Southeast Growers Say Cold Temps Good for Peaches
This past year was a struggle for Southeast peach growers. In fact, they’ve had to cope with the past two growing seasons of low chill hours. It’s estimated Georgia lost about 80% and South Carolina lost about 90% of their respective peach crops in 2017. Growers say it was the worst crop in 30 years or so.
However, 2018 has started off with cold temperatures that brought lows in the teens, which means Southeast peach growers may have a chance to exhale a little.
Lee Dickey of Dickey Farms in Musella, GA, told WMGT-TV, the start of the year has been good for the crop.
“This year, we’re on a lot better track. We’re about to pass where we were this time last year in cold hours,” he said. “We’re hoping things will kind of stay cool. Maybe not necessarily this cold, but certainly stay cool going through February.”
Good News in Florida
The cold temperatures extended into Florida, with temperatures in Plant City, FL, reaching 26°F in the field. However, as Kenneth Parker, Executive Director of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association in Dover, FL, told the Winter Haven News Chief, growers are optimistic about their crops.
“Most growers feel good about the crop protection effort last night,” he said. “Temperatures ranged from 26 to 30 degrees across the strawberry region, and growers were able to protect the crop very well where protection strategies were implemented. Tonight and tomorrow night, we anticipate similar circumstances.”
Grower Dustin Grooms of Fancy Farms Inc., in Plant City, FL, agrees, and told the News Chief “I’m pretty confident. We were on top of it, and there should be no (fruit) damage,” he said. “Everything went exactly as we rehearsed.”