When the flowering process starts, the blooms will be susceptible to late frosts. Temperatures 28 degrees and lower can cause serious damage to peach blossoms and greatly reduce the crop. “We have varieties with chilling requirements ranging from 400 hours up to 1,000 hours,” Taylor said. “We’re at about 900 hours at Fort Valley now. That probably takes care of 95 percent of our varieties.” Blueberries will still bloom when chill hours are low, Krewer said. But the blooming will be strung out over a longer time. That makes it even more vulnerable to late freezes and makes it harder to control insects like thrips and gall midges. “We like to see 750 hours or more for most varieties, and we’ve got that now,” Krewer said. “The ‘great chill’ put the low-chill varieties back into dormancy and satisfied the higher-chill varieties’ requirements. It was like a miracle. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.” One of Two Nervous Times The shivery days were a blessing to peach growers, too, said UGA horticulturist Kathryn Taylor. Getting enough chill hours allows peach trees to produce plenty of blossoms and, ultimately, a bountiful harvest of sweet Georgia peaches. Winter Just in Time For Morris and other growers, the hard winter came just in time. “Three weeks ago the situation looked grim,” said Gerard Krewer, a small fruits specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. In south Georgia, where about 10 percent of the Georgia crop is grown, Brooks County has now had 670 chill hours. “That will take care of the latest varieties,” Taylor said. Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA-ARS Peach growers needed the cold weather badly, coming off a year with very few chill hours, which raised their production costs. “Last year we were way behind,” Taylor said. “We never got enough chill hours.” Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA-ARS Peaches Helped, Too “We had been behind in chill hours since mid-December,” Taylor said. “We’re still behind the 45-year average. But for most varieties, we have enough chill hours now to meet the minimum requirements.” Donnie Morris doesn’t describe the frigid weather of late January and early February the way many Georgians would. “I don’t know any other way to say it: it’s just wonderful,” Morris said. ‘It Was Like a Miracle’ “Now the buds are dormant and are just sitting there ‘counting’ heat units,” Taylor said. “When they get enough heat units, they’ll begin to swell and then start blooming.” Peaches are more demanding than blueberries when it comes to chill hours. Coming up just 100 hours short can cause a major crop failure in many varieties. “Before the ‘great chill,’ the weather had been so mild,” Krewer said. “The low-chill varieties of Southern highbush and rabbiteye blueberries were on the verge of an extremely early bloom. They would have been in great danger of freeze damage.” Growers would like to get the 100 hours or so the highest-chilling varieties need. “But even if we get no more chill hours,” Taylor said, “most of our growers will be happy campers.” Photo: Kathryn Taylor “The more compact blooming time you have when the chill hour requirements are met usually improves pollination, since more varieties are blooming at the same time,” he said. “Our growers will be holding their breath until mid-April looking at frost events,” Taylor said. Almost all of the state’s 4,400 acres of blueberries are in south Georgia. But from mid-January through the first week of February, though, the chill hours in the area mounted fast. Blueberries, peaches and other fruits need a certain number of chill hours, or hours below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, between Oct. 1 and Feb. 15. In the heart of blueberry country, Alma, Ga., had 790 chill hours as of Feb. 6. For Morris’ more than 200 acres of blueberries near Baxley, Ga., the almost constant cold was exactly what they needed. “We need about 700 chill hours,” he said, “and that’s about what we have now.” This winter’s cold weather has gotten growers past one of two nervous times in the peach growing season. The cold winter gives blueberry growers a brighter outlook for the $9 million Georgia crop. Georgia peach growers’ chances for a strong crop have been boosted by the winter chill. In a good year, the state’s peach crop brings farmers about $35 million.
BACOLOD City – Two individuals in NegrosOccidental are now considered as patients under investigation (PUIs) forsuspected infection of the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease or2019-nCoV ARD, the City of Health Office (CHO) revealed. CHO Environment and Sanitation Divisionhead Grace Tan said they are closely monitoring the two PUIs admittedfor isolation at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Regional Hospital pending theresult of their laboratory test from the Research Institute for TropicalMedicine. Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson meanwhilecalled on the public to be calm and continue their normal routine. She appealed to the public do notwithhold information if they have history of travel in China, Macau, Hongkong, Taiwanand any neighboring countries. Lacson emphasized that there is noconfirmed case yet of the virus in the province, only the two reported PUIs,who were in quarantine. The two are separated cases, Tan said. She said one of the PUIs was a43-year-old male Canadian national married to a Filipina and has traveled fromTaiwan. The other one is a 12-year-old boy, who has traveled from Macau,Hongkong. According to the World HealthOrganization, the 2019-nCoV has spread globally, affecting 22 places outside ofmainland China. SARS is caused by SARS coronavirus,which is of the same family of viruses as 2019-nCoV. (With WHO/PN) The cases in China exceeded the numberinfected by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and 2003, but SARShas a higher mortality rate so far. Tan clarified that the two PUIs are notresidents of this city.
THE residence of the president of the Guyana National Dominoes Federation (GNDF) Faye Joseph will be a hive of activity on Sunday when the entity stages a grand Champion of Champions Part 2, commencing promptly at 14:30hrs.According to a release from the GNDF, only teams who won tournaments during the 2017 season are allowed to participate and among those vying for supremacy are Mix Up, 300, All Seasons, PH, Gold For Money, TNT, Turning Point, Thunder, Gangster, Beacons, Masters, Rage, Angels, Medicare, Strikers, Assassins, Transport, GT and Frankie’s.The guest teams are Delta Force, National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), NA Killers, Scramblers, Determine and Orange Walk.The tournament will be played on a two-in one-out knockout basis with an entrance fee of $15 000 per team.The winners will walk away with a whopping $175 000, the second-placed team $75 000 and third-placrd $40 000. There’s also an incentive prize of $10 000 for the Most Valuable Player (MVP).All GNDF rules will be in effect at the 1223 Gaulding Place, South Ruimveldt venue.For more information teams are asked to contact Mark ‘Jumbie’ Wiltshire on 665-5855.
Roberto Mancini hailed Edin Džeko as ‘one of the best in Europe’ after the Manchester City striker fired himself into contention for an FA Cup final start, reports Daily Mail.The Bosnian, who was making just his 15th start of the Barclays Premier League campaign, scored the only goal of the game as City saw off West Brom at the Etihad Stadium. The result means City are now guaranteed a place in next season’ s Champions League group stage, as they cannot finish any lower than third.Džeko led the line with purpose and power and took his goal well, sweeping home Carlos Tevez’s cross in the 35th minute after good work by Jack Rodwell, and his performance certainly gave Mancini food for thought ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Wigan.Though Džeko has been frustrated at the lack of chances he has been given this year, Mancini says he does not want to offload him in the summer as he believes the 27-year-old – who is City’s leading scorer in the Premier League with 13 – can improve further.‘Edin could start,’ said Mancini, when asked if Džeko was in line to figure at Wembley. ‘I am happy for him; he scored an important goal. We are in the Champions League. It was good because we now have (some) days to recover before the final.‘He has scored important goals this season. He can do better but I think he is one of the best in Europe. But I also think that he can still do better. For me he is one of the best. He needs to work hard because of his body, he needs to work and play games. But he has scored an important goal.’