2011 Harvest Time

Vincent Deshotel, Thomas, Leslie C.  |  8/9/2010 11:28:30 PM

With the unseasonably warm temperatures and reasonably favorable weather, harvest time has arrived in Acadiana.  St. Landry Parish is no different from the rest of Acadiana, being greatly dependent on the agriculture sector that drives much of the local economy.  In the last two weeks many farmers have been taking advantage of the favorable weather for harvesting their early maturing spring planted crops.

For those not familiar with agriculture production in St. Landry Parish, every commodity crop grown in Louisiana is grown in
St. Landry Parish, making St. Landry Parish perhaps the most diversified crop production area of the entire state.  With soybeans as the No. 1 cash crop for St. Landry Parish, more than 94,000 acres were in production for 2010 and about the same is expected for 2011.  Rice acres are consistent with slightly over 26,000 acres in production for 2011.  Other commodities with significant acreage grown in St. Landry Parish are grain sorghum, 12,000 acres; sugarcane, 8,000 acres; corn, 8,000 acres; wheat, 11,000 acres and greater than 20,000 acres are utilized for hay production.

You probably thought I forgot about the crop that made Opelousas and St. Landry Parish famous for many years and still is today.  Sweet potatoes are still being produced on about 600 acres.  Many of those acres are in commercial production, but there are what we refer to as “niche” growers or “truck patch” growers who still aim to supply the need for locally grown heirloom or traditional varieties.

The rice harvest for the most part is underway, and some grain sorghum is being harvested at this time.  The early reports of rice yields are sporadic, ranging from 35 to 50 barrels per acre, which may be slightly above average in some cases for St. Landry Parish. The rice producer’s main area of concern is the price being offered for rough rice this year which is slightly on the rise compared to last year’s crop, while input costs have remained the same or even slightly higher than in previous years.

Early reports of grain sorghum yields are off due to early season drought with no real numbers being reported at this time.   The corn harvest is presently underway, and there is a lot of uncertainty about potential corn yields at this time due to drought conditions throughout the growing season.

Much of the harvest will begin in several commodity production areas over the next several months; therefore, we want to remind the public of the increased presence of farm equipment on the roadways throughout Acadiana.  Allow some additional time for the morning and evening commute, especially in bad weather.  We also ask for you to remember these farmers are the reason we have a plentiful food supply for our families, so give farm equipment the right-of-way.

Made Available by:
Vincent Deshotel
Assistant County Agent
LSU AgCenter - St. Landry Parish

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