Tulare County Crop Report for the week ending May 11

SMALL GRAINS AND OTHER FIELD CROPS: Winter grain and forage crops such as wheat, oats, and barley are nearly finished for the season. Wheat and pasture grasses have been cut and many rotating fields remain fallow before silage is planted for the summer. Field oats are being cut and dried in the field for bailing. Cotton fields that have been planted are already sprouting. Alfalfa is being irrigated and some fields are being mowed and baled. Corn has sprouted and some fields are up to a foot in height. 

DECIDUOUS TREE FRUITS, NUTS, AND GRAPES: Stone fruit harvest has begun, with early season peaches and apricots being packed and shipped domestically. Reflective mylar sheeting is being laid down to speed up the coloring of stone fruit. Cherry harvest has begun, and the fruit is being shipped domestically. Plum and peach orchards are being thinned for larger size fruit production and some branches are being pruned. Almond orchards are developing well with irrigation and moderate spring temperatures. Pistachio and walnut orchards are becoming flushed with leaves. Kiwi vineyards have bees nearby for pollination of small blooms. Grapes are being pruned and tied in the field. Some bareroot grapevines are heading to other nurseries in California for planting. Persimmon orchards are being pruned and leaf set is going well.  Pecan trees continue to bloom.

CITRUS, AVOCADOS, AND OLIVES: Citrus bloom’s end has been called to end April 30 with petal fall in District 3 being declared April 26. Late navel harvest is still going with most export already shipped out to Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Most other late navels are headed out to domestic markets. Some Valencia oranges have arrived at packing facilities where Brix tests are being performed to test sugar levels. Mandarins are being packed for the domestic market and some exports to Mexico, Taiwan, Korea, Peru, and Chile.

VEGETABLES, MELONS, HERBS, AND BERRIES: Blueberries are being harvested and shipped domestically.  Melons are being planted for summer harvest.  Strawberries, onions, garlic, and peas are being sold at roadside stands. Tomatoes have been planted and are being irrigated. Blackberry vines are blooming.

LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: Rangeland is turning golden brown from the green that was seen in recent weeks now that rains have ceased. The cattle market remains stable with fall-calving cows and spring pairs being sold. Sheep are being used as weed control for orchards. The cattle market is doing well, with calves in the hills and steers bulking with lots of greenery to eat. The fed-cattle price is steady at $182/cwt this week.

TOM’S ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Nursery shipments are still going strong with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, beans, ornamental florals, and some spring leafy green vegetables being sold as well as bareroot fruit trees and berry shrubs. Many local gardeners are buying items for home gardens. Commercially, maintenance gardeners are purchasing ornamental warm-season flowers and greenery, soil, and mulch. Local wholesale citrus nurseries are shipping citrus trees, graft wood, and seed locally and out of state to Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, the east coast, and international nurseries and growers in Canada and the Bahamas.  Local wholesale nurseries are continuing to ship large volumes of Late Spring nursery stock to local and out of state retail nurseries to meet Mother’s Day holiday demands.

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