Gross farm income for all animal enterprises was $1.938 billion for 2012, up 15 percent from $1.693 billion in 2011. Value added was $1.112 billion for 2012, up from $952 million in 2011. Total value of all animal enterprises in the Louisiana economy was $3.05 billion, up 15 percent from $2.645 billion in 2011.
Fisheries and Wildlife Enterprises
Total farm value of all fish and wildlife enterprises in 2012 was $643.5 million, up 13 percent from $569.4 million in 2011. Value added in 2012 was $457.5 million, up from $387 million the preceding year. Total value of all fisheries and wildlife enterprises to the Louisiana economy was $1.101 billion, up 15 percent from $956.4 million in 2011.
The gross farm value of all plant enterprises was $4.095 billion in 2012, an increase of 7 percent from $3.824 billion in 2011. Value added was $3.114 billion for all plant commodities during 2012, compared to $3.238 billion in 2011. Total value of all plant or crop enterprises to the Louisiana economy was $7.209 billion in 2012, up 2 percent from $7.062 billion in 2011.
During 2012, the Louisiana beef cattle industry maintained and in some parishes increased its cow numbers, which was fortunate since many states sustained losses due to moderate to severe drought conditions throughout much of the country in 2012. These problems primarily were driven by the lack of precipitation and were compounded by extreme heat conditions during the summer in much of the country, particularly the southern plain 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 2012 totaled 610,818, with a reported 10,875 producers. Those were up from 561,627 cows and down from 11,015 producers reported in 2011.
The gross farm value of 229,962 steers sold in 2012 was $169.5 million; an increase of $34 million over the $135.2 million reported in 2011. The gross farm value of 205,906 heifers sold increased by more than $23 million as it rose from $113.8 million in 2011 to $136.6 million in 2012.
In 2012, 65,587 yearling cattle (600-800 pounds each) sold for $64.4 million. The number of cow-calf pairs sold in 2012 increased by approximately 17,000 to 67,197 pairs. These pairs sold for $78.8 million, up from $57.3 million in 2011. Gross farm values of 57,398 cull cows and 7,687 cull bulls were $38.4 million and $11.2 million, respectively.
Gross farm income from beef cattle increased from $398.5 million in 2011 to $498.9 million in 2012. When value added of $62.4 million is considered, the total value of beef cattle production in Louisiana was $561.2 million in 2012, up from $448.3 million in 2011.
Milk production was reported by 13 parishes in 2012. Three parishes in the southeastern part of the state and two parishes in the northwestern portion accounted for about 93 percent of the milk produced and 92 percent of the dairy herds. The number of dairy farms declined from 140 in 2011 to 135 in 2012. The number of milking cows decreased from 16,190 head in 2011 to 15,811 head in 2012. Total milk production decreased from 221.4 million pounds in 2011 to 218.4 million pounds in 2012. Even though total milk production was down only 1 percent, the on-farm value of milk decreased from $47.8 million in 2011 to $43.2 million in 2012. The decrease in the on-farm value of milk in 2012 was due primarily to a lower average price per hundredweight of milk ($19.80 per hundredweight in 2012 compared to $21.60 per hundredweight in 2011, an 8.33 percent decrease in price per hundredweight). Also, average milk produced per cow increased by 1 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.
Dairy goats were raised by 12 Louisiana producers in 2012. The 417 does milked in Louisiana during 2012 produced 92,793 gallons of goat milk, which sold for $300,000, down substantially from 2011.
The value of cull cows, bred heifers, mature cows, breeding age bulls and calves was $4.6 million. The total value of milk and animal sales to Louisiana dairy producers was $48.2 million. Value added contributed $69.9 million more. The total economic contribution from dairying in Louisiana, including milk sales, animal sales and additional processing, was $118.1 million.
The horse industry is an important component of the agricultural economy of Louisiana. In 2012, there were 113,292 horses owned by an estimated 41,766 people, a 6 percent decrease from 2011 in the number of horses but a 9 percent increase in the number of people owning horses. The horse industry has three sectors that consist of 30 percent racing, 15 percent show or competition and 55 percent recreational horse owners.
The state’s racehorse industry in 2012 involved of 1,452 breeders who owned 9,822 mares that produced 6,605 foals that sold for $52.8 million. The 260 Louisiana breeders own 998 stallions that were bred to 9,333 mares, generating income from stud fees of $23.3 million. The total gross farm income generated from racehorse production was $76.1 million. An additional 1,997 racehorse owners had 10,319 racehorses in training or on the track in Louisiana, with a gross farm value of $123.8 million. The gross farm value of the entire race sector (owners’ and breeders’ activities) of the horse industry in 2012 was $199.9 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) is composed of 1,819breeders who own 5,431 mares that produced 2,917 foals that sold for $11.7million during 2012. These breeders owned 542 stallions that bred with 3,111mares, generating $4.7 million in income from stud fees. The total income generated from show and competition horse production was $15.4 million. Another6, 526 owners competed on their 20,479 horses, which had a gross farm value of$102.4 million. The total gross farm value of the show and competition sector of the horse industry was $117.8 million.
A large portion of the horse industry was recreational. The horse has been used for comfort, exercise and enjoyment for quite some time. Approximately 8,230 of the recreational horse owners bred 17,589 mares and sold 10,159 foals in 2012 for $15.2 million. These horse enthusiasts owned1,748 stallions that were bred to 7,235 mares, generating income from stud fees of $3.6 million. The total income from production in the recreational horse industry was $18.8 million during 2012. Another 21,482 recreational horse owners have 59,525 horses valued at $89.3 million – making the total economic contribution of the recreational horse industry $108.1 million.
There were a total of 113,292 horses in Louisiana, owned by 41,766 people, with a gross farm value of $426.9 million in 2012. Value added contributed $44.8 million in2012, so that when combined with farm-gate value, the total value of horse sector was $471.7 million in 2012.
The average horse owner spends about $4,000 to $6,000annually on feed, tack, equipment, veterinary supplies and medicines. This results in an estimated expenditure of $453 million on horses and a total economic effect of $1.13 billion.
In addition to the value of horses produced and maintained in Louisiana, the activities of the horse industry generate tremendous cash flow for the state. The four racetracks employ 3,000 people and generate expenditures of $1 billion each year. The show and competition industry conducts an estimated 500 activities per year and generates $20million 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 $2.4 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 production for all agricultural commodities. Commercial broilers were produced in 11 parishes: Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Sabine, Union, Vernon, Webster and Winn. In 2012, 373 Louisiana growers (small producers and commercial operations) produced 912.7 million pounds of broiler meat with a gross farm value of $867.1 million.
There were 234 breeder flock producers in 2012 who produced 19 million dozen eggs with a gross farm value of $47.4 million. There also were 31 pullet producers, who produced 1.2 million pullets with a gross farm value of $14.7 million in 2012.
There were 519 edible egg producers (small producers and commercial operations) in Louisiana in 2012. Table egg production was 22.8million dozen eggs. The farm value for commercial egg production was $26.8million in 2012.
The gross farm value for all poultry production in Louisiana was $958.5 million during 2012. The value added from poultry production to the Louisiana economy was estimated to be $934.5 million, making the total value of poultry production in Louisiana nearly $1.9 billion in 2012, a 20 percent increase over 2011.
Ratite and Other Exotic Fowl
The sale of ratites and exotic fowl did not generate any funds in Louisiana during 2012.
There were 4,225 birds produced in 2012 by 22producers. Quail generated a gross farm value of nearly $11,000, and with value added of $1,109, a total value of nearly $12,000 in 2012.
The production of rabbits for meat and exhibition involved 402 Louisiana producers in 2012. The fryer industry produced 78,121 pounds of meat. Louisiana rabbit producers generated $156,242 in gross farm income. Sales from does generated more than $11,000 in gross farm revenues for producers. With value added of nearly $16,000, the total value of rabbit production in Louisiana during 2012 exceeded $183,000, essentially unchanged from 2011.
Sheep and Goats
Sheep, lambs and wool were produced by 251 producers in 30 parishes in Louisiana during 2012, a decrease from 328 producers during the previous year. The total number of lambs marketed (slaughter, feeder and club/show lambs) was estimated to be 3,770 in 2012, with a value of $564,165, which was down from 3,940 lambs and $791,000 in value for 2011. With a gross farm value of $38,820, the 687 head of stocker sheep sold in 2012 represented an increase of 200 head from last year. The number of cull sheep sold was estimated at 686, down from 914 in 2011. Cull sheep sold for $40,131 in 2012.Wool production was estimated at 999,800 pounds, down from 1.28 million pounds last year. Total farm-gate value of sheep sales was $1.2 million for 2012, down substantially from $3 million in 2011. Total value was $1.4 million when value-added contributions were included.
Goats were produced by 666 farmers in 60parishes in Louisiana during 2012, essentially unchanged from last year and ending a sharp decline from 2009 to 2011. Total number of slaughter goats marketed was estimated to be 6,688, up from 7,204 head the previous year. Stocker goats sold numbered in 2012 were 3,028, a slight decrease from 3,195head in 2011. There were 2,062 cull goats marketed this year, slightly less than 2,294 cull goats sold in 2011. Goats sold as club or show goats numbered 1,870 head, down substantially from 3,092 head in 2011. Gross farm value of goats sold in Louisiana during 2012 was $2.2 million, down from $2.6 million in2011. Total value of goat production in 2012 was $2.4 million when value-added contributions were included.
Louisiana pork producers numbered 245 in 2012, down considerably from 328 in 2011. St. Martin, Calcasieu, Vermilion, Rapides and Beauregard parishes reported the largest numbers of swine producers.
The number of sows reported in 2012 was 1,903, up from 1,868 sows in 2011. Show pigs, totaling 3,125 sold for $703,125, remained relatively unchanged from the previous year. Feeder pig sales of 10,657 had a gross farm value of $221,666 in 2012, a decrease in value from the previous year. Slaughter hog sales in 2012 involved 3,220 head with a gross farm value of $703,248. This reflected a slight increase in the value of sales from 2011levels. There were 996 cull animals (sows and boars) sold in 2012 that were valued at $278,880, down slightly from 2011.
The gross farm value of all classes of swine in2012 was $1.9 million, essentially unchanged from 2011. The estimated value added from the swine sector was $500,000 in 2012, so, with that added to the gross farm sales, the total value of all swine production in the state was $2.4million in 2012.
Exotic animal producers had gross farm sales of $65,800 in 2012, down from $102,000 during the previous year. Total value of production for exotic animals, including value added, was $70,735 in 2012.
Louisiana has long been recognized as supporting one of the most diverse aquacultural industries in the United States. Species and products such as crawfish, catfish, alligators, oysters, tilapia, baitfish, soft-shell 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. Many of the state’s aquacultural crops (specifically oysters, turtles, alligators and minnows) exhibited significant upward trends during 2012. Nonetheless, the overall gross farm value of Louisiana aquaculture declined by 11 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, largely due to a 22 percent drop in the quantity of the farm-raised crawfish harvested. This drop in production stemmed from extremely dry preseason conditions and cold winter temperatures.
Estimates from the field in 2012 indicate farm-raised crawfish production occupied 182,167 acres, down approximately 7,700 acres or 4 percent from the previous year. In spite of acreage reductions and adverse weather conditions, farm-raised crawfish continued to be the state’s most valuable aquacultural commodity by a wide margin, with a gross farm value of $152.8 million in 2012.
Following several years of depressed prices and lower stocking rates for farmed alligator producers, 2012 saw an increase in the value of the harvest of roughly 46 percent due to increased demand for hides and meat. Farm-gate value was estimated at $56.5 million, up from $38.5 million in 2011.
Declines in catfish acreage and production continued throughout all major producing states in 2012 as a function of high costs for feed and energy – the two largest input costs in catfish production. According to field estimates, Louisiana catfish acreage decreased to only 609 acres of ponds, with six Louisiana producers selling 1.7 million pounds of catfish valued at $1.8 million.
Reported pet turtle hatchling production was up significantly in 2012, with sales of approximately 4.5 million hatchlings from 69 producers statewide that sold for $4.5 million. Louisiana’s minnow industry had overall positive results when compared to the prior year, with gross farm values up by 11 percent to $1.1 million in 2012.
The oyster production information reported in this summary represents a one-year lag to avoid estimation and projection errors from using data from only part of the year (meaning figures for oysters reported this year are from 2011, not 2012). The reason for the lag is that data for oyster sales are 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 2011 of 1.4 million sacks, from a total of 1,026 producers, were $39.7 million, up sharply from estimates the previous year (2010) of $21.9 million in sales from approximately 934,000 sacks of oysters. Recall that 2010 was the year of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that resulted in closure of much of the Gulf of Mexico and inshore waters to fishing, including oyster harvest, for much of the season. In addition to the closures discussed previously, the freshwater diversions in the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin were opened to flush freshwater off the coast in hope of pushing any oil away from Louisiana’s valuable coastline. This action may or may not have affected production in the near term and long term. By comparison, sales in 2009 were $50 million and in 2008 were $34.2 million.
Summing up all aquacultural enterprises across the state resulted in $257.4 million in gross farm sales, down slightly (2.5 percent) from the previous year. Value added to aquacultural products was estimated to be $173.7 million. Combining the two values resulted in a total value of $431.1 million from aquaculture to the state’s economy for 2012.
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, weight 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 data reported here are 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 (2012) reflect the calendar year 2011. 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 are often 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 the2004 Louisiana Summary; data prior to that volume may not be directly comparable to the data reported since 2004 since a different estimation method was used. 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 reports 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 finfish is composed primarily of bowfin, catfish, buffalo, shad, gar and carp and typically is less valuable on a per-pound basis than marine finfish. Total freshwater finfish landings increased from $2.6 million from 8.2 million pounds in 2010 to $4.1 million from 11 million pounds caught by 1,381 commercial fishers in 2011. This is the first increase 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 2011landings and value were above 2009 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 $2.3 million on 4.7million pounds in 2011.
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 2011 crawfish season was down 28 percent in value from 2010, most likely due to prolonged, record-level flooding in 2011.This may have caused habitat destruction and limited access by commercial fishers. As a result, freshwater crawfish landings were down from 14.5 million pounds in 2010 to 8.8 million pounds in 2011. For comparison, freshwater crawfish landings were 18.6 million pounds in 2009, and in 1993, a record level of 50 million pounds. Wild crawfish sales were $9.3 million in 2011, and those were caught by 2,381 commercial fishermen, with the value down from $13.7million during the previous year.
Overall, landings from the freshwater fisheries sector in 2011 had a gross value of $13.4 million. Value added contributed $11.7million, so the freshwater fisheries sector contributed $25.1 million to Louisiana’s economy in 2011.
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 2011 compared to the previous year. Marine food finfish landings are varied and complex, with about80 different species being landed for a total of 11.5 million pounds in 2011.This was a 26 percent increase from 2010, when 9 million pounds of marine food finfish were landed in Louisiana. Excluding menhaden, the five most-valued species landed in 2011, by decreasing value, were yellow fin tuna, black drum, red snapper, king mackerel and swordfish. Total saltwater food finfish landings, excluding menhaden, were valued at $14.6 million in 2011, down from$10.7 million in 2010.
Landings of menhaden, a low-value but high-volume nonfood finfish species, were 1.1 billion pounds in 2011, up from 862 million pounds in 2010, 786 million pounds in 2009 and 741 million pounds in 2008. The catch was valued at $93.5 million, up significantly from $57.6 million in 2010.Menhaden value increased in 2011, selling for approximately 8.45 cents per pound compared to 6.68 cents per pound in 2010. The primary reason for the increase in price was an increase in the quantity demanded for menhaden. 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 compared to 2010, a year heavily affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill due to closures and freshwater diversions. In 2011, the freshwater diversions were opened again to control record-level flooding from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. In spite of that, however, 11.1 million pounds of oysters were landed during 2011, a 64 percent increase over 6.8 million in 2010.Nonetheless, this is still down from 14.7 million pounds of oysters harvested in 2009. The price in 2010 was approximately $3.73 per pound of oyster meat. To calculate prices per sack, assume 6.47 pounds of shucked oyster meat per sack ($24.15 per sack). According to US-NOAA-NMFS, gross value of oysters harvested during 2011 was $41.6 million – up from $25 million in 2010 but down from $50million 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. Although the record freshwater flooding may have affected the fishery in 2011, hard-shell blue crab landings were 43.9 million pounds with a gross value of $36.9 million. This was a 43 percent increase from 30.7 million pounds in 2010 but decrease from 2009when 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 2011, production of soft-shell crabs (20,345 pounds) and peeler crabs for the shedding business (166,501 pounds) was significantly up from 2010. In 2009, production of soft-shell 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. In 2010, despite the fisheries closures, production was up from 2008 values. Last year (2011), production continued to increase, indicating continued recovery from the 2005and 2008 storms.
Louisiana shrimp landings in 2011 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 2011, white shrimp contributed about 57 percent (52.8 million pounds) of total weight and 74percent ($98.6 million) of total value. In 2011, brown shrimp landings totaled39 million pounds with a value of $34.6 million dockside. The weighted-average price for shrimp was $1.44 in 2011, down from $1.46 in 2010 but up from $1.06in 2009 and $1.26 in 2007. Total shrimp landings in 2011 (the latest ones to be reported in this summary) were 90.5 million pounds, an increase from the 74.2million pounds harvested in 2010. By comparison, 114 million pounds of shrimp were harvested in 2009, 89.7 million pounds in 2008 and 109.5 million pounds in2007. Shrimp landed in Louisiana had a gross value of $133.5 million in 2011, up from 2010.
In 2011, marine fisheries landings in Louisiana were valued at $264.7 million at dockside, up from $232 million in 2010. Value added for marine fisheries was estimated to be $258.1 million in 2011. Total value of all marine fisheries, including value added, in 2011 was estimated to be $522.8million to the state’s economy.
The 2011-2012 harvest of fur animal pelts had a gross farm value of $294,284, significantly higher than $160,985 in 2010-2011. 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 2011-2012 totaled 19,489, which represented a decline from the 22,040 pelts taken the previous year. Pelt prices among all fur bearers were higher in 2011-2012 from 2010-2011, which caused a corresponding increase in the value of animals taken and pelted in2011-2012. Higher pelt prices are the single biggest factor in determining the effort trappers will put forth in trapping fur animals. Higher pelt prices resulted in an increase of gross farm value of $133,299 from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012. The average price paid for a single pelt taken during this trapping season was$15.10 compared to $7.30 per pelt the previous one. Prices paid for pelts varied from $1.10 for an opossum pelt to $58.40 paid for the pelt of a river otter.
Nutria removals in the state associated with the coastwide nutria control program accounted for 354,354 animals being taken in2011-2012. This number is down from the 338,512 nutria that were removed in the program in 2010-2011 and 445,963 during 2009-2010. The incentive payment for nutria removal remained at $5 each. The total number of all nutria removed, including those taken under the coastwide nutria control program and those removed outside the program, was 373,842 with a gross farm value of $2 million. This was up from the previous when 350,723 individuals were removed with a total value of over $1.8 million. Excluding the nutria removed under the program that were not pelted and sold, the value-added components raised the total value of furs sold in Louisiana during the 2011-2012 trapping season to $367,855.
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 2011-2012 hunting season was 5,647. This figure consists of 4,364 individuals who leased land for upland game hunting (predominately for deer and turkey) and 1,283 individuals who leased land for waterfowl hunting. These numbers are down from the previous year in which the number of producers who leased land in the state was 6,604, consisting of 5,328 individuals who leased land for upland game hunting (predominately for deer and turkey) and 1,276 individuals who leased land for waterfowl hunting.
Land leased for hunting in 2011-2012 amounted to 6.4million acres for upland game and 1.7 million acres for waterfowl, relatively unchanged from the previous year. Gross farm value for leases was $52.5 million for upland game and $41.6 million for waterfowl, up slightly from the preceding year.
The increased gross farm value for hunting leases was caused by a slight increase in the average lease rates for upland game ($8.25per acre), while leases for waterfowl remained unchanged at $24.50 per acre. Leasing rates varied greatly throughout the state from $1 to $35 per acre for upland game leases. Waterfowl leases ranged from $16 per acre in the coastal areas of the state to $50 per acre in other areas of Louisiana. In all hunting lease enterprises, rates charged by landowners depend on location, habitat quality and species involved. A high demand for a good hunting lease often will raise prices in the short run above what its market value might otherwise be.
With gross farm value of $94 million and value added of$7.1 million, total value of hunting leases in the state was $101.1 million during the 2011-2012 hunting season.
Honey production in 2012 was 1.5 million pounds, which was down from 1.9 million pounds collected in 2011. Good to moderate weather conditions allowed honey production during the spring, summer and fall in many areas. But a few areas showed average to lower rates of production due to drought, particularly in western areas of the state.
Honey prices in 2012 continued to remain relatively strong throughout the year and averaged $1.53 per pound in Louisiana, about the same as 2011. Assuming demand remains strong for domestically produced honey, prices should remain strong through 2013. Total production of honey by an estimated 322 beekeepers in Louisiana decreased in 2012 from 343 beekeepers in2011. Number of hives was down substantially, from 24,844 in 2011 to 21,443 in2012. This decline in the number of commercial and hobby colonies contributed primarily to the decline in production and value of production of honey in Louisiana in 2012.
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 over the 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.
Primary pest problems for commercial beekeepers continue to be small hive beetles and Varroa mites. Wax moths are an occasional problem for the hobby beekeepers. The stress produced by the mites and hive beetles are good examples of the types of stress exhibited in colonies with colony collapse disorder. Louisiana’s beekeepers continued efforts to improve their management techniques, and the continued support from the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Bee Breeding and Physiology Laboratory in the state have assisted with development of the lines of bees resistant to Varroa mites and management practices for hive beetles.
Wild colonies remain an issue with urban and rural residents. The LSU AgCenter maintains a list of beekeepers that collect swarms and remove colonies on its website. The list is by area of the state and provides contact information such as name and phone number, areas they will cover and, in some cases, their websites. That LSU AgCenter website with this information is: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/environment/insects/bees_wasps/honeybee+removal+and+swarm+collection.htm
Although African honeybees have increased in number in Louisiana, they continue to be a negligible problem in the state. The number of infested parishes has remained constant at eight. Cooperation between the beekeepers and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has kept any effects from these invaders to a minimum.
The gross farm value of honey production in Louisiana decreased from $2.9 million in 2011 to $2.3 million in 2012. Value added from cleaning, processing, supplies, packaging and local sales in 2012 was $600,000,so the total value of honey production for 2012 was $2.9 million, down from$3.7 million in 2011.
Pollination services provided by honeybees continues to be a valuable commodity to Louisiana crops. Some have estimated these pollination services to be 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.
Land harvested for cotton was 225,095 acres, down 22percent from 288,387 acres harvested in 2011. This significant decline in acreage reverses the increases witnessed in 2010 and 2011 and renews the continued decline in cotton acreage in the state. In 2012, there were 76,118acres of irrigated cotton harvested, down from 2011 when there were 100,295acres of irrigated cotton harvested. Nonirrigated acreage in 2012 was 148,977, down from 188,091 acres of no irrigated land harvested for cotton in 2011.
Cotton lint yield on irrigated land was 1,138 pounds per acre in 2012, compared with 1,038 pounds per acre in 2011 and 877 pounds per acre in 2010. Nonirrigated yields in 2012 were 952 pounds of cotton lint per acre, compared to lint production of 772 pounds per acre in 2011 and 697pounds per acre in 2010. The number of producers in 2012 was 415, down significantly from 548 producers in 2011 and 484 producers in 2010. Lint production in 2012 was 86.6 million pounds on irrigated land, while 141.8million pounds were produced on no irrigated land, bringing total lint production in 2012 to 228.4 million pounds (475,848 bales), down from 2011.Total lint production in 2011 was 519,388 bales, up from 398,195 bales harvested in 2010 but still only 82 percent of the cotton production in 2007(634,552 bales).
Gross farm value of cotton lint sales was $183 million for lint sales in 2012, with $69.4 million from lint harvested on irrigated land and $113.6 million from sales of lint harvested from no irrigated land. Sales of cotton seed contributed an additional $48.9 million for cottonseed.
Gross farm value for both lint and seed in 2012 was$231.9 million, down 9 percent from 2011 when sales were $255.9 million. Value added from ginning and processing was $46.4 million, so the total value of the cotton sector was estimated to be $278.2 million in 2012, down 9 percent from the previous year.
In 2012, there were 650,347 acres of feed grains harvested, down from 696,048 acres of feed grains harvested in Louisiana in2011 but up from 582,970 acres in 2010. Area planted and harvested to feed grains continued to remain relatively high, with the exception of oats, primarily due to strong grain prices that continued to be historically high throughout all of 2012. With nearly ideal growing conditions throughout much of the year and much of the state, record high yields and levels of feed grain production, particularly corn, occurred in 2012. Gross farm value of all feed grains in Louisiana was $676 million, up 31 percent from $517.8 million in 2011and undoubtedly a record value for feed grain production in Louisiana. Value-added for feed grains was estimated to be $118.3 million in 2012, with total value, including both gross farm value and value added, being $794.3 million, up dramatically (31 percent) from 2011.
Corn was grown on 1,341 farms in 2012, down slightly from 1,358 farms in 2011. The statewide average yield was 169 bushels per acre in 2012, a record. Corn yields were up sharply by 37 bushels to 132 bushels per acre in 2011. There were 533,395 acres of corn harvested in 2012, down by roughly 38,000 acres from 571,180 acres of corn harvested in 2011.
Gross farm value of corn production in 2012 was $600.6million; up significantly from the 2011 value of $452.6 million and more than double 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 significantly higher grain prices, which all affected the gross value.
Grain sorghum production increased for 2012 compared to2011. This increased production occurred despite fewer producers (312) growing sorghum in 2012 than the ones (327) who harvest sorghum in 2011. Also, fewer acres were harvested in 2012 (115,045) than in 2011 (120,870). Nonetheless, with an average yield of 57 hundredweight per acre (compared with 50hundredweight per acre in 2011), overall sorghum production was higher in 2012(6.5 million hundredweight) than in 2011 (6 million hundredweight). Despite droughts in select areas of the state, planting, growing and harvesting conditions were more favorable in 2012 than 2011 throughout much of the sorghum growing areas of Louisiana.
Gross farm value of sorghum production was $74.9million, up substantially from $64 million in 2011, due primarily to more producers achieving higher average yields, as well as continued very strong farm-gate prices for grain sorghum.
Oat production continued its significant decline in acreage to 1,908 in 2012, down from 3,998 acres in 2011 and 8,573 acres harvested in 2010. Oat yields in 2012 were 73 bushels per acre, down from 84bushels per acre in 2011. Gross farm value of oat production was $500,000 in2011, down from the $800,000 of 2011.
The projected Louisiana gross farm value of forest products increased during the 2012 calendar year by 7 percent from 2011. The2012 total saw-log harvest increased by 58.1 million board feet (7 percent) to a cut of 871.7 million board feet. The pine saw-timber harvest increased by 9percent from 2011 levels and posted a total statewide harvest of 766.4 million board feet during 2012. The hardwood saw-timber harvest, on the other hand, decreased to 105.3 million board feet during 2012, an 18 percent reduction. Pine chip-and-saw harvested during 2012 totaled 618,504 cords, a decrease of 19percent from 2011 levels.
The 2012 Louisiana pulpwood harvest was 5.3 million cords, up 250,000 cords (4 percent) from the 2011 harvest. Pine pulpwood harvest increased 7 percent, from 4.2 million cords during 2011 to 4.5 million cords in 2012. Hardwood pulpwood harvest decreased by 30,000 (3 percent), from 870,000 cords in 2011 to 840,000 cords in 2012.
Movement of stumpage prices for the period was mixed. Saw timber values increased from 2011 levels, while pulpwood prices and chip-n-saw stumpage values decreased from 2011 levels. Pine saw-timber stumpage prices were 3 percent higher during 2012, averaging about $250 per metric board foot statewide for the year. Oak saw-timber stumpage prices were 17 percent higher on average around the state during 2011 – at approximately $338 per metric board foot for the year. Statewide average prices for pine pulpwood decreased by 10 percent this year to $22 per cord in 2012. Hardwood pulpwood prices were 11 percent lower on average, at $21 per cord. Chip-and-saw prices decreased an average of 17 percent this year and stood at a statewide average of approximately $52 per cord during 2012. Delivered prices did not significantly change in 2012.
During the year, Louisiana’s private forest landowners received an estimated $377.3 million from the sale of forest timber (stumpage), down 1 percent from the $379.9 million in 2011. Timber harvesting contractors and their employees earned $381 million from harvesting the trees and moving wood to mills during 2012. This total was down 9 percent from the 2011 level of$420.5 million. The payroll and income derived from money generated by the forestry and wood products industries totaled an estimated $2.8 billion during2012, a decrease of 5 percent from 2011 totals of $3 billion. The gross farm income produced by all forestry-related products, such as timber, pine straw and Christmas trees, totaled $759 million during 2012. That was down 5 percent from the $801 million generated in 2011. The value added through further processing and delivery was $2.1 billion, which was 5 percent lower than 2011’svalue added. That means a total economic contribution from Louisiana’s forest products industries of $2.846 billion for 2012.
Louisiana’s commercial fruit production is diverse, ranging from berries, citrus and peaches to muscadine grapes and mayhaws, among others. In 2012, commercial fruit crops were raised by 1,906 producers, up from 1,175 growers in Louisiana during 2011. Gross farm value for commercial fruit production was $32.4 million in 2012, up from $29.9 million in 2011. Value-added contributed $8.1 million to the total value of fruit production of $40.5million in 2012, up 8 percent from $37.4 million in 2011.
Gross farm value of blackberries increased during 2012and was $1.7 million, up sharply from $800,000 during 2011. During the past year, the number of commercial blackberry producers was 64, and they cultivated92 acres of blackberries in 2012, a significant increase in harvested plantings from 78 acres in 2011. Average production was up slightly, from 5,223 pints during 2011 to 5,309 pints of blackberries per acre for 2012. Overall production was up as well in 2012, growing from 407,252 pints during 2011 to 485,800 pints in 2012. In addition to increased production, much better prices also contributed to the increase in gross farm value.
In 2012, blueberries were grown commercially by 62producers on 310 acres, both down from 2011 levels of 76 producers on 466acres. Blueberries yielded, on average, 4,928 pints per acre for producers in 2012. Total production was 1.5 million pints in 2012. Gross farm value of blueberries during 2012 was $6.6 million, down from $8 million in 2011, primarily due to decreased acreage in commercial blueberry production in Louisiana.
The Louisiana citrus industry in 2012 involved 397growers, down from 545 growers in 2011, in 18 parishes. Producers harvested 603acres of citrus in 2012, down considerably from the previous year due primarily to 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 177 acres of navels, 408 acres of satsumas and18 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 305 acres of citrus that had gross farm sales of $2.2 million in 2012, down $500,000 from 2011.
Although some 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 186 producers on 408 acres during 2012. Total satsuma production was 113,755 bushels in 2011, down from 120,201 bushels sold in 2011. Value of satsuma sales in 2012 was $3.9 million, up from $3.1 million during 2011, due primarily to stronger prices at the wholesale and retail levels. Navel oranges were grown by 130 producers on 177acres, with 47,000 bushels harvested and sold, down significantly from 87,572bushels produced in 2010. Gross farm value of navel orange sales was $1.2million in 2012, nearly 50 percent less than the $2.2 million in 2011. The gross farm value of all citrus production in Louisiana in 2012 was $5.2million, down from $5.5 million for 2011.
The gross farm value for mayhaws was $1.2 million in2012, down from $1.6 million in 2011. Orchard and native mayhaw trees produced 400,000 and 800,000 pounds respectively for a total production in 2012 of 1.2million pounds, down from 1.6 million pounds in 2011. Production occurred on400 acres in 2012 and averaged nearly 3,000 pounds per acre of orchard production.
Many miscellaneous fruits were planted as either small commercial plantings or as backyard plantings. These crops included figs, grapes, pears, plums, apples and persimmons. These fruits were planted on approximately 154 acres and had estimated gross farm value of $1.4 million in2012.
Reports concerning muscadine production were divided into fresh fruit production and commercial production. The total gross farm value of all muscadine production during 2012 was $311,004.
Muscadines were grown for fresh fruit on 45 acres by 27growers who produced 46,284 pounds of grapes in Louisiana in 2012. The fruit usually was sold at $4 to $10 per gallon, with an average of $6.50 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. Louisiana produced 185 tons of commercial muscadines on25 acres in 2012.
Gross farm value of peaches during 2012 was $1.5million, down from $1.9 million in 2011. Peaches were grown on 225 acres by 27commercial producers and yielded 34,562 bushels in 2012, down from previous year.
In 2012, the Louisiana strawberry industry involved 74growers who were producing on 380 acres for a gross farm value of $15.6million. This was up substantially in value since producers received much better prices in 2012 compared to 2011, when strawberries had a gross farm value of $6.8 million. Tangipahoa Parish was the leading strawberry-producing parish in the state, with 300 acres and $12.1 million in sales during 2012.
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 a premium price and played a large part in the high returns for the crop in Louisiana.
Commercial Greenhouse Vegetables
During 2012, 14 parishes had farms commercially growing greenhouse vegetables on 3.98 acres, up from 3.4 acres of greenhouse space in2011. As in the past, most production was devoted to tomatoes during 2012, 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 had become a major cost of production during the winter of 2009 and continued to affect production decisions over the past four 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 2012, up significantly from $1.4 million for 2011. Total value of greenhouse produce, including value added, was $2.3million for 2012, up significantly from $1.6 million the previous year.
Hay production for commercial sales is a limited part of the total hay production in Louisiana, and 2012 was no exception. Nevertheless, hay was produced from 356,462 acres of grassland in 2012, down from 433,102 acres of grasslands in 2011. There were 3,457 producers of hay in2012, up from 3,182 producers during 2011. In addition, 95 acres of alfalfa were produced in Louisiana during 2012.
Yields averaged 2.92 tons per acre from the grasslands harvested for sale during 2012, up from 2.5 tons per acre in 2011. Production included 1 million tons of grass hay in 2012, down slightly from 1.1 million in2011. Alfalfa hay production, which averaged 5 tons per acre, was 465 tons in2012.
Dry weather conditions persisted throughout much of the state during the spring and summer months, and fall conditions also were somewhat dry. Some parishes in north Louisiana experienced extremely dry conditions, which negatively influenced hay production in those areas. Many Louisiana hay producers were able to sell their hay into drought-stricken areas such as Texas for a good price.
Gross farm value of all hay sales in 2012, including alfalfa production, was $128.3 million, up slightly from $126.7 million realized for the 2011 crop. Total value of hay production, including value-added, was about $147.5 million in 2012, up slightly from $145.7 million for2011.
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 2012. This production was about 38 percent higher than that reported for 2011. The number of acres devoted to noncommercial hay production increased by 30,000 acres from 2011 to 2012.
Home Vegetable Gardens
Parish reports indicate there were an estimated 475,337home gardens statewide during 2012. This number was similar to that of 2011 but higher than in previous years due to a change in the method used to estimate the number of home gardens in 2011. This revised method used a formula based on research conducted by USDA 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 this 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 2012 gross farm value of home vegetable gardens in Louisiana was estimated to be $249.5 million.
The commercial nursery industry in Louisiana consists of fruit and nut tree nursery stock production, foliage plants, wood ornamentals, and floriculture and bedding plants. Commercial nursery crop production in Louisiana had a gross farm value of $115.7 million in 2012. This was up $21.5 million from $94.2 million reported for 2011 sales and reflects the improved situation in wholesale sales of nursery crops in Louisiana.
Wholesale production was $5.2 million for the growers of fruit and nut tree nursery stock in 2012, up from $3.7 million in 2011. This category has been up 10-20 percent annually the past three years. Bedding plant and floriculture crop production was up significantly again in 2012, with $44.7million in farm-gate sales, nearly double the 2011 gross farm value of $27.5million. The largest segment of the nursery industry continues to be wood ornamentals (trees and shrubs). At the wholesale level, woody ornamental growers sold products worth $65 million during 2012, up from $61.2 million in2011. Sales of foliage plants declined by 50 percent, from $1.8 million in gross farm value in 2011 to $900,000 in 2012.
Including value added of $63.7 million, the total value of the Louisiana nursery industry at the wholesale level was $179.4 million, up significantly from $146.2 million for 2011.
During 2012, there were 1,348 acres of peanuts harvested, which was up significantly from 210 acres from 2011. Production of peanuts increased from 800,000 pounds in 2011 to 6.1 million pounds of peanuts sold for commercial processing in 2012. Gross farm value of peanuts in 2012 was$2.2 million, up sharply from approximately $200,000 in 2011. Value added of$300,000, when combined with gross farm value, resulted in $2.5 million in total value of peanut production during 2012 in Louisiana.
The state’s 2012 pecan crop was 12.63 million pounds for native and improved varieties, approximately the same as the long-run average (2001-2011) of 12 million pounds per year.
Much of the state reported drought conditions during late summer. August through October was a crucial period for adequate moisture in pecan production for both kernel quality and shuck split. During that period, much of the state received normal amounts of precipitation. Similar situations in the region resulted in increased yields and production in areas not affected by drought, so wholesale prices were lower in 2012. Wholesale prices for improved varieties were approximately $2.25 per pound for export-quality pecans in shell, while improved varieties not sold for export only received $1.25-$1.75 per pound – less than half the prices producers received in 2011. Prices for native pecans were approximately 75 cents per pound during the harvest season.
Input from growers, county agents and accumulators estimated the 2012 Louisiana pecan crop at approximately 12.63 million pounds, consisting of 5.1 million pound of improved varieties, down slightly from 2011, and 7.6 million pounds of native pecans, more than double the 3.5 million pounds of native pecans harvested in 2011. During 2012, an estimated 8,730acres of improved pecans and 15,198 acres of native pecans were harvested by approximately 10,700 growers.
The gross farm value of Louisiana pecans was estimated to be $14.6 million in 2012, down considerably (57 percent) from the $33.8million for 2011. Total value of pecan production, including value added, was estimated to be $18.6 million for 2012.
Rice acreage in Louisiana dropped for the second consecutive year, from 537,147 acres in 2010 to 416,995 acres in 2011 and then to 391,036 acres in 2012. Most of the decline was the consequence of lower rice prices combined with better prices for corn and soybeans. Most of the decrease occurred in northeast Louisiana, where land was shifted from rice to soybeans.
In 2012, a wet March caused delays in planting and forced some growers to abandon plans to drill seed and 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 varietyCL151. Despite the problems in some areas, the good conditions in other areas resulted in a respectable 6,604 pounds per acre, slightly lower than the record reported last year of 6,717 pounds per acre.
The 2012 Louisiana rice crop was harvested by 1,030producers. The gross farm value of the state’s rice crop was $371.4 million for2012, $5.2 million more than the year before. The lower acreage offset higher yields and, when combined with slightly higher prices, accounted for the slight increase in overall farm-gate value in 2012. Value added of $111.4 million, when combined with farm-gate value, brought the total value of rice production in Louisiana to $482.8 million.
Sod and Turfgrass Production
During 2012, 20 Louisiana sod farms cultivated 3,345acres of fine turf grasses, down from 3,817 acres harvested in 2011. About 60percent of the turf sod acreage in Louisiana is centipede grass and about one-third St. Augustine grass. The remaining acreage is divided among Bermudagrass and zoysia.
The continued slow recovery from the economic downturn and slump in the housing market locally and regionally hampered sod sales during 2012. 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 2012, although at an anemic pace.
Gross farm value of sod and turfgrass sales in 2012 was estimated to be $16.7 million. Value added for turfgrass production was $12.5million, so the total value of sod and turfgrass production in Louisiana during2012 was $29.3 million, down 12 percent from $33.4 million the past year.
Soybeans were harvested from roughly 1.1 million acres by 2,324 producers during 2012, with a statewide average yield of 44.8 bushels per acre. Yields in 2012 were up sharply from the previous year and set a new state record, due in large part to very good conditions through most of early stages of growth. Total production of 50.2 million bushels, was significantly higher than the 37.7 million bushels harvested in 2011.
In addition to excellent yields and increased acreage, higher soybean prices helped raise gross farm value of soybeans in Louisiana to record levels of $700 million in 2012. This was 52 percent higher than the$458.1 million for 2011. Value added to soybean production was $105 million, which brought the total value of Louisiana soybean production to $805.1 million for 2012, $278.3 million more the total value of the soybean crop in 2011.
In 2012, sugarcane was grown on 427,044 acres by 483producers in 22 Louisiana parishes. An estimated 399,286 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 14,782,728 tons of cane, which was the largest amount in the past five years. In total, the 11 factories produced 1.67 million short tons of sugar (96 pol), which is the largest amount of sugar Louisiana has ever processed. Total sugar production slightly exceeded 1999 record levels. In1999, acreage was higher than acreage for 2012 and cane yields were similar, but sugar recovery per ton of cane was higher in 2012.
The average yield of cane produced from each harvested acre amounted to 37 tons per acre (an increase of 5.8 tons per acre compared to2011). The average sugar recovery at the 11 factories was 11.35 percent or 227pounds of sugar (96 pol) per ton of cane. This was a decrease of 4 pounds of sugar per ton of cane compared to the 2011 crop. The average sugar recovery produced in 2012 was the second highest on record – surpassed only by the 2011crop at 231 pounds of sugar (96 pol) per ton of cane. The yield of commercially recoverable sugar produced per harvested acre was approximately 8,412 pounds (an increase of 1,196 pounds compared to the 2011 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 complete for the2012 crop, sugar prices were high at the beginning of the crop year and have steadily fallen since that time. The average predicted value for raw sugar for2012 is 27 cents per pound. Molasses prices have remained high at an average about $126 per short ton at 79.5 Brix.
The gross farm value of the 2012 sugarcane crop was$586.1 million for sugar and molasses. The gross farm value represents 60percent 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 $406.7 million and is reported as the value added component in the summary. Therefore, the total value of the sugarcane crop to Louisiana producers, processors and landlords at the first processing level was $992.8million for 2012, down $88.7 million (8 percent) from 2011. Sugarcane continues to rank first in value among the state’s row crops.
The high tonnage for the 2012 crop likely was due to very warm temperatures experienced in late winter and early spring and a summer rain pattern that was conducive to excellent sugarcane growth. Hurricane Isaac came slowly ashore on Aug. 28, 2012, and lodged a majority of the 2012sugarcane crop. Damage from the hurricane to the industry was greater in the more southern and eastern areas of the sugarcane growing region. Damage included lodged and twisted stalks but minimal stalk breakage. The effects of the lodged conditions undoubtedly reduced growth in those areas most affected, however, which led to lower than expected yield of tons of cane per acre.
High rainfall and high tides as the result of the hurricane contributed to prolonged periods of standing water on some newly planted acres of sugarcane. A small amount of this flood-damaged plant-cane had to be replanted. Other acreage was kept but with less than ideal stands.
In addition to the high tonnage, recoverable sugar per ton of cane was excellent. Weather conditions after Hurricane Isaac were dryad sunny, which allowed for planting to be completed, ripener applications to continue and natural ripening to optimize production. High sugar per ton of cane complemented very high cane yield.
Sugarcane acreage in Louisiana for 2012 was higher than the acreage reported in 2011. Production acreage continues to be lost to urban encroachment, but the main factor contributing to higher overall acreage was the lower number of acres being replanted, which resulted in more acres available for the factories for processing. With larger plantings in the previous three years, 2012 acres for replanting were slightly less than a normal crop cycle. With recent higher sugar prices, more acres were planted in the northern part of the sugarcane area (for example, Avoyelles, Rapides and Pointe Coupee parishes).
The 2012 sugarcane variety census showed Louisiana producers continued to rely primarily on HoCP 96-540, which was grown on 40percent of the production acres. This was followed by L 99-226 (21 percent), L99-233 (10 percent), L 01-283 (10 percent), L 97-128 (3 percent), HoCP 00-950(5 percent), L 01-299 (7 percent) and L 03-371 (2 percent). HoCP 04-838 was released in 2011 and is being increased on most farms. Ho 05-961 was released to growers in 2012. Seed-cane of Ho 05-961 was not distributed because of low levels of mosaic and the presence of the newly discovered disease known as orange rust.
Sugar yield at the beginning of the harvest was low since growers harvested their older stubble crops and heavy clay land first. Sugar recoveries were low during the early portion of the harvest due to excessive rainfall and the lodged condition of the crop. As ripener schedules became more optimal and natural maturities increased, sugar recoveries improved. October and November were much drier than normal, and very little field soil (mud) and trash were brought to the factories. Although much of the crop was lodged as a result of Hurricane Isaac, the dry weather mitigated the problems encountered with downed cane.
The 11 factories processed more tonnage than the 2011crop. The first factory to open was Alma on Sept. 15, 2012, and the last factory to close was Enterprise, which processed sugarcane until Jan. 16, 2013.For the 2012 crop, the Louisiana sugar industry did not experience any killing freezes.
Louisiana sweet potato producers harvested an above-average crop during 2012. Average yield for Louisiana in 2012 was 398bushels per acre. Acreage harvested decreased from 13,630 acres in 2011 to9,730 acres in 2012, a significant decrease compared to both 2010 and 2011.Louisiana remained fourth in planted and harvested acreage in the United States for 2012, behind North Carolina, Mississippi and California.
Similar to 2010 and 2011, Louisiana producers experienced a “good” year in 2012. Harvested acres for 2012 were estimated to be 9,730 for both fresh and processing markets. Average to above-average yields were reported by most producers for 2012. The average FOB price received for the 2012 calendar year was $14.50 for a 40-pound box (about $40 per hundredweight) 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 2012, while the price received for canner-grade sweet potatoes averaged was $3-5 per hundredweight. Therefore, the processing price for 2012was approximately $8.50 per carton.
Total gross farm value for sweet potatoes for 2012 was$45.4 million. Total value of sweet potato production, including value added, was $79.5 million.
Generally speaking, planting conditions were much improved from the 2011 season. Later plantings required supplemental irrigation in some cases to achieve adequate soil moisture to plant the crop. Approximately 75 percent of Louisiana’s acreage can be irrigated. Most producers across the state received occasional rainfall throughout the production season, which benefited crop development. Harvest of the crop began in late August and extended through November. Losses attributed to Hurricane Isaac were minimal. Insect pressure was light overall in 2012. A few producers are bulk harvesting the crop, using newly designed harvesters or modified Irish potato harvesters. A few operations also are storing the crop in bulk piles with some success. More producers are expected to move toward bulk harvesting and storage operations in the future, since growth in the processing sector is expected to continue. Production and packing costs were estimated to be $3,000to $3,500 per acre.
The LSU AgCenter released two new sweet potato varieties in 2012 out of Dr. Don LaBonte’s breeding program. ‘LA 07-146’ is adept orange flesh, red to slightly purple skinned sweet potato. The red color is attractive but untested in the fresh market. Sugar content is similar to the Evangeline variety but it has a firmer texture when baked. Production characteristics in plant beds are similar to ‘Beauregard’. Its most salient attribute to producers is that it consistently yields 15-20 percent higher in comparison to ‘Beauregard’ (U.S. No. 1 and total yield) – an obvious strength. Its shape is not as consistent as ‘Orleans’, however. Some striations (grooves) and flat sides are found due to heavy storage root set. Shape is slightly improved over ‘Beauregard’, but root to root variability does exist. The days to harvest are similar to ‘Beauregard’. Disease characteristics are similar to ‘Beauregard’, except for higher levels of resistance to root-knot nematodes. ‘LA 07-146’ is new in many ways. It is licensed to ConAgra Foods, given its superior processing characteristics. In Louisiana, it also can be grown as afresh market variety. Out-of-state production is restricted and requires a license from ConAgra Foods. A name will be given once it is sold in the fresh market.
‘Orleans’ is an orange flesh, light rose skinned sweet potato. It is a twin to ‘Beauregard’ in many ways. Skin and flesh color are similar to ‘Beauregard’, and the sugar profiles are identical to ‘Beauregard’, so flavor is unchanged. Production characteristics in plant beds and the field (days to harvest) are similar to ‘Beauregard’, as is its disease resistance. Even the plant canopy is similar in appearance. So what makes ‘Orleans’ different is not its yield, which is similar to ‘Beauregard’ – in fact, it might produce fewer jumbos – but the grade out is improved due to quality. It is more uniform in shape, so what is seen is an improvement in “rank.” ‘Orleans’ more often than not will edge out ‘Beauregard’ in yield of U.S. No.1s. This is important because the fresh market industry is demanding greater root to root consistency in shape. ‘Orleans’ has a remarkable similarity to ‘Beauregard’ in the way it is grown – a plus to growers. The improved shape should give producers an advantage in the markets and ultimately contribute to improved profits. ‘Orleans’ also is a patented and protected variety that is being licensed through the LSU AgCenter. There are no restrictions on marketing the variety into fresh market or processing venues.
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 buyers’ 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 uses and markets for producers is expected to result in acreage increases in Louisiana and across the southeastern United States during the coming years.
The Louisiana vegetable industry continues to be incredibly diverse. In 2012, nearly 3,400 growers harvested and sold 33different vegetables crops grown on 9,149 acres with a gross farm value of$51.4 million.
The majority of the vegetable crops grown in Louisiana were sold by direct marketing at farmers markets and roadside stands. Direct marketing offered the producers an opportunity to sell at a retail price – 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 produce 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 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 2012 was $11million, up from $8.5 million in sales in 2011.
The top crops in terms of farm-gate value of production in Louisiana in 2012 were tomatoes (634 acres) at $12.3 million, watermelons (2,498 acres) at $11 million, okra (326 acres) at $4.1 million and summer and winter squash (375 acres) at $3.7 million.
The gross farm value of all commercial vegetable sales in the state was $51.4 million during 2012. Combined with value added ($77million), the total value of Louisiana commercial vegetable production for 2012was $128.4 million.
Wheat was harvested from 255,864 acres by 531 producers during 2012, which was 23 percent higher than the 208,315 acres harvested in2011. The consistently higher prices received for wheat during 2012, compared to 2011 prices, was the primary cause for this large increase in wheat acreage planted and harvested in Louisiana.
In 2012, yields for wheat averaged 58 bushels per acre, which was down 9 percent from the average yield reported in 2011 of 64 bushels per acre. Total Louisiana production for 2012 was 14.8 million bushels, up 1.4million bushels from 2011.
The gross farm value of the 2011 Louisiana wheat crop was $112.6 million, which was 22 percent higher than the 2011 crop. This increase in gross farm value of the wheat crop was due to higher prices received for wheat and increased wheat production. Value added for wheat production was $19.7 million, which resulted in a total value of production for Louisiana wheat of $132.3 million for 2012.