Corn Harvest

CORN IS LOADED into a trailer at the Williams farm near Vick in Avoyelles Parish. Yields from this year’s crop are down from previous years, and the decrease is being blamed on unfavorable weather. (Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter)

Corn harvest in Louisiana is underway, and this year’s crop is not expected to set any records.

LSU AgCenter corn specialist Dan Fromme said yields appear to be down by 10% to 20% from last year, but there is considerable variation.

Lower yields can be blamed on heavy rains or rain at the wrong time that delayed planting. “We had a lot of water standing in some young corn for an extremely long period,” he said.

Fromme expects a statewide average yield between 165 and 175 bushels per acre compared to previous years with yields around 185 bushels per acre.

Corn acreage increased this year because farmers shifted from soybeans. “Some producers thought they had a better chance of profitability with corn,” he said.

In 2018, Louisiana farmers grew corn on 425,000 acres, and that increased this year by 100,000-125,000 acres.

The harvest is not yet at the halfway point.

“When you look at the past couple of years, we are on schedule — maybe a little behind, but not very much,” Fromme said.

Scott Williams, of Avoyelles Parish, raised about 3,000 acres of corn with his brother, Alan. They only had about a week left in their harvest along the Red River in the Vick community.

Yields are off on his farm also by about 20 percent, and Williams attributes that decrease to 40 inches of rain during the growing season.

“Our yields are probably off by 40 bushels on some of the ground that doesn’t drain as well,” he said.

Yields are following contours of their land and exceeded 200 bushels in some places. “On the higher land, well-drained, our yields are significantly better,” he said.

The Williamses planted corn on fields where they had previously grown soybeans because of the price and the difficult harvest last year. Planting went well, although river flooding prevented planting on about 100 acres, Williams said.

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