A projected La Nina weather pattern consisting of drier conditions and warmer temperatures has been anything but this winter for Georgia fruit and vegetable producers. With colder temperatures and consistent rainfall, producers have had to adjust.
“Overall, I think everything’s looking pretty good. It’s been a wet winter and then a cold winter. Now, we’re back into a little bit of a cold snap. I think overall, it was a little wetter than what we would like for it to be. But you have to just deal with what Mother Nature gives you. You can’t be real choosy about that,” said Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association.
According to the most recent US Drought Monitor, only a few areas of the state are abnormally dry; a small area in north Georgia, a section of about 10 counties in western Georgia and then along the Atlantic Coast, from Effingham County to Camden County and into Echols County along the Georgia-Florida state line.
The cooler temperatures should boost the state’s peach crop potential. Chill hours are needed for peaches to properly mature. The specific chill hour requirements depend on what variety is planted.
“I think they’re where they need to be or better than where they normally are with chill hours at this time. If everything turned warm, the issue would be early bloom. Hopefully, the weather continues on a normal pattern and we move on into the peach season the way we ought to,” Hall said.