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USDA California Crop/Weather Report

USDA Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (July 6, 2017) – A ridge of high pressure sat over the western United States, which resulted in another hot and dry week across the State. The only rain for the week was along the northern coast, where Eureka reported four hundredths of an inch for the week. A broken band of snow approximately 40 miles wide between Lake Tahoe and Sequoia National Forest still existed above 9,000 feet. Snow depths in this band were two to four feet at most. The peaks of Mt. Whitney, Mt. Lassen, and Mt. Shasta remained snow-capped.

Temperature highs were in the 50s to 80s along the coast, 70s to 90s in the mountains, 80s to 100s in the valley, and 90s to 110s in the desert. The temperature lows were in the 30s to 50s in the mountains, 50s to 60s along the coast and the valley, and 60s to 80s in the desert.

Alfalfa fields were making excellent progress and being irrigated. Corn and sorghum planting for silage were almost complete, but still being cultivated and irrigated. The corn silage crop was in various stages, from newly planted to already producing tassels, and the earliest planted corn was developing ears. Cotton continued to be irrigated, cultivated, and was growing well. Black-eyed beans continued to be irrigated and cultivated.

Peach, nectarine, apricot, and plum harvests continued. Fruit orchards and vineyards were irrigated. Some apple orchards used overhead cooling systems to mitigate the impact of the heat. Late Navel orange harvest was complete for the season.  Valencia orange harvest continued.  With high temperatures, regreening in citrus has become more common, and packers were color sorting to compensate.  Ruby Red grapefruit were harvested.

Walnut, almond, and pistachio orchards were irrigated. Mechanical and chemical weed control continued in nut orchards. Pistachios were fertilized. In some locations walnut growers applied sunburn preventive materials.

In Tulare County certified producers were picking tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers for sale at the local Farmers’ Markets.  Italian squash, eggplant, and cucumbers continued to be harvested.  Blueberry and strawberry harvests slowed down and were expected to come to a close with hot weather.  Sweet corn harvest began with a few roadside stands opening and sales at the local Farmers’ markets.  Carrot harvest had slowed down.  In Fresno County, carrots harvest was reaching its end.  Pepper harvest was completed with good yields. Dehydrated onion left to dry.  Fresh onions harvest was half completed. Roughly one-third of the onion harvest had been completed. Onion seed drying out. In Monterey County, celery harvest began and was picking up.  In Imperial County, spring melons and sweet corn were harvested.  Some growers reported exceptional yields.  Many farmers were finished with melon harvest and were plowing fields.   In Colusa, Sacramento, Solano, and Yolo Counties, tomato crops were progressing, even though the recent heat wave slowed crop development.

Non-irrigated grasses and forbs continued to dry out as the dry days of summer continued. Rangeland was reported to be in good to very poor condition depending on elevation, aspect and soil moisture. Foothill watering holes were drying up. Cattle continued to be moved to higher elevation range. Milk production was impacted by the high heat.  Livestock deaths increased due to the extended elevated temperatures. Sheep grazed on retired pasture and dormant alfalfa. Bees were active in melon and vegetable fields.

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