There was nice concern amongst Louisiana sugarcane farmers that the file chilly temperatures at Mardi Gras would trigger important harm. It doesn’t seem the crop suffered any long-term impact from the freeze, however a cool, wet March and April has restricted progress.
In line with Kenneth Gravois, LSU AgCenter sugarcane specialist, harm was restricted to some remoted fields.
“There were a few old stubble fields that had to be plowed out,” Gravois mentioned, “but really nothing more than normal. So we survived that in fine fashion.”
The weather in March and April has not been excellent for progress.
A brief sugarcane plant is proven on the LSU AgCenter Sugar Analysis Station situated in St. Gabriel. Due to the wet weather, many growers have been unable to use fertilizers on their crop, which has the crop delayed. (Craig Gautreaux/LSU AgCenter)
“A dry spring never killed a cane crop,” Gravois mentioned. “And it’s not been a dry spring. In looking at the meteorological data, this is going to be the second or third wettest April on record. So we’ve had enough rain.”
Whereas the freeze had many farmers involved, they need to see some advantages from the freeze relating to illness and bug pests.
Gravois mentioned that ailments comparable to brown stripe and brown rust must be decreased, and the variety of West Indian cane flies must be decrease.
The forecast for the remainder of Could has temperatures conducive for cane progress, however intermittent rain can be within the forecast. In line with Gravois, nighttime temperatures above 70 levels and daytime temperatures above 85 ought to spur progress.
“Even though the crop is a little behind,” Gravois mentioned, “if we start getting warm and dry for the month of May, we can catch up a lot of that growth.”
Gravois mentioned that the circumstances of the earlier yr’s harvest is among the key indicators of success for the next yr’s crop.
“By far, the conditions that we harvest the previous year’s crop has the biggest effect on the next year’s crop,” Gravois mentioned. “So we had relatively dry conditions for harvesting the 2020 crop. That bodes well.”
The wet weather has prohibited to make their fertilizer purposes on the beneficial occasions, which has additionally contributed to the crop being so brief for this time of yr.
Gravois expects Louisiana can have a sugarcane crop exceeding 500,000 acres this yr, which represents a 20% enhance through the previous decade.
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