Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending July 6, 2014.
A persistent high pressure ridge remained over the western United States for most of the week. Temperatures across the Central Valley were hot, with triple digit high temperatures being common across the Central Valley. Inland sections of the southern part of the State were also warm and the southeastern deserts were intensely hot.
Towards the Fourth of July holiday, a high pressure cell intensified over Arizona and then shifted eastward to the Four Corners area. This subtle shift in the upper air patterns allowed monsoonal moisture to stream up from Mexico and spread into the southeastern portion of the State, resulting in scattered thunderstorm activity across the deserts and mountains of that region.
Some of these storms produced enough rain to trigger flash floods in some locations. Aside from these desert storms and a few isolated mountain storms, no other precipitation was reported in the State. 100+ high temperatures continued all through the week in the Northern Sacramento and Southern San Joaquin Valleys.
The region around the Sacramento River Delta had slight relief with highs in the middle of the week reaching the 90s. Generally, coastal regions enjoyed cooler weather as cool marine air provided some relief from the interior’s heat.
In Tulare County, alfalfa is in all stages of growth and harvest. Cotton is showing good growth. Cotton, corn, and Black-eyed beans continue to be irrigated and cultivated for weeds. Silage corn continues to mature and some fields are being chopped. Wheat straw continues to be baled.
In San Joaquin County, cotton continues to progress and is generally running ahead of schedule. Scattered spraying for armyworms continue in affected alfalfa fields.
In Merced County, cotton maturing nicely with increased boll growth. Retention is well on track. Lygus has been minimal in cotton, but the worm population is building in alfalfa, both beet and yellow striped.
Orchards and vineyards continue being sprayed and irrigated. In Tulare County, table grape harvest has begun, with Red Fla me and Summer royal varieties. The harvesting of apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums continues with many mid-season varieties. Fruit quality and size are excellent. Late navel orange harvest is almost complete. Valencia orange harvest continues. Ruby Red grapefruit are being harvested for domestic market. Olive bloom is finished and fruit is sizing normally. Mildew remains very minimal in grapes. The last fungicide spray went on this last week.
Almond growers have finished their hull-split sprays. No real issues in almonds, no disease problems. Pistachios are in various aspects of nut fill. A couple of blocks of both Kerman and Golden Hills pistachio varieties are filling very well, which is a little ahead of average. Growers continued to spray for Navel Orangeworm. Walnut growers sprayed some third-leaf walnut trees for mites. Husk flies have just started turning up this week.
In San Joaquin County, producers harvested onions and watermelons and planted Bell peppers, tomatoes and squash. In Merced County, some growers sprayed for worms in tomatoes. In Monterey County full harvest continued for lettuce and Brassica. In Fresno County, growers harvested Bell peppers and onions. Lettuce seed was blooming. In Tulare County, sweet corn, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant and Bell pepper harvest continued with produce being sold at roadside stands and farmer’s markets. In Kings County, harvest began on early tomatoes.
Range and non-irrigated pasture were primarily in poor to very poor condition. High temperatures aggravated fire danger and drought conditions. The current U.S. Drought Monitor classified 80 percent of the state under extreme to exceptional drought conditions. During the week almost 13,000 acres were burned in the state with much of it grassland. Cattle and sheep grazed on idle fields, dry land grain and alfalfa fields. Supplemental feeding of livestock was ongoing. Cattle continue to be moved out of state. Bees were active in sunflower fields.