Chill hours have been hard to come by for the past two growing season for Georgia peach growers. According to a story in The Macon Telegraph, the 2016 crop was off by 25% to 30%. Peach growers in middle Georgia are understandably nervous due to the lack of chill hours once again.
“We are very, very concerned,” Robert Dickey of Dickey Farms in Musella, GA, told The Telegraph. “It is one of the most historic low chill climates for peaches. It is way below what we need. We don’t know what it’s going to be like this year.”
Jeff Cook with the University of Georgia Extension tells The Telegraph that the Fort Valley, GA, station had recorded 470 chill hours last week, while last year at the same time the area had recorded 570. Cook said he’s expecting about 550 chill hours.
Growers are spraying Dormex to help compensate for the lack of chilling hours. Cook said in his experiments with applications of Dormex, he didn’t notice a difference between trees with applications and those untreated. However, he says it’s hard to see what the growing season holds until bloom and production begins.
“We are just holding our breath and waiting to see what happens,” Cook said.