Small grains and other field crops: High temperatures this week have caused a great need for increased irrigation. Dried beans are being shipped to national retailers and exported to the French Territory of Martinique. Harvested grain fields are being fertilized, tilled, and planted with summer silage crops such as corn and sorghum. Cotton and corn-silage fields are being cultivated and treated for weeds. Cotton is continuing to develop. Corn fields are growing rapidly. Alfalfa is being cut, raked, and baled.
Deciduous tree fruits, nuts, and grapes: Pistachios are being processed and exported to Israel, Thailand, the Netherlands, China, Turkey, Australia, and India. Pecans are being exported to the Middle East, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Singapore. Almonds are still being packed and shipped for export to India, Thailand, China, Japan, Colombia, Panama, Israel, and Belgium. This year’s almond crop continues to grow, with continued irrigation. Stone fruit season is in full swing as apricots, nectarines, plums, and peaches are being picked and packed for national retailers and for international markets, such as Brazil, Taiwan, Mexico, and British Columbia. Domestic demand for stone fruit remains high. Some growers are placing reflective tarps on the orchard floor to improve color in developing fruit. Late varieties of stone fruit continue to develop as field crews are thinning trees. Kiwi vineyards are being tied and irrigated. Tree farmers are utilizing surface water for irrigation where infrastructure allows. Small acreages of apples are continuing to develop. Pomegranates are continuing to develop. Grapes can be found in many stages of development with harvest just a week away for early varieties; field worker crews are still in vineyards thinning the vines. Persimmons are in various stages of development throughout the county.
Citrus, avocados, and olives: Late navel oranges are being packed for the domestic market, as well as being exported to Guatemala, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Korea, and Japan. Organic navels are being sent to domestic markets as well as Japan and Taiwan. Lemons are being picked and packed for domestic markets. Some orange trees are being topped and skirted. Some mature olive trees can be seen being dug for ornamental use. Olive trees are being trimmed. Valencia oranges are now being picked and packed for the domestic market as well as Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Star Ruby grapefruit are being sent to domestic markets as well as Korea and Mexico.
Vegetables, melons, herbs, and berries: Local fruit roadside stands remain busy selling locally grown produce such as squash, sweet corn,and some blueberries. Certified producers are starting to offer early summer vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, squash, cucumbers, and peppers for sale at local farmers markets. Some older blueberry fields have been removed and will be planted with newer varieties. Watermelons, honeydew melons, and cantaloupes have been harvested and sold at local fruit stands. Sweet corn is available at local roadside stands. Blueberries are being harvested and packed for domestic retailers and for export retailers. Processing tomatoes are continuing to develop as fruit is starting to ripen. Tomato plants are being irrigated and treated for pests.
Livestock and poultry: Irrigated pastures are in good condition. Non-irrigated pastures and rangeland conditions are in fair condition that will become poorer as predicted triple-digit heat temperatures of the summer will increase the dry conditions. Higher feed and fuel prices are affecting market prices. Cattle are being grazed on the lower elevation range. Cows are slowing down in producing milk as the weather is getting hotter. Dairymen are doing their best to maintain cool conditions for their cows in this heatwave. The fed cattle price continues at $180/cwt this week. Manure is being cleaned out of dairies and used for compost.
Tom’s additional comments: Although shipments at local nurseries have dramatically slowed due to extreme hot weather lately. Some summer vegetables and florals are still moving at nurseries. Nursery stock continues to move into and out of Tulare County from other parts of the United States and Canada. Cut flowers continue to be imported from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Colombia to flower shops in Tulare County. Local retailers and nurseries are selling summer vegetable transplants (tomatoes, herbs, squash) and ornamental landscape plants.