California: Wheat Harvest Looks Good, Cotton Progressing Well – USDA

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    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending June 21, 2015.


    Corn and sorghum for silage were planted, cultivated, and irrigated. The corn silage crop was in various stages of growth. Wheat harvest for grain was finishing up, and the straw was baled for cattle feed. Winter wheat was rated as 90 percent good to excellent with 65 percent harvested. Alfalfa fields were irrigated, cut, and baled. Alfalfa drying conditions were ideal with the current hot, dry weather.

    Cotton was established and growth was rapid. Cotton were rated as 85 percent good to excellent and more than three quarters of the crop was squaring. Cotton continued to be irrigated and cultivated for weed control. Hot weather brought favorable conditions for safflower, field corn, cotton and sunflowers. Safflower was blooming.


    Almond, walnut, and pistachio orchards were irrigated. Herbicides and mowing were used to control weeds in walnut and almond orchards. Some growers were planting new pistachio blocks in the central area of the State. Application of sun protection products to walnuts was performed last week. In Stanislaus County, some almond and walnut orchards were removed due to water issues.


    Peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums were picked and shipped. Stone fruit orchards were sprayed and irrigated. Grape vines were trimmed to increase airflow and allow light to the bunches. Fungicide spraying for scattered reports of powdery mildew occurred. Late navel orange harvest was almost complete. Valencia orange harvest continued, with exports to Asian and domestic markets remaining strong. Regreening was more common due to the higher temperatures. Red grapefruit harvest started. Young citrus trees were planted.


    In Sutter County, summer vegetables were harvested for farmers markets. Processing tomato transplants and cucurbits received a boost in growth with irrigation and hot weather. In San Joaquin County, tomatoes were progressing well. Sweet corn was harvested. In Stanislaus County, broccoli and parsley were harvested. Cantaloupe, beans and tomatoes were planted.

    In Monterey County, the celery harvest started. In Fresno County, early processing tomato fields were ripening and 1 to 2 weeks from harvest. Sulfur was applied for mites and mildew. Fungicide was applied to carrots. Coriander seed harvest continued with good yield and quality. Lettuce seed started to bolt. Garlic and onions were prepped for harvest.

    In Tulare County, Italian squash, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers were harvested. Sweet corn harvest began with a few roadside stands opening.


    Dry land pasture continued to decline in nutritive value requiring an increase in supplemental feeding of livestock. More fallow fields were seen due to decrease in available water for irrigation. Foothill rangeland water and forage were very poor at the lower elevations. Rangeland condition and fire danger continued to be at unfavorable levels in the Sutter Buttes. Sheep were grazing along levies. Bees continued pollination activity in sunflower and melon fields.


    Through the week, highs along the coast were typically in the 70s and 80s, except for a few pockets across the south that reported upper 60s for a couple of days. Highs in the valley were in the 80s and 90s, with 100s and 110s common in the desert. The mountains received highs in the 70s and 80s. Lows were consistently in the 50s and 60s across the valley and along the coast.

    Temperatures in the deserts fell into the 70s and 80s, while the mountain lows dropped into the 30s to 50s, depending mainly on elevation. The other noticeable trend last week was that nowhere in the State received any rainfall. Mountain snowpacks were essentially nonexistent at this time, with patchy snow found only at the highest peaks.

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