Christmas Freeze Impact: Georgia Strawberry Volume Down

Web AdminGeorgia

By Clint Thompson

The volume of Georgia’s strawberry crop is down this year. The frigid temperatures experienced during last Christmas is a big reason why.

Georgia strawberries
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Jeff Cook, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Peach and Taylor counties, explains why multiple days of sub-freezing temperatures had a detrimental effect on the state’s crop this year. The plants were not covered in protection from the cold.

“We’re seeing where the damage that we got in December from the low teens to the single digits … we’re seeing a reduction in yields because of that cold. That time of year, we’re not really ready to cover the plants up. A lot of people don’t have the labor in yet to do it. We really weren’t prepared to cover plants,” Cook said. “Everywhere across the board is having the same kind of issues with all these strawberry farms, they don’t normally close down unless they’ve gotten past their peak. Everybody is having to shut down for like a day here or a day there because they just don’t have the volume of berries that we normally have.”

It was the first of a series of challenging weather events that have impacted strawberries across the Southeast. Temperatures warmed up considerably in February, which was followed by a pair of freeze events in March. Temperatures were ideal in April, but they were accompanied by excess rainfall.

“The weather has not been cooperative up until now,” Cook said.