Crops fighting heat too

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 16, 2010

VIDALIA — It’s hot.

And while the heat can make a person walking to the mailbox feel tired and dehydrated, the area’s crops are actually handling the late summer sizzler days OK.

“We had a lot of hot, dry weather, but I don’t think we will have the disaster we had in 2009,” Concordia Parish Extension Service Director Glen Daniels said.

Most crops seem to be holding up OK, and Daniels said rice has done extremely well in the heat.

“The rice is cutting really well,” he said. “I rode the combine with the farmers down at Angelina (Plantation), and some of that rice was 200 bushels (per acre) at green weight. At dry weight — once they’ve dried it out — it will probably be something like 170 bushels.”

Soybeans are also faring well despite the intense summer heat.

“I don’t think this dry hot weather will affect the beans as much as the corn,” Daniels said. “The lowest yield I have heard for soybeans was 40 (bushels per acre) and the highest was 55.”

Early corn did not fare well, though, and it’s coming in at 40 to 50 bushels per acre.

“The thunderstorms and rain helped the late corn push up to 120 to 130 bushels an acre,” Daniels said.

The extension service director said that after this year’s loss of early corn, he expects to see the parish farm infrastructure develop a little more in the years to come.

“The irrigated corn hasn’t really suffered, and I think (this year) will drive some farmers to put in some irrigation,” he said.

With irrigation comes other issues, however, and Daniels said some farmers who sank irrigation wells have had wells that have started pumping salt water, which can damage plants and crop yields.

The extension service is conducting soybean variety tests to determine which varieties can best tolerate salt, he said.