California: Field Crops Progress Nicely, Pasture Conditions Poor- USDA

    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending April 26, 2015.


    An active weather pattern was observed this week over the Four Corners region. After a warm day on Monday, temperatures fell some 20 degrees across the State as the upper low pulled Pacific moisture and cooler air inland. This was first seen as a marine fog/stratus event along the coast on Monday and Tuesday, with associated light rain showers along the Sierras.

    By Wednesday, more and more locations across the State received rain showers as Pacific moisture saturated the atmosphere. On Thursday, a weak low pressure system formed in the Great Basin and tracked eastward, which produced widespread rain showers across the State. Continuing throughFriday, this moisture combined with cold temperatures to produce a late-season snowfall in the Sierras, where 6-12 inches of snow fell. Through the weekend, the low pressure system pulled out of the area, bringing dry conditions back to the State and allowing temperatures to rebound slightly.

    Temperatures were typically 10 degrees below average for this time of year except for the mountains and southern deserts. Most locations statewide saw some rain at least one day this week, with only a few dry pockets in the southern deserts. Mountain snowpacks got a recharge from Friday night’s storm except areas north and east of Redding. In the far south, temperatures remained too warm for snow in the mountains.


    Oats were cut, windrowed, dried, and baled. Wheat was cut for silage. The winter wheat crop was 80 percent headed. Alfalfa fields were irrigated and some were cut and baled. Corn and cotton fields were planted and progressing nicely. Field crops were irrigated due to the lack of rain. Warmer weather was maturing the wheat crop, which resulted in some early maturing fields. Sunflowers were emerging. The wheat crop was rated as 85 percent good to excellent. Pasture and rangeland condition was 55 percent poor to fair.


    The harvest of early variety cherries and peaches began. Apricot, nectarine, peach and plum fruit were developing size. Prune trees continued to set fruit. Pomegranate bloom continued. Fungicide was applied to wine grapes. Bloom was almost complete. Suckering bunch and thinning young vineyards continued. The first flight of the European Gravevine moth started and growers within a certain radius applied the necessary pesticides for further prevention.

    Mechanical and chemical weed control continued in fruit tree orchards and vineyards. Both orchards and vineyards were irrigated. Hedge-rowing of citrus groves continued. Netting was removed in seedless Mandarin groves. Tangelos, Navel oranges, Valencia and Star Ruby grapefruit were shipped to market. Olive trees were in bloom, and groves continued to be pruned and irrigated.


    Walnut catkins were falling and blight sprays were applied. Fertilizing and irrigating of almonds and walnuts continued. Scattered reports were received about leaffooted plant bugs and stink bugs in almonds. Pistachios received foliar nutrient sprays.


    Summer vegetables fields were prepared for the coming harvest season. Pesticides and herbicides were applied and weeding crews worked in organic fields. Strawberries were picked and sold at roadside stands. Blueberries were harvested and exported. In Monterey County, strawberries, lettuce and brassicas were harvested and replanted. In San Mateo County, artichokes were developing and leafy vegetables were planted.

    Seed onions were blooming and seed carrots were developing. Onions were fertilized, irrigated, and sprayed for downy mildew. Processing tomatoes and seed cucurbits were planted. Watercress was blooming. Asparagus was harvested.


    Warm weather and substantial rain over the weekend was expected to improve range condition and forage growth, but the ongoing drought continued to negatively affect pasture conditions. Supplemental feeding of livestock continued due to lack of rainfall and the decrease in the nutritional value of dry land grasses.


    Attached is a pdf copy of today’s California Crop Weather report.

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