By Clint Thompson
Another peach season is in the books for most Georgia producers. After the late-season freeze event on March 13, growers were fortunate just to have a crop this year.
Jeff Cook, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Peach and Taylor counties, discussed how fortunate farmers were to have peaches at all when temperatures dropped into the 20s that fateful weekend in March.
“After March 13, I would say it was better than anybody expected. I’m sure most growers would agree when they were looking at temperatures on March 12 and 13, I’m sure most of them would have thought they’d have a devastating loss,” Cook said. “Just being able to ride around and see peaches this season, I thought it was pretty amazing. With the stage it was at when it got cold, I just didn’t think we’d have what we have right now.”
The cold temperatures mostly impacted the early-season crop. The mid-to-late-season crop was pretty good across the area, Cook noted.
This is usually the time that Georgia’s peach crop concludes for the season. Not only are there fewer peaches in Georgia, there are more peaches coming into the market around the Southeast, specifically in South Carolina. That suppresses market prices.
“We usually go pretty strong into the first week of August. After that it is hit or miss. It depends on what the quality is of late and what the price is. By now everybody is in it. Price is pretty much suppressed pretty low,” Cook said. “Everybody’s into it big right now with the varieties we grow. This is when price gets a little bit suppressed.”