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Crops decent in 2010

VIDALIA — While farmers across the state are currently in the down time of the year, expectations are set high for a better year in 2011 after 2010 yielded solid crop production for Louisiana.

While 2010 was not a record-breaking year, LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry said that overall production on the major crops, cotton, corn, soybeans, rice and sugar cane, was successful.

“I think every year there are challenging times,” he said. “It was a mixture of good and bad, but when all is said and done, with the numbers the U.S. Department of Agriculture was projecting, we are at or above the average.”

Ferriday corn farmer Cecil Brooking said 2010 was a good year for his crops.

“Everything went well. The yields were very acceptable. They were off by about 5 percent from last year,” he said. “The prices were very good for this year.”

Guidry said the weather affected the success of the crops in the state.

“We started off the year with weather that turned to drought in many areas of the state that remained through the growing year,” he said. “Where there was rain, it was good. In other areas, the yields were not quite as good.”

Concordia Parish soybean farmer Greg Poole said the success of the crops depended on the time of the year when they were planted.

“Those who got their crops planted earlier did better,” he said.

The long drought period in the state caused many farms to struggle with their production, but Guidry said the high prices for all the major commodities helped Louisiana farmers.

“In the second half of 2010, the prices improved substantially,” he said. “It was a fairly good and profitable year for farmers who did not pre-market their prices for the fall.”

Guidry said the only crop that struggled during 2010 was rice, and due to the success of the others, residents should expect a larger variety from farmers planting their crops in 2011.

With high prices on all major crops except for rice, Guidry said 2011 is set up for a good year in agriculture.

“The commodity price is at a level where farmers should be able to deal with higher costs of oil,” he said. “From the supply and demand standpoint, given where the acres planted go, prices should remain strong.”

Brooking said he is ready for the 2011 planting season.

“The markets look extremely strong and favorable,” he said. “And as of right now, I do not anticipate any problems for this year.”

Guidry said while 2011 looks promising, you always have to watch out for the weather.

“These high prices may not translate if the weather is bad in 2011,” he said.

Poole said while most farmers will begin work in February, it is still too early to tell what 2011 will hold for area farmers.

“We have been hitting a lot better on our yields over the past two years,” he said. “But there is no way you can guarantee your crop.”

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