Crop Report for the week ending April 6
By Tom Tucker
1:54 pm,
April 5, 2024

SMALL GRAINS AND OTHER FIELD CROPS: Winter grain and forage crops such as wheat, oats, and barley continue to grow as recent rains have been beneficial. Winter forage crops that were planted early last fall have produced grain heads. Some fields have already been cut and the remaining fields have a few weeks of growth left. Winter grain and forage crops are being treated for pests as weather permits, a break in rain has growers applying herbicides and fungicides. Cotton fields are being prepared for planting and a few farmers have already started planting. Alfalfa fields continue to grow well. Forage crops and winter crops are in excellent condition from winter and spring storms.

DECIDUOUS TREE FRUITS, NUTS, AND GRAPES: Kiwi vineyards have begun to leaf out and grow new vines. Grape vineyards are continuing to leaf and vine, with crews cleaning up the rows. Persimmons and pomegranates continue to develop their leaves. Walnuts catkins are present and pistachio orchards are breaking dormancy with leaves emerging. Cherry, peach, and plum orchards have blossomed and are now adding leaves to their branches. Fruit trees are being thinned while immature fruit continues to develop. Almond orchards continue to develop immature almonds. Pistachios are being exported to China, India, Israel, and Hong Kong. Walnut grove removal continues with older orchards being pulled and fields being leveled. 

CITRUS, AVOCADOS, AND OLIVES: Citrus bloom is in full swing, and bloom has been declared in Districts 1, 2, and 3. Bee colonies have been placed in many citrus groves. Mandarins are being netted to prevent pollination. The last of the late navels are being harvested as puff and crease increases. A few grapefruit and lemon groves are still being harvested. Valencia harvest will begin in the coming weeks. Navels are being exported to Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Olives are also in bloom. 

VEGETABLES, MELONS, HERBS, AND BERRIES: Strawberry harvest has started in parts of the county. Black berry leaves are emerging. Winter vegetables continue to grow. Tomato fields are being prepared for spring planting. Blueberry fields have been pollinated and are developing fruit that is estimated to be harvested in late April and May. Some roadside stands have been harvesting and selling fall onions, garlic, sweet peas, and strawberries.

LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: Sheep are being used as weed control for orchards. Rangeland is still greening, and wildflowers are blooming. The cattle market is doing well, with calves popping up in the hills and steers bulking with lots of greenery to eat. Manure is being cleaned out of dairies and used for compost The fed-cattle price is $187/cwt this week.

TOM’S ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Local nurseries are booming with vegetables, tomatoes, herbs, and fruit trees. As well as ornamental flowers, shrubs, and trees. Nursery shipments have been up in recent weeks and many seasoned gardeners are picking up their tomato, squash, cucumber, pepper, onion, herb, and other veggies to plant this spring before the weather gets too hot. Nursery stock continues to move out of Tulare County to other parts of the United States and Canada.

About the Author

Tom Tucker