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USDA California Crop/Weather Report

USDA Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (March 7, 2017) – A lot of variation in the weather across the State as a departing Pacific system exerted its influence onto the State. Monday, heavy rainfall across the southern quarter of the State, with areas along the immediate coast receiving up to two inches of rain. Heavier rainfall fell in the coastal mountains immediately inland of the San Diego area, with locations receiving over five inches. Most of the deserts received a quarter inch of rain. Midweek was mostly dry, expect for light rainfall in a few southern coastal areas. By Friday, the next storm system arrived, with light showers falling on the northwestern mountains. Saturday and Sunday brought heavier precipitation, with up to one to two inches falling in the northern portion of the State, and up to one inch falling in the southern parts of the state outside of the deserts. Light snow was reported in the central Sierras on Monday before warming temperatures mid-week resulted in the first significant snowmelt of the season. Heavy snowfall returned by Saturday with twelve to eighteen inches of snow falling in the central and northern Sierras. Further south, three to six inches of new snowfall occurred, maintaining the pre-week snowpack level there. Mountain snowpacks continued to be very heavy with Lodgepole in the southern Sierras and the Tahoe area reporting snowcover of nearly seven feet.

Temperature highs were in the 30s to 40s in the mountains, 40 to 80s in the desert, 50s to 70s in the valley, and 60s to 70s along the coast. The temperature lows were in the 10s to 20s in the mountains, 20s to 40s in the valley, 30s to 50s in the desert, and 40s to 50s along the coast.

Growers continued to wait for fields to dry out sufficiently to resume planting winter grain and field crops. Reports of lodging in mature wheat fields due to the recent high winds and rain of last week. Alfalfa fields were flooded and recharging underground water.

Pruning, discing, weed control, and pre-bloom spraying continued where dry orchard floor conditions permitted. Olive groves were pruned. Pruning, tying, berm sanitation, and brush shredding continued as vineyard floors dried. Herbicides were applied in some vineyards. Early varieties of stone fruit, including cherries were blooming in Tulare County. Citrus harvest continued. Recent rains impacted the overall quality of the citrus. Orange groves were hedge-rowed and skirted.  A few seedless tangerine groves were being netted to prevent cross pollination during the pending bloom.

As field conditions permitted walnut and pistachio orchards were pruned. Where dry enough cleanup of trees toppled by high winds began. Almond bloom was progressing with the southern portion of the state nearing completion. Rain and wind caused some almond petal drop.

Recent rains slowed some harvesting but broccoli, romaine, and red lettuce harvest continued in Imperial County.  In Fresno County, winter onion and garlic fields were being fertilized and cultivated.  In Tulare County, squash was being planted in hot tunnels.  New fields were being prepared for spring planting.  Strawberries continued to thrive.

Non-irrigated pasture and rangeland continued to improve with warming temperatures promoting forb and grass growth. Range was reported to be in excellent to fair condition. Supplemental feeding of livestock continued to wane as range conditions improved. Bees were active in almond orchards. Sheep grazed stubble fields, idle cropland, and dormant, alfalfa.

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