Peach of a crop

first_imgBrad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaThe weather has been good, almost too good, for one of Georgia’ssweetest crops, says a University of Georgia expert.Georgia’s peach crop has had the weather it needed to grow wellthis year. Shoppers can expect plenty of large, pretty peaches,says Kathryn Taylor, a horticulturist with the UGA College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences. It’s one of the bestpeach crops in years.”Georgia’s peach trees are producing very large fruit due to thespring and summer rains,” she said. And, due to the relativelycool spring, “fruit color has been better than in recent years.”But those same heavy rains, it seems, have also caused someproblems.Best fruits laterThe rain has diluted the sugar content of the early fruits,”making them seem less flavorful,” she said. “But we expect thelater fruit to have better flavor, as late fruit usually does.”The rain has also increased the potential for fungal diseases onthe fruit.Peaches are more prone to develop fungal rot and can have ashorter shelf life. But growers are taking extra measures, shesaid, to prevent rot and remove suspect fruit during packing.”It seems that every good event in agriculture has its cost,” shesaid.Almost all of the crop is in good to fair condition right now,according to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service.Harvest going strongMiddle Georgia growers produce about 90 percent of the state’speach crop. South Georgia growers produce the rest. SouthGeorgia’s harvest is coming to an end, but farmers in middleGeorgia will harvest into the first week of August.Georgia’s chilly winter got the peaches off to a good start forthis harvest.Peaches need so many chill hours (below 45 degrees) during thewinter. Depending on the variety, they need from 400 to about1,000 chill hours to perform well during the growing season, shesaid. Middle Georgia got more than 1,300 hours.(Brad Haire is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img

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