BYRON, GA.-- - Byron scientists with the United States Department of Agriculture say this year's peach crop is one of the worst in decades. They say that is because not very many peach buds survived the freeze this year.
"The closest comparison we have right now is, looking back at the historical records has to go back all the way to the 1930s,” says research horticulturist Tom Beckman, making it what they say is one of the worst peach seasons in about a hundred years.
"We have never been so short. Hardly any of the commercial material that's out at grower's orchards was designed to deal with chill this low. We've never seen trees this low on chill before. I haven't, in my entire career, seen trees in some cases receive less than half the chill that they normally expect,” says Beckman.
They say the poor production is due to not enough cold temperatures in the winter and an unexpected freeze in the Spring.
"We have fruit. In fact, we'll probably have fruit throughout the season, but it's going to be a lot less than what we could consider normal. I'd say it will be well under a half a crop,” explains Beckman.
He says the peach shortage will affect how much you will pay at the grocery store.
"The prices will be a little higher. You will probably see fewer loss leaders. There will be peaches, more California peaches probably than regional, but there will be peaches,” says Beckman.
Two years ago, the state estimated the value of Georgia's peach crop at about $49 million more than a quarter of that was picked in Peach County.
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