For the past few months, sugarcane farmers have been busy harvesting their crops to get it off to the mill.
And, with the number of sugarcane acreage increasing in Acadiana, local sugarcane plants have been processing a near record amount of product again this fall.
However, not all the product that they process is pure sugarcane.
According to John Hebert, Agriculture Division Manager at the Louisiana Sugarcane Coop in St. Martinville, the sugar per ton of cane, which is what farmers actually get paid for, is low this year.
The reason for the difference between the weight of the product and actual sugarcane is due to the above average rainfall Acadiana received in November.
These wet and muddy conditions is leading to a heavier crop but does not add to the amount of sugar on the cane.
Also, these sloppy conditions are costing the farmers extra money to harvest the fields. Hebert says, “Fuel consumption is higher, and the days are longer.”
On top of the additional costs to harvest the sugarcane right now, farmers are going to have to spend more time and money in the spring to repair all the sinkholes and ruts in the fields before planting next year’s crop.
But, there is good news for sugarcane farmers. According to Hebert, “Sugarcane is consistently a fairly profitable crop, not only from a market standpoint, but also just the robust nature of the crop and the kind of conditions it can withstand.”