California: Drought Stress Resumes in Winter Grains – USDA

    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending January 18, 2015.


    A relatively stable weather pattern stretched through the week throughout the State. Marine fog and stratus were seen early in the week at several coastal locations due to Pacific air surging into the State. Radiation fog also led to some sharp temperature differences across the Central Valley early this week. The influx of moist Pacific air had ceased for all but the northern reaches of the State by the middle of the week, allowing heat to build across the southern tier and suppressing marine fog and stratus events along the coast.

    This influx of moist air led to nearly daily rain chances for the northern parts of the State. Most locations north of Sacramento saw rain at least once this week, with most locations reporting between a quarter of an inch and an inch and a half of precipitation. Little to no new snowfall was reported throughout the week in the mountains, but cold temperatures helped maintain the existing snowpack. The southern part of the State continued to suffer from drought as most of the rains continually pass far to the north.


    Field preparation and planting of winter wheat for grain and silage continued as weather conditions permit. Winter grain conditions declined in dry land fields due to resumption of drought stress. The wheat crop was rated as 80 percent good to excellent. Wheat, oats, and other winter forage crops germinated and grew well. Alfalfa fields remained dormant. Field cultivation for spring planting continued throughout the State.


    Pruning and shredding in tree fruit and grape vineyards continued. Dormant sprays and herbicides were applied. Harvest and packing continued for Navel oranges, Mandarins, lemons, grapefruit, and limes. The recent cold temperatures caused very minimal damage in a few isolated cold spots. Avocados were harvested.


    Pruning and shredding of walnut and pistachio orchards continued. Pre-emergence herbicide was applied on nut trees and the ground prepared for tree planting.


    Leafy vegetables were harvested in San Joaquin County.  In San Mateo, some fields were plowed and vegetable transplants were planted.  In Fresno County, there was harvesting of organic broccoli.  Seed crops such as cilantro and kale progressed on schedule.   Tomato beds were prepared and onions and garlic were irrigated and fertilized.  In Tulare County, the planting of spring spinach and broccoli continued and fields were prepared for spring plantings of other vegetables.


    Range and non-irrigated pasture conditions were primarily in fair condition. Recent rain promoted germination of grasses and some forbs which ultimately improved range conditions. Cattle continued relocation to foothill and valley pastures to take advantage of the available forage.  Supplemental feeding of livestock continued but at a diminishing rate as range and pasture recovered from the extended drought conditions. Bees were staged in preparation for the pending almond pollination.

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