Agriculture

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American beautyberry has an open, loose form. (Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter)

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Bald cypresses drop their leaves in fall, creating a natural mulch. (Photo by Ashley Edwards/LSU AgCenter)

Fall 2020 Super Plants are Louisiana natives

2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the Louisiana Super Plants program. This year we celebrate by adding two true native woody plants: American beautyberry and our state tree, bald cypress.

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Wind-damaged sugarcane near Grosse Tete. (Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter)

Louisiana sugarcane crop escapes extensive damage

One week after Hurricane Laura came ashore, Louisiana’s sugarcane crop is still showing some signs of the storm, but the damage is not as extensive as feared as Laura approached the state.
“We did have storm surge — maybe not to the extent with Hurricane Rita, but we do have some growers out there with significant impact,” said Kenneth Gravois, the LSU AgCenter state sugarcane specialist.
One of those who dealt with the storm surge is Ricky Gonsoulin, an Iberia Parish sugarcane farmer.

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Wagons used for harvesting sugarcane sit on high ground surrounded by floodwaters from Hurricane Laura near New Iberia, Louisiana. (Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter)

Agriculture escaped severe destruction from hurricane

Although definitive results won’t be available for a few days, the effects on agriculture appear to be less destructive than most people feared before Hurricane Laura struck, but forests and residences sustained significant damage.
Blair Hebert, LSU AgCenter agent for sugarcane in the Bayou Teche area, said cane plants have been blown down, or lodged, throughout the area, and some plants were submerged in floodwater.
Much of the cane appeared to be laying in one direction, which could make harvest somewhat less difficult, he said.

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Two combines harvest a corn crop in Avoyelles Parish on the Williams brothers’ farm in 2019. Farmers are working across the state to get their crops harvested before Hurricane Laura hits Louisiana. LSU AgCenter file photo by Bruce Schultz

La. farmers rushing harvest before Hurricane Laura hits

North Louisiana farmers are rushing to get their corn crop out of the field before Hurricane Laura hits, and so far, the crop looks good.
 
Laura also has the potential to inflict serious damage to the state’s soybean crop.
 
Keith Collins, LSU AgCenter agent in Richland, Franklin and Ouachita parishes, said about half of the corn crop has been harvested in his area.
 
Yields are good. “We’re going to end up about where we were last year, maybe better, but not a bumper crop,” Collins said.
 

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Farmer David LaCour, of Abbeville, checks a crawfish pond after Hurricane Ike in 2008. LSU AgCenter file photo by Bruce Schultz)

Hurricane can harry crawfish production

Widespread flooding from Hurricane Laura could affect crawfish production for the upcoming season, but the extent of any damage will depend on whether crawfish producers are able to get the unwanted water off their fields in a timely manner.
When storm-related flood waters cover pond levees in July, August or September, crawfish have no choice but to get out of their burrows, said LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant aquaculture specialist Greg Lutz. Unfortunately, once they come out, they usually die because of hot, stagnant water and predation by birds and other predators.

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