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USDA California Crop/Weather Report

USDA Crop/Weather Report

Sacramento, Calif., (April 17, 2018) – Early last week was dry across California. From Thursday to early Sunday, a series of storm systems from an atmospheric river from the Pacific impacted coastal areas as well as central and northern California; bringing moderate to heavy precipitation. Snow levels dropped to around 4,000 to 4,500 feet over the weekend in the mountains, with a few inches of snow at pass level. Dry weather returned on Sunday.

Temperature highs for the week ranged in the 50s to 70s in the mountains, 70s to 80s in the valley, 60s to 80s along the coast, and 70s to 90s in the desert. Temperature lows for the week ranged from the 10s and 30s in the mountains, 40s to 50s in the valley, 30s to 50s along the coast, and 30s to 50s in the desert.

Winter forage crops were maturing well. Alfalfa cutting was stalled by the wet weather. Cotton field preparation and planting was ongoing. Corn fields were prepared and planted in the San Joaquin Valley. Wheat development benefited from March precipitation.

Older vineyards and orchards continued to be pushed out for new plantings.  Pear trees were leafing out.  Grape vines started to bud break.  Stone fruit orchards were continuing to leaf out as the bloom period was coming to an end.  Pomegranate orchards were pruned.  Mechanical and chemical weed control continued.    Olive and cherry trees were blooming.  The harvest of late variety Navel oranges continued, and fruit were showing some grading issues.  The Valencia orange and lemon harvests continued.  Seedless tangerine groves remained netted for the bloom.

Orchard clean up continued after the heavy spring rains and recent storms.  A good set was reported for Almonds in many orchards in the San Joaquin Valley. Pistachio leaf out began. Early walnut varieties were blooming, and some orchards were pruned. Catkins were developing on Chandler walnuts.

Fields were being prepared and planted, but activities have been slow due to wet soils. Harvest of broccoli, cauliflower, and some lettuce continued in Salinas. Strawberry harvest continued in Monterey. Asparagus harvest began in San Joaquin County.

Rangeland and non-irrigated pasture quality continued to improve with the recent precipitation. Sheep grazed on idle crop land, stubble fields, and dormant alfalfa fields. Beehives were moved from almond to olive, citrus, and stone fruit orchards. Bee activity picked up when the weather was favorable.

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