2017 Tulare County Crop Report Tops $7 Billion

Tulare Crop Report Shows 10 Percent Growth in Single Year

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Big numbers announced today from Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Wright on the 2017 crop year.

“Our value is 10.5 percent up from last year, at 7,039,929,000. So, that’s 669 million more than the previous year,” Wright said.

Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Ag Commissioner
Marilyn Wright, Tulare County Ag Commissioner

And, of course, more water in the system probably helped, as it did in Fresno County, which announced $7.028 billion in its 2017 Crop Report, released earlier this month.

The dairy industry, which is prominent in Tulare County, came in number one again, representing 25 percent of the total value.

“Milk prices were stronger in early 2017, but they went down later in the year. And they continue to go down, but still it was a big part of the Tulare County ag receipts in 2017,” Wright said.

Following dairy were grape products—including juice grapes, raisins, and table grapes. Table grapes had a stellar year.

Navel and Valencia oranges were next. Cattle and calves ranked fourth, down from category number three in 2016, because cattle prices were off last year.

Tangerines, also known as mandarins, were number five, followed by almonds, cling peaches, and freestone peaches.

Lemons, were ninth on the crop list.

We only have just over 10,000 acres of lemons in the County, Wright said.

Wright said the value of this year’s crop report, $7.39 billion, is the third highest value Tulare County has ever reported.

Dry Weather Affecting Cattle Ranchers

Cattle Ranchers Hit Hard in the South Valley, Move to Greener Pastures

by Emily McKay Johnson, Associate Editor

 

Josh Davy, a University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Cooperative Extension livestock, range and natural resources advisor in Tehama County reported good news for the cattle industry despite dry weather conditions around the state.

Josh Davy, UCCE Tehama County
Josh Davy, UCCE Tehama County livestock, range and natural resources advisor (Source: UCCE Tehama)

Heading into last fall, the feed year started off relatively dry, according to Davy; however the end-of-season crops produced a better forage than the year before. Though prices slid for the cattle farmer, Davy said optimisticly, “We’re happier on our range conditions—as compared to the previous years that we’ve had—by a long shot.” he said.  

The drought that plagues California still directly impacts cattle ranges, and ranchers are not quite out of trouble. Davy had to resort to feed supplementation through the month of December. “We didn’t have to supplement as much as in the previous few years,” he said, “but we definitely did this fall.” Fortunately the winter months were short and the spring rainfall produced good growth—good assurances that will help Davy and his team make it through next year.

Cattle-on-I5Davy has fortunately sidestepped hardship with a tinge of luck, but it hasn’t been as easy for ranchers in the south of the state. When cattle lack enough sustenance, a domino effect is felt all across the state of California; a lactating cow may not produce enough milk to feed her calves.

The cows like lush grass, a rarity in the Central and South Valley summer months. Winter options for cattle are either winter range ground or mountain meadow ground where greenery is still prevalent. Some ranchers haul their cattle to summer pasture feedlots to graze, while some prefer Oregon instead.

“We’re dried off here to where you might find a swell with a little rye grass in it that’s still green,”Davy said regarding the disappearance of lush land, “but pretty much everything else, the oats and all that stuff, they’re done here.”

Looking forward, Josh Davy is hoping irrigation water will sustain not only the beef cattle, but the pastures as well, to keep the herds stationary and munching on green grass.