Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending August 9, 2015.
Temperatures were seasonal for this time of year and fairly consistent day to day. By the weekend, the one exception occurred in the mountains, where overnight lows cooled some 10 degrees. Most coastal locations highs were in the 70s and 80s and 80s and 90s across the valley. The mountains had mostly 70s and 80s as well, while the desert reported 100-115 degree heat.
Overnight lows were in the 50s and 60s along the coast and across the valley, with 70s in the desert, and 40s-50s in the mountains. By the weekend, several mountain locations reported lows in the 30s, a sign that fall might not be that far away.
A repetitive weather pattern settled across the State this week, with mostly dry conditions. A few areas received rain at least once during the week, but most amounts were light. On Thursday, some locations south of Reno-Santa Rosa received some light rainfall with most totals a tenth of an inch or less. The central and northern Sierras received light sprinkles on multiple days, but amounted to barely more than a trace of rainfall.
Alfalfa fields were irrigated, cut, and baled. Corn continued to be cut for silage. Safflower were harvested. Sorghum silage were making good progress, with some fields harvested. Sudan silage crop were almost done with harvesting. Grain sorghum were progressing well.
Cotton continued showing good growth, with plants blooming and setting bolls. Cotton were rated as 90 percent good to excellent and 95 percent of the crop were squaring, with less than 5 percent setting bolls. Dry black-eye beans were in various stages of development. In Fresno County, corn and sorghum were irrigated, fertilized and some was cut early. Aphids were reported in cotton.
The grape harvest were in full swing. Early raisin varieties were harvested in Fresno County. Herbicide, fungicide and miticide treatments were applied to vineyards. Sulfur applications were complete in most areas. No European grape vine moths have been reported. Peach, plum and nectarine harvest continued. Some apricot orchards were irrigated and pruned. Pomegranates grew nicely.
Olives were sizing up well. Bartlett pears continued to be harvested. Persimmon were thinned. Heat and water stress appeared to have lightened the avocado crop. Valencia orange harvest was winding down while Navels were progressing well. Growers continued to prepare citrus groves for next season with herbicide, fungicide and sunscreen sprays.
Early variety almond harvest continued. Hull rot and some Navel Orangeworm were reported in almonds. Walnut husk fly sprays were applied in some groves. Pistachios were irrigated and harvest anticipated to begin in mid-August. Pistachio hull slip and split were seen in some varieties.
In Solano County, Bell peppers were harvested. Growers prepared to harvest tomatoes. In San Joaquin County, harvesting continued for watermelon, cantaloupe, onion and processing tomatoes. In Monterey County, second production of lettuce and other three-planting commodities ended. Third plantings were underway. All commodities were in production. Dry onion production was slightly ahead of normal due to the dry, warm weather.
In Fresno County, harvest continued for carrots, melons, Bell peppers and early processing tomatoes. Mold issues and lack of color intensity were reported in some tomato fields. In Tulare County, yellow squash, zucchini, Bell and chili peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and cucumbers, were harvested. Sweet corn harvest continued.
Rangeland forage grasses and non-irrigated pasture continued to deteriorate at all elevations. With high fire danger and Red Flag wind warnings, as additional firefighters were called up to assist with suppression of the rash of fires across the state. To date this season’s acreage burned is double the five year average. The largest fire, accounting for more than half the area blackened, was in prime foothill range.
Seasonal ponds continued to dry up requiring some ranchers to haul water to livestock. Sheep and cattle grazed on idle fields and harvested grain fields. Supplemental feeding of hay and nutrients was widespread. Bees worked seed alfalfa, melon and squash plantings.