Freeze knocks out 75% of Texas peaches

05/23/2013 03:16:00 PM
Andy Nelson

peachesAn estimated three-fourths of the Texas fresh-market peach crop is lost to a severe freeze.

Temperatures in the low 20s in late March destroyed about 90% of peaches in the Fredericksburg, Texas, area, home to about half of Texas’ 3,000 fresh-market peach acres, said Dan Rohrer, president of Fredericksburg-based Rocky Hill Orchard and president of the Texas Fruit Growers Association.

Growers in east and southern Texas fared better than those in the central and western parts of the state, but overall losses still will total about 75% statewide, Rohrer said.

Hail the week of May 13 in Fredericksburg caused additional damage to some of the 60 peach orchards in the region, Rohrer said.

Peach acreage in Texas has fallen in recent years due to freeze concerns, Rohrer said. Some growers have switched to tunnel production, a trend that will likely continue after this season’s losses.

Texas peaches typically don’t ship outside of the state, and even in good years are supplemented by peach shipments from other states, he said.

This year, Rohrer said, peaches likely won’t ship outside of the regions they’re grown in.

Orchards south of San Antonio typically begin picking about April 15, those in the Fredericksburg region in the second half of May and orchards near Dallas about June 15.



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