Tulare County Crop Report for the week ending June 15

SMALL GRAINS AND OTHER FIELD CROPS: Most harvested winter grain fields are being fertilized, tilled, and planted with summer silage crops such as corn and sorghum, however, some fields are being left fallow this summer due to the cost of water. Corn silage fields that were planted in mid-April are about 5-6 feet tall. Cotton and tomatoes continue to grow. Alfalfa continues to be cut, dried, and baled. Aerial pesticide application is on-going for forage crops. 

DECIDUOUS TREE FRUITS, NUTS, AND GRAPES: Peach, nectarine, and plum harvest is in full swing, with fruit being exported to Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Thailand. The last of the apricots are being harvested. Plum harvest is going strong with local packing facilities picking, packing, and shipping. Plum varieties that are being harvested include: Flavor Wynne, Early Queen, and Black Splendor. Stone fruit orchards continue to push energy to developing fruit and are being heavily irrigated due to warmer temperatures. Stone fruit orchards are being fertilized and sprayed with fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides; pruning and shredding activities are ongoing. Grape vineyards are developing small berry sets. Persimmon orchards are developing small, green fruit. Pecan and walnut orchards are growing small green nuts. Kiwi vineyards are developing very small fruit, and the canopies are being tended to and tied.

CITRUS, AVOCADOS, AND OLIVES: Mechanical and chemical maintenance continues in citrus groves with fungicide and herbicide sprays being applied. Citrus groves are being sprayed with whitewash to prevent leaves and fruit from getting sunburned. Navel orange exports have slowed for the off season. Netting is being removed from seedless mandarins and tangerines. Valencia oranges are being harvested and packed for both domestic and export markets such as Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Olive bloom is complete, as small fruit develops.    

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. Blueberries are being picked for Canada, Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Blueberries will continue to be harvested for a few more weeks. The warmer weather presents challenges as the berries do not like the heat and are fragile. Blackberries have begun to be harvested at local roadside stands as well as the last of the strawberries.

LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: Cows and bulls have been selling at all-time highs with heifers and middleweights selling a little lower than in recent weeks. The fed-cattle price is $186/cwt this week. Irrigated pastures are in good condition. Non-irrigated pastures are in fair condition. Foothill grazing conditions are limited and ranchers are moving their cattle to other areas with better forage. Rangeland is very dry with some brush clearing being done by Cal-Fire to prevent wildfires. Local dairies are using fans and water to prevent heat stress and milk production loss in their dairy cattle herds.

TOM’S ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Local nurseries have slowed a bit with recent temperature increases. More ornamental warm weather floral and drought-resistant plants are being stocked and brought in. 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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