Lane Southern Orchards is expanding its packinghouse to double peach-packing capacity. ( Courtesy Lane Southern Orchards )

Peach grower-shipper Lane Southern Orchards, Fort Valley, Ga., is doubling the capacity of its packinghouse in a $4 million project to be completed before the 2019 season.

By the early summer peach harvest, the renovated and expanded facility will allow the company to pack 23,000 25-pounds boxes a day, putting Lane’s seasonal capacity at 3 million boxes.

Technology upgrades to grading and sorting processes is also included, along with improved cold storage and shipping and receiving facilities, according to a news release.

A Durand-Wayland robotic bin handling system, designed to be gentle on the peaches, will streamline efficiencies in the packinghouse.

International Farming Corp. purchased Lane Southern Orchards in 2015, and the peach company’s CEO, Mark Sanchez, said it has been a “great partner.”

“They understand the culture of farming and have given us the opportunity for tremendous growth,” Sanchez said in the release. “The ability to enhance our facilities to create best-in-class efficiencies and quality control is the latest example of that growth.”

In 2018, Lane Southern Orchards and Reynolds, Ga.-based Taylor Orchards merged, combining peach/pecan acreage, facilities and innovation, according to the release. A surge in plantings in 2018 and this year brings the total acreage of peaches and nuts to more than 10,000.

“The complete renovation of the original Lane facility with new technology allows us to easily handle the additional supply of peaches and be a better supplier to our existing customers while we expand our customer base,” Duke Lane III, director of sales for Lane Southern Orchards, said in the release.

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