Montgomery County peach farmer concerned about this year’s crop

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, N.C. -- Garrett Johnson, of Johnson’s Peaches in Montgomery County, is concerned about his crop. Because of this year's weather, he’s expecting to grow fewer peaches this season.

“We win some, we lose some, that’s part of the job,” Johnson said.

The farm has about 15,000 trees planted on 75 acres. Johnson, who helps run the family farm, has nearly a dozen workers trying to save the peaches from the frigid temperatures.

Brad Thompson, the Montgomery County horticulture agent, says the inconsistent weather has impacted the crop.

“The peach crop this year has been adversely affected by both the warm and cold weather. The warm weather in February caused the peach trees to begin blooming roughly three weeks earlier than normal. Some varieties of peach trees were already in full bloom by the end of February,” Thompson said.

With the peach trees blooming in February, farmers have been fighting to keep the crop alive during the remaining winter weather.

Johnson is concerned whenever the temperatures drop below 28 degrees, because it puts the crop at risk. He has to use wind fans and burn hay to increase the temperatures on the fields.

Johnson can’t say for sure how many peaches have died, but he is concerned about more than half of his crop. Next week, he’ll have a better idea of how much damage has been done, once the weather warms up and he finishes inspecting all the peach trees.

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