SMALL GRAINS AND OTHER FIELD CROPS: Winter wheat is being prepped for harvest as flooded fields are drying. Fields are being plowed and disced in preparation for new plantings. Some spring planting has started. Various fields that were temporarily flooded along the Tule River are drying out and should be cut for silage in a few weeks. Winter wheat, oats, and barley continue to grow, numerous fields have been damaged due to excess rain. Alfalfa is doing well but the recent rain has caused some delay in cutting and drying hay. Fields are being prepared for corn and cotton. Winter grain and forage crops are being treated for pests. Dryer weather this week will allow growers to catch up with pesticide and herbicide applications. Dried beans are being exported to France, Guadeloupe, and Martinique.
DECIDUOUS TREE FRUITS, NUTS, AND GRAPES: Later varieties of stone fruit trees continue to bloom, while early varieties are leafing out. Grapevine buds continue to open and are leafing out. Last season’s pistachios continue to be processed and exported in large quantities to Mexico, Turkey, Switzerland, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, China, Israel, India, and Poland. Pistachio orchards are starting to bloom. Last season’s almonds are still being packed and shipped to Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Germany, Turkey, New Zealand, Colombia, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Mexico, India, Italy, Chile, Israel, Belgium, Malaysia, Korea, Norway, and Saudi Arabia. Walnuts have begun to tassel. Walnuts are being exported to Jordan, Turkey, Israel, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Spain, Vietnam, and China. Pecans are also tasseling and leafing out, and being exported to the Middle East, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Singapore. Bee apiaries are being placed next to kiwi groves. Kiwi vines have started to bloom, and the vines continue to leaf out.
CITRUS, AVOCADOS, AND OLIVES: Citrus trees are being treated for pests and for weeds. Navel oranges are being packed for domestic markets and exported to Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. High Brix and acid navel oranges are being exported to Korea and Japan. Organic mandarins and conventional lemons continue to be shipped out to domestic markets. Netting has been placed on Mandarins to prevent pollination in seedless varieties. Citrus harvest is ongoing with some Valencia’s being harvested.
VEGETABLES, MELONS, HERBS, AND BERRIES: Blueberries are being irrigated and fruit is setting on plants. Strawberries are being grown, picked, and sold at roadside stands. Some cucumbers and zucchini are being planted as well as some other leafy greens. Cabbage and broccoli are still growing at local roadside stands in addition to some lettuce, garlic, and onions. Onion seed is being shipped to Brazil and South Africa. Tomatoes are being planted.
LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: Cattle are thriving in the green hills. Irrigated pastures have benefitted from the recent rains and are in good to excellent condition. Classes and weights are continuing to stay strong this week. The fed-cattle price is steady at $168 /cwt. this week. Manure is being cleaned out of dairies and used for compost.
TOM’S ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Spring has sprung and with it comes warmer weather. The seasonal change has local retailers and nurseries stocking up on nursery plants for consumers. Nursery stock continues to move into and out of Tulare County from other parts of the United States and Canada. Cut flowers are being imported from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Colombia to flower shops in Tulare County. Local retailers and big box stores are selling warm seasonal vegetables (tomatoes, herbs, squash), citrus trees, ornamental landscape plants, and stone fruit trees. Water continues to flow in most of the canals and re-charge basins throughout the county. Citrus bloom has been declared in District 1, beginning at 1:00 a.m., Wednesday morning, April 19, 2023. District 1 is primarily the foothills area. During citrus bloom insecticides are restricted in and around citrus groves to protect honey bees.