Farmers may increase cotton and corn production this year although weather will be a determining factor, according to Dennis Burns, LSU AgCenter agriculture and natural resource agent for Catahoula, Concordia and Tensas parishes.
If acreage for those two crops does increase, it will likely result in lower soybean production, Burns said.
“It’s too early to tell for sure, but that’s what the talk is right now.”
Burns said farmers hope to begin planting corn soon.
He said the optimum planting time for corn is from March 10 to April 1.
Soybean and rice planting will not begin until late March or early April at the earliest, while cotton planting begins in mid-April at the earliest.
“Right now everyone is waiting to see what happens with the river, which is suppose to crest at 58 feet at Natchez,” he said.
Burns said farmers have to adapt to many conditions in determining what they ultimately plant each spring.
He said that even if planting is delayed “the equipment we have now can cover a lot of ground” to catch up.
According to Burns, soybean yields in 2018 were good over all three parishes and would have probably been even higher except for the excessive rainfall during harvest. While the rainfall events affected yield, the amount of damage to the seed made it unmarketable and approximately 12,000 acres in Catahoula, 10,000 in Concordia and 1,000 in Tensas were never harvested.
The three parishes had 2,700 acres of row rice (20 percent of Louisiana’s acreage) and it yielded above average. Row rice is becoming a viable option to consider for producers with irrigation and heavy clay soils, Burns said.
In 2018, acreage totaled:
Cotton: Catahoula, 20,633; Concordia, 8,970; Tensas, 32,393 acres.
Corn: Catahoula, 18,945; Concordia, 9,790; Tensas, 43,285.
Soybeans: Catahoula, 92,795; Concordia, 124,285; Tensas, 69,366.
Rice: Catahoula, 3,621; Concordia, 8,364; Tensas, 2,055.
Wheat: Catahoula, 590; Concordia, 40; Tensas, 793.
Grain Sorghum: Catahoula, 77; Concordia, 293; Tensas, 475.