Peach farmers say cold weather affected early crops, expect better outcome in summer

FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Cold weather could be the cause of a slow start to the peach season…at least for now. 

At Lane Southern Orchards it’s back to work as usual. 

Waxers, handlers, and pickers are already back to work readying up the first batch of this season’s fresh peaches.

VP of Sales, Duke Lane III, says when you have 2300 acres of peaches, you have to get started right away.

“There’s plenty of peaches out there, but the early crop like I said is probably 40 to 50 percent shorter than normal,” Lane said. 

The crop is shorter this year because of this year’s cold spring. 

Usually the cold temps are good for the peaches, but a chilly night back in March wiped out a lot of them.

Even then, Lane says there’s still a bright outlook on this year’s growing season. 

“But that’s really good for peaches. Peaches need cold weather. We kind of like to say the colder the weather, the sweeter the peaches are,” Lane said. 

The third generation peach farmer says the low numbers early on can be a little unsettling, especially when you consider the number of jobs and employees the business has. 

“It’s quite a balancing act. We’ve been real fortunate, like I said with 60-65% of the crop, you know we’ll have to tighten the belt a little bit, but we’re going to be ok,” Lane said. 

The amount of peaches the orchard has put out is less than this time last year. 

Lane expects the number of peaches to get back to normal by July. 

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