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Fresno County Department of Agriculture Crop Report

Fresno County Department of Agriculture Crop Report for the Month Ending Sunday, February 28, 2018

Fresno, Calif., (March 14, 2018) – Irrigated grain fields continued to grow well and some fields started to develop seed heads. Broadleaf herbicides were applied as needed. Dry-land barley, triticale, oats, and wheat struggled with lack of rain. Ground preparation in rice fields started.

Alfalfa started to grow but growth is slow. Alfalfa fields were treated for weeds. Garlic and onion fields continued to grow rapidly. Garbanzo bean fields were growing well. Growers tiled soil, shaped furrows, and replaced drip tape for upcoming spring crops. Ground for sod was being leveled and prepared for seeding.

Almond and stone fruit started to bloom last month. Bloom sprays were made to control diseases. The County was hit with a hard freeze and growers ran water to protect trees.   The extent of damage will not be known for several weeks. In Sanger District, growers participating in the Mexico Stone Fruit Program started hanging pheromone traps for Oriental Fruit Moth on February 15. Grape vines continued to be pruned and tied. Herbicides were applied to vineyards and cover crops between rows were growing slowly from lack of rain. Many vineyards continued to be pushed out for planting of nut trees. Pistachio and walnut orchards were still being pruned. Almond export was slow. Almonds, pecans, pomegranates, prunes, raisins, and walnuts were exported to Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Vietnam. Chilean and Peruvian table grapes were re-exported to Canada. Nectarine, peach and plum bud wood was exported to Australia.

Work continued on preparing fields for spring crops. Herbicides were applied to control weeds before planting. Carrots are in all stages of production around the County. Radicchio, fennel, parsley, and spinach were all growing well. Including mizuna, onion, and radish for seed production. Head, leaf, and Romaine lettuce field were growing fast. Asparagus fields were growing well. Blueberry buds were swelling and blooms could be seen at the end of the month. Blueberries and raspberries continued to arrive from Oregon for transplanting. Small growers setup and repaired their hoop houses/ greenhouses in preparation for early spring planting.

Citrus harvest was in full force around the County. With exports picking up towards the end of February. A hard freeze hit the County late in February, with Sanger reporting a few hours below 28 degrees. Will take a couple weeks to determine freeze damage. Plant growth regulators were applied to orchards to prevent fruit drop. Exclusion nets were placed around mandarins in preparation of citrus bloom. Mandarin orchards continued to be removed and replaced with higher value mandarin varieties. Gophers have been an issue in Huron district, eating orange and lemon roots causing trees to topple. Grapefruit, lemons, mandarins, oranges, and tangelos were exported to Australia, China, Dominican Republic, French Polynesia, Guatemala, Republic of Korea, Japan, New Zealand and the Philippines.

Bees have been busy pollinating in almond and stone fruit orchards. Cold windy conditions did not help bee activity. Cattle and sheep were grazing in the eastern foothills, but forage conditions were low with lack of rain. Sheep were also seen grazing in fallow fields. Ranchers were out branding new calves. Egg production was expected to increase with the longer days.

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