Georgia peach growers hope for the best in challenging year

Posted at 3:43 PM, May 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-13 15:43:00-04

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) - Georgia peach growers say their growing season has been "a roller coaster" of weather that included cold snaps and drenching rain.

Despite the challenges, Drew Echols says he expects to salvage about 70 percent of the peach crop that he manages for the peak summer season.

The Times of Gainesville reports that Echols is farm manager at Jaemor Farms in the northeast Georgia town of Lula.

The University of Georgia Agricultural & Environmental Services said in March that Georgia's peach crop might suffer this year due to insufficient chill hours.

The Times reports that peaches can't withstand too much frost, but fruit trees require a certain number of hours below 45 degrees. That's needed to break down growth inhibitors in buds, which allow them to produce fruit in the spring.