Cold March weather hurts some Middle Georgia peach crops

Some early bloomed peaches were damaged from freezing temperatures.

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MUSELLA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- Earlier this year, colder temperatures had some Middle Georgia farmers worried about the future of their crops.

Freezing temperatures in March damaged some peaches that were starting to bloom.

Dickey Farms Co-Owner, Lee Dickey says early bloomers were damaged during the exceptionally warm February and then when temperatures dipped into the 20’s. He says roughly 20 to 30 – percent of peach crops were affected. The good news everything is just peachy with the June and July selection that people mostly buy.

“I don’t think people are going to see a lot of difference. Last year was an exceptionally challenging year and I think people are going to see a lot more volume this year and just see a lot more peaches than they’ve seen in the past,” he said.

Dickey adds says there’s been great weather since the freeze. He says peaches flourish when mornings are cool and days are warm.

“When it’s really hot all day and all night they kind of grow too fast and they won’t get quite as big as we hope to,” Dickey said.

The freeze in March hurt just the early season fruit.

“A lot of trees bloomed early we had bloom that was maybe 10 days to two weeks early and that’s what really hurt us in the freeze is that they were already blooming and the peaches were starting to grow,” he said.

Even with nearly a quarter of crops damaged, Dickey is still expecting a good selection.

“We’re going to have really good quality. Sometimes when you get some damage you can have less quality, but although we had a really short crop last year we’ve felt like we had good quality and we’re hoping to have some really good quality this year,” he said.

He adds most of the damaged peaches have fallen off trees. It’s also that time of year where he starts the thinning process. He says it’s where there’s five or six peaches on a limb, but they come and take off some peaches that aren’t looking so good.

Peach picking season starts at the end of May and goes all the way to the end of August.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.