By Tom Tucker
Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer
Small grains and other field crops: Recent planting of winter forage crops for spring dairy commodities have germinated and are growing well. Cotton continues to be ginned at local cotton gins. Various farmers are allowing sheep to graze alfalfa fields. Dried beans are being exported to the United Kingdom, St. Lucia, and the Dominica Republic. Some wheat, oats, and barley fields are being treated for weed control, as the winter wheat germination will increase due to high moisture. Farmers are hoping for continued rainfall in lieu of well water.
Deciduous tree fruits, nuts, and grapes: Pruning is ongoing in stone fruit and olive orchards. Pistachios are being exported to Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal, Australia, China, Korea, Poland, Germany, India, Singapore, Ukraine, Switzerland, the Philippines, Thailand, and Hong Kong. Almonds are being exported to Korea, Israel, Taiwan, Colombia, India, Japan, Germany, South Africa, Indonesia, Chile, Barbados, Belgium, and Turkey. Table grapes are being exported to Mexico, the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, China, and Taiwan. Wine Grape vineyards are being pruned and planted with cover crops. Pomegranates from cold storage are being exported to Mexico. Walnuts are being exported to Italy, Turkey, and Morocco. Nut trees that have been harvested are being fertilized and pruned. Branches from nut trees are being cut for firewood or shredded. Persimmons continue to be harvested, packed, and sent mainly to domestic markets, but a few loads continue to be exported to Mexico. Pecans are being harvested in some areas, and are being exported to Australia and Israel. Kiwi fruit is being shipped to Canada Mexico and Taiwan.
Citrus, avocados, and olives: Local citrus packing houses are receiving navel oranges from local, Kern County and Fresno County growers. Navel oranges are being exported to Malaysia, Peru, China, Korea, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Vietnam, Chile, Ecuador, Australia, and New Zealand. Cara Cara navels are being picked and packed for export to China, Korea, and New Zealand. Pummelos are starting to be picked and packed by local citrus packing houses for domestic and export markets to Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Fruit Cocktail grapefruit are being picked and packed for export to Japan. Organic Clementine Mandarins are being picked and packed for U.S. and Mexico markets. Mandarins are being exported to Australia and Panama. Blood oranges are being packed for domestic markets and exported to New Zealand. Hybrid Grapefruit, Melogold and Oroblanco are being exported to Japan. Lemons are being exported to Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Mexico. Finger limes are being picked from coastal and local locations to be exported to China, Netherlands and Switzerland.
Vegetables, melons, herbs, and berries: Winter vegetables are in various stages of growth. Certified producers are starting to plant winter vegetables. Peas are germinating. Blueberries are being pruned and prepared for the winter.
Livestock and poultry: Rangeland grasses have germinated and are growing well. Irrigated pastures are in good to excellent condition. Non-irrigated pastures are in better condition from the recent rains which was a great benefit for the rangeland forage. Fed-cattle price is at $120 per cwt.
Tom’s additional comments: Nursery stock continues to move into Tulare County. Local wholesale nurseries are replanting to get ready for the busy spring shipping season, and have an increased demand for bare root fruit trees and berries. Ground water storage basins in parts of Tulare County are beginning to fill with runoff.