Peach crop makes a drastic turn-around from last year

Published 9:12 am Monday, June 11, 2018

By SARAH GRAHAM/ For the Advertiser

Last year Alabama’s commercial fruit suffered a loss in productivity from lack of chill hours in the winter.

Chill hours are considered to be anything under 45 F.

This is crucial to the productivity and the deciding factor of how each crop of peaches will be.

All of the farmers in the county struggled with the lack of chill hours last year and are excited to just have a crop this year.

Peaches were in season this year at the first of May and will continue until the end of August.

“We worked off about a 25 percent of a crop last year,” Andy Millard of Mountain View Orchards said. “This year, we got enough chillin’ where we have a good crop.”

According to Millard, last year was such a short crop it even struggled to put leaves out on the trees causing some stress still to the crop this year.

Different varieties take different chilling requirements and last year was short on a lot of the earlier ones.

“It seems so much better, coming off such a bad year this year,” said Millard.

Recently, there was a period of a lot of rain causing the potential of peaches to be watered down and affecting the flavor but there has been around a week without rain fixing that problem as well.

“There were some areas throughout the county that had lower elevation and had some damage due to a late freeze, but for the most part everyone has a pretty good crop,” said Millard.

This year is looking to be a good and healthy one for the peaches that everyone seems to be pleased with.