TULARE COUNTY CROP REPORT
For the week ending May 4, 2019
SMALL GRAINS AND OTHER FIELD CROPS: Thanks to the adequate rain fall within the past few months, winter planted dryland oats are being harvested, baled, and hauled for livestock feed. Wheat and alfalfa continue to mature. Forage crops will soon be ready to be cut for hay or silage. Windy days will increase lodging in mature wheat fields which will cause issues at harvest. Ground preparation is starting for spring forage and row crops. Cover crops are still being incorporated into the soil.
DECIDUOUS TREE FRUITS, NUTS, AND GRAPES: Thinning of late variety stone fruit trees is ongoing. Immature stone fruit continues to develop. Early varieties of apricots, plums, peaches, and nectarines have started with exports to Brazil. Cherry harvest has begun, with the Tioga variety being picked for domestic markets. Reflective sheeting has been put out to aid in the fruit coloring for cherries. Yields for cherries this year look promising, weather permitting. Nutrient sprays and pesticide applications of fungicides and herbicides are starting for both vineyards and orchards. Mechanical vineyard maintenance is starting with vine training. Leaf pulling in grapevines continues to allow for improved air circulation and light penetration around the developing bunches. Walnuts and pistachios are starting to bloom. Last season’s pistachio nuts are being exported to the European Union, Turkey, China, New Zealand, Spain, and Vietnam. This season’s almonds are progressing nicely. Almonds from storage are being exported to India, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, the Netherlands, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Korea, the United Kingdom, and Italy.
CITRUS, AVOCADOS, AND OLIVES: Late Lane navel oranges are nearing the end of the season, with a moderate decline in fruit quality and demand. Fruit drop and softening are becoming serious issues. Domestic and international exports for late navels are steady; with fruit being exported to Japan, China, Korea, Southeast Asia, Ecuador, and Mexico. Valencia oranges continue to be picked and packed for both the domestic and international markets. International exports for Valencia oranges continue to China, Japan, and Korea. As the Valencia season progresses, exports will intensify to international marketplaces. Grapefruit harvest is nearing the end, but exports of Star Ruby grapefruit to Korea, Japan, and Mexico are on-going. Seedless tangerine groves remain covered with nets to prevent pollination during the bloom period. Citrus grove mechanical maintenance is starting with trees being thinned, topped, and/or skirted. Some harvested orange groves are being removed. Citrus bloom has been declared in all citrus groves around Tulare County. Lemons are being harvested for domestic and overseas markets. Olive tree blooms are progressing.
VEGETABLES, MELONS, AND BERRIES: Blueberries are being harvested, with exports being sent to Taiwan, Canada, and Japan. Blueberry harvest in northern Tulare County should be starting within the next few weeks. Strawberry season is in full swing, with continuous bloom and mature fruit being picked for sale at roadside stands. Additional summer vegetable fields are now being prepared for planting with warmer temperatures and ample soil moisture.
LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: Rangeland forage is in good quality condition, and mild rains have aided the new growth of grasses and forbs. Grazing conditions are good for local cattle ranchers. The fed cattle market is $126 per hundred-weight this week.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Local wholesale nurseries are gearing up for the spring rush, with shipments of nursery stock to both local and out-of-state nursery outlets. In preparation for Mother’s Day and balmier weather, retail markets are increasing their inventory of annual and perennial flower and foliage plants. Bare-root roses continue to be processed but will soon halt. Full sized olive trees are being removed from the ground and shipped for planting in ornamental landscapes. End of the citrus bloom period for citrus grown in District 2 beginning at 1:00 a.m., Friday May 3, 2019.
Prepared by: Tom Tucker Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer