2013 Narrative

Animal Enterprises

Gross farm income for all animal enterprises was more than $2.12 billion for 2013, up 10 percent from $1.94 billion in 2012. Value added was nearly $1.2 billion for 2013, up from $1.1 billion in 2012. Total value of all animal enterprises in the Louisiana economy was $3.32 billion, up 9 percent from $3.05 billion in 2012.

Fisheries and Wildlife Enterprises

Total farm value of all fisheries and wildlife enterprises during 2013 was $657.9 million, up 2 percent from $643.5 million in 2012. Value added in 2013 was $469.9 million, up from $457.5 million the preceding year. Total value of all fisheries and wildlife enterprises to the Louisiana economy for 2013 was almost $1.13 billion, up 2 percent from $1.1 billion in 2012.

Plant Enterprises

The gross farm value of all plant enterprises was more than $4.15 billion in 2013, an increase of 2 percent from just under $4.1 billion in 2012. Value added was $3.19 billion for all plant commodities during 2013, compared to $3.11 billion in 2012. Total value of all plant or crop enterprises to the Louisiana economy was $7.34 billion in 2013, up 2 percent from $7.21 billion in 2012.

Beef Cattle

During 2013, the Louisiana beef cattle industry maintained cow numbers and even increased them in some parishes, which was fortunate since many states sustained losses due to moderate to severe drought conditions throughout much of the country in 2012 and 2013. These problems primarily were driven by the lack of precipitation and were compounded by extreme heat during the summer in parts of the country, particularly the southern plains states. The drought caused pasture and feedstock crop failures, particularly hay, in these areas and increased feed costs – a major component of beef cattle production and finishing operations. Louisiana cow numbers in 2013 totaled 622,040 and producers were reported at 10,910. Those were up from 610,818 cows and 10,875 producers reported in 2012.

The gross farm value of 239,386 steers sold in 2013 was $208.6 million, an increase of $39 million over the $169.5 million reported in 2012. The gross farm value of 218,820 heifers sold increased by more than $34 million as it rose from $136.6 million in 2012 to $170.8 million in 2013.

In 2013, 75,548 yearling cattle (600-800 pounds each) sold for $76.2 million, an increase of 10,000 head and nearly $12 million from 2012 levels. The number of cow-calf pairs sold in 2013 increased by approximately 2,500 to 69,662 pairs. These pairs sold for $83.6 million, up from $78.8 million in 2012. Gross farm values of 52,057 cull cows and 10,809 cull bulls were $34.7 million and $15.6 million, respectively.

Gross farm income from beef cattle increased from $498.9 million in 2012 to $589.6 million in 2013. With value added of $73.7 million, the total value of beef cattle production in Louisiana was $663.3 million in 2013, up $102 million (18 percent) from $561.2 million in 2012.


Milk production was reported by 12 parishes in 2013. Three parishes in the southeastern part of the state and two parishes in the northwestern part accounted for about 93 percent of the milk produced, 93 percent of the number of cows and 92 percent of the dairy herds. The number of dairy farms declined from 135 in 2012 to 125 in 2013. The number of milking cows decreased from 15,811 head in 2012 to 14,798 head in 2013. In addition, total milk production decreased from 218.4 million pounds in 2012 to 203.7 million pounds in 2013.

Even though total milk production was down by 14.8 million pounds, however, the on-farm value of milk increased by nearly a million dollars ($968,428) – from $43.2 million in 2012 to $44.2 million in 2013. The increase in the on-farm value of milk in 2013 was due primarily to a higher average price per hundredweight of milk ($21.71 per hundredweight in 2013 compared to $19.80 per hundredweight in 2012 – a 9.65 percent increase in price per hundredweight).

Dairy goats were raised by 13 Louisiana producers in 2013. The 407 does milked in Louisiana during 2013 produced 196,821 pounds of goat milk, which sold for $393,642, up substantially from 2012.

The value of cull cows, bred heifers, mature cows, breeding age bulls and calves was $5.7 million. The total value of milk and animal sales to Louisiana dairy producers was $50.4 million. Value added contributed $81.1 million more. The total economic contribution from dairying in Louisiana, including milk sales, animal sales and additional processing, was $131.4 million in 2013, up $13.4 million or 11 percent from 2012.


The horse industry is an important component of the agricultural economy of Louisiana. In 2013, there were 138,018 horses owned by an estimated 44,865 people, a 22 percent increase from 2012 in the number of horses and a 7 percent increase in the number of people owning horses. The horse industry has three sectors. Based on the gross farm value, that means the horse industry is made up of 50 percent racing, 25 percent show or competition horses and 25 percent recreational horse owners. By number of owners, however, the industry is 10 percent racing, 20 percent show or competition and 70 percent recreational.

The state’s racehorse industry in 2013 involved 1,696 breeders who owned 10,232 mares that produced 7,998 foals that sold for $64 million. The 330 Louisiana breeders own 1,051 stallions that were bred to 8,347 mares, generating income from stud fees of $20.9 million. The total gross farm income generated from racehorse production was $84.9 million. An additional 2,202 racehorse owners had 12,620 racehorses in training or on the track in Louisiana, with a gross farm value of $139.4 million. The gross farm value of the entire race sector (owners’ and breeders’ activities) of the horse industry in 2013 was $224.3 million, not including receipts or fees from racing events or gaming.

The show and competition horse industry (horse shows, barrel racing, cutting, roping, team penning and others) includes 1,685 breeders who own 5,014 mares that produced 3,640 foals that sold for $14.6 million during 2013. These breeders owned 560 stallions that bred with 2,981 mares, generating $4.5 million in income from stud fees. The total income generated from show and competition horse production was $19 million. Another 7,124 owners competed on their 19,854 horses, which had a gross farm value of $99.3 million. The total gross farm value of the show and competition sector of the horse industry was $118.3 million in 2013.

A large portion of the horse industry, both in terms of owners and horses, is recreational. Horses have been used for comfort, exercise and enjoyment for quite some time. Approximately 8,736 of the recreational horse owners in Louisiana bred 23,186 mares and sold 15,042 foals during 2013 for $22.6 million. These horse enthusiasts owned 1,762 stallions that were bred to 7,229 mares, generating income from stud fees of $3.6 million. The total income from production in the recreational horse industry was $26.2 million during 2013. Another 23,092 recreational horse owners have 61,307 horses valued at $92 million – making the total economic contribution of the recreational horse industry $118.1 million in 2013.

There were a total of 138,018 horses in Louisiana, owned by 44,865 people, with a gross farm value of $460.7 million in 2013. Value added contributed $50.7 million in 2013, so that combining farm-gate value and the value added, the total value of horse sector was $511.4 million in 2013, an increase of $39.7 million from $471.7 million in 2012.

The average horse owner spends about $4,000 to $6,000 annually on feed, tack, equipment, veterinary supplies and medicines. This results in an estimated expenditure of $690 million on horses and a total economic effect of $1.3 billion.

In addition to the value of horses produced and maintained in Louisiana, the activities of the horse industry generate a tremendous cash flow for the state. The four racetracks employ 3,000 people and generate expenditures of $1.1 billion each year. The show and competition industry conducts an estimated 500 activities per year and generates $200 million in expenditures. With the value of horses, expenditures on horses and the activities in which they engage, the economic effect of the horse industry is estimated at $2.5 billion per year. This value coincides with a study by the American Horse Council that estimated the Louisiana horse industry generated $2.45 billion per year for the state’s economy.


Broilers and Eggs

Poultry production continues to be the largest animal agricultural industry in Louisiana and is second only to forestry in total income produced for all agricultural commodities. In 2013, 367 Louisiana growers (small producers and commercial operations) produced 911.6 million pounds of broiler meat with a gross farm value of $911.6 million. Commercial broilers are produced in 11 parishes: Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Sabine, Union, Vernon, Webster and Winn.

There were 240 breeder flock producers in 2013 who produced 18.7 million dozen eggs with a gross farm value of $46.8 million. There also were 47 pullet producers who produced 1.2 million pullets with a gross farm value of $14.7 million.

There were 607 edible egg producers (small producers and commercial operations) in Louisiana during 2013. Table egg production stood at 21.7 million dozen eggs, and the farm value for commercial egg production was $21.7 million in 2013.

The gross farm value for all poultry production in Louisiana was $1 billion during 2013, an increase from $958.5 million in 2012. The value added from poultry production to the Louisiana economy was estimated at $991 million, making the total value of poultry production in Louisiana nearly $2 billion in 2013, an increase of 6 percent from 2012.

Ratite and Other Exotic Fowl

The sale of ratites and exotic fowl did not generate any funds in Louisiana during 2013.


There were 16,045 birds produced during 2013 by 20 producers. Quail generated a gross farm value of $72,203 in 2013. Value added contributed $7,942, so the total value for quail in 2013 was $80,145.


The production of rabbits for meat and exhibition involved 426 Louisiana producers during 2013. The rabbit fryer industry produced 78,113 pounds of meat in 2013. Louisiana rabbit producers generated $234,339 in gross farm income. Sales of does generated $45,044 in gross farm revenues for producers. With value added of $29,335, the total value of rabbit production in Louisiana during 2013 exceeded $308,000, an increase from $183,000 in 2012.

Sheep and Goats

Sheep, lambs and wool were produced by 223 producers in 30 Louisiana parishes during 2013, a decrease from 251 producers during the previous year. The total number of lambs marketed (slaughter, feeder and club/show lambs) was estimated to be 1,639 in 2013, with a value of $226,899, which was down from 3,770 lambs and $564,165 in value during 2012. With a gross farm value of $35,440, the 443 head of stocker sheep sold in 2013 represented a decrease of 200 head from the previous year, as well. The number of cull sheep sold in 2013 was estimated at 812, up from 686 in 2012. Cull sheep sold for $33,990 in 2013. Wool production from 1,391 sheep was estimated at 11,758 pounds, up from 9,998 pounds in 2012. Total farm-gate value of sheep sales was $598,377 for 2013, down from $1.2 million in 2012. Total 2013 value was $667,190 when value-added contributions were included.

Total farm-gate value of sheep sales was $2.42 million for 2012, up substantially from $1.2 million in 2012, but still not up to the $3 million posted in 2011. Total 2013 value was $2.7 million when value-added contributions were included.

Goats were produced by 712 farmers in 60 Louisiana parishes during 2013, up slightly from 2012 and ending a sharp decline from 2009 to 2011. The total number of slaughter goats marketed in 2013 was estimated to be 5,605, down from 6,688 head the previous year. Stocker goats sold in 2013 numbered at 2,879, a slight decrease from 3,028 head in 2012. There were 1,698 cull goats marketed in 2013, slightly less than 2,062 cull goats sold in 2012. Goats sold as club or show goats numbered 1,787 head, down slightly from 1,870 head in 2012. Gross farm value of goats sold in Louisiana during 2013 was $1.9 million, down from $2.2 million in 2012. Total value of goat production in 2013 was $2.2 million when value-added contributions were included.


Louisiana pork producers numbered 285 in 2013, up from 245 in 2012 and closer to the 311 swine producers reported in 2011. St. Martin, Calcasieu, Vermilion, Rapides and Beauregard parishes reported the largest numbers of swine producers.

The number of sows reported in 2013 was 1,551, down from 1,903 sows in 2012. A total of 2,540 show pigs sold for $571,500, down from the previous year’s totals. Feeder pig sales of 10,858 had a gross farm value of $184,229 in 2013, essentially unchanged in number, but a decrease in value from the previous year. Slaughter hog sales in 2013 involved 3,706 head with a gross farm value of $863,115. This reflected an increase in the value of sales from 2012 levels. There were 998 cull animals (sows and boars) sold in 2013 that were valued at $253,165, down slightly in value from 2012.

The gross farm value of all classes of swine in 2013 was $1.9 million, essentially unchanged from 2012. The estimated value added from the swine sector was $234,000 in 2013, so, with that added to the gross farm sales, the total value of all swine production in the state was $2.1 million in 2013.

Exotic Animals

Exotic animal producers of deer and llamas had gross farm sales of $87,800 in 2013, up from $65,800 during the previous year. Total value of production for exotic animals, including value added, was $97,019 in 2013.


Louisiana has long been recognized for supporting one of the most diverse aquacultural industries in the United States. Species and products such as crawfish, catfish, alligators, oysters, tilapia, baitfish, soft-shelled crawfish and crabs, ornamental fish, baby turtles, a variety of freshwater game fish and other minor species all have been commercialized successfully.

Louisiana's producers continue to lead the nation in crawfish, oyster, pet turtle and alligator sales. While crawfish, catfish, oysters and alligators exhibited significant production increases during 2013, the overall gross farm value of Louisiana aquaculture increased by only 3 percent compared to the previous year. This was largely due to a 10 percent decrease in the value of the largest aquacultural industry in the state – farm-raised crawfish.

Estimates from the field during 2013 indicate farm-raised crawfish production occupied 182,387 acres, virtually unchanged from the previous year. Farm-raised crawfish continued to be the state’s most valuable aquacultural commodity by a wide margin, with a gross farm value of $137.5 million in 2013, but prices were depressed due to a late crop and competition from wild harvests.

Following several years of depressed prices and lower stocking rates for farm-raised alligator producers, 2013 saw a continued upward trend in the value of the harvest (roughly 40 percent) due to both production and price increases prompted by growing demand for hides and meat. Farm-gate value of alligators was estimated at $79.1 million, up from $56.5 million in 2012.

Declines in catfish acreage and production appeared to have finally subsided in 2013. According to field estimates, Louisiana catfish acreage increased more than 4 percent, up to 635 acres of ponds, with six Louisiana producers selling 1.8 million pounds of catfish valued at $2.1 million.

Reported pet turtle hatchling production declined by 11 percent during 2013, with sales of approximately 4 million hatchlings at a gross farm value of $4 million. Many turtle operations are not actively producing at this time, according to industry sources. Louisiana’s already limited minnow industry also had overall negative results in 2013 when compared to the prior year, with production and value down by 19 and 25 percent, respectively, to $805,350 for the year.

The oyster production information reported in this summary represents a one-year lag to avoid estimation and projection errors from using data for only part of the year (meaning figures for oysters reported this year are from 2012, not 2013). The reason for the lag is that information on oyster sales is compiled and provided by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the final compilation of the data is not available until the middle of the year following production.

Estimated oyster sales in 2012 of 1.7 million sacks, from a total of 1,037 producers, were $40.7 million. These numbers represented significant (19 percent) gains in production but only slight increases (2.5 percent) in value. By comparison, in 2008 and 2009, prior to the Deepwater Horizon incident, sales were $34.2 and $50 million, respectively.

Summing up all aquacultural enterprises across the state resulted in $265.2 million in gross farm sales for 2013, up slightly (3 percent) from the previous year. Value added to aquacultural products was estimated to be $179 million. Combining the two values resulted in a total value of $444 million from commercial aquaculture to the state’s economy for 2013.


The harvest of freshwater and marine finfish and shellfish in Louisiana continues to contribute significantly to the state’s economy. Fisheries landings are recorded by two government agencies. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries receives monthly reports from the initial buyers (processors, dealers, etc.) who are required to record every transaction. Species, weights and dockside sales values of the landings are reported for all commercially harvested species. The National Marine Fisheries Service also is responsible for estimating fisheries landings, using both regional National Marine Fisheries Service data collectors and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reports. The information reported here is from those two cooperating sources. All this data is provisional and subject to change.

The freshwater fisheries and marine fisheries data presented in the report this year (2013) reflect the calendar year 2012. The one-year lag is necessary to ensure data accuracy. Real-time reports on fisheries landings are not available until four months after the fact, and final data often runs six to seven months behind. Estimating landings for the second half of the year based on landings reports from the first half is inaccurate. This method of reporting fisheries landings data has been in place since the 2004 Louisiana Summary; data prior to that volume may not be directly comparable to the data reported since 2004 because of using the different estimation methods. To compare state-level landings for years prior to 2004, on a calendar-year basis, please consult the US-NOAA-NMFS website.

One final caveat is that parish totals for fisheries landings will not equal the state total because of legal confidentiality requirements. When there are fewer than three sources in a parish that report landings of a fisheries commodity in that parish, the number of landings cannot be publicly released by the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries or the National Marine Fisheries Service without breaking confidentiality requirements. There may be parishes reported in this volume for which no landings or values were provided by either of those agencies but for which there was catch. Furthermore, fisheries landings are reported for the parish in which the fish are offloaded – not the parish in which the boat and its crew may be domiciled or the parish where the catches actually were made.

Freshwater Fisheries

The freshwater finfish are primarily bowfin, catfish, buffalo, shad, gar and carp and typically are less valuable on a per-pound basis than marine finfish. Total freshwater finfish landings increased from $4.1 million for 11 million pounds caught by 1,381 commercial fishers in 2011 to $4.7 million for 11.9 million pounds caught by 1,363 commercial fishers in 2012. This increase in landings and value is the first in several years. While 2010 landings were influenced by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that year, as well as the negative perceptions associated with seafood and seafood safety from the Gulf region, the 2011 and 2012 landings and value appear to have rebounded and were above 2009 and 2010 levels.

Catfish are the mainstay of the more valuable freshwater species. The commercially caught catfish are not the same as farm-raised catfish described in the aquaculture section of this summary. Sales of catfish caught commercially in Louisiana waters were $2.6 million on 5.2 million pounds in 2012, both increases above 2011 levels.

Most wild crawfish are caught in the Atchafalaya Basin, where water levels fluctuate as inflows are controlled by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers at about one-third of the combined flows of the Mississippi and Red rivers. Although wild crawfish compete in the marketplace with farm-raised crawfish, some consumers prefer the wild product because of its frequently larger size. The volume of the wild crawfish harvest is almost completely constrained by the timing and duration of the annual winter/spring floodwater event in the Atchafalaya Basin. The 2012 crawfish season was down 29 percent in landings from 2011, which also was down from 2010. As a result, freshwater crawfish landings were down from 8.8 million pounds in 2011 to 6.8 million pounds in 2012. For comparison, freshwater crawfish landings were 18.6 million pounds in 2009 and a record level of 50 million pounds in 1993. Wild crawfish sales were $8.3 million in 2012, down from $9.9 million from the previous year, and those were caught by 3,091 commercial fishers.

Overall, landings from the freshwater fisheries sector in 2012 had a gross value of $12.5 million. Value added contributed $10.9 million, so the freshwater fisheries sector contributed $23.4 million to Louisiana’s economy in 2012.

Marine Fisheries

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill had several effects on marine fisheries. Marine fisheries grounds were almost all reopened in 2011, and all marine fisheries saw an increase in landings in 2012 and 2011 compared to 2010. Marine finfish landings for food are varied and complex, with about 60 different species being landed for a total of 13.8 million pounds in 2012, excluding menhaden. This was a 20 percent increase from 2011, when 11.5 million pounds of marine food finfish were landed in Louisiana. Excluding menhaden, the five most-valued species landed in 2012, by decreasing value, were yellowfin tuna, black drum, red snapper, swordfish, and king mackerel. Total saltwater food finfish landings, excluding menhaden, were valued at $21.2 million in 2012, up from $14.6 million in 2011.

Landings of menhaden, a low-value but high-volume nonfood finfish species, were 1 billion pounds in 2012, down from 1.1 billion pounds in 2011, but still an increase from 862 million pounds in 2010, 786 million pounds in 2009 and 741 million pounds in 2008. The catch was valued at $64.9 million, down significantly from $93.5 million in 2011. Menhaden value decreased in 2012, with it selling for approximately 6.32 cents per pound compared to 8.45 cents per pound in 2011. Menhaden oil and meal are sold on the world market for industrial purposes, animal feeds and omega-3 dietary supplements, among other uses, and the prices received for menhaden products is a function of the world supply of oils and meals, particularly those produced by the fisheries for the anchovetta of the Pacific Coast of South America.

Oysters had an increase in value and landings in 2012 compared to 2010 and 2011, years heavily affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and record-level flooding from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. In 2012, 11.3 million pounds of oysters were landed, a 1 percent increase over 11.1 million in 2011. Nonetheless, this is still down from 14.7 million pounds of oysters harvested in 2009. The price in 2012 was approximately $3.70 per pound of oyster meat. To calculate prices per sack, assume 6.47 pounds of shucked oyster meat per sack ($23.92 per sack). According to US-NOAA-NMFS, the gross value of oysters harvested during 2012 was $41.6 million – up just a few thousand dollars from 2011 but down from $50 million in 2009.

Blue crabs constitute nearly all of the Louisiana crab harvest, with stone crab claws making up less than 0.01 percent. Louisiana hard crab landings normally range from 40 to 50 million pounds. Hard-shelled blue crab landings were 45.4 million pounds with a gross value of $43.1 million in 2012. This was a 3 percent increase from 43.9 million pounds in 2011 but a decrease from 2009 when fishers harvested 51 million pounds with a gross value of $35.9 million and about the same as the 43.8 million pounds in 2008, when two hurricanes caused damage to gear and infrastructure.

In 2012, production of soft-shelled crabs (8,900 pounds) and peeler crabs for the shedding business (152,067 pounds) was significantly down from 2011. In 2009, production of soft-shelled crabs (35,484 pounds) and peeler crabs for the shedding business (171,656 pounds) had increased from the lowest ever recorded in 2008 due to many shore-side shedding facilities being damaged or destroyed by the 2005 and 2008 storms. Hurricane Isaac in the fall of 2012 may have affected shedding facilities, too.

Louisiana shrimp landings in 2012 consisted of six species: white shrimp, brown shrimp, sea bobs, rock shrimp, pink shrimp and royal red shrimp. White shrimp historically have provided 50-60 percent of the harvest by weight and around 70 percent by value. In 2012, white shrimp contributed about 70 percent (71.2 million pounds) of total weight and 77 percent ($112.5 million) of total value. In 2012, brown shrimp landings totaled 29.2 million pounds with a value of $33.3 million dockside. The weighted-average price for shrimp was $1.44 in 2012 and 2011, down from $1.46 in 2010 but up from $1.06 in 2009 and $1.26 in 2007. Total shrimp landings in 2012 were 101.7 million pounds, an increase from 90.5 million pounds harvested in 2011. By comparison, 74.2 million pounds of shrimp were harvested in 2010, 114 million pounds in 2009, 89.7 million pounds in 2008 and 109.5 million pounds in 2007. Shrimp landed in Louisiana had a gross value of $146.4 million in 2012, up from 2011 and 2010.

In 2012, marine fisheries landings in Louisiana were valued at $271.9 million at dockside, up from $264.7 million in 2011. Value added for marine fisheries was estimated to be $265.1 million in 2012. That means the total value of all marine fisheries, including value added, in 2012 was estimated to be $537 million to the state’s economy.


The 2012-2013 harvest of fur animal pelts had a gross farm value of $496,740, significantly higher than $294,284 in 2011-2012. This value represents fur production only and excludes any value associated with meat production, predominately from raccoon and nutria carcasses.

Animals pelted and sold in 2012-2013 totaled 69,865, which represented an increase from the 19,489 pelts taken the previous year. Pelt prices among all fur bearers were lower than last year’s average prices, but the greater number of pelts taken greatly increased the total value of the fur industry in Louisiana. During the 2012-2013 trapping season, the gross farm value for all furs taken was $202,451 greater than what was reported the previous year. The average price paid for a single pelt taken during the 2012-2013 trapping season was $7.11. This varied from a low of $1.08 cents paid for an opossum pelt to a high of $60.81 paid for the pelt of a river otter.

Nutria removals in the state associated with the coastwide nutria control program accounted for 388,160 animals being taken. This number is slightly higher than the 354,354 taken during the 2011-2012 period. The incentive payment for these removals was $5 each. The total number and value of all animals removed, including the nutria taken under the control program, was 418,490 individuals with a total value of more than $2.4 million. Excluding the nutria removed under the coastwide nutria control program that were not pelted and sold, the value added components raised the total value of furs sold in Louisiana during the 2012-2013 trapping season to $609,997.

Hunting Lease Enterprises

The value of recreational hunting in Louisiana is estimated by the income derived from hunting lease enterprises. The number of producers who leased land in the state during the 2012-2013 hunting season was 5,676. This figure consists of 4,397 individuals who leased land for upland game hunting (predominately for deer and turkey) and 1,279 individuals who leased land for waterfowl hunting. These numbers essentially are unchanged from the previous year.

Land leased for hunting in 2012-2013 amounted to 6.34 million acres for upland game and 1.7 million acres for waterfowl, relatively unchanged from the previous year. Gross farm value for leases was $61.2 million for upland game and $32.5 million for waterfowl, up slightly from the preceding year for upland game and down for waterfowl.

The change in gross farm value for hunting leases was caused by a slight increase in the average lease rates for upland game ($9.50 per acre), while leases for waterfowl decreased to $22.50 per acre. Waterfowl leases averaged $15 per acre in the coastal areas of the state and $30 per acre in other areas. Prices per leased acre and the total number of acres leased for both upland game and waterfowl remained similar to those figures recorded during the previous year. Leasing rates varied greatly throughout the state from lows of $1 to highs of $35 per acre for upland game leases. In all hunting lease enterprises, rates were dependent on location, habitat quality and species involved. A high demand for a good hunting lease will many times bring prices greater than its market value.

With gross farm value of around $93.6 million and value added of nearly $8 million, total value of hunting leases in the state was $101.6 million during the 2012-2013 hunting season.


Honey production in 2013 was 1.8 million pounds, which was up from 1.5 million pounds collected in 2012. Good to moderate weather conditions allowed honey production during the spring, summer and fall in many areas, but a late freeze in April delayed nectar flow.

Honey prices in 2013 averaged $1.70 to $2.10 per pound in Louisiana. Assuming demand remains strong for domestically produced honey, prices should remain strong through 2014. Total production of 1.8 million pounds of honey by an estimated 325 beekeepers in Louisiana in 2013 was an increase from 1.5 million pounds from 322 beekeepers in 2012. The number of hives also increased in the state, from 21,443 in 2012 to 22,628 in 2013.

Commercial and hobby beekeepers have continued to develop a large local and statewide clientele – with some having to buy honey to meet demands. This increase in purchasing of local honey from beekeepers and in local stores (rather than buying commercial brands) has greatly improved the sales and value of Louisiana honey. It has expanded from stores and bakeries to restaurants, coffee houses and out-of-state markets. In many local markets, clientele have increased demand for local or state honey, and storekeepers say local honeys are the most popular.

Pollination services provided by honeybees continue to be a valuable commodity for Louisiana crops. Some have estimated these pollination services are valued at millions of dollars annually. These services include pollination of many vegetables, fruits, nuts, flowers, grasses and other plants that feed wildlife, livestock and people, and the services come in commercial production, home gardens and wild settings. Such values are not included in these estimates of honeybee value.

The gross farm value of honey production in Louisiana increased from $2.9 million in 2012 to $3.4 million in 2013. Value added from cleaning, processing, supplies, packaging and local sales in 2013 was $861,192, so the total value of honey production for 2013 was $4.3 million, up from $3.7 million in 2012.


Land harvested for cotton in 2013 was 124,415 acres, down 45 percent from 225,095 acres harvested in 2012. This significant decline in acreage reverses the increases witnessed in 2010 and 2011 and renews the continued decline in cotton acreage in the state. This level of harvested acreage is the lowest ever recorded in the state of Louisiana. In 2013, there were 26,306 acres of irrigated cotton harvested, down from 2012 when there were 76,118 acres of irrigated cotton harvested. Nonirrigated acreage in 2013 was 98,109, down from 148,977 acres of nonirrigated cotton harvested in 2012.

Cotton lint yield on irrigated land was 1,321 pounds per acre in 2013, compared to 1,138 pounds per acre in 2012 and 1,038 pounds per acre in 2011. Nonirrigated yields in 2013 were 1,194 pounds of lint per acre, compared to 952 pounds of cotton lint per acre in 2012 and 772 pounds per acre in 2011. The number of producers in 2013 was 287, down significantly from 415 producers in 2012 and 548 producers in 2011. Lint production in 2013 was 34.8 million pounds on irrigated land, while 117.2 million pounds were produced on nonirrigated land, bringing total lint production in 2013 to 151.9 million pounds or 316,536 bales, down from 475,848 bales in 2012.

Gross farm value of cotton lint sales was $117 million in 2013, with $26.8 million from lint harvested on irrigated land and $90.2 million from sales of lint harvested from nonirrigated land. Sales of cotton seed contributed an additional $30.8 million.

Gross farm value for both lint and seed in 2013 was $147.8 million, down 36 percent from 2012, when sales were $231.9 million. Value added from ginning and processing was $37 million, so the total value of the cotton sector was estimated to be $184.8 million in 2013, down 34 percent from the previous year.

Feed Grains

In 2013, there were 754,718 acres of feed grains harvested in the state, up from 650,347 acres of feed grains harvested in 2012 and 696,048 acres of feed grains harvested during 2011. The planted and harvested area for feed grains continued to remain relatively high, with the exception of oats, primarily due to strong grain prices. Those prices continued to be historically high throughout most of 2013, although prices fell toward the end of the year.

With nearly ideal growing conditions throughout much of the year and much of the state, record high yields and levels of feed grain production, both for corn and grain sorghum, occurred in 2013. Gross farm value of all feed grains in Louisiana was $791.8 million, up 17 percent from $676 million in 2012 and undoubtedly a record value for feed grain production in Louisiana. Value added for feed grains was estimated to be $138.6 million in 2013, so the total value, including both gross farm value and value added, of feed grain production in Louisiana for the year was $980.3 million, up dramatically (17 percent) from 2012.


Corn was grown on 1,369 Louisiana farms in 2013, down slightly from 1,358 farms in 2012. The statewide average yield was 186 bushels per acre in 2013, which was a record. Corn yields were up by 17 bushels from 169 bushels per acre in 2012 and up by 54 bushels from 2011. There were 643,480 acres of corn harvested in 2013, up by roughly 110,000 acres from 533,395 acres of corn harvested in 2012.

Gross farm value of corn production in 2013 was $735.5 million, up significantly from the 2012 value of $600.6 million and the 2011 value of $452.6 million and nearly triples the $282.7 million in 2010. This record value of corn production in the state was due to a combination of increased harvested acres, increased yield and grain prices that remained relatively high, which all affected the gross value.

Grain Sorghum

Despite record yields in 2013, grain sorghum production decreased compared to 2012 due to fewer acres being harvested for sorghum – 107,790 acres harvested in 2013 versus 115,045 acres harvested in 2012. There also were fewer producers (276) growing sorghum in 2013 than the ones (312) who harvest sorghum in 2013. Nonetheless, with record average yields of 58 hundredweight per acre (compared with 57 hundredweight per acre in 2012), overall sorghum production in 2013 (6.3 million hundredweight) remained near the level of 2012 (6.5 million hundredweight). Despite dry conditions in select areas of the state, planting, growing and harvesting conditions were more favorable in 2013 than 2012 throughout much of the sorghum growing areas of Louisiana.

Gross farm value of sorghum production was $55.1 million, down substantially from $74.9 million in 2012, due primarily to fewer acres in sorghum production, as well as strong, but lower, farm-gate prices for grain sorghum.


Oat production rebounded somewhat in 2013, due in large part to a return to acreage levels from 2011. During 2013, Louisiana producers harvested 3,448 acres, up significant from 1,908 in 2012, but below 3,998 acres in 2011 and 8,573 acres in 2010. Oat yields in 2013 were 87 bushels per acre, up from 2012 levels of 73 bushels per acre and 84 bushels per acre in 2011. Gross farm value of oat production was $1.2 million in 2013, up from $500,000 in 2012 and $800,000 in 2011.


The projected Louisiana gross farm value of forest products increased during the 2013 calendar year by less than 1 percent from 2012. The 2013 total saw-timber harvest increased 100 million board feet to a cut of 971 million board feet. The pine saw-timber harvest increased by 17 percent from 2012 levels and posted a total statewide harvest of 895 million board feet during 2013. The hardwood saw-timber harvest, on the other hand, decreased to 104 million board feet during 2012, a 1 percent reduction. Pine chip-and-saw harvested during 2013 totaled 717,000 cords, an increase of approximately 16 percent from 2012 levels.

The 2013 Louisiana pulpwood harvest was 5.6 million cords, up 270,000 cords (5 percent) from the 2012 harvest. Pine pulpwood harvest increased 4.5 percent, from 4.5 million cords during 2012 to 4.7 million cords in 2013. Hardwood pulpwood harvest increased by 70,000 chords (8.3 percent), from 840,834 cords in 2012 to 910,731 cords in 2013.

Stumpage prices paid for pine saw-timber during the fourth quarter of 2013 averaged $248.48 per thousand board feet Doyle. This average represents a 0.16 percent increase from the previous quarter and 0.48 percent increase compared to a year ago. Prices paid for mixed hardwood saw-timber during the fourth quarter of 2013 averaged $491.53 per thousand board feet Doyle, which is a 39 percent increase from the previous quarter and 18 percent higher than a year ago. Pulpwood stumpage prices averaged $23.14 per standard cord for pine and $22.94 per standard cord for hardwood.

During the year, Louisiana’s private forest landowners received an estimated $420 million from the sale of forest timber (stumpage), up 11 percent from the $380 million in 2012. Timber harvesting contractors and their employees earned approximately $300 million from harvesting the trees and moving wood to mills during 2013. The earnings for the forest industry (salaries, wages, etc.) were approximately $1.4 billion dollars, and sales derived from the forest and wood products industries totaled an estimated $6.66 billion during 2013.

In general, delivered prices were down marginally for many timber classes over the period reported, but a few classes increased slightly in value from 2012 to 2013. Saw-timber prices for pine and mixed hardwood were up 5 percent. Pine chip-and-saw was down 1 percent, pine pulpwood decreased 8.4 percent and hardwood pulpwood decreased 1.5 percent. It must be noted that individual landowners should not look at Timber Mart South Prices as an indication of what they will get for timber sold on their land, but rather as a gauge to judge price trends and directions. In general, prices for delivered timber were down slightly for all timber classes. This is likely due to the increase in the number of jobs classified as logging from the prior year. As well, overall jobs in industries classified under forestry increased 7.4 percent from 22,970 to 24,655.

North American lumber production is expected to increase by almost 3 billion board feet (5.4 percent) in 2014 – an increase over 2013’s estimated gain of 2.6 billion board feet (5 percent). The stud lumber segment is expected to see the most volatility when U.S. housing starts increase rapidly (i.e., more than 175,000 units per year) and/or as the supply chain tightens. Demand for pulpwood also should show slight improvement during 2014, since demand in the pulp market is correlated with gross domestic product growth. Forecasts for GDP growth for the United States economy vary, but most predict growth around 2.7 percent to 3 percent in 2014. Forecasts on oriented strand board and plywood also should see strong prices, but not as high as what are in store for lumber. By comparison, the particle board and MDF (medium density fiberboard) sector will see more limited growth, but higher demand and prices are also forecast.

The gross farm income produced by all forestry-related products, such as timber, pine straw and Christmas trees, totaled $721 million during 2013. That was down 5 percent from the $758 million generated in 2012. The value added through further processing and delivery was approximately $2.16 billion, however. That means the total economic contribution from Louisiana’s forest product industries for 2013 was $2.88 billion.

While much related to forestland is somewhat local in nature (how much a landowner gets for stumpage is a factor of local characteristics such as access, volume of pine saw-timber per acre, weather, time of the year, etc.), there is still a significant amount of the entire equation that depends on what is happening in our general economy. In terms of general economic conditions, Louisiana is expected to experience fair (2.5 percent to 3.5 percent) GDP growth. Driving this growth are the rising profits and productivity in natural gas, petroleum refining and petrochemical industries, which will keep Louisiana growing faster than average. Employment forecasts are very robust for the state over the next two years, and predict adding 34,200 jobs in 2014 and 33,600 jobs in 2015.

Overall, there is reason to be optimistic about wood markets here in the South for the next few years. Many of the problems for the economic recovery, such as continued struggles to clear housing markets of foreclosed homes, unemployment rates and general financial insecurity, are still serious concerns but appear to be improving. Other encouraging news is the passage of the 2014 farm bill. The bill includes a number of provisions for forests, including new market opportunities for forest products, more conservation tools to forest owners, strengthened programs to fight invasive forest pests and protection for woodland owners from unnecessary permit requirements on forest roads.

Fruit Crops

Louisiana’s commercial fruit production is diverse, ranging from berries, citrus and peaches to muscadine grapes and mayhaws, among others. In 2013, commercial fruit crops were raised by 1,035 producers, down significantly from 1,906 growers in Louisiana during 2012. This reduction in producer numbers reflects a more accurate representation of commercial fruit production as opposed to home-scale production that may have been included in previous editions of this series. Gross farm value for commercial fruit production was $28.9 million in 2012, down 11 percent from $32.4 million in 2012. Value added contributed $10.1 million to the total value of fruit production of $39 million in 2013, down 4 percent from 2012.


Gross farm value of blackberries increased during 2013 and was $2.2 million, up from $1.7 million during 2012. During the past year, the number of commercial blackberry producers was 90, and they cultivated 103 acres of blackberries in 2013, an increase in both producer numbers and harvested acres from 2012. Average production was up slightly, from 5,309 pints of blackberries per acre during 2012 to 5,651 pints for 2013. Overall production was up, as well, in 2012, going from 485,800 pints during 2012 to 583,500 pints in 2012. In addition to increased production, better prices also contributed to the increase in gross farm value.


In 2013, blueberries were grown commercially by 74 producers on 168 acres, down from 310 acres in 2012. Blueberries yielded, on average, 6,329 pints per acre for producers in 2013. Total production was 1 million pints in 2013. Gross farm value of blueberries during 2013 was $4.4 million, up significantly from $2.2 million in 2012, primarily due to increased acreage and yield in commercial blueberry production in Louisiana.


The Louisiana citrus industry in 2013 involved 419 growers in 18 parishes, up from 397 growers in 2012. Producers harvested 744 acres of citrus during 2013, up from 603 acres of citrus in 2012. The citrus industry continues to recover from flooding associated with Hurricane Isaac that caused extensive damage or destroyed orchards in Plaquemines Parish, in particular.

Citrus production and harvesting of fruit occurred on 242 acres of navels, 476 acres of satsumas and 26 acres of other types of citrus (lemons, grapefruit and kumquats, among others). Despite damage caused by Hurricane Isaac, Plaquemines Parish remained the leading producer of citrus in Louisiana, with 515 acres of citrus that had gross farm sales of $3.8 million in 2013, up from $2.2 million in 2012.

Although some citrus is sold through traditional marketing channels, the majority of Louisiana citrus is sold by direct marketing at roadside stands and farmers markets. Peddlers buy citrus on the farms and sell it again across the state, while some growers deliver citrus to grocery store warehouses, individual grocery stores and fruit stands.

Satsumas were grown by 221 producers on 476 acres during 2013. Total satsuma production was 184,642 bushels in 2013, up from 113,755 bushels sold in 2012. Value of satsuma sales in 2013 was $3.8 million, down from $3.9 million during 2012, due primarily to weaker prices at the wholesale and retail levels. Navel oranges were grown by 126 producers on 242 acres, with 73,071 bushels harvested and sold. Gross farm value of navel orange sales was $1.4 million in 2013, up from $1.2 million in 2012. The gross farm value of all citrus production in Louisiana in 2013 was $5.4 million, up from $5.2 million for 2012.


The gross farm value for mayhaws was $1.2 million in 2013, essentially unchanged from 2012. Orchard and native mayhaw trees produced approximately 500,000 and 700,000 pounds respectively for a total production in 2013 of 1.2 million pounds, essentially unchanged in total production from 2012. Production, centered in Grant Parish, occurred on 119 acres statewide in 2012 and averaged 3,375 pounds per acre of orchard production.

Miscellaneous Fruit

Many miscellaneous fruits were planted either as small commercial plantings or as backyard plantings. These crops included figs, grapes, pears, plums, apples and persimmons. These fruits were planted on approximately 132 acres and had estimated gross farm value of $1.75 million in 2013.


Reports concerning muscadine production were divided into fresh fruit production and commercial production. The total gross farm value of all muscadine production during 2013 was $368,400.

Muscadines were grown for fresh fruit on 75 acres by 35 growers who produced 47,450 pounds of grapes in Louisiana during 2013. The fruit usually was sold at $4 to $10 per gallon, with an average of $6 per gallon. The lower prices generally were used at U-pick operations.

Production for juice and wine was considered commercial muscadine production. Muscadines grown for wine production are concentrated in East Feliciana Parish, and Louisiana produced 465 tons of commercial muscadines on 30 acres in 2013.


Gross farm value of peaches during 2013 was $1.1 million, down from $1.5 million in 2012. Peaches were grown on 213 acres by 34 commercial producers and yielded 25,780 bushels during 2013, down from previous year.


In 2013, the Louisiana strawberry industry involved 80 growers who produced berries on 361 acres for a gross farm value of $12.4 million. This was down in value since producers harvested fewer acres, which resulted in lower total production. Tangipahoa Parish was the leading strawberry-producing parish in the state, with 285 acres and $10.2 million in sales during 2013, both down slightly from 2012 levels.

The majority of the Louisiana strawberries were sold by peddlers. Growers also delivered berries to grocery store warehouses, individual grocery stores and fruit stands. The remaining portion of the crop was sold at farmers markets and roadside stands.

Louisiana strawberries were available as early as November, December and January. This was due to the use of the variety Strawberry Festival, plug plants from nurseries in Quebec, Canada, row covers and wire hoops. These early berries brought premium prices and played a large part in the high returns for the crop in Louisiana.

Commercial Greenhouse Vegetables

During 2013, 14 parishes had farms commercially growing greenhouse vegetables on 4 acres, similar to the greenhouse space used in 2012. As in the past, most production (90 percent) was devoted to tomatoes during 2013, with some greenhouse space devoted to cucumbers and lettuce. All of the greenhouse produce was sold on the fresh market, much of it direct-retail at local markets. Energy costs, which became a major cost of production during the winter of 2009, continued to affect production decisions over the past few years, despite temporary declines in energy costs during part of that period.

The estimated gross farm value of Louisiana greenhouse vegetables was nearly $2 million in 2013, unchanged from 2012 levels. Total value of greenhouse produce, including value added, was $2.6 million for 2013, an increase of $250,000 over 2012 levels.

Hay Sold

Hay production for commercial sales is a limited part of the total hay production in Louisiana, and 2013 was no exception. Nevertheless, hay was produced from 353,788 acres of grassland in 2013, down from 356,462 acres of grasslands in 2012. There were 3,086 producers of hay in 2013, down from 3,457 producers during 2012. In addition, 47 acres of alfalfa were produced in Louisiana during 2013.

Yields averaged 3 tons per acre from the grasslands harvested for sale during 2013, up from 2.9 tons per acre in 2012. Production included 1.1 million tons of grass hay in 2013, up slightly from 1 million in 2012. Alfalfa hay production, which averaged 5 tons per acre, was 225 tons in 2013.

Dry weather conditions persisted throughout much of the state during the spring and summer months, and fall conditions also were somewhat dry. Many Louisiana hay producers were able to sell their hay into drought-stricken areas, such as Texas, for good prices.

Gross farm value of all hay sales in 2013, including alfalfa production, was $155.9 million, up from $128.3 million for the 2012 crop. Total value of hay production, including value added, was $183.2 million in 2013, up 24 percent from $147.5 million for 2012.

Hay for all noncommercial purposes was grown on approximately 460,000 acres and produced 2.7 tons per acre for a total production of 1.24 million tons in 2013.

Home Vegetable Gardens

Parish reports indicate there were an estimated 475,531 home gardens statewide during 2013. This number was similar to that of 2012 but higher than in previous years due to a change in the method used to estimate the number of home gardens, which started in 2011. This revised method used a formula based on research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that indicated approximately one in three households have some kind of garden, including backyard fruit trees, vegetable plots, berry patches, etc. As a result of that research, the number of gardens was adjusted in some parishes to more accurately reflect this range of home garden production.

Nonetheless, the number of home gardens in any given year fluctuates greatly with people’s interest and the economy. When economic conditions are weak, as have existed for the past few years, the number of households using home gardens increases. Vegetable gardening is not only a hobby but also a way of extending the family food budget by freeing up limited funds for other food purchases.

A survey of Louisiana home gardeners in 2008 showed the average age of gardeners was 62 years, with a median age of 67 years. The median Louisiana garden size was 800 square feet and was calculated to generate produce valued at $525 per garden. This value was used to calculate the gross farm value of home gardens in Louisiana.

The 2013 gross farm value of home vegetable gardens in Louisiana was estimated to be $249.7 million.

Nursery Crops

The commercial nursery industry in Louisiana consists of fruit and nut tree nursery stock production, foliage plants, woody ornamentals, and floriculture and bedding plants. Commercial nursery crop production in Louisiana had a gross farm value of $99.9 million in 2013. This was down $15.8 million from $115.7 million reported for 2012 sales of nursery crops in Louisiana.

Wholesale production was $4.8 million for the growers of fruit and nut tree nursery stock in 2013, down from $5.2 million in 2012. This category had been up 10-20 percent annually the three years prior to last year, when the industry’s total declined by 10 percent. Bedding plant and floriculture crop production was down in 2013, with $31.3 million in farm-gate sales, compared to the 2012 gross farm value of $44.7 million. The largest segment of the nursery industry continues to be woody ornamentals (trees and shrubs). At the wholesale level, woody ornamental growers sold products worth $62.6 million during 2013, down from $65 million in 2012. Sales of foliage plants increased somewhat, from $900,000 in gross farm value in 2012 to $1.2 million in gross farm sales in 2012.

Including value added of $55 million, the total value of the Louisiana nursery industry at the wholesale level was $154.8 million for 2013, down 14 percent from $179.4 million for 2012.


During 2013, there were 578 acres of peanuts harvested, which was down significantly from 1,348 acres in 2012. Production of peanuts decreased from 6.1 million pounds in 2012 to 2.3 million pounds of peanuts sold for commercial processing in 2013. Gross farm value of peanuts in 2013 was approximately $618,000, down sharply from approximately $2.2 million in 2012. Value added of approximately $93,000, when combined with gross farm value, resulted in $710,431 in total value for Louisiana peanut production during 2013.


Estimates of the state’s pecan crop during the summer ranged from 5 million pounds to 7 million pounds, with an average forecast crop of 5.4 million pounds, which would be 55 percent below the 10-year average (2002-2011) of 12.1 million pounds. Insect pressure was sporadic, with no significant losses being attributable to a specific insect statewide. Several growers reported some late-season defoliation due to black aphid infestations. Scab disease was prevalent in some locations but was not a widespread issue. Several growers also reported some defoliation due to some minor foliar pathogens.

Input from growers, LSU AgCenter agents and accumulators estimated the final pecan crop at 6.1 million pounds, which would be 4 million pounds less than the last “off-year” crop in 2011 and 9 million pounds less than last year’s “on-year” crop of 15 million pounds. The 2013 crop is forecast to consist of 2.8 million pounds of improved pecans and 3.3 million pounds of native pecans. Wholesale prices in Louisiana were highly variable, with prices for natives ranging from $0.45 to $1 per pound and improved pecan prices ranging from $1.25 to $2.25 per pound. The variability on prices was due to quality, location, time of sale and quantity of pecans sold. The gross farm value was estimated to be $7.8 million in 2013.

Native trees accounted for the majority (78 percent) of the production in Louisiana from 2009-2011. Native production was off this year, however, accounting for less than 54 percent of total production in 2013. The 2014 pecan crop in Louisiana will be an “on-year” crop because of the alternate bearing nature of pecan production. It is yet to be seen what effects other nut commodity prices will have on pecan demand in 2014. The prices of almonds, pistachios and walnuts currently are near historic high levels. Such high prices may lead consumers, retailers, and food manufacturers purchasing those nuts to switch to pecans, which are currently competitively priced with almonds and cheaper than pistachios and walnuts. Pecan nut consumption has rebounded from decreases due to the record high prices a couple of years ago and should continue in a positive direction. This could prevent prices from dropping significantly on what should be a large 2014 pecan crop in Louisiana.

The gross farm value of Louisiana pecans was estimated to be $7.8 million in 2013, down considerably (47 percent) from the $14.6 million for 2012. Total value of pecan production, including value added, was estimated to be $9.9 million for 2013.


Rice acreage in Louisiana reversed a trend in declining acres by increasing from 391,036 acres in 2012 to 410,902 acres in 2013.

In 2013, a wet March caused delays in planting and forced some growers to abandon plans to drill seed and caused them to resort to water seeding. Growers who were able to plant early produced excellent yields, while those who planted later experienced serious declines in production. Growing conditions were very good in northeast Louisiana, however, as well as some areas of the southwestern growing area. Rice blast disease severely affected some parishes in the southwestern area, especially those planted to the variety CL151. Despite the problems in some areas, the good conditions in other areas resulted in a record yields of 7,600 pounds per acre.

The 2013 Louisiana rice crop was harvested by 1,023 producers. The gross farm value of the state’s rice crop was $494.4 million for 2013, $123 million (33 percent) more than the year before. The higher acreage, combined with record yields and higher prices, accounted for the significant increase in overall farm-gate value in 2013. Value added of $164.6 million, when combined with farm-gate value, brought the total value of rice production in Louisiana to $659.1 million.

Sod and Turfgrass Production

During 2013, sod was produced by 22 Louisiana sod farmers on 3,305 acres of fine turfgrasses, down from 3,345 acres harvested in 2012. About 60 percent of the turf sod acreage in Louisiana is centipede grass and about one-third is St. Augustine grass. The remaining acreage is divided among Bermuda grass and zoysia.

The continued slow recovery from the economic downturn and slump in the housing market locally and regionally hampered sod sales during 2013. New construction remained somewhat soft, and the effects of the recession had more of an influence on local and state economies. Shipping costs continued to be higher than in previous years due to stubbornly high fuel costs. As a result, local sod remains more cost competitive, since shipping always has been a major component of consumer sod cost. Growers remained somewhat optimistic because the economy appeared to be improving in 2013, although at an anemic pace.

Gross farm value of sod and turfgrass sales in 2013 was estimated to be $16.5 million. Value added for turfgrass production was $12.4 million, so the total value of sod and turfgrass production in Louisiana during 2013 was $28.9 million, down 1 percent from $29.3 million the past year.


The soybean yield of 49 bushels per acre in 2013 broke the Louisiana soybean yield record again. Soybeans were harvested from more than 1.1 million acres by 2,394 producers during 2013. The record Louisiana soybean yields in 2013 combined with high acreage harvested resulted in the largest harvest of soybeans recorded in the state – 53.8 million bushels.

Yields were higher than 2012 by 5 bushels per acre, due to rainfall and good growing conditions through most of the grain filling stages of development. Drought conditions were reported in some areas of the state, which reduced soybean yields and prevented some acreage from being planted, although other areas had wet conditions that delayed planting.

Overall, producers statewide were able to plant early, which was during optimum planting dates. Getting a large portion of the soybean crop planted on time contributed to the high yields. The usual weed, disease and insect problems were present during 2013, but because of the dry conditions early, insect and disease pressure was mild to moderate until late in the season. Warm temperatures during winter were blamed for increased stink bug numbers and Asian soybean rust. Asian soybean rust continues to be a threat in Louisiana, although its presence so far has not resulted in major yield losses. Excellent weather conditions and timely rains for most of the state and favorable conditions during harvest contributed to the state’s record yield.

Gross farm value of soybeans in Louisiana was $773.4 million for 2013, a 10 percent increase from the $700 million in 2012. Value added from cleaning and processing soybeans in Louisiana contributed $135.4 million and resulted in $908.8 million in total economic contributions to the state’s economy from soybeans.


Sugarcane was grown on 439,256 acres in 23 Louisiana parishes during 2013. An estimated 411,409 acres were available for harvest for sugar, assuming that 6.5 percent of the total acres were used for seed cane.

The 11 operating raw sugar factories in the state processed nearly 14.04 million tons of cane, which was slightly lower than the amount processed in 2012. In total, the 11 factories produced almost 1.56 million short tons of sugar (96º pol), which is the third largest amount of sugar that Louisiana has ever processed.

The average yield of cane produced from each harvested acre amounted to 34.1 tons per acre (a decrease of 2.9 tons per acre compared to 2012). The average sugar recovery at the 11 raw sugar factories was 11.1 percent or 222 pounds of sugar (96º pol) per ton of cane, which was a decrease of 5 pounds of sugar per ton of cane compared to the 2012 crop. The yield of commercially recoverable sugar produced per harvested acre was approximately 7,570 pounds (a decrease of 842 pounds compared to the 2012 crop). The 2012 crop had the highest recoverable sugar per acre of any sugarcane crop ever grown in Louisiana.

Although the pricing period is not completed for the 2013 crop, sugar prices have dropped considerably compared to the pricing periods of 2010-2012. The average predicted value for raw sugar for 2013 is $0.218 per pound. Molasses prices have remained high at an average of $120 per short ton at 79.5 Brix.

The gross farm value of the 2013 sugarcane crop was estimated at $421 million for sugar and $34 million for molasses, which combined for a total of $455 million. The gross farm value represents 60 percent of the value of the sugar and 50 percent of the value of molasses produced. The remaining percentages are for processing and marketing, which amounted to $315.7 million. Therefore, the total value of the sugarcane crop to Louisiana producers, processors and landlords at the first processing level was $770.7 million.

The 2013 sugarcane crop got off to a slow start. Late winter and spring temperatures were well below normal. In fact, below-freezing temperatures were experienced on March 2, 3, 7 and 27 of 2013 (data from Baton Rouge Airport). Temperatures conducive for growth of sugarcane were not experienced until mid-May. Summer rainfall patterns generally were well distributed during the summer, which provided for good sugarcane growth. The crop was short, however, when planting time arrived in early August. In fact, many growers delayed planting to allow for additional crop growth. Planting ratios were good for the 2013 planting season, and stands of newly planted cane were considered excellent. The high tonnage for the 2013 crop likely was due to very warm temperatures experienced in September and October, which resulted in excellent late-season crop growth. Fortunately, no tropical systems affected the Louisiana sugar industry in 2013, another plus for good tonnage and sugar recovery.

In addition to the high tonnage, recoverable sugar per ton of cane was very good, although not as good as the 2012 crop. Weather conditions for the 2013 harvest generally were wet. The additional mud and fiber in harvested cane were factors that lowered overall sugar recovery.

Total sugarcane acreage (439,256 acres) in Louisiana for 2013 was higher than the acreage reported in 2012. While production acreage continues to be lost to urban encroachment and industrial development in some areas, sugarcane acreage continued to increase in Pointe Coupee and Vermilion parishes.

The 2013 sugarcane variety census showed Louisiana producers have spread their risk and continue to rely on several varieties. The most widely grown variety was HoCP 96-540, which was grown on 39 percent of the production acres. It was followed by L 99-226 (17 percent), L 01-299 (15 percent), L 01-283 (10 percent), L 99-233 (6 percent), HoCP 00-950 (4 percent), L 03-371 (3 percent) and HoCP 04-838 (3 percent). HoCP 04-838 was released in 2011 and is currently being increased on most farms. Seed cane of the experimental variety HoCP 07-613 was expanded on secondary increase stations and is scheduled for release in 2014.

Sugar yield at the beginning of the harvest was high, considering that growers harvested their older stubble crops and heavy clay land first. Sugar recoveries were good where ripeners were applied and much lower where ripeners were not applied. With the late-season growth, many acres of ripener-treated cane did not have pronounced yellowing, which is common after ripener application. Sugar recoveries also were higher due to the erectness of the crop. An erect crop can be topped when harvested. Harvest conditions for the 2013 crop generally were wet.

The Louisiana sugar industry experienced below-freezing temperatures on Nov. 28, 29 and 30 of 2013, with minimum temperatures of 26, 27 and 29 experienced, respectively. Although growing points were killed by these temperatures, no freeze cracks were observed and bud damage along the stalk was minimal. Growers were able to process the most freeze-damaged cane first, and the harvest season was completed with minimal losses. Most damage from the freeze occurred north of Interstate 10.

The 11 factories processed slightly less tonnage than the 2012 crop. The first factory to open was Alma on Sept. 24, 2013, and the last factories to close were Cora Texas and Sterling Sugars, which processed sugarcane until Jan. 10, 2014.

Sweet Potatoes

Louisiana sweet potato producers harvested a record-setting crop during 2013 of 481 bushels per acre. Unfortunately, the record yield was accompanied by an acreage decrease in 2013 of 25 percent to 7,322 acres. Louisiana remained fourth in planted and harvested acreage in the United States for 2013 – behind North Carolina, Mississippi and California.

Similar to 2011 and 2012, Louisiana sweet potato producers experienced a “good” year in 2013. Harvested acres for 2013 were estimated to be 7,322 for both fresh and processing markets. Average to above-average yields were reported by most producers for 2013. The average free on board, or FOB, price received for the 2013 calendar year was estimated to be $19.85 for a 40-pound box for U.S. No. 1s. Frozen processors paid an average price of $8-10 per 40-pound box (about $16-22 per hundredweight) for U.S. No. 2s and jumbos in 2013, while the price received for canner grade sweet potatoes averaged $3-5 per hundredweight.

An unusually cold, wet spring delayed planting significantly in 2013, but as planting conditions improved, the majority of the crop was planted into favorable soil conditions. Growing conditions remained ideal throughout the early growing season. A statewide dry period received late in the growing season requires producers to use irrigation capabilities to keep the crop on schedule. Approximately 90 percent of Louisiana sweet potato acreage can be irrigated.

Harvest was initiated by a few producers in mid-August, while the majority of producers began harvest in mid-September. Harvest was completed by late November in most cases. A few producers are bulk harvesting the crop, using newly designed harvesters or modified Irish potato harvesters. More producers are expected to move toward bulk harvesting in the future, as growth in the processing sector is expected to continue. Production and packing costs were estimated to be $3,000 to $3,500 per acre.

As with the past few years, insect pressure was notably light in 2013. Yellow and purple nutsedge infestations were problems throughout the growing season for many producers. Weed problems are compounded because few registered herbicides are available for weed control in sweet potatoes.

Two new varieties released by the LSU AgCenter’s sweet potato breeding program in 2012, ‘Orleans’ and ‘LA 07-146,’ combined to account for 15 percent of the acreage in Louisiana in 2013. They are beginning to displace ‘Beauregard’ acreage in Louisiana and other states. ‘Beauregard,’ which was released by the LSU AgCenter’s sweet potato breeding program in 1987, has remained the leading variety grown in Louisiana for several years. The increase in ‘LA 07-146’ acreage in Louisiana may, in part, account for the large increase in the average yield estimate (481 bushels per acre) in 2013. ‘LA 07-146,’ which, on average, yields 15-20 percent higher than ‘Beauregard,’ was grown by a number of Louisiana sweet potato producers who were producing solely for the processing sector.

A year-round market has developed in recent years, and producers, shippers and brokers are interested in maintaining a year-round supply to meet their buyer’s needs. In addition to the fresh market demand, there also has been an increase in processed consumer-friendly sweet potato products in recent years, such as sweet potato fries, canned sweet potatoes and sweet potato chips and cookies. Growth in value-added use and markets for producers is expected to result in acreage increases in Louisiana and across the southeastern United States during the coming years.

Total gross farm value for sweet potatoes for 2013 was estimated at $48.9 million. Total value of sweet potato production, including value added of $36.7 million, was $85.6 million in 2013.

Vegetables, Commercial

The Louisiana vegetable industry continues to be incredibly diverse. In 2013, more than 3,400 growers harvested and sold 33 different vegetables crops that were grown on 8,246 acres. Those crops had a gross farm value of $53.6 million.

The majority of the vegetable crops grown in Louisiana were sold by direct marketing at farmers markets and roadside stands. Direct marketing offered producers opportunities to sell at retail prices – but with some handling and marketing risk. The development of more than 140 farmers markets in Louisiana has greatly enhanced the marketing and value of vegetable crops harvested and sold by Louisiana producers. Vegetable crops not sold by those methods were delivered to grocery store warehouses, individual grocery stores and fruit and vegetable stands.

Louisiana MarketMaker, a free online marketing program administered by the LSU AgCenter, has added opportunities to market Louisiana produce to brokers, buyers, grocery stores, restaurants and consumers throughout the region. Accessing these markets via the Louisiana MarketMaker website allows producers to potentially receive increased revenues from sales to markets where they traditionally have had limited access. Information on the Louisiana MarketMaker program is found at: http://la.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/

Watermelons constituted one-quarter of the acreage devoted to vegetable production in Louisiana. Most of the watermelons grown in the state were sold to peddlers, and only a small percentage was sold to the wholesale markets. Gross farm value of watermelon production for 2013 was $9.6 million.

Other top crops in terms of farm-gate value of production in Louisiana during 2013 were tomatoes (382 acres) at $9.1 million, southern peas (1,775 acres) at $4.7 million, peppers ((279 acres) at $4.1 million, green tomatoes (115 acres) at $3.5 million and summer and winter squash (351 acres) at $3.5 million.

The gross farm value of all commercial vegetable sales in the state was $53.6 million for 2013. Combined with value added ($72.4 million), the total value of Louisiana commercial vegetable production for 2013 was $126 million.


Wheat was harvested from 232,813 acres by 506 producers during 2013, which was down from 255,864 acres by 531 producers during 2012. The decline in prices received for wheat during 2013, compared to 2012 prices, was the primary cause for this reduction in wheat acreage planted and harvested in Louisiana during 2013.

Louisiana’s 2013 yields for wheat averaged 64 bushels per acre, which was up from the average yield of 58 bushels per acre reported in 2012. Total Louisiana production for 2013 was 14.8 million bushels, essentially unchanged from 2012.

The gross farm value of the 2013 Louisiana wheat crop was $107.2 million, which was 6 percent lower than the 2012 crop. This decrease in gross farm value of the wheat crop was due to lower prices received for wheat. Value added for wheat production was $18.8 million, which resulted in a total value of production for Louisiana wheat of $126 million for 2013.