Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending October 4, 2015.
Pacific moisture streamed into the State and interacted with an incoming Pacific low into the northwestern United States. Temperatures were warm to start the week, then cooler the remainder of the week. Locations along the coast typically saw highs in the 60s to 80s and lows in the 50s to 70s from north to south.
Valley locations experienced highs in the 70s and 80s, with lows in the 40s and 50s by the weekend. Desert areas received highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s, while mountain locations received highs in the 60s to 80s and lows in the 20s to 40s (based on elevation).
On Sunday night, temperatures in the mountains fell low enough to result in the first snowflakes of the season at elevations above 8000 feet. Some locations saw anywhere from a dusting to 2 inches of snowfall, with heaviest snows in the higher elevations of Tulare County.
On Wednesday, rain was confined to a narrow band from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco on the coast, and stretched inland into the mountains near Tahoe, with totals mostly under one tenth of an inch. On Thursday, showers dotted parts of the central coast south of San Francisco, the Sierras, and parts of the northern valley between Sacramento and Redding, with less than a tenth of an inch.
Saturday brought heavier rains from San Francisco and Reno northward across the valley, where locations reported up to a quarter inch of rain. Only a few light showers were reported Saturday along and south of the Los Angeles Basin. Many locations on Sunday, southeast of a San Luis Obispo to Fresno to Reno saw some rain, except for the deserts.
Most locations reported around a quarter of an inch of rain, although some locations in the hills just south of Los Angeles reported over a half inch of rain.
In Tulare County, the majority of the corn silage crop was chopped and sorghum silage was harvested. Grain sorghum/milo was progressing well. Alfalfa continued to be irrigated, cut, and baled. Black-eye beans were cut and windrowed. In Siskiyou County, fall planting of winter grains, alfalfa, and rye was ongoing and potato harvest was in full swing.
Cotton was defoliated and harvest began in some areas. More than four-fifths of the crop were reported to have bolls opening by week’s end and the crop was reported 90 percent good-to-excellent. Rice harvest was ongoing with over one-third of the crop harvested by week’s end.
Cooler weather was good for the October wine grape harvest and crush. In Fresno County, olives were close to harvesting. In Madera and Tulare Counties, olives were harvested. Peaches, plums, nectarines, and Asian pears were exported. Pomegranates continued to be harvested and packed. Raisin grapes continued to dry as trays were rolled and collected from the fields. Valencia oranges continued to be picked and packed. Navel oranges continued to mature, as packing houses prepared for the navel orange season. Pomelos continued to be picked and sold domestically.
In Fresno County, the last of this year’s almonds were on the ground. Growers hoped to have them picked up by the end of the week. Good quality was reported. Pistachios were reported to be at least 20% ahead of last year. Young pistachio trees were budded and trained. Walnut harvest was anticipated next week. In Madera County, some pruning occurred in almond orchards with 95% reported harvested and pistachios 90% harvested. In Tulare County, the almond and pistachio harvest were in full swing and going strong.
In Siskiyou County, the dehydrator onion harvest was in full swing. In San Joaquin County, harvest continued for sweet corn, cucumbers, pumpkins, Bell peppers, tomatoes, squash, watermelon, cantaloupes, and Farmer’s markets vegetables and herbs. In Monterey County, lettuce harvest was strong and was expected to continue for another couple of weeks. In San Mateo County, pumpkin lots were brimming. The Brussels sprouts harvest continued. Herbs were continuously cut and sold.
In Fresno County, the tomato harvest finished and the fields were prepped for the next crop. Winter carrots were irrigated and both herbicide and fungicide were applied. Kale, arugula, and Mizuna mustard for seed were planted. In Tulare County, Roma tomatoes were sold domestically.
Foothill rangeland water and forage continued to be very poor at all elevations. Feed costs for cattle producers remained high. Many cattle were relocated out of the foothill rangeland due to the conditions. Sheep grazed on idle and stubble acreage. Supplemental feeding continued for livestock due to decline in forage nutrient value due to lack of rainfall.