Trifecta of drought, late freeze, hail decimate Hill Country… | www.mystatesman.com

21
May

Trifecta of drought, late freeze, hail decimate Hill Country… | www.mystatesman.com

FREDERICKSBURG — It’s peach season, but Austinites likely won’t be seeing any Fredericksburg peaches in grocery stores any time soon after a combination of freezing weather and hailstorms decimated more than 90 percent of the crop in Gillespie County.

“The damage is pretty widespread,” said Jamey Vogel, owner of Vogel Orchard in Stonewall and president of the Hill Country Fruit Council.

The loss of most of this year’s crop is just the latest setback in what has been a tough decade for Hill Country peach farmers. Smaller growers have disappeared, and others have been forced to grow additional crops to survive.

Farmers around Stonewall and Fredericksburg point to a series of weather events that decimated the 2013 peach crop, along with other fruit crops such as plums and apricots. The area experienced a warmer than normal winter, but peaches need a certain number of hours below 45 degrees to produce a healthy crop. Then, two frosts hit late in the season — one in March and the other in April — that wiped out most of the crop.

via Trifecta of drought, late freeze, hail decimate Hill Country… | www.mystatesman.com.

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