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Crop Report | Nectarines | Peaches

California Chill Hours

February 2, 2023 | 1 min read

So far, California’s San Joaquin Valley has been having a chilly winter, which is just what our stone fruit trees need to allow for record-high yields. Seasonal chill hours are a critical component of tree fruit production, typically tracked as hours where the temperature is below 45 degrees from November 1st – March 1st. If a winter is too mild and trees do not experience full dormancy, we may see delays in bloom and foliation, lower yield, and low-quality fruit. The number of chill hours needed is unique to each variety. For most varieties of peaches, their needs fall between 450-1,000 hours of below 45 degrees weather for peak dormancy release. Although initially, Fresno county got a later start to our chill hour accumulation than last season (a full 14 days behind), we have since surpassed historical numbers. As of January 31st, the 22-23 season had 203 more chill hours than the 21-22 season, totaling 1,080 hours. This is roughly 20% higher than our 5-year average, signaling a season with plenty of high-quality stone fruit coming out of California’s Central Valley.

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