Warm December may affect Ga. peach crop | News
Cooler temperatures are finally coming to Central Georgia, which the folks at Dickey Farms in Musella are happy about.
Right now, the peaches are in the form of tiny buds on the branches.
In order to grow juicy and flavorful for the summertime months, they need to go through a chilling period.
"They come out deformed and they don't grow right. ," explains Robert Dickey.
He says peaches need about 650 to 1000 hours of cold weather under 45 degrees That's about 27 to 40 days between mid-November and February.
However, Dickey says this year's warm December brings up fears from the last time this happened.
"One year back in the 70's, he says, "We had almost a complete failure by not having enough cold weather."
"Even the pecans and the vegetable growers. Everybody's really had a challenge with this December," says Dickey's son, also named Robert.
Jack Burns, who has worked at Dickey Famrs for 40 years, says he was surprised he needed a jacket Tuesday. The past month, he says he was still wearing T-shirts in the orchard.
"Never been anything like it, he says."
Dickey says they will be okay if they can get chillier temperatures the next two months.
"We're optimistic, but it's still something we have to worry about and watch through winter."
13WMAZ Chief Meteorolgist Ben Jones says things should be looking up as temperatures go down in January.
"We have stretches of 20-something degree nights, and the longer we have those, that's good for chill hours, since it takes a long time to warm back up from such cold weather."
Even though weather can be unpredictable, the Dickeys plan to produce a solid crop of Georgia peaches
"I think we can weather the storm. Hopefully, anyway."