Crop progress and conditions for the week ending Sept. 20, 2015.
A broad ridging pattern across the western US resulted in a very hot week in California. High pressure kept cooler, moist Pacific air at sea and kept the State completely dry throughout the week. The presence of high pressure allowed temperatures to soar across the entire State, with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees pushing all the way to the coast.
The one exception was along the northern California coast, where temperatures stayed in the 70s. Highs throughout the week topped 90 degrees along the coast, exceeded 100 degrees across the Central Valley and the southern deserts, and even climbed into the 80s and 90s in the mountains. Overnight lows ranged from the 50s on the central coast to 60s in the Central Valley.
In Tulare County, corn silage was cut for local diary use. Sorghum silage was harvested. Cotton continued to show good growth, with bolls set and is reported to be ahead of last year’s schedule. Black-eye beans were harvested. In Madera and Ventura Counties, 50% of corn and sorghum silage was harvested.
In Sutter County, growers took advantage of recent heat to dry and harvest rice. In Sacramento County, the first rice field was harvested for seed. Other rice fields are still green. In Yolo County, ground preparation was underway for future wheat fields. Alfalfa continued to be irrigated, cut, and baled throughout the State.
In Madera County, the grape harvest continued. Raisins are 95% on ground. Orchards were irrigated after harvest of olives and tree fruit. In Ventura County, the wine grape harvest continued with Ruby Cabernet and Symphony. In San Luis Obispo County, cooler temperatures have slowed down the grape harvest. In Sutter County, the peach, prune, and pomegranate harvests have been completed. Olives started to size up and some orchards were pruned. In Tulare County, Asian pears are being harvested, packed, and exported.
In San Joaquin County, the grape harvest continued. In Napa County, 0.4 inches of rain fell this week, which delayed some of the harvesting. Smaller yields were reported, but with great quality of wine grapes. In Fresno County, the grape harvest for all varieties is in final stage. Valencia oranges are still being picked and packed for domestic markets. Navel oranges are maturing. The olive harvest has begun. Citrus nursery stock sales have slowed.
Harvesting of almonds and pistachios continued in Madera County. In Ventura County, the almond harvest continued, and yields are good. Walnuts are being treated with ethanol to speed harvest. Pistachio harvest is almost completed, and yields are poor. In Sutter County, the pistachio harvest has been completed. In Sutter County, the harvest continued for walnuts and almonds.
In Sutter County, cantaloupe harvest and packing continued. The cucurbit seed harvest was winding down. The remaining crops for farmer’s markets were harvested in anticipation of the end of the market season this month. Processing tomato harvest was winding down. In Yolo County, tomato harvest was finishing up with excellent tonnage reported. In Sacramento County, fresh market tomatoes were harvested.
In San Joaquin County, harvest continued for watermelon, cantaloupes, other melons, and Farmer’s markets vegetables and produce. In Monterey County, iceberg lettuce production and harvest continued with higher than average prices reported. In Fresno County, the processing tomato harvest was wrapping up. Carrots were irrigated and both herbicide and fungicide were applied. In Tulare County, Roma tomatoes were exported to Mexico. Honeydew melons were harvested and packed. In Ventura County, peppers were harvested.
Very poor range conditions continued as range cattle were given supplemental feed to compensate for the lack of nutritional forage. Due to the lack of rain in San Joaquin County, ranchers are having to haul water to livestock as most of the ponds are either dried up or of very poor quality. Sheep are grazing on idle crop land or stubble fields. In Fresno County, cooler weather is helping increase dairy cow milk production. In Tulare County, new wells continue to be drilled or existing ones lowered due to the lack of available surface water supplies and dropping water tables.