By Clint Thompson
So far, so good for Georgia’s peach producers. Jeff Cook, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Peach and Taylor counties, said farmers have been harvesting peaches in middle Georgia for more than three weeks. Though the harvest season is still early, there have been no complaints.
“Price is good. Quality looks pretty good. I have not heard anybody say anything about any kind of issues. Nobody has called me and said, ‘We need to go look at this, this and this,’” Cook said. “I’ve just heard that everybody’s happy with price. When they’re happy with price, that means they’re good.”
Peach harvests have begun amid a prolonged dry period throughout the state. With the majority of producers having irrigation, they’re able to control moisture better. Subsequently, there’s not been much disease pressure.
However, with high temperatures, there is a danger of the crop not sizing like it should.
“If it were a little cooler, we’d probably be better off. The hotter it gets, the quicker things size. The quicker they size, usually the smaller they are. You see that in strawberries. When they start getting hot, they size up so quick that you don’t make a big strawberry,” Cook said. “(But) everybody’s happy right now with the crop we’re seeing. We’ve got plenty of peaches. They’re sizing up like they’re supposed to. People are starting to eat them.”
According to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Georgia’s peach crop netted $71.7 million in farm gate value in 2019. Georgia’s peach acreage totaled 10,731 acres.