Not So Peachy: Georgia’s signature crop destroyed by weather

Many of us look forward to a sweet, juicy peach this time of year. But this year, farmers of Georgia’s signature fruit are lamenting a series of bad weather events that have decimated the crop.

peaches

Peach on a branch in the orchard

Viktoriia Vitkovska vvvita

According to a report by wabe.org, bad weather conditions destroyed roughly 90 percent of Georgia’s peach crops. The report cites the University of Georgia’s horticulturists.

Peaches require a certain amount of “chill hours” where the temperature is below 45 degrees. The first three months of the year were the warmest on record in Georgia, and chill hours have been declining in recent years. Growers have been experimenting with new varieties that don’t need as many chill hours and have had some success, but right as those new varieties were blooming this year, a series of freezes zapped their buds.

Dario Chavez, an associate horticulture professor at the UGA who specializes in peaches, told wabe.org that between 85-95 percent of the peach crop was lost.

One bright spot is that the few peaches that made it through the tough season will benefit from having the sun, water, and nutrients all to themselves.

The Georgia peach season typically ends in August.

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