Rains Stop Louisiana Cotton Harvest

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By Don Molino, The Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network

According to LSU AgCenter Extension Service Cotton Specialist Dr. Dan Fromme at the Dean Lee Research Station this year’s crop is questionable at this point.

“I guess the easiest way to explain it is we’re in a holding pattern due to the rain,” said Fromme. “It’s shut down harvest that was just getting underway last week.”

“With that being said we do have a lot of cotton that has been defoliated and we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that the rain will end soon.”

Fromme pointed out any open bolls exposed to rainfall will absorb the water “and we can lose a lot of the crop not to mention losing fiber quality as well.”

He estimates probably less than three to four percent of the crop has been harvested at this point, '“but we still continue to have a good crop in parts of Louisiana. A lot of farmers are still optimistic and were optimistic before harvest looking at how white the fields were across parts of the state. Other areas, of course, are not as optimistic simply because portions of the state were a lot dryer.”

So, Fromme says the name of the game right now—if you’re a cotton farmer—is to hope the rainfall will end very, very soon.

“Everything was really looking outstanding before the rain hit,” says Fromme. “It looks like we had a good start to harvest following a very warm summer and very compact fruiting plants with not much gap between plants. Everything was maturing relatively very quickly across the state and farmers didn’t have to wait on a lot of younger bolls up top. And we were very optimistic hoping to get out of the fields very quickly here in the fall. Of course a lot of farmers were reporting yield results were going to be very favorable.”