Weird winter threatens some of Georgia's top crops


Weird winter threatens some of Georgia's top crops

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Georgia’s pecan, blueberry and peach industry needs cooler, drier weather, say growers. The final weeks of 2015 were warm and wet. AP

“Oh my Lord, I’ve got ducks swimming in pecan orchards. We never, in our wildest imaginations, thought there would be so much rain."

That's Randy Hudson of Ocilla, a fourth-generation pecan grower and also the president of the National Pecan Growers Council, speaking on Wednesday.

The weather has begun to behave more normally as of today, but the warm temperatures and heavy holiday rains have imperiled some of Georgia's biggest cash crops: blueberries, peaches and pecans.

Already, expectations for this season's pecan crop have been drastically reduced because growers simply can't get their machinery to the trees. Peaches and blueberries, meanwhile, require a sustained period of cool temperatures -- that's what winter used to be like -- to make healthy blooms for next season. That kind of weather may yet take hold, but hundreds of millions of dollars and many farmers' livelihoods are riding on that hope.

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