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Oct 13, 2011 11:28 PM by Shawn Kline

Sugar cane burns: the necessary irritant

It's that time of year again. When the skies are filled with smoke from sugar cane fields.
They're all controlled burns but for some people who live nearby, it can be pretty irritating. Just take a look at our facebook:

Thomas Delino writes, "for some reason it's okay for them to smoke my house out but not okay for me to smoke at a bar."
Brenda Delcambre Broussard says, "everytime they burn... my asthma acts up."

When you're out near the sugar cane burns, it may make you want to break out the eye drops but farmers say the consequences might be worse than just itchy eyes if they didn't burn.

"It has a tendency to rot the mother stalks in ground." Mark Patout says, "you wouldn't have as good a yield the next year and you would also have some problems with cultivation."

Sugar cane farmers Mark Patout and Lane Blanchard say rotting sugar cane means no harvest, and no harvest in one of the state's leading industries would be a blow to Louisiana's economy.

"We want to be good neighbors- no doubt about it." Blanchard says, "but this burning is a necessary evil at this point. We're working hard to try to eliminate that problem, if we ever get there? I have no idea."

Maybe someday we'll have sugar cane that doesn't rot, but for now it needs to burn to have another harvest next season.

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