California: Rice Harvest Half Finished, Cotton at 10% – USDA

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending October 11, 2015.


Another mostly dry week, with the exception of scattered rainfall across southern California on Monday. The hills near the coast from Los Angeles southward to San Diego recorded isolated amounts of rain over half an inch. Most locations along the coast, into the deserts, and into the southern Sierras received around a tenth of an inch of rainfall.

Highs were typically in the 60s and 70s along the northern coast, with 80s and 90s further south of San Francisco. Valley locations climbed into the 80s and 90s most days, with a few locations hitting 100 degrees over the weekend. Desert areas were kept in the 70s and 80s on Monday thanks to the afternoon rains, but highs climbed over the triple digit mark over the weekend. In the mountains, highs were typically in the 60s to 80s.

Lows were frequently in the 50s and 60s along the coast and across the valley. By the end of the week, 60s were common, with even a few 70s across areas south of Fresno. Desert areas were in the 50s-60s early in the week, with 70s for most of the second half of the week. In the mountains, lows typically varied from 20s to 40s, depending largely on elevation.


In Tulare County, the majority of the corn silage crop was chopped. Sorghum, Triticale, and winter forage fields continued to mature and growers continued to irrigate. Alfalfa continued to be irrigated, cut, and baled throughout the county. Cotton was defoliated and harvested. More than 90 percent of the crop were reported to have bolls opening and 10 percent of the crop was harvested by week’s end. The crop was reported 90 percent good-to-excellent.

Black-eye beans were cut and windrowed. Fields were prepared for winter planting of small grains and other field crops. In Fresno County, wheat, barley, and oat fields were harvested and baled. Rice harvesting continued with over half of the crop harvested by week’s end. Straw was windrowed, baled, stacked, and ready to be shipped.


Exports of stone fruit slowed as the season neared completion. Small amounts of peaches and plums were exported; as were Asian pears and apples. Pomegranate harvest was going strong. Demand for table grapes remained strong, as growers continued to harvest late season varieties and covered canopies with plastic to protect the grapes from rain. Raisin grapes continued to dry and trays were rolled and collected from the fields. Wine grape harvest was coming to a close. Kiwifruit in cold storage were reconditioned and packed for orders.

Valencia orange harvest was slowing. Fukumoto Navel oranges were maturing and harvest began. Meyer lemons were starting to color. Pomelos were picked and sold domestically. Olives continued to be harvested, with second picking shipped to processors.


Pistachio, almond, and walnut harvests continued, as domestic and foreign sales remained strong. Orchard floors continued to receive herbicide treatments. Early varieties of walnuts were brought in for processing. Late varieties of almonds were drying on the ground and waited to be swept into windrows and hauled in for processing.


Lettuce harvest continued strong but end of season issues started to arise. Brassicas were in third rotation and looking good. Strawberry production was slowing down but still strong. Some strawberry fields were replanted in preparation for the fall. Processing tomato harvest completed. Beds were fixed for the 2016 tomato crop. Carrots were fumigated by irrigation. Kale was planted for seed. Onions were fumigated. Blueberry plants were received for planting new fields.


Ranchers continued to graze sheep and cattle in alfalfa and small grain fields, harvested wheat fields, and retired farmland areas. Some livestock were fed with hay in addition to fruit culls. Rangeland in Fresno Valley was parched and dry. Most honey bees were out of State; some hives were placed around squash plantings and in local yards. Beekeepers supplemented nectar due to the shortage of blooming plants. Leafcutter bees had been placed into cold storage.

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