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Wed Sep 13, 2017, 08:56 PM

Warmer Winters Present Bleak Future For Georgia Peaches, Peach Growers

MUSELLA, Georgia Three generations of Robert Lee Dickeys share the two chairs in the cozy office of Dickey Farms, the younger always deferring to the elder. For 120 years, the Dickeys have been producing peaches so juicy they demand to be eaten over the kitchen sink. Robert Lee "Mr. Bob" Dickey II, 89, is slightly stooped but moves quickly, dropping in just for a morning read of the Wall Street Journal. His son Robert Dickey III, 63, and his grandson, who goes by Lee, age 33, stick around all day, fielding calls and customers, checking the orchards. The next-generation Dickey is having her morning nap and will appear later in a tiny flowered dress, cradled in the arms of her mother, Lee's wife, Stacy.

Just outside the office is the retail shop, where I watch customers drift into an open-air porch with white rocking chairs and a breeze, to consider peaches. Or, rather, the lack of peaches. It's mid-July, what should be peak season, but the only variety on offer is Zee Ladies, almost the last of this year's fruit. Behind the cash registers, the peach production line is still and silent, lights switched off.

EDIT

Like all peach farmers, the Dickeys tread a fine line, attempting to grow the peaches that ripen earliest, so they can lead the national market, while not getting caught by late freezes. In early 2017, Georgia's struggle with its lack of chill hours meant a sluggish bloom. The canopy of pink was diminished, the iridescent green of new leaves hampered, even as the days got longer and spring progressed. The trees had not slept, so they did not know to awaken.

This meant that when a March freeze hit, there was almost no damage in Georgia; the trees had barely bloomed. In South Carolina, though, the same freeze was devastating. The South Carolina winter had been just cold enough to adequately stimulate buds, but so warm that they erupted early. With the March freeze, South Carolina farmers lost nearly everything. According to NOAA, Georgia and South Carolina together suffered $1 billion in peach crop losses this year.

EDIT

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/31082017/climate-change-georgia-peach-harvest-warm-weather-crop-risk-farmers

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Reply Warmer Winters Present Bleak Future For Georgia Peaches, Peach Growers (Original post)
hatrack Sep 13 OP
beveeheart Sep 13 #1
BigmanPigman Sep 13 #2

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 09:31 PM

1. Colorado's peach crop also suffered from an April

cold snap. So very disappointing.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 10:48 PM

2. Climate change has wide ranging effects and reputcussions.

From migration to wars it is going to be the catalyst for unimaginable situations on the planet. To think otherwise is either naive or ignorant.

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