Georgia Peach, Blueberry and Pecan Farmers Concerned About December Weather Effects
2015 ended with record-breaking temperatures and rainfall, and Georgia peach, blueberry and pecan farmers are concerned that soggy soils and a lack of chill hours could damage their crops. Despite these challenges farmers are still hoping that a return to normal weather conditions will help them finish out a successful growing season.
For blueberry growers, the high temperatures lead to some seeing buds, flowers and scattered blue fruit on their bushes, according to Renee Allen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s commercial blueberry agent. Farmers worry that if enough buds emerge early and are damaged by frost in January, February and March, there could be a severe decrease in harvest.
While South Georgia farmers worry about their blueberries, the December weather has middle Georgia farmers worried about their peach crops. Jeff Cook, UGA Extension agent for Taylor and Peach Counties says most peach-producing counties in Georgia have seen less than half of the normal chill hours. This can translate into a late or diminished crop. Flooded orchards are also a problem, as it can lead to disease later in the spring.
The warm, wet weather didn’t impact pecan production, but it did affect harvest. Temperatures in the 70s and 80s, combined with rainfall allowed pecans to begin rotting before they could be harvested.
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