Cold delays peaches, watermelon, doesn't harm blueberries - The Packer

Cold delays peaches, watermelon, doesn't harm blueberries

05/10/2013 09:42:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

“The crop looks great,” he said in late April.

“At this point relative to last year, we feel we have a bigger and healthier crop. The fruit size and the size of the overall crop should be bigger. We feel the cool weather in February and March will really make for a sweet crop this year.”

Lane said the state’s growers should begin around May 25 and said packinghouses should begin producing strong volume in late May.

Will McGehee, sales manager for the Genuine Georgia Group and Pearson Farm in Fort Valley, said winter brought enough chill hours and a mild spring helped fruit development.

“We are really looking at a great fruit set,” he said in late April.

“The trees look healthy, and we’ve had a lot of rain. We may start a week later than normal but should also go a week later too.”

Last year, the peaches didn’t receive enough cold hours in dormancy. McGehee said the deal started well and growers enjoyed a favorable season through the middle of it, but said it ended in mid-July, a month sooner than usual.

Georgia this season is expected to pack more than 2 million 25-pound half-bushel cartons, higher than last year’s 1.4 million, McGehee said.

The USDA wasn’t reporting peach prices in early May.

South Carolina normally begins harvesting in late May and harvests through early September.


An expected later than normal start could produce a week to a 10-day gap during the normal early June start of Georgia’s watermelon harvesting.

Because of heavy rainfall during plantings, grower-shippers don’t expect production to begin until June 15-20 instead of its usual June 5 start.

The start, however, should be in time to supply Fourth of July promotions, said Greg Leger, president and partner in Leger & Son Inc., Cordele, Ga.

In late April, Leger said Georgia growers finished most of their plantings.

While some growers may start harvesting during the normal time, Leger said he doesn’t expect volume to hit until mid-June.

The USDA reported prices of 29-30 cents a pound for red-flesh seedless Florida watermelon in early May.

Georgia normally finishes after July 4.

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