Parish farmers expect above average yields

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 20, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Last summer, David Rountree’s 700 acres of cotton south of Vidalia did not get any rain from July 4 to the day his workers started picking cotton.

&uot;That was kind of insult to injury,&uot;&160;Rountree said. In more than 30 years of farming, he said, &uot;last year’s crop was the worst I’d ever seen, and it was because we didn’t have any rain.&uot;

But this year, the majority of crops in Concordia Parish will probably do well in terms of quality and yield because they have gotten enough rain, said County Agent Glen Daniels. And that’s the case for Rountree’s crops as well – at least, so far.

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&uot;We’ve gotten a pretty good start. We’ve had enough rain and the insects are under control,&uot;&160;Rountree said. &uot;Now, if we can just get through the hurricane season OK, we should be fine.&uot;

So far this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reporting station in St. Joseph – the closest station to Concordia – had recorded that 33.98 inches of rain had fallen so far this year. That’s compared to 30.98 inches of rain in an average year.

Daniels said that some of the parish’s crops – especially corn, rice and grain sorghum – are the best quality he has seen in his 18 years with the Extension Service in Concordia Parish.

The only glitches with this year’s crop could be the emergence of some insects, including stinkbugs in soybeans and boll worms and tobacco budworms, some soybean disease and excess rain that hasn’t given some beans a chance to dry out, Daniels said.

&uot;Overall, though, we have really low insect pressure and should have better-than-average yields,&uot; Daniels said.

The biggest problems is that even with good crop quality and yields, farmers cannot get a decent price for the crops they produce, Daniels said.

&uot;They’re debating the Farm Bill in Congress now,&uot; he said.

&uot;They need to include a price safety net for farmers in that bill. The way it stands now, we’re losing 10 to 15 farmers every year in the parish because they can’t (financially) make it.&uot;