Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending July 19, 2015.
During the week, drought conditions prevailed with hot, above-average temperatures for most of the State. Temperatures were fairly consistent throughout the week. Highs were typically in the 70s-80s along the coast and in the mountains, 90s-100s in the valley, and 100s-110s in the desert. Lows were in the 50s-70s along the coast from north to south, 60s-70s in the valley, 60s-80s in the desert, and 40s-50s in the mountains.
The weekend brought monsoon moisture surging into the southern third of the State. Widespread showers and thunderstorms swept across areas from San Diego to Fresno. Most areas received around half an inch to one inch of rain, while a few locations topped 2 inches. The heaviest rainfall fell in the hills and mountains immediately surrounding the San Diego and Los Angeles metropolitan areas.
Light rain fell from San Luis Obispo on the coast northeastward to Fresno and into the southern Sierras. The rest of the State remained dry throughout the week except for a few sprinkles across the far north on Monday and a brief thunderstorm near Mexicali on Friday. Many coastal locations witnessed marine fog/stratus events on multiple days throughout the week.
The corn silage crop was in various stages of growth, with some harvested. Recently planted sorghum silage was making good progress. Alfalfa fields were irrigated, cut, and baled. Cotton continued to be irrigated and cultivated for weed control. Cotton was showing good growth in early planted fields, with plants blooming and setting bolls. Cotton was rated as 85 percent good to excellent and 95 percent of the crop was squaring, with 85 percent setting bolls.
Summer beans were irrigated and cultivated. Winter wheat was 95 percent harvested, with a few late fields coming in. Safflower reached full bloom and was drying in the field.
Grapes were beginning to mature and color, two weeks ahead of schedule. Pear harvest continued. Apples were sizing well but not yet ready for harvest. In Madera County, peaches were harvested for canning. In Fresno County, the harvest of tree fruit crops, nectarines, peaches, and plums was ongoing. Cherry trees were pruned and irrigated. Valencia oranges continued to be harvested. Growers were working citrus groves in preparation for next season. Citrus nursery stock was sold and planted.
Insecticides were applied to orchards to treat for navel orange worm and ants. There were reports of almonds splitting. Orchards were prepared for harvest. Irrigation of almonds and pistachios continued. Exports of pistachios, shelled walnuts, and almonds remain strong.
Summer vegetables were harvested and fields were replanted. In Tulare County, yellow squash, zucchini, Bell and Chili pepper, eggplant, and cucumbers were harvested. Sweet corn harvest was continuing, with more roadside stands opening and continued sales at the Farmers’ Markets. Black-eyed beans were harvested and shipped to market. In Monterey County, strawberry, lettuce, brassicas, celery, onion, and processer tomato harvest was well under way.
In Fresno County, onions and garlic were harvested and fields were prepped for harvest. Processor tomatoes were irrigated with field drip and furrow irrigation. In San Joaquin County, sweet corn, melon, Farmers’ Market vegetables, stone fruit and cantaloupe were harvested.
Recent rains in the foothills around Fresno County improved pasture for grazing. In San Joaquin County, a lack of moisture continued and rangeland grasses continued to deteriorate. Livestock feed supplements were required due to extreme shortness of existing forage. Ponds continued to decrease in volume with many completely dry in the rangeland areas. In Tulare County, foothill rangeland water and forage were very poor at the lower elevations. Feed cost for cattle producers remained high.