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Southern U.S. still cold

Georgia: Peaches getting extra chill hours

Last year Georgia had a mild winter; that usually means fewer chill hours for fruits like berries and peaches. As temperatures now are dropping into the 20s and 30s (-6 to -1o Celsius), asked Lee Dickey, co-owner of Dickey Farms from Musella, Georgia, how the fruits are doing.

"Last year was one of the most challenging seasons we've had in probably 30 years. We've had about around a 20 percent crop and that was really consistent," says Dickey, claiming low temperatures are best.

"Ideally, we look for temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees (0 to 7o Celsius) is what the trees need," said Dickey. "What we'd like to have is around 1,000 hours. We're over 700 already this year, so we're on track with to hopefully what we need."

He has nearly 1,000 acres to tend to and generally 8 million pounds of peaches to produce annually. "The biggest risk that we face now is the a late freeze toward the end of March when the blooms are out. That's when they're most susceptible."


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