Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending May 31, 2015.
Winter forage hay crops were harvested and baled. Wheat and oat harvest continued. Winter wheat was rated as 90 percent good to excellent with nearly all headed and ten percent harvested. Harvested wheat fields were disked and replanted. Alfalfa fields were irrigated, cut, and baled. Corn and cotton fields were progressing. Ninety five percent of cotton was planted and 5 percent was squaring. Silage was planted and irrigated. Sunflower and safflower fields were in various stages of development, with a few fields initiating bloom.
Rice weed treatments were applied and planting was nearly complete. Some fields were left fallow due to lack of water.
Almond, walnut, and other nut trees were irrigated and sprayed for pests. Almonds continued to press ahead toward an early hull split. There were no reported mite problems. Most nut orchards were progressing well. Almond, walnuts, pistachio, and pecan exports continued to both foreign and domestic markets.
Rangeland water and feed were poor at lower elevations. Cattle were moved to higher elevations. Foothill rangeland conditions were very sparse for livestock and continued to decline in nutrient value. Supplemental feeding continued to be required. Sheep grazed in fallow fields.
Grapevines were suckered and beginning to bear fruit. Orchards and vineyards were irrigated and weed treatments continued. The second flight of the European grapevine moth started. No moths were caught in traps for the entire first flight. Wine grapes were on a tight spray schedule for mildew. Fresh plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and cherries were in farmers’ markets.
Peaches were thinned. Cherry harvest was slowing down. Late navel oranges were shipped domestically due to rind issues. Valencia orange harvest continued. Young citrus trees were planted. Pomegranates were in bloom. Olive bloom was ending.
In Siskiyou County, onion weed control continued. Maggot problems have led to stand loss. In Sutter County, summer vegetable fields were prepared for planting. Pesticides and herbicides were applied and weeding crews worked in the organic fields. Cucurbits for seed were emerging. Processing tomato transplants continued to be planted. In Yuba County, cantaloupes were planted. In San Joaquin County, onions and tomatoes were growing well.
In Stanislaus County, watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew were planted. Broccoli was harvested. Insecticide was applied to tomatoes. In Monterey County, all lettuce and Brassica commodities were in first or second rotation. In Fresno County, early tomato fields were about 5% red with expected early July harvest. There was 10-15% curly top and some armyworm reported in organic tomatoes, but overall growth looked good. Mildew treatments were applied to onions. Early dehydrator onion tops were going over. Lettuce seed crop looked good.
In Tulare County, summer vegetables were progressing well, with some early crops harvested. Melons continued to bloom with some fruit already developing.
The main driving force behind this week’s weather was the removal of the upper level trough off to the east. This allowed temperatures to steadily rise each day to summertime temperatures, rising from five to fifteen degrees across the State. By the latter half of the week, locations across the valley were reporting widespread highs in the 90s, with 60s to 80s along the coast from north to south.
The southern deserts recorded multiple days of triple-digit heat, and even the mountains saw highs in the 80s. Lows were in the 60s for most of the State outside of the mountains, which dropped into the 30s-40s for the entire week. With the departure of the upper-level trough also came the end of the chance of rain.
A few locations in a narrow band from San Jose eastward into the mountains saw light scattered showers on Memorial Day, but rainfall amounts were very light. The only other rainfall this week occurred on Sunday evening along the northern coast and into the Mt. Shasta area, where approximately a quarter of an inch fell.
Elsewhere, no precipitation fell across the State during the week. Dry weather combined with building summer heat exacerbated drought conditions across the State. Mountain snowpack was less-than-average for this time of year, with only very meager amounts at the highest elevations.