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California Crop/Weather Report

– Overall, the week was very wet and chilly across the State. Temperatures were fairly steady early in the week, with a gradual warm-up as the weekend arrived. Most of the State was soggy through the week, with most areas in the central/northern valley receiving three to five inches of rain, coastal areas north of Monterey saw two to four inches of rain, and coastal areas further south saw one to two inches of rain. The heaviest rains fell on the windward slopes of the central and northern Sierras, where some locations saw as much as twelve to fourteen inches of rain, with most areas seeing between five to eight inches of rain. The southern valley also received two to three inches of rain.

The interior deserts remained largely dry. Mountain regions saw an abundance of snow this week as well. Three to four feet of new snow fell during the week in the Tahoe area and areas northward. The southern Sierras around Mt. Whitney saw one to three feet. The mountaintops of the coastal ranges also received two to six inches of snow going northward from Los Angeles to Crescent City. Warm temperatures over the weekend resulted in a bit of snowmelt, but snowpacks were at their bulkiest in years.

Temperature highs were in the 20s to 40s in the mountains, 40s to 50s along the coast and valley, and 50s to 70s in the desert. The temperature lows were between 20s to 30s in the mountains, 20s to 40s in the desert and the valley, and 30s to 40s along the coast.

Fields continued to be prepared and planted for winter wheat and barley forage. The growth of planted grains and field crops continued at an excellent rate, reaping the benefit from last week’s precipitation. Sorghum seed continued to be received for future planting. Alfalfa fields have gone dormant due to the cold weather.

Table grapes from cold storage continued to be exported.  Vineyards continued to be pruned.  Pomegranates were primarily being exported to Mexico.  Deciduous fruit orchards continued to be pruned and the brush shredded as weather conditions allowed.  Tree fruit and vineyards halted most post-harvest field activities due to the recent rains. In drier locations, the removal of older orchards continued in preparation for replanting new varieties. Wet weather continued to slow the citrus harvest.  Navel and Mandarin oranges were being harvested as conditions allowed.  Exports of citrus fruit slightly slowed down between Christmas and New Year’s.  However, Navel oranges, Melogold grapefruit, and lemons continued to be exported. Growers continued to implement frost protection measures for new plantings.  Removal of older orchards continued in preparation for replanting to new varieties in drier locations.  Strawberry fields continued to thrive.  Blueberries continued to be planted, weather permitting.

Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and pecans continued to be packed and shipped primarily to foreign markets.  Nut orchards continued to be pruned and the brush shredded as weather conditions permitted.

Winter vegetables continued to mature ideally. In Fresno County, fresh onion seeds were planted.  Carrot harvest continued.  Growers restricted water from broccoli fields.

Valley and foothill range and non-irrigated pasture were in good condition. Supplemental feeding of livestock continued. Sheep grazed alfalfa and fallow fields for weed control. Lambing was ongoing. Bee hives continued to be moved into the state in preparation for the bloom season. Due to the lack of blooming vegetation, bee keepers continued to feed their hives.

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