Louisiana's sugarcane harvest better than expected

Louisiana's sugarcane harvest better than expected
(Source: KPLC)

LOUISIANA (KPLC) - Louisiana's sugarcane grinding season is going to extend well into January, but there's a good reason for the late finish: an exceptional sugarcane crop.

The state's sugarcane season is a three-month marathon of cutting and hauling sugarcane to the mills in all types of weather conditions. This year's harvest is different, both in length and in weather. Some mills are expected to run as late as Jan. 20 making it a four-month journey.

Kenneth Gravois, LSU AgCenter sugarcane specialist says "that's very late. That makes a lot of people nervous going that late, but we've had a good crop. We're sitting on a record crop here in Louisiana."

Last year, Louisiana's sugarcane crop produced a record for sugar recovery per ton of cane. The all-time record for sugar per acre was more than 8,400 pounds in 2012, and Gravois expects that record to be broken.

Gravois says "this year we have good sugar recovery. In addition to that, we have good tons of cane per acre. So, we have sugar and tonnage and that's a great combination."

Weather always plays a factor in producing a successful crop. Last year's dry harvest got this year's crop off to a good start, and rain came just when the crop needed it. This year's crop even survived a snowstorm and the cold weather that came with it.

This season will be remembered for its extended grinding season, a south Louisiana snowstorm, but mostly for its phenomenal sugar content.

Gravois explains, "it's a long season out there, especially when you harvest seven days a week, and you go well into January. It's good to see the fruits of their labor."

Sugarcane farmers are expected to harvest around 410,000 acres this year, an increase of 10,000  acres from last year.

Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.