Ruston, Louisiana Peach Farmers Fighting Crop-Killing Fungus as Prime Time Season Begins
And, while peaches are often enjoyed in a pie or with ice cream, the fruit is actually good for your health. As the LSU AgCenter points out, peaches are:
- Low in fat, saturated fat, and calories
- A good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Niacin, and Potassium
We even have a festival celebrating the tasty treat as the Peach Festival in Ruston took place over the weekend for the 73rd time.
On display were live music and arts, as well as food and peaches there for consumption.
Apparently, though, there is a fungus that is not too fond of the crop - armillaria mellea. As a matter of fact, the fungus is trying to destroy peaches, making it tougher for farmers as June - prime time season for peaches - is underway.
Mitcham Farm Manager Joe Mitcham spoke with our news partners at Louisiana Radio Network. He says this fungus has been a problem for peach farmers in Ruston for nearly a decade, causing them to lose "probably about ten percent of our trees each year."
There was a chemical called methyl bromide that we treated the soil prior to planting. It didn’t cure it but at least it gave us 10 to 12 to 15 years out of a tree life where now we’re getting only about six or eight years out of a tree.
Between the fungus in the soil and the low temperatures in March, many peach crops have already been killed.
Mitcham remains hopeful, however, as he says the quantity and quality of the peaches should be better as June progresses and into July.