ACADIA PARISH, La. (KLFY)— Although Louisiana has seen cooler weather this fall, this summer’s intense drought may have left some lasting effects on the state’s crawfish and rice.
Crawfish specialist Todd Fontenot with the LSU AgCenter said the recent drought Louisiana experienced is causing salinity levels to rise in the surface water used for crawfish farms and rice fields.
“The levels of salinity began to increase,” Fontenot said. “As the water levels dropped, the salt water tends to come in into these waterways.”
Fontenot said a lot of farmers that are south of I-10 use surface water instead of relying on deep water wells. The drought caused the salt water to move up north into the surface water, which farmers use. Crawfish farmers use surface water to flood their fields so the crawfish can come out of their burrows during the harvest season. Rice farmers also use surface water to flood their fields and for their irrigation systems. With higher levels than normal, this can cause a negative impact on the coming harvest.
“Unfortunately, people were wanting to finish up rice crops, some wanting to flush their crawfish ponds because it has been so dry,” Fontenot said.
The LSU AgCenter looks to have more information on the salinity levels. Fontenot said they are coming up with ways to assist in any way they can.
“We were mostly requesting numbers and legislators and representatives will be requesting numbers,” Fontenot said. “So, we’ll have that information for them.”
Fontenot said he hopes the salinity levels won’t have as much of an impact as expected. He said the only way to truly find out is to wait for the harvest.