Effects of drought on crawfish season still unknown

FENTON, LA (KPLC) - Area crawfish farmers have struggled in the past due to drought.  The lack of rain forces farmers to pump water into their fields to grow rice and house crawfish. Both need lots of water to be successful.

This year crawfish farmers turned to water pumping again. The pumping goes on for three to six months at a time, which means more money spent by the farmers. They hope to make that up with this year's crawfish production.

While crawfish season is just getting underway across southwest Louisiana, the farmers have been working on their fields and crops since last season ended.

Even with the drought, crawfish farmer Adrian Augustine says right now things are looking up for this season thanks to the recent rainfall.

"It's really helped out a bunch," said Augustine. "So the catch now compared to years past, is really good right now. We're really anticipating a very good season. We're thinking the price is going to come down because we're going to catch enough crawfish to satisfy the demand. It's not there now, but it will be in the near future."

Augustine says the crawfish coming in right now are bigger than normal for the start of the season.  He says farmers have overcome the drought in the past and hopes the drought will have little effect on this season.

"This year we don't really know," said Augustine. "Not really much affect right now. In the past years, it cost us lots of money to pump the fields up because no rain, no help from Mother Nature. So it was very, very costly to us."

Augustine collected just 15 sacks from his fields today, but later in the season he hopes to gather 130 to 150 sacks per day.