southern Central Valley. Ground preparation was underway for rice fields. Corn was planted throughout the State.
Pomegranate trees bloomed. Grapes continued to bloom and leaf out. Bunches were developing on grapevines in the San Joaquin Valley. Wine grapes were sprayed with fungicides. Kiwi vines continued to leaf out and vine shoots elongated. Cherry growers sprayed for worms. Apricot fruit increased in size. Prune trees in the Sacramento Valley were leafing out as bloom was complete. Bloom on late variety nectarine, peach, and plum trees was decreasing.
Fruit thinning continued on early stone fruit varieties. Apple bloom continued. Pear trees were leafing out. Buds were forming on olive trees. Blueberry fruit was developing well. The strawberry harvest began with sales at roadside stands. Citrus bloom continued. Citrus trees were topped and skirted. Navel and Valencia orange and mandarin harvest remained active. Nets were placed over mandarin trees to prevent pollination from bees.
Foliar nutrient sprays were applied to almond trees. Walnut and pistachio bloom continued. Early walnut varieties were developing nuts. Nut crops were fertilized and irrigated. Pecan bloom was nearing.
In San Joaquin County, asparagus production has picked up. In Stanislaus County, parsley and garlic were growing well and broccoli was picked. In the tomato fields, growers fumigated and then planted tomato transplants. In Merced County, the tomatoes looked extremely good with large clusters of buds. In Monterey Couny, head and leaf lettuce and Brassica crop harvesting picked up significantly. In San Mateo County Brussels sprout growers prepared their fields for fumigation.
Vegetables have emerged from the spring planting. In Fresno County, growers continued to plant processing tomatoes. The early plantings have established roots and have begun to bloom. Vegetables for seed crops were blooming. Growers irrigated garlic and onions. In Kings County, growers have completed nearly three-quarters of the tomato plantings. The earlier plantings were in good shape. There was weed treatment in a few spots. In Tulare County, tomato seedlings were planted. Summer vegetables were sprouting.
Range and pasture conditions were primarily in fair to good condition, with some areas in poor condition. Warm weather has stimulated grass and forage growth where soil moisture was adequate. Above average temperatures contributed to growing concerns about forage development for range cattle. Supplemental feeding of livestock continued. Beehive removal has continued from almond and stone fruit orchards where bloom was complete. Bees were pollinating berries and late blooming stone fruit.