California: Fields Being Prepared for Planting – USDA

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Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending February 28, 2015.


Highs this week were in the 40s to 60s in the mountains, largely dependent on elevation; 60s to 70s in the valley; 60s to 80s along the coast from north to south; and 70s to 80s in the deserts. Lows were typically in the 10s to 40s in the mountains again largely based on elevation; 30s to 40s in the valley; 30s to 50s in the desert; and 40s to 50s along the coast from north to south. Some locations at the highest elevations in the mountains dropped into the single digits on Thursday night, whereas some areas in the desert exceeded 90 degrees at least one day.

The only area of the state that recorded any rainfall were the northern fringe of the state in the mountains north of Redding. Up to a tenth of an inch of liquid precipitation fell on Friday morning. At higher elevations, there was snow and a mixture of rain, with a possible one inch of accumulations in places (particularly Mt. Shasta). No precipitation was reported elsewhere.


Warm, sunny weather assisted in drying fields so groundwork and preparation continued. Rice fields were mostly drained. Cotton beds were being prepared and alfalfa was getting ready for the first cutting. Winter forage crops continued to grow well with the warmer weather. Herbicide sprays were applied to winter grain and alfalfa crops. Black-eyed beans were shipped.


Orchards were sprayed and mowed as necessary for weed control. In Yuba County, some peach and prune orchards were pruned. Some brown rot control was done in stone fruit orchards. In San Joaquin County, the cherry bloom had begun and growers prepared for the application of bloom sprays. Grapevine pruning continued. In Tulare County, midseason stone fruit varieties were in full bloom. Early season varieties were showing signs of leaf growth. Grapevines continued to be pruned and tied.

Weed control were performed on berms. Pomegranate orchards were pruned. Kiwifruit continued to be packed for shipment to foreign markets. Navel oranges, tangerines, Minneola tangelos, and lemons continued to be harvested. Citrus groves continued to be topped and skirted, with pruned brush shredded. New trees were planted to replace old groves. Seedless tangerines were netted to prevent cross pollination during the upcoming citrus bloom season.


Warm weather aided almond bloom progression. Most almond orchards were in full bloom and the application of bloom sprays continued. Packing houses continued to pack walnuts, almonds, and pistachios for foreign and domestic markets.


The asparagus harvest started in Colusa and San Joaquin counties. In San Mateo County, Brussels sprouts fields were fumigated. In Fresno County, onions, garlic, and processing tomatoes were planted.  Fields for lettuce seed, Bell peppers, and spring carrots were fumigated. Onions were fertilized. Kale, arugula, and Mazuna mustard for seed were all blooming. The kale was treated for downy mildew. In Tulare County, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and Brussels sprouts were harvested and sold at Farmer’s Markets.


Valley and foothill non-irrigated pasture grasses and forbs capitalized on the recent precipitation and the above normal temperatures with a flourish of new growth. Some early grasses were already developing seed. Cattle and sheep were feeding on the verdant rangeland from the coast to foothills. Sheep also grazed some fallow and abandoned fields. Dairies were drying out while the warm days stimulated milk production. During the sunny days bees were active in almond orchards. Some hives were moved into stone fruit orchards as the early varieties started to bloom.

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