Crop Progress report 03/21: Spring work commences across much of state


The statewide temperatures in Washington for the month of March were slightly above normal to below normal.

In western Washington, the fields were too wet for fieldwork. Grass was putting on new growth. Winter crops were looking good, with the exception of where crops were drowned out from the winter-ponded water. The temperatures were cool. Many operators with high tunnels planted crops, and some of the spring vegetables were starting to show up. Some vegetable producers were able to do outdoor tilling.

In Snohomish County, cane berries were mostly pruned and tied. In central Washington, apricot orchards were in full bloom. Peach orchards were showing pink buds, and bloom had started for some varieties. Apple orchard trees were a half-inch green with some varieties showing buds at tight cluster. Buds on trees in pear orchards were at swollen bud stage, and growers sprayed their blocks with oils and kaolin clay to discourage pear psylla. There was a fair amount of orchard tear-out still left to be disposed. Growers hilled asparagus blocks in anticipation of an early harvest. Vegetable fields had been tilled and were ready to plant. There was activity in the hop yards with workers tilling the groundcover, planting cover crops, rolling out irrigation lines and stringing up the trellises. Winter wheat and alfalfa were presenting a vivid green color in an otherwise drab landscape. Vegetation along the irrigation canals was cleaned up and ready to receive water.

Klickitat County and east central Washington had very dry conditions. Winter wheat was in mostly good condition, with a few areas that looked excellent and a few areas that looked poor. There was a significant amount of snow mold, but it was too early to know if the wheat will recover.

In southeast Washington, snow showers were a weekly occurrence with some freezing temperatures. Spring work commenced. Columbia and Walla Walla counties were dry and needed moisture.