Georgia’s best-known crop depends on colder weather

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MUSELLA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The cold weather isn’t for everyone, but it is very helpful for Georgia’s best known crop. Dickey Farms in Musella depends on the colder temperatures this time of year.

If you love peaches, you’re going to have to love this cold weather.

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“The colder it is, the better,” Lee Dickey, Co-owner of Dickey Farms. “Peaches need a certain amount of chill hours for the buds to develop and have bud break in the spring once things warm up.”

Dickey says the little buds on the branches of the trees depend on, ideally, 1000 chill or cold hours to turn into beautiful Georgia peaches.

“How we measure it in peaches is it’s usually temperatures below 45 degrees or ideally between 32 and 45 degrees,” said Dickey.



Once the crops get their cold hours, it’s show time.

“It lets those blooms know, that once things warm up, once the spring comes and you got some heat,” said Dickey. “And the sun’s out, it lets those buds know when to start to bloom.”

Dickey says last year, they didn’t have the cold hours the crops needed.

“The buds didn’t develop, or didn’t bloom, once the spring came,” said Dickey. “So at the end of the day resulted in about 20 percent of a peach crop. It was a very short season.”

The worst they have had in about 30 years.

“This year, we’re on a lot better track,” said Dickey. “We’re about to pass where we were this time last year in cold hours.”

This year, things are definitely looking up.

“We’re hoping things will kind of stay cool,” said Dickey. “Maybe not necessarily this cold, but certainly stay cool going through February.”

In the next couple of weeks, workers will start pruning the trees. They will keep them from getting too tall, and cut some of the excess wood back, that way the peaches will have room to grow. Dickey says you could start seeing the peaches by mid-May.