Will Chilly Temperatures Hurt Peach Crops?

Chilton County Farmers Brace for Cold Snap


By Brittany Bivins

Peach blossoms are already on the trees in Chilton County, but with cooler temperatures across the area this week, some farmers are worried about how their crops will be impacted.

Jimmy Durbin of J. Durbin Farms has been in the peach business his entire life. He says a cold snap this time of the year is never good news, especially when the peach blossoms are already on the trees.

"We're a little earlier, it seems like, and stuff came on earlier, but the cold is hanging around so who knows," said Durbin.

But he says there's no fool-proof way to protect his crop. "Not on peaches, there's not much that we can do. We flew helicopters before to push warmer air down, if you have an inversion layer or warmer air, but we're not going to do it tonight. I don't think it will help much tonight," he said.

He says one freezing night would probably not make a big difference, but too many could hurt his crops.

"It would be just heartbreaking. That's what people come here for, that's where a lot of money comes in, we get a lot of people coming in from different states, saying, oh I came here for for the peaches," said Gabriell Cooper, who works at Peach Park.

However, Jimmy Durbin says there's a silver lining. He only needs about 10 percent of these blossoms to become peaches to have a successful season, and he says he thinks that will happen. "The last few years, we didn't have it as bad as what we have it right now, but we're in a different stage right now, so we still feel good," said Durbin.

Farmers say the exact date they begin harvesting changes every year, but that usually falls near the end of May. In a good year, the county can produce up to 15 million pounds of peaches across 700 acres.



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