From Flooding to Drought: Dry Weather Hampers Ryegrass, Sugarcane

After enduring both spring and fall flooding, very dry conditions are both helping and hurting Louisiana farmers.  According to the latest Crop Progress and Condition Report from the National Ag Statistics Service, sugarcane harvest is progressing rapidly, but newly planted cane and ryegrass are both struggling to get established without adequate soil moisture.  

Comments from Cooperative Extension Service Parish Agents:

“Dry, need moisture throughout the Southeast Region.” – Henry Harrison, Washington Parish

“Field conditions are very dry. All spring planted crops are harvested, some second crop rice is being harvested with yields reported to be very mixed, and most have been low. Crawfish ponds continue to go to flood and field prep for spring planting continues. Livestock producers are beginning to offer hay and supplements as warm season grasses are of very low quality. Winter pasture plantings for grazing need rain soon.” – Vincent Deshotel, Saint Landry Parish

“Dry conditions have allowed for excellent sugarcane harvest and limited ryegrass pasture establishment. Ratoon crop rice harvest continues with mixed results for yield. Farmers are taking advantage of dry conditions by completing land work for the next cropping cycle.” – Andrew Granger, Vermilion Parish

“The late planted cane needs a rain in order for the stalks to germinate. We probably have 15% of our acreage in this situation. Sugar recovery is very good, however tonnage on 2nd and 3rd stubble is off (2 to 3 tons) per acre. An inch rain would help in many ways.” – Jimmy Flanagan, Iberia Parish

“Crop harvest is progressing rapidly under extremely dry conditions. Some cane growers are 1/3 to 1/2 of the way thru harvest. Cane growers continue to report low tonnage and cite weather and West Indian Cane Flies as probable culprits. Growers fear that newly planted cane may be damaged by this fall's prolonged dry spell. The dry weather has given forage producers an ample opportunity to bale hay. Crawfish producers are flooding ponds. Cool season pastures have failed to develop due to a lack of moisture. Some cattle producers are putting out hay as standing forage starts to dwindle.” – Stuart Gauthier, Saint Martin Parish

“Still very dry, could use a good slow rain on the sugarcane that was recently planted.” – Mariah Simoneaux, Saint James and Assumption Parish

Click here to see the full report