Tulare County Crop Report for the week ending June 8

SMALL GRAINS AND OTHER FIELD CROPS: Winter forage silage harvest is complete. Harvested winter grain fields are being fertilized, tilled, and planted with summer silage crops such as corn and sorghum. Cotton and corn silage fields that have been furrowed and left fallow during the winter have been tilled and planted. Corn silage fields that were planted in mid-April are about 5-6 feet tall. Alfalfa is being cut, raked, and baled. Tomatoes continue to grow with fields already producing plants over a foot tall. Row crop farmers are utilizing surface irrigation if infrastructure allows. Cotton is growing quickly with the warmer weather.

DECIDUOUS TREE FRUITS, NUTS, AND GRAPES: Grapes and kiwis are developing fruit. Grapes are being pruned to allow air flow. Peach, nectarine, and apricot harvest is in full swing, with fruit being exported to Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand. Plum harvest is starting up with varieties like Early Queen and Crimson Sangria being picked and packed for domestic markets as well as export for Mexico and British Colombia. Cherry harvest has culminated in Tulare County with some fruit being exported to Mexico and Canada. Pecans and walnuts are developing small nuts, and their canopies are becoming denser by the day. Almond orchards have almost ready-sized green nuts that will be shaken at summer’s end. Almond trees not able to withstand the extra spring rainwater they received during bloom are tipping out of the ground. Some almond orchards are being pruned to remedy this issue. Pistachio orchards are being cleaned, and nut clusters have attained a pinkish tint and are developing nicely. Persimmons, pomegranates, and Asian pears continue to develop.

CITRUS, AVOCADOS, AND OLIVES: Citrus pruning continues both manually and mechanically to meet export requirements and post-harvest shaping. Pest control and irrigation are occurring in all Citrus along with soil fertilization. Valencia oranges are being harvested and packed for both domestic and export markets such as Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Late navels are being shipped to Japan, Korea, and domestically. Lemons and oranges are being shipped to Arizona. Olive bloom is nearly complete.

VEGETABLES, MELONS, HERBS, AND BERRIES: Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew continue to grow and flower. Sweet corn, zucchini, eggplants, squash, and onions are growing and developing. Late strawberries at roadside stands are still being sold in small amounts. Blueberries are being picked for Canada, Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Blueberries have had some issues with spring weather and excess early season rain, most of the crops are heading to domestic markets. Hoophouses and covered blueberry fields are being harvested before open-field blueberries since those berries develop quicker.

LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: The livestock market is still doing well as demand is high and ranchers are getting good prices for cows and bulls. Sheep are being used as weed control for orchards. The fed-cattle price is $187/cwt this week. Irrigated pastures are in good condition. Non-irrigated pastures are in fair condition, rangeland at lower elevations continues to dry as hot temperatures return.

TOM’S ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Most home gardeners have planted their vegetable gardens for the season. 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.

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