Peaches, apples may benefit from Deep South freeze

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The cold spell blanketing the Deep South has been good news for some fruit growers.

Peaches and apples from Louisiana to Georgia have benefited from the chilly weather. Both crops need hundreds of hours in temperatures below 45 degrees during the winter months so that they can bloom.

But the effects may be more ominous for producers of citrus, fish and other specialties — depending on how long the cold snap lasts. Alabama catfish producers, for example, could see greater than normal winter kill.

The latest round of extreme weather has created worries for some farmers after the drought and drenching rains of 2009. The National Weather Service says it’s been nearly 14 years since the area had such a long snap of temperatures in the teens and 20s.