California: Almond Growers Getting Ready for Harvest

    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending July 24, 2016.


    Rain continues to be elusive this week, with no locations in the state reporting any measurable rainfall. Hot weather continued, with perhaps the hottest temperatures that we will see this summer observed across the state.

    Afternoon highs were typically in the 70s-90s along the immediate coast, depending on whether any sort of Pacific sea breeze was able to intrude inland; 90s-100s in the valley; 80s-110s in the desert, and 70s-90s in the mountains. Overnight lows were fairly comfortable along the immediate coast, thanks to the proximity of cooler Pacific air. Lows in these locations were in the 50s-60s.

    Minimum temperatures dropped into the 50s-60s across the valley, 50s-80s in the desert, and 30s-50s in the mountains. On Friday night, dry air even allowed some lows at the highest elevations in the mountains to drop into the upper 20s.

    Mountain snow packs are essentially gone, with patchy snow cover still existing on the peak of Mt. Shasta.


    Alfalfa was irrigated, cut, and baled in Tulare County. The second cutting of alfalfa was started in Siskiyou and Modoc Counties. Cotton continued to be irrigated and cultivated. Early planted fields were squaring and blooming.  Most cotton had a good top crop and fruit load. Silage corn was progressing well with some early plantings already tasseling.

    Wheat harvest for grain was complete in Tulare County with wheat straw baled for cattle feed. Dry beans were growing nicely with irrigation and high temperatures. Some safflower and sunflower fields in Yolo County were drying out in preparation for harvest. Harvest of safflower began in Kings County. Sorghum was progressing well.


    The apple harvest began with the Gala variety. Asian pear harvest was ongoing. Mid-season peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums continued to be harvested.  Harvest of table grape varieties in the San Joaquin Valley was increasing. Wine and raisin grape varieties were sugaring and gaining color.

    Avocado harvest continued. Figs and olives were sizing and progressing well. Blueberry harvest was slowing. Strawberry harvest continued. Late Navel oranges, Star Ruby grapefruit, and lemons were harvested.

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    Almond hull split and mite sprays occurred; growers prepared for harvest.  Harvest was expected to start next week in some areas of the state.  Pistachios crop development was ahead of last year.  Walnut growers worked to protect their crop from sunburn; walnut orchards were sprayed for mites, coddling moth, and husk fly.


    In Monterey County, the Salinas Valley weather was cooler than previous weeks.  There were pest pressures from mold and fungus, though production was still high for lettuces.  Brassica production was at a mid-season low, though harvesting is expected to increase soon.

    In Fresno County, the processing tomato harvest continued with an excellent yield reported for both conventional and organic fields.  The harvest of conventional fresh onions finished.  Harvest of lettuce seed finished with a good crop reported.  Harvest of yellow Bell peppers continued.  The harvest of mini watermelons slowed, growers may do another pass depending on set and price.  Anaheim and no-heat jalapeno peppers were planted for fall harvest.  Fields were prepared for winter carrots.

    In Tulare County, summer vegetables were harvested and shipped domestically.  Zucchini, Italian squash, Bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, eggplant and cucumbers were harvested.  Honeydew melons were harvested and packed.


    Warm weather promoted the drying of rangeland vegetation continued. Non-irrigated pasture and range in the lower elevations were reported to be in fair to very poor condition. Foothill forage was in fair condition, but beginning to dry. Bees continued to work melon, cucumber and sunflower fields. Sheep grazed on harvested alfalfa, small grain and fallow fields. Supplemental feeding of cattle continued as range conditions deteriorate.

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