USDA California Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (December 12, 2017) – Dry conditions prevailed throughout the state for the past week as a strong ridge of high pressure slowly moved eastward toward the Great Basin. Mild afternoons and chilly nights were experienced for most of northern California due to the persistent ridge. Elsewhere, the area of high pressure led to the development of strong Santa Ana winds which brought very dry conditions and contributed to the development of the fires across parts of southwestern California.

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

Cotton harvest neared completion. Growers continued to prepare fields for fall planting of wheat, barley, and oats. Silage corn grew well and harvesting was ongoing. Black-eyed beans were being harvested and processed. Recent rain helped germinate planted forage.

The apple harvest was nearly complete. Pruning continued in some stone fruit orchards and old orchards were removed and prepared for replanting. Table grape harvest was almost finished.  Some vineyards were sprayed for weeds. Pomegranates, kiwifruit, and persimmons were harvested. Navel orange harvest was ongoing. Lemon, grapefruit, mandarin and pomelo harvests continued. Young citrus trees were bagged to protect them from frost. The extent of the impact of the southern California wild fires and Santa Ana winds on avocado and citrus orchards has yet to be quantified.

Almond and pistachio harvests were complete. Walnut harvest was nearly complete. Soil amendments were applied in orchards.

Brussel sprouts were being harvested. Broccoli, carrots, and lettuce all have excellent stands for the winter season.  Fall and winter vegetables were being harvested and available at roadside stands. Continued cultivating of organic garlic was ongoing.  Fresh onions fields and tomato beds were being prepared for planting. Organic cantaloupe harvest ended. Organic broccoli, celery and spinach fields were growing nicely.  Head, leaf, and romaine lettuce for the fall season grew nicely with many fields starting to be harvested.

Non-irrigated and foothill rangeland forage quality continued to improve with north and central state locations reporting fair to poor conditions. Earlier rains and warm weather stimulated germination and foothill range and non-irrigated fields were showing green. Dairy workers were cleaning out corrals in preparation for winter.  Supplemental feeding of cattle was ongoing.   Sheep grazed idle cropland, stubble fields and dormant alfalfa.

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