For the week ending, May 18, 2019
SMALL GRAINS AND OTHER FIELD CROPS: Winter wheat and oats are being cut, dried, and baled. Harvested wheat fields are being disked and planted for silage or other forage crops. Corn and cotton fields are emerging and growing well with the warm weather. Small grains are also being chopped for silage. Alfalfa is being cut and baled for hay.
DECIDUOUS TREE FRUITS, NUTS, AND GRAPES: Stone fruit season has officially begun as select packinghouses around Tulare County are switching from late navels to delectable peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Early varieties of peaches, nectarines, and apricots are being picked and packed for both domestic and international consumers. Harvested peaches are being exported to Taiwan, Brazil, and Canada. Nectarines are being harvested and packed for domestic markets and export to Canada. Hand-thinning of late variety stone fruit trees is continuing. Cherries continue to be picked and packed for domestic outlets. Intermittent rain has hampered harvest. Forecasted rain will urge cherries growers to harvest as much fruit, to prevent splits. Nutrient sprays and pesticide applications of fungicides and herbicides are resuming for both vineyards and orchards. Mechanical vineyard maintenance continues, with vine training and leaf pulling in grapevines. Shoot thinning and positioning are also underway in grape vineyards. Some stored kiwifruit are being exported to Mexico. Walnuts and pistachios are still blooming. Last season’s pistachio nuts continue to be exported to Europe, Italy, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, and Israel. Almonds are still being sent to Japan, Korea, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands, Israel, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Russia, and India.
CITRUS, AVOCADOS, AND OLIVES: Late navels are still steady, though quality and demand are decreasing. Export of navel oranges has slowed down at most packing houses. The bulk of late navel oranges are being packed for domestic markets. International exports for late navels are still on-going; with fruit being sent to China, Taiwan, Mexico, Malaysia, and Japan. Star Ruby grapefruit are being picked and exported to Japan, Korea, and Mexico; with harvest expected to slow down. Valencia oranges continue to be harvested and exported for both the domestic and international markets. International exports for Valencia’s continue to Hong Kong, Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Japan, and Korea. Seedless tangerine groves remain netted for the bloom. Most Bee keepers have moved their bees out of local citrus acreage. Mechanical maintenance for citrus groves continues, with orchards being thinned, topped, and/or skirted. Lemons continue to be harvested and bagged for Mexico. Olive orchards are in full bloom. Some pruning is taking place to thin out olive trees.
VEGETABLES, MELONS, AND BERRIES: Blueberries are being harvested throughout Tulare County; with exports continuing to Taiwan, Canada, and Japan. Strawberry season continues, with harvested fruit being sold at roadside stands. Early planted summer vegetables are growing, with new fields being prepared for additional vegetable plantings.
LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: Rangeland forage continues to remain good condition. Late season rains have benefitted the growth of grasses and forbs. Forecasted rain in the upcoming weeks will have an added boost for forage quality. Cool spring weather is helping grazing conditions for local cattlemen. The fed cattle market price is down this week at $123 per hundred-weight.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Shipments from wholesale nurseries have slowed down a little. Some out-of-state shipments continue before hot summer weather sets in. Some mature olive trees are being dug for landscape purposes.
Prepared by: Tom Tucker Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer