California: Almond, Rice Harvests in Full Swing – USDA

Photo: University of California, Davis

Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending September 27, 2015.


It was a very warm and dry week throughout the State as temperatures averaged near 10 degrees above normal. Coastal locations typically saw highs near 70 degrees in the far north to 90 degrees along the southern coasts. Lows were typically between 50 and 70 degrees from north to south. Most of the Central Valley saw highs in the 80s and 90s each day and overnight lows mostly in the 60s.

The southern deserts continued to experience summertime temperatures, with highs close to 110 degrees and lows in the 70s and 80s each night. Highs in the mountains continued to be quite warm, but dry air and calm winds associated with high pressure over Nevada allowed for strong cooling each night. Lows in the mountains typically ranged from the 30s to the 50s, based mostly on elevation.

The only other weather feature of note was a marine fog/stratus event on Tuesday that was confined mostly to the San Francisco area and locations in the immediate vicinity, which kept highs in the 60s and 70s there. This was accompanied by both advection and radiation fog along the coast and in the central parts of the Central Valley.


Cotton harvest had still not begun in California. More than four-fifths of the crop were reported to have bolls opening by week’s end which is well above the five-year average for this week. There were reports of whitefly pressure but otherwise the crop was reported 90 percent good-to-excellent. Fall planted alfalfa had emerged in Siskiyou County. The crop continued to be irrigated, cut, and baled throughout the rest of the State.

Rice harvest was ongoing with over one-third of the crop harvested by week’s end. This was more than 20 percent higher than the five-year average for this week. The quality of the crop is lower than previous years with only 70 percent of the crop rated good-to-excellent. Fields were flooded for wildlife.

There were some reports of winter wheat fields planted. Corn and sorghum silage harvest were under way. Potato harvest was ongoing near the California-Oregon border and planting was ongoing in the Imperial Valley.


The harvesting of wine grapes continued in Napa County. Raisin grapes continued drying as trays were rolled and collected from the fields.  Peaches, plums, nectarines, and Asian pears exports continued.  Pomegranate harvest continued.  The olive harvest continued. In Fresno County, Valencia oranges were picked and packed for domestic markets.  Navel oranges matured.  Bagged lemons were exported.  In Yuba County, persimmon harvest started.


The harvest of early variety walnuts began in Sutter County.  In Yuba County, walnut husks were splitting due to the small rain showers received the previous week.  The pistachio harvest continued in Tulare County.  Reported reduction in pistachio yields this year was due to the lack of winter chill hours.  Almond harvest was in full swing.  Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and pecans were packed and exported.


In Sutter County, honeydew harvest and packing continued.  Processing tomato harvest was winding down.  In Sacramento County, fresh market tomatoes were harvested.  Harvest continued in San Joaquin County for watermelon, cantaloupes, other melons, and Farmer’s markets vegetables and produce. Iceberg lettuce harvest continued in Monterey County.  In Fresno County, the processing tomato harvest was wrapping up.    Carrots were irrigated and both herbicide and fungicide were applied. Peppers were harvested in Ventura County.


Foothill rangeland water and forage continued to be very poor at all elevations.  Supplemental feeding continued and was required.  Feed costs for cattle producers remained high.  Many cattle were relocated out of the foothill rangeland due to the current conditions.  New wells were drilled and existing ones lowered due to the lack of available surface water supplies and dropping water tables.

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