Parish harvest ends with average crop

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 1, 1999

MONTEREY, La. – &uot;Prices will rise,&uot;&160;farm manager Lee Bean said, looking over 25,000 acres planted with corn, rice, soybeans and milo. &uot;It’s just a matter of when they’ll rise.&uot;

But that was in June. Like most Concordia Parish farmers, Bean now looks back at a harvest that saw near-average yields for most crops – but still-low crop prices that make it difficult to make ends meet.

&uot;The yields were actually better than anticipated,&uot;&160;said Bean, manager of Angelina Plantation Farms. &uot;The killer is that we get no prices and have no market for those crops.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Oversupply of crops, continued instability in Asian and other world markets and a lack of price supports for U.S. producers continue to cause low prices (see box).

&uot;The only thing that will help us now is government payments,&uot;&160;said County Agent Glen Daniels. Last week, the U.S. Farm Service Agency office in Ferriday mailed out more than $4.55 million in payments to Concordia Parish farmers to help offset low prices.

With less than 10 percent of soybeans and a fraction of the parish’s rice left to harvest, this year’s harvest in Concordia Parish is all but over, and estimated yields are close to average, Daniels said.

Corn yielded about 100 bushels an acre this year, rice yielded about 90 bushels per acre and milo averaged about 60 bushels per acre, all of which are better than average.

Crops with below-average yields included cotton, with about 750 pounds an acre, and soybeans, which due to disease and dry weather late in the growing season averaged 20 bushels, Daniels added.

About three or four of the parish’s farmers have retired this year, in large part due to low prices, Daniels said. For his part, Bean doesn’t know of many farmers who have gotten out of the business – yet.

&uot;Most won’t make that decision until after the first of the year,&uot; Bean said. &uot;But my guess is that those who can retire, older folks who have been frugal and can get out with some cash, will do so.&uot;