California Crop Update

Taylor Hillman General

Sabrina Hill has an update on several California crops.
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California navel orange production for the 2013-2014 season is forecast at 1.76 million tons (44 million boxes), down 2 percent from last season. Producers reported good growing conditions this year. The average fruit size is up while average fruit per tree is down when compared to previous seasons. This initial forecast is based on an objective measurement survey conducted in California’s Central Valley during July and August. Survey results also showed that harvest is expected to be earlier than the previous seasons.

Meanwhile – Citrus growers continue to irrigate, hedge and skirt groves. Valencia orange harvest is ongoing. Re-greening continues to be an issue due to high temperatures. Ruby Red grapefruit and lemons are in harvest. New orange and mandarin groves being planted now.

Rice harvest is under way for early planted fields. Producers are also draining fields in preparation for harvest. Cotton boll opening is complete on more than half of the state’s acreage. Cotton conditions are down slightly due to hot and dry weather. Producers are managing insect pressures to reduce the probability of sticky cotton. In alfalfa, aphids were less of a factor in some fields. Growers continue to cut, windrow, rake and bale under good drying conditions.

Looking at fruit: Growers are drying raisin grapes on the vine and on trays; grapes that have finished drying are rolled and collected from vineyards. Fresh grape harvest is continuing. Growers are harvesting wine grapes and crushing them for wine and juice. Kiwifruit is sizing and a harvest is expected to start earlier than last year. Gala apple harvest has finished; Fuji and Granny Smith harvests continued. Pomegranate harvest is also progressing. Olives continued to size on trees. The European pear harvest is slowing. Asian pear harvest remained active. Prune harvest was nearly complete and the harvest of freestone peaches ,nectarines, plums and late apricots continues.

In nut crops, harvest of early walnut varieties has begun and pistachio harvest is also underway in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Orchards of later walnut and pistachio varieties are being prepped for harvest. The almond harvest continues and harvest of the Monterey variety has started.

Range and non-irrigated pasture remained in fair to very poor condition. Available water at all elevations was limited and continued to diminish. Fire danger was high across much of the State due to high temperatures, dry winds and low fuel moisture.