Inconsistent weather affects winter crops - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Inconsistent weather affects winter crops

QUITMAN, GA (WALB) - It has been a strange and mostly mild winter so far with temperatures ranging from the mid 70's to the low 20's.

This time of year, farmers do their best to grow crops like collards, kale, and broccoli. "So far this year its been good. Its been a mild winter. That's good for the vegetables we're trying to produce," said Brooks and Thomas County Extension Coordinator Johnny Whiddon.

Farmers say while the mild temperatures have benefited the greens, peaches on the other hand, are struggling.

The optimum amount of chill hours for peaches is 650. "It's anywhere from 270 in Valdosta to 380 I think in Dixie and I think it's close to 500 in Morven. And they're all within 20 miles of each other."

Farmers say they are still recovering from last year's record drought. "We've had a deficiency in sub-soil moisture and we've drained a lot of ponds with the irrigation process. We've had to lower some wells in some cases. So yeah we're still hurting from last year," said Whiddon.

Farmers say they have no choice, but to stay optimistic. "When you got folks trying to make a living putting their seed in the ground and fighting the weather and the rain and prices and market and everything that goes on, you have to be an optimist," said Whiddon.

South Georgia farmers say while their peaches are not where they should be, things could be a lot worse.

Middle Georgia is about 400 hours less right now than what they were at this time last year.

South Georgia farmers say despite last year's drought, they ended up having a much better year than they anticipated.

Copyright 2012 WALB. All rights reserved.

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