Crop Report for the week ending Aug. 19
By Tom Tucker
6:09 am,
August 18, 2023

Small grains and other field crops: Summer row crop season is in full swing, with crops such as corn being very prevalent county wide. Corn silage is being chopped and taken to dairies. Corn fields are thriving and growing rapidly. Alfalfa is being cut, raked, and baled. Those with water access are happy to have full allotments this year. High temperatures this week have caused a great need for increased irrigation. Dried beans are being shipped to national retailers and exported to the French Territory of Martinique. Cotton is continuing to develop. 

Deciduous tree fruits, nuts, and grapes: Almond harvest has started with orchard floors being cleaned and trees shaken. Last season’s almonds are still being packed and shipped for export to India, Thailand, China, Japan, Colombia, Panama, Israel, and Belgium. Stone fruit is still going strong and being exported to Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Ecuador, China, Australia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand. Table grapes are being harvested and exported to New Zealand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Nectarines were shipped to China, Canada, and Mexico. Stone fruit orchard surveys are near completion. Domestic demand for stone fruit remains high. Some stone fruit growers are placing reflective tarps on the orchard floor to improve color in developing fruit. Fruit tree farmers are utilizing surface water for irrigation where infrastructure allows. Last season’s pistachio crop is being processed and exported to China, Turkey, Australia, the Netherlands, and India to make room for the incoming 2023 crop. Pecans are being exported to the Middle East, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Singapore. Apples are continuing to develop. Grape harvest is slowly picking up with varieties: Sugarone, Ivory, Summer Royal, Summer Diamond, Flame Seedless, Ruby Rush, and Midnight Beauty. Export table grapes are going to Japan, Korea, Mexico, Vietnam, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Colombia, and Chile. Grapes can be found in many stages of development. Mechanical and chemical maintenance is ongoing in vineyards as field crews finish up thinning leaves for better light penetration, grape bunch formation, and color. Kiwi vineyards are leafing out, being tied, and irrigated. Pomegranates are continuing to develop. Persimmons are in various stages of development throughout the county.

Citrus, avocados, and olives: Last of late navels being packed out. Last of lemons have been packed and in cold storage. Some orange trees are being topped and skirted. Some mature olive trees are being dug for ornamental use. Olive trees are being trimmed. Valencia oranges are now being picked and packed for the domestic market as well as Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Star Ruby grapefruit are being sent to domestic markets, as well as Korea and Mexico.

Vegetables, melons, herbs, and berries: Sugar cane continues to grow. Roadside stands remain busy selling locally grown produce such as squash and sweet corn. Certified Producers are starting to offer early summer vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, squash, cucumbers, and peppers for sale at local Farmers’ Markets. Some older blueberry fields have been removed and will be planted with newer varieties. Watermelons, honeydew melons, and cantaloupes have been harvested and sold at local fruit stands. Processing-tomatoes are continuing to develop as fruit is starting to ripen and harvest is underway. Tomato plants are being irrigated and treated for pests.

Livestock and poultry: Cows are slowing down in producing milk as the weather is getting hotter. Irrigated pastures are in good condition. Nonirrigated pastures and rangeland conditions are in fair condition that will become poorer as the triple-digit heat will increase the dry conditions. Higher feed and fuel prices are affecting market prices. Cattle are being grazed on the lower elevation range. Dairymen are doing their best to maintain cool conditions for their cows in this heatwave. The fed-cattle price continues at $180/cwt this week. 

Tom’s additional comments: Shipments at local nurseries have dramatically slowed due to extreme hot weather lately. Some summer vegetables and ornamentals are still moving at nurseries. Nursery stock continues to move in to and out of Tulare County from other parts of the United States and Canada. Cut flowers continue to be imported from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Colombia to flower shops in Tulare County.

About the Author

Tom Tucker