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|Harvest one of the worst in three decades|
This year's harvest, coming behind a drought in early summer and steady rains since September, has been one of the worst in three decades, says County Agent Glen Daniels.
"It's definitely among the three worst crops years I've seen in 30 years," said Daniels of 2009. "It's almost as bad as the years we had during hurricanes. We lost a lot of yield potential during the dry weather a few months ago and now the rains are causing a loss in grade and quality in the crops still in the field."
Cotton gins in many parts of the state have yet to open until the full cotton harvest can begin although this is normally the busiest time of the year, according to LSU AgCenter cotton specialist Don Bouquet.
"Anything that delays harvest will reduce both yield and quality of cotton," he said. He said only about 230,000 acres was planted statewide this year, the smallest in recorded history. He estimated that about 65 percent of the crop remains in the field and said the gross farm value for last year's cotton crop was $122 million.
Daniels estimated, however, that only five to 10 percent of the cotton has been harvested in Concordia, adding that "although we haven't heard of sprouting problems yet, we will have a loss of grade and fiber."
He said much of the soybean and rice harvest would have been complete if good weather had prevailed.
"We're seeing a decline in grade on soybeans," said Daniels. "We're about 75 percent complete with harvest. What's still in the field is declining in yield potential."
He said the rice harvest is about 65 percent complete and delayed because some of the crop has been blown down by thunderstorm winds.
"Some farmers have had to put tracks on their combines to let them stand in the wet, muddy fields," he said. "We've just had a horrible year."
Daniels said all of the grain sorghum and 95 percent of the corn crop has been harvested.
Despite the poor yields and adverse weather, Daniels say farmers remain as upbeat as possible.
"I'm surprised with the farmer's attitude and foresight," he aid. "I've never met a stronger group of people. They're taking a licking but they're being positive and trying to focus on what bright side they can find. I think many are already looking ahead to 2010."
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