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|Drought conditions stressing crops|
Hot, dry weather is taking its toll on crops in Concordia Parish and County Agent Glen Daniels says the "the corn in some cases is absolutely burned up."
The corn harvest recently kicked off and some farmers are averaging only 80 bushels an acre, others above 100 bushels per area.
"Those farmers whose corn crops have gotten some water" through rain or irrigation may see yields of 150 to 200 bushels per acre.
About 35,000 acres is planted in corn.
"Some of the crop where there was seepage water from the spring high water will suffer losses, too," said Daniel. "This stunted the plants."
Daniels said a good, general rain of one to two inches in early July would have made a world of difference.
"Most of our crop land is dry and most is not irrigated," said Daniels.
"The weather is the big factor stressing agriculture, but farmers are also suffering from high costs," he said, including $4 per gallon diesel, and increased fees for aerial spraying. Additionally, rent prices for land are rising in some cases.
"Those farmers who booked 30 bushel an acre beans and only make 20 will pay the price at the grain elevators," said Daniels. "All these things add up but the lack of rain in early July was a key factor in where we are today."
Soybeans are beginning to turn and drop leaves, said Daniels, and are suffering from some insect pressure, especially stink bugs.
He said beans planted behind the wheat harvest "are highly stressed."
Soybean acreage this years amounts to an estimated 55,000 acres.
Grain sorghum "is turning and I expect within the week we will begin the harvest," said Daniels. "I've never seen milo burn from heat stress the way it has in some places this year. I saw milo yellow to the top with drought stress in the Wild Cow bayou area last week. I've never seen that before. Usually milo can withstand drought stress."
Grain sorghum acreage totals an estimated 11,000 acres.
Cotton acreage is down this year to about 30,000 acres, said Daniels.
"The reduction is due primarily to the high prices for grains like corn, sorghum and beans," said Daniels. "Ethanol and biodiesel are driving the grain market as is the substantial acreage losses due to flooding in the Midwest."
Rice acreage is up to about 16,000 acres this year.
"Rice is now headed out," said Daniels, "and farmers will probably begin draining fields in a couple of weeks. We're hoping the dry weather will be conducive to a good rice crop and that we'll see 150 to 180 bushels per acre. We're optimistic on rice."
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