Georgia blueberry farms take hit following freeze

State expected to have nation's largest blueberry harvest lost up to 90%

(WALB-TV image)

CAMILLA, Ga. – Almost 90 percent of the blueberry crop was destroyed by last week's freeze, according to the chairman of Georgia's Blueberry Commission.

There are piles of blueberries fallen on the ground, and the ones on the bushes have shriveled up and dried out in the middle.

The Georgia Blueberry Commission said farmers lost 70 percent of the early crop and roughly 85 to 90 percent of the crop for the year. The annual blueberry farm gate value in Georgia is over $255 million.

Georgia was expected to be the largest blueberry producing state this year.

At a Camilla farm, Doyle Singleton told WALB-TV that most of his blueberries froze completely, and because of how late in the season this was, they lost almost everything.

Last week, he and his growers tried to light hay bales on fire to keep the blueberries heated, but they were unsuccessful.

Farmers said if it was even a couple of degrees warmer they may have been able to save at least 50 percent.

The last time blueberry farmers suffered a big loss from cold weather was in 2007. Farmers said this freeze was much worse.