California: Growers Preparing for Almond and Pistachio Harvests

    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending July 31, 2016.


    Another hot and dry week across the state as we reached the peak of the summer dry season. Precipitation in the state last week was limited to a few scattered showers in the central and southern Sierras on Thursday and Friday.  These showers were very light, with nearly all locations receiving under 0.25 inches. A heavier shower around Lake Tahoe dropped just over half an inch on Thursday.

    Average high temperatures were in the 70s along the north coast, and 90s along the coast the south, 80s-90s in the mountains, 90s-100s in the valley, and 90s-110s in the desert, with several locations exceeding 120. Overnight lows were also fairly warm across most of the state outside of the mountains, the mountains were frequently in the 30s-60s, 50s-60s along the coast, 60s-70s in the valley, and 50s to 90s in the desert depending on elevation. Snowcover was negligible at this time of year; a few patchy areas of snow still existed on the peak of Mt. Shasta.


    Irrigation continued in orchards and vineyards. In Tulare County, silage corn was being irrigated, with various stages of development, from newly planted fields to those already tasseling and forming ears. Wheat harvest for grain was finished, and wheat straw has been baled. Cotton continued to be irrigated and cultivated. Early planted fields were squaring and blooming. Alfalfa was being irrigated, cut, and baled. Dry beans were growing nicely with irrigation and high temperatures.

    In Fresno County, corn and sorghum were progressing well.


    In Stanislaus County, mid-season peach, nectarine, plum, and late apricot harvests continued. Table grapes were harvested. Wine grapes harvest began. Harvest of stone fruit and grapes were about two weeks earlier than typical. Citrus packing houses were wrapping up Valencia and Navel orange packing. Regreening continued to be a problem with the high temperatures.  Some oranges were hedged.  Star Ruby grapefruit, lemons, and Australian finger limes were harvested.

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    In Tulare County almond orchards were being prepared for harvest. Shake had begun in some almond orchards in Fresno County. Walnut orchards were treated with codling moth and husk fly sprays as well as sun burn spray.  Irrigation and fertilization continued in orchards not being prepared for harvest.

    In Fresno and Solano Counties pistachio harvests were expected to be early this year with good yields. New plantings of almond and pistachio orchards were leafing out well in response to the warm weather and irrigation.


    The processing tomato harvest was underway in many areas of the State.

    In Stanislaus County, cantaloupes, watermelons, honeydew melons, broccoli, and sweet corn were harvested.  Tomatoes were getting close to harvest.  Sweet corn fields were being replanted for the second crop.

    In Monterey County, vegetable production was at its peak.  Vegetable harvest was consistent with no surprises.

    In San Mateo County, green peas and fava beans were harvested.  Tomatoes were ripening and squash was growing strong.

    In Fresno County, the processing tomato harvest continued with an excellent yield reported for both conventional and organic fields.  The fruit was ripening fast with the hot weather. Bell peppers continued.  Carrots and lettuce seed were harvested.  Anaheim and no-heat jalapeno peppers were planted for fall harvest.

    In Tulare County, summer vegetables were harvested and shipped domestically.  Zucchini, Italian squash, Bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, eggplant, and cucumbers were harvested for local stands and Farmer’s Markets.


    The week’s excessively hot temperatures exacerbated already dry rangelands. Fire danger was elevated and small grass fires were reported across the state in addition to the large conflagrations near Monterey and Santa Clarita. Non-irrigated pasture and range in the lower elevations were in fair to very poor condition. Foothill forage was in fair condition, but continued to dry. Bees worked melon, cucumber, and sunflower fields. Sheep grazed on harvested alfalfa, small grain, and fallow fields. Supplemental feeding of cattle continued as range conditions deteriorated.

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