Sugarcane Harvest Moves Rapidly; Dry Conditions Continue

Sugarcane harvest is moving forward at a quick pace, but extremely dry conditions across Louisiana continue to stress fall planted cane and ryegrass pastures.  The latest Crop Progress and Condition Report from the National Ag Statistics Service shows topsoil moisture supplies at 41 percent very short, 39 percent short, 20 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

Comments from Cooperative Extension Service Parish Agents:

“It is exceptionally dry here.....probably driest for this time of year in recent memory.” – Keith Collins, Richland Parish

“Spotty showers with frontal passage last week helped in some areas where wheat and winter pastures are struggling for moisture. Much of the winter pasture planting are emerging now therefore grazing will be really late. The already short supply of poor quality hay may become even shorter with early feeding. Sure to be an expensive winter for the livestock producer with a volatile market, but has been on the up side. Crawfish producers are seeing the potential for a good crawfish crop despite the premature flooding rains in August. Sugarcane harvest is ahead of schedule with mixed yields, some are disappointing according to producers.” – Vincent Deshotel, Saint Landry Parish

“Dry conditions are allowing for efficient cane harvest but are hurting tonnage of harvested cane. Much of the planted ryegrass pasture has emerged but could use a rain for further development and to facilitate fertilizer incorporation. Ranchers are near complete in marketing spring calves. Haying and feeding has begun early for some due to dry conditions.” – Andrew Granger, Vermilion Parish

“We received 0.25 to .80 rain last week. Not enough to make a difference. Cattle producers are feeding hay. Received first frost this weekend.” – Carol Pinnell-Alison, Franklin Parish

“Dry weather continues to allow ample time for growers to complete fieldwork and prepare for next growing season. Cane harvest continues at a rapid pace with consistent reports of low tonnage and high sugar. Plant cane continues to struggle to emerge from dry planting beds. Cool season pastures desperately need moisture for development to occur. Fall hay harvest is near complete. Pecan harvest is light with quality issues. Citrus fruit are coloring but need cool weather for sweetness to develop.” – Stuart Gauthier, Saint Martin Parish

“Dry conditions are allowing for sugarcane harvest to continue at an efficient rate; however the lack of rain is causing setbacks and delays in all areas of the parish's agriculture.” – Blair Hebert, Iberia Parish

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