SMALL GRAINS AND OTHER FIELD CROPS: Corn is being planted as weather allows. Winter wheat and oats are growing slowly due to insufficient rainfall, but rain this week and next will be helpful. Ground preparation is continuing for spring row crops. Alfalfa fields need more time to fully develop before harvest begins.
DECIDUOUS TREE FRUITS, NUTS, AND GRAPES: Stone fruit, pecan, walnut, and pistachio orchards, along with grape vineyards, are completing pruning and debris shredding. More stone fruit orchards are starting to bloom, with the earliest varieties in full bloom. Some almond trees have started blooming. Bee colonies continue being moved into almond and stone fruit orchards in anticipation of the bloom. Orchards are being monitored for possible damage from the recent freeze to the bloom, but the extent (if any) is as yet unknown
CITRUS, AVOCADOS, AND OLIVES: Navel and Cara Cara oranges, Minneola tangelos, and lemons continue to be harvested. The harvest of late variety navel oranges is accelerating. Some pruning and skirting of orange groves is occurring. Navel oranges are being exported to Australia, China, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan. Packing houses are grading fruit to maintain good quality going to market. Minneola tangelos continue to be shipped to Japan and the Netherlands. Growers are carefully monitoring last week’s freezing temperatures for damage. Weed control activities are happening in some groves. Some olive groves are still being pruned.
VEGETABLES, MELONS, AND BERRIES: Winter vegetables continue to grow. Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are being harvested and sold at the local Farmer’s Markets. Vegetable fields are continuing to be prepared for early plantings of squash seedlings. Squash is being planted under hot-caps and hot-tunnels. Greenhouse vegetables continue to be harvested. Strawberry and blueberry plantings are progressing well and some are starting to bloom.
LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: The lack of rain has left the rangeland forage in poor condition, but this week’s and next week’s hoped for rains should help with germination and growth of rangeland forage. The fed cattle market remained rose to $130.00 per hundred weight this week.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Retail nurseries are stocked up on both perennial and annual plants for the spring season. Bare-root roses are being received and processed for reshipment out-of-state.
Prepared by: Marilyn Wright Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer