Dickey Farms predicts good crop of Georgia peaches despite weather challenges
Dickey Farms, a family-owned business that has been growing peaches for more than a century, is optimistic about this year's peach crop in Georgia. According to co-owner Lee Dickey, despite challenges, they are expecting a good yield.
MUSELLA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Dickey Farms, a family-owned business that has been growing peaches for more than a century, is optimistic about this year’s peach crop in Georgia. According to co-owner Lee Dickey, despite challenges, they are expecting a good yield.
“The first thing is peaches need a certain amount of dormancy,” Dickey said. “One thing that we look at is cold hours or what some people call chill hours, and so peaches need a certain amount of hours under 45 degrees.”
Dickey added the trees have not had the desired chill hours this year but are in perfect bloom. However, he expressed concerns about a late freeze that could damage the crop.
“Once that bloom starts to open up, they’re very susceptible to damage around 28 degrees or with a hard frost,” Dickey explained. “And as those blooms develop into small peaches, that little baby peach is very tender.”
To protect the peaches, Dickey Farms plans to use water irrigation during warmer weather and protective blankets for crops like strawberries in the event of a late freeze.
Joshua Raffield, the food safety coordinator for Dickey Farms, emphasized the importance of monitoring the temperature for the trees.
“We don’t want it to get too hot, and we don’t want it to get too cold,” Raffield said. “With these extreme heats, when we’re touching the nineties and most eighties and nineties, it can put some stress on the tree, and they’re not ready for that heat just quite yet.”
Despite these challenges, Raffield is confident this year’s crop will yield some of the best peaches in Georgia.
“I see a real good sight of some good peaches this year – good size,” Raffield said. “That and the cold weather have really helped us out a lot this year.”
Dickey Farms anticipates the first crop of peaches will be ready for picking by early May, assuming there is no late frost. The first crop of strawberries is expected to be ready within the next two weeks.