California: Almond Harvest Underway, Cotton Setting Bolls – USDA

    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending August 2, 2015.


    High pressure sat over the Great Basin, keeping cooler Pacific air from encroaching inland. Many locations reported their hottest temperatures of the summer this week. Temperatures soared to over 110 degrees in parts of the Central Valley as far north as Redding. Even the San Francisco area reported highs in the mid-90s during the middle of the week. Coastal locations typically received 70s and 80s and were the only locations to experience the moderating effects of Pacific air.

    Valley locations sweltered in over 100 degree heat, while the deserts were typically around 100-110 degrees. The mountains were marginally cooler, but still received highs in the 90s at lower elevations. The highest elevations still reached into the upper 70s and lower 80s. Lows were more average, with 50s-60s along the coast, 70s in the valley, 80s in the desert, and 30s-60s in the mountains, depending on elevation.

    By the weekend, hot afternoon temperatures had abated somewhat, with temperatures some 10 degrees cooler than during the week.

    Rainfall was confined to isolated pockets in the southern and central Sierras on Friday and Saturday, with a few showers across the far north on Sunday. Rainfall amounts were very light, with no locations reporting over 0.5 inches. A few scattered showers fell in the southern deserts on Wednesday associated with the latest monsoon moisture surge, but nothing substantial. The rest of the state remained dry throughout the week. On Sunday, Pacific moisture moved inland, causing some isolated marine fog/stratus events along the immediate coast.


    In Tulare County, corn silage continued to be harvested. Sorghum silage was making good progress, with some fields harvested. Grain sorghum was progressing well. Alfalfa fields were irrigated, cut, and baled. Cotton continued showing good growth, with plants blooming and setting bolls. Black-eye beans continued to be irrigated and cultivated. In Sutter County, safflower was mostly dried down and scattered fields were cut. Alfalfa continued to be cut and baled. In Fresno County, milo and corn for silage were irrigated.

    In San Joaquin County, alfalfa continued to be irrigated, cut, and baled. Safflower was drying in the field. In Ventura County, many row crop growers in the Oxnard plain were switching to lower water use crops. There were reports of potato blight found in a Tulelake potato field. Cotton was rated as 90 percent good to excellent and 99 percent of the crop was squaring, with 92 percent setting bolls.


    In Napa County, the harvesting of wine grapes began and sulfur applications continued in other vineyards. No European grape vine moths have been caught. In Yuba County, the prune harvest began. Some peach orchards were mechanically top cut after harvest. In Fresno County, wine grapes pinot gris were reported close to harvest. The wine grape harvest started in Sacramento County. Half the pears have been harvested. Gala apple harvest was well underway and quality was reported to be very good.

    The domestic market for stone fruit continued to be the mainstay of sales for the packing houses. Export of Valencia oranges continued. Star Ruby grapefruit and lemons continued to be packed and shipped. Growers were working citrus groves in preparation for next season. Persimmon fruit was thinned.


    In Fresno County approximately 30% of almonds were reported to be on the ground. Pistachios were irrigated. Shelled walnuts continued to be exported. In Tulare County, almond harvest began.


    In Sutter County, processing tomatoes continued to ripen with a few acres harvested. Fungicide was applied. Cucurbit seed crops were maturing. In San Joaquin County, the sweet corn, onion and tomato harvests continued. Harvest began for watermelon and cantaloupe. Vegetables were harvested for Certified Farmers’ Market.

    In Monterey County, all commodities were in production and appeared unaffected by the warm weather. Rotations of second and third plantings began. In San Mateo County, green peas and summer squash were harvested. Fall squash was growing strong.

    In Fresno County, cantaloupe was harvested and packed. The harvest of early processing tomatoes continued and more fields were prepped for harvest. The carrot harvest continued and preparing the fields for winter carrots began. In Tulare County, yellow squash, Bell and chili peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and cucumbers, were harvested. Sweet corn harvest continued with sales in Farmers’ Markets and roadside stands.


    Rangeland continued to decline in nutritional value requiring supplemental feeding to maintain livestock. The majority of rangeland ponds were either dry or holding minimal amounts of water. The water table was falling drastically in most areas. Fire danger increased daily, and irrigation districts were limiting water distribution. In Sutter County, sheep continued to graze on levies. In Tulare County, foothill rangeland and forage were very poor at the lower elevations.

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