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USDA California Crop/Weather Report

USDA Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif. (March 21, 2017) – It was a warm week across the State, as most of the area was well entrenched into a dry pattern. Fog developed across the northern central valley early in the week which helped supply a bit of moisture. Rainfall was limited to the northern third of the State late week. Rainfall amounts were very light along Interstate 80, gradually increasing to the north. The heaviest rains fell in the northern mountains, which received around a quarter inch of rain each day. Warm temperatures last week resulted in the first week of significant snowmelt in the mountains. Despite that, mountain snow packs continued to be heavy with Lodge pole still reporting over seven feet of snow depth.

Temperature highs were in the 30s to 70s in the mountains, 60s to 80s in the valley and along the coast, and 70s to 100 in the desert. The temperature lows were in the 10s to 40s in the mountains, 40s to 50s in the valley and along the coast, and 40s to the 60s in the desert.

Winter forage crops were maturing well. Some growers were starting to harvest silage. Alfalfa was making good growth as a result of the warmer weather. Drier and warmer weather were ideal for the grains.

Field work in vineyards continued with pruning, tying, berm sanitation, and brush shredding.  Some bud break has been observed in vineyards.  Cherries and late varieties of stone fruit continued to bloom.  Kiwifruit were being packed and shipped to domestic and foreign markets.  Some persimmons and pomegranates were leafing out.  New orchards were being planted.  The citrus harvest picked up with the improved weather.  Late Navel orange harvest started in some areas.  Navel oranges, Mandarins, Minneola tangelos, lemons, and late harvest Finger limes were being exported mostly to foreign markets.  Star Ruby grapefruit harvest began, with most of the fruit being packed for the domestic market.  Orange groves were being hedge-rowed and skirted.  Growers were starting to net the seedless tangerines to prevent cross pollination by bees during the coming bloom.  Pruning of olives continued.

Almond bloom was slowing down.  Bee colonies continued to be moved into nut orchards for pollination.  Almonds and pistachios were being exported.  Some walnut orchards were blooming.

In Tulare County, squash was being planted in hot tunnels.  New fields were being prepared for spring planting.  Cucumbers were being planted under hot caps.  Blueberries were blooming.  Strawberry fields continued to thrive.  Previously planted onions continued to progress well.  In Monterey County, strawberry production was picking up and harvest crews were working.  A few brassica fields were being harvested as well. Flood waters were receding.

Rangeland and dryland pasture quality continued to improve with all the recent rainfall.  Condition was excellent due to continued rainfall and warmer weather.  Some cattle ranchers have increased their herd size in order to take advantage of the improved forage conditions.  Bees were active in almond and early stone fruit orchards.

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