Crop Report for the week ending Dec. 9
By Tom Tucker
7:52 am,
December 8, 2023

SMALL GRAINS AND OTHER FIELD CROPS: The 2023 bean crop harvest is finished. Dried beans are being shipped to national retailers and exported to the French territories of Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia, and Martinique. Cotton harvest is almost finished in Tulare County. Cotton modules and bales are being transported to the gins. Harvested cotton fields are being mowed, disced, fertilized, and prepared for the next crop as growers adhere to the mandated cotton plow down. Corn silage harvest is winding down, only a few fields remain to be harvested. Corn fields that have already been harvested are being fertilized and prepared for next year’s wheat silage crop.  Winter forage planting has started and will continue for the next few months.  Most winter forage fields have germinated and are a few inches tall. Alfalfa is being cut, raked, and baled for dairy feed. Alfalfa is also being bagged or put into piles for haylage. Sudan grass hay is being cut, dried, and baled. Harvested fields have been tilled and pre-irrigated for winter forage and grain crops.

DECIDUOUS TREE FRUITS, NUTS, AND GRAPES: Almond, Pistachio, and Walnut harvest is complete, and the trees are moving into dormancy. Pecans are being exported to the Middle East, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Italy, and Singapore. Pistachio packing is continuing with export shipping to China, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, Vietnam, Portugal, Italy, India, Turkey, and Hong Kong. Almond packing and shipping continues to Turkey, China, India, Mexico, Japan, Philippines, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Korea, and Norway. Wine grape harvest continues. Table grapes are being packed and shipped to domestic retailers and exported to Mexico, Chile, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, and Australia. Late variety grape vineyards remain covered with plastic to protect the fruit from precipitation. Apples are continuing to develop. Pomegranates are being harvested for both juice and fresh pack. Kiwi harvest is finished, they continue to be stored and packed for both domestic and export orders to the Dominican Republic, Australia, Peru, Japan, and Canada. Persimmon harvest continues, most varieties are being picked and sent to cold storages. 

CITRUS, AVOCADOS, AND OLIVES: New citrus crops continue to develop and gain size. Some orange trees are being topped and skirted. The olive harvest has ended, and some mature olive trees are being dug for landscaping. Valencia, navel, and mandarin fruits are being picked and packed for the domestic market, as well as Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Grapefruits are being harvested and exported to Japan and Korea.  Lemons are being harvested, packed, and exported to Japan and domestic markets. Limes are being exported to New Zealand. Navels are coming in from Kern County. Navel oranges are being picked and packed for export going to Australia. Citrus growers will be utilizing micro sprinklers and drip irrigation to deliver warmer groundwater to the soil surface to raise field temperatures. Growers will also power up massive fans that sit high above their crop to prevent cold damage before harvest.

VEGETABLES, MELONS, HERBS, AND BERRIES: Blueberry nursery stock is now being received for planting. Broccoli has been planted and is growing. Roadside stands are beginning to sell citrus. Certified Producers are offering vegetables such as okra, tomatoes, onions, squash, cucumbers, and peppers for sale at local farmers’ markets. Vegetable and ornamental plants are being shipped in and inspected from Arizona; to sell in retail locations throughout the valley. Locally grown produce such as pumpkins, squash, and decorative gourds are being sold at fruit stands. Garlic is being exported to Mexico. Blueberries and black berries are now dormant. Onion seed is being exported to Brazil. 

LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: Sheep are grazing on retired cropland, harvested grain fields, and some alfalfa fields. Fall calving and lambing season has started for local beef cattle and sheep herds. The cooler weather is benefitting milk production for local dairymen. Local cattle ranchers are moving their herds from foothill locations to the mountains for better forage. Irrigated pastures are in good condition. Higher feed and fuel prices are affecting market prices. The fed-cattle price is $178/cwt this week.

TOM’S ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Local wholesale nurseries are shipping small volumes of fall nursery stock to local and out of state retail nurseries. Local wholesale citrus nurseries are shipping citrus trees, graft wood, and seed to local markets. As well as Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, the East Coast, international nurseries, Canada, and Bahamas. Vegetable and ornamental plants are being shipped in and inspected from other counties in California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Florida to sell in our retail locations throughout the county. Bee hives continue to be moved into the state for overwintering and in preparation for spring pollination.

About the Author

Tom Tucker