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Early sugarcane yields are mixed but farmers are hopeful for a better finish

Posted at 4:59 PM, Oct 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 19:04:45-04

With Halloween this week and the holidays fast approaching most farmers are finishing their work in the fields but sugarcane farmers are just getting started.

Most sugarcane farmers have cleared about a quarter to a third of their fields and early results are mixed.

Eddie Lewis in Youngsville has received the right amount of rain and sunshine.

Lewis says "going in from the 2019 planting season til harvest season it was actually perfect, we caught about 2 and a half weeks of perfect weather, good dry conditions, we were able to haul a lot of high quality sugarcane."

But for some farmers in Iberia and St. Mary parish Hurricane Barry caused a minor damage early in the season.

Also, in St. Martin parish farmers are experiencing below average yields.

Stuart Gauthier, an extension agent with LSU Ag Center in Breaux Bridge says "at this point a little disappointed in the tonnage and also the sugar levels are down a little bit. Earlier in the year the cane looked good, it was tall but there has been some concern about the weight of the cane, even though it was tall sometimes when we don't see a lot of it lodging we start worrying about it not being very heavy."

Farmers are hopeful that as they get deeper into the season and start harvesting the better stages of cane the yields will improve.

And with a couple more months of farmers working in their fields they want to remind people to slow down near loading zones.

Lewis says "we are pretty proactive getting signs out there, big orange signs and we just want the public to know to look out for the 18 wheelers, look out for the tractors, we're trying to get the cane from the fields to the mill.

Sugarcane harvest ends in early January.