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USDA California Crop/Weather Report

USDA Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (March 28, 2017) – The week oscillated between warm and wet to dry and cool two separate times last week, as early springtime Pacific systems moved through the State.

Rain totals were up to a quarter of an inch along the southern coast, increasing gradually to nearly two inches near San Francisco. The southern valley saw one-and-a-half inches, increasing northward to four inches near Napa. An inch was the norm along the southern Sierra foothills, increasing northward to three inches in northern foothills. The Sierras saw two to three inches of liquid-equivalent precipitation, with snow falling above 7,000 feet. A combination of warm temperatures and rain led to a substantial decrease in the snowpack except at the highest elevations in the northern Sierras. Lodgepole, at 6,700 feet in the southern Sierras, remains the thickest snowpack with a report of nearly six feet of snowdepth.

Temperature highs were in the 40s to 60s in the mountains, 60s to 70s in the valley and along the coast, and 70s to 90s in the desert. The temperature lows were in the 20s to 30s in the mountains, 30s to 50s in the valley, 40s to 50s along the coast, and 40s to the 60s in the desert.

Winter forage crops were maturing well. Some growers were starting to harvest silage. Spotty lodging was noted due to the heavy rain and wind. Corn seed was being received in advance of planting. Cotton preparation work was almost done for planting.

Field work in vineyards continued with pruning, tying, berm sanitation, and brush shredding.  Bud break was progressing in vineyards. Cherries and late varieties of stone fruit continued to bloom. Reports of heavy rain and hail may have knocked off petals and affected the bloom. Kiwifruit were being shipped to foreign and domestic marketplaces. The citrus harvest was slowed due to the rain. Late navel orange harvest was underway in some areas.  Navel oranges, Mandarins, lemons, Star Ruby grapefruit, and late harvest Finger limes were being packed and exported for foreign and domestic marketplaces. Valencia orange harvest started. Orange groves were being hedge-rowed and skirted. Seedless tangerine groves continued to be netted to prevent cross pollination by bees during the coming bloom. Blueberries were blooming.  Strawberry fields continued to thrive.  Previously planted onions continued to progress well.

Almond bloom continued to slow down. Almonds and pistachios continued to be packed and exported mainly to foreign marketplaces. Some walnut trees were blooming.  Bee colonies continued to be moved into nut and stone fruit orchards for pollination.

In Fresno County, garlic and onions have solid growth, due to excess moisture. In Madera County, tomato bed preparation was ongoing and over half of the tomatoes have been planted.  In Tulare County, new fields were being prepared for spring planting as weather permitted.  Cucumbers were being planted under hot caps.

Rangeland and dryland pasture quality continued to improve with all the recent rainfall and intervening warm weather. Some cattle ranchers have increased their herd size to take advantage of the improved forage conditions.

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