Cold winter means good news for peach crops, growers hoping to avoid late freeze

Matt Mackie (WGXA)

MUSELLA, Ga. -- This winter's cold weather have brought good news for Georgia's most well-known crop: peaches.

Of the 13,000 acres of peaches grown throughout the state, about 9,000 of them are grown in Middle Georgia.

Peaches need 1,000 hours below 45 degrees each winter in order to grow properly. In the winter of 2016-2017, they only received between 500 and 600 of those chill hours - about half of the usual amount. This caused a loss of about 80 percent of peach crops.

In March 2017, a late freeze had disastrous effects on both peach and blueberry crops in the midstate.

Owner of Dickey Farms Lee Dickey said that this past winter has brought a return to normal growing conditions in Middle Georgia.

"We've had great chill hours so far, we've had ideal weather conditions. Right now in the forecast, it's warming up a bit. It's a little earlier than we like to be this warm, but now just kind of hold our breath and hope we don't get a freeze in March or April," he said.

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