Crop Report for week ending April 20
By Tom Tucker
7:02 am,
April 19, 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. Pomegranate bloom buds continue to develop and should begin to open soon. 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. Pecan, pistachio and walnut orchards are leafing out more out of dormancy for the season. Pistachios are being exported to Germany, Turkey, Jordan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, UAE, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, Vietnam China, India, Israel, and Hong Kong. Walnut grove removal continues with older orchards being pulled and fields being leveled. Almonds are being packed and shipped to Croatia, India, South Africa, Mexico, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Morocco, Belgium, Japan, and Thailand.

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. Star Ruby Grapefruit are being packed for export to Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Valencia harvest has started and is being checked for maturity. Navels are being exported to Germany, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Columbia, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Clementine groves are being covered with bee netting to prevent cross pollination by bees. Olives are also in bloom. Minneola’s are being packed and exported to Japan and European Union. Skirting and topping of citrus continues both manually and mechanically to meet export requirements and post-harvest shaping.

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 composting. The fed-cattle price is $184/cwt this week.

TOM’S ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Nursery shipments have increased this week as more and more home gardeners are venturing out to plant for spring with good stock of peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, ornamental florals, and some bare root fruit trees and bushes being shipped in. 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. Cut flowers are being imported from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Colombia to flower shops in Tulare County.

About the Author

Tom Tucker