Harsh weather affects sugarcane crops in Louisiana

Harsh weather affects sugarcane crops in Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - What should be clean rows of fields are filled with water and the green sugar cane that should have been ready for harvesting is instead yellow.

The sugarcane crop has not produced as much sugar as expected due to the large amounts of rain this year and the early freeze that happened in November during harvest season. The early freeze caused some of the sugarcane crop to turn sour or bitter which effected the sugarcane quality.

“It’s sad after all day effort, to plant a good field, and work for many years. When weather creates problems, you feel sad about it. It is what it is.” says sugarcane farmer Mauricio Santacoloma.

According to Jimmy Meaux, extension agent for the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, the sugarcane crop has been affected all over the state.

“Extension agents, they see a reduced tonnage also in a lot of their farmers fields for this year," Meaux said. "The frost may not have been as bad as some those areas way down south but we grow cane as far north as Alexandria and Bunkie area so the freeze up is probably going to reduce their yield some and the amount of sugar that they’re able to harvest from their crop.”

Many farmers may even have to replant their fields that were destroyed from the harvest.

“Last winter was horribly wet, and you know the year before that, so when the tractors are in the fields, they’re ridding up the fields, they’re tearing up the levies, and it’s damaged a lot of the stubble that’s coming back.” informed Meaux.

But sugarcane farmer Mauricio Santacoloma still has hope for next year.

“We’re going to continue growing sugar cane for many many more years and for future generations," Santacoloma said.

Copyright 2019 KPLC. All rights reserved.