Acadiana has been seeing rain almost every day and it’s causing problems for local sugar cane farmers.
“We are cutting the cane here and we have to bring it to the mills, and you are bringing mud, debris and dirt to the mills so it makes the mill run harder. The cane is not as clean, so you lose a lot of money when it rains,” says Eddie Lewis III, a local farmer is Youngsville.
He says, “No matter what kind of weather conditions we experience, we have to harvest no matter what. We have three months to get the cane out of the field. So no matter rain or shine, we are still out here having to get it out.”
The sugar mills start running in the last days of September.
Blair Hebert with the LSU AgCenter says since then, only 40 to 45 percent of the sugarcane in the fields has been harvested.
“Everyone basically started off to wet and rainy conditions. What that does is it creates mud in the fields. It makes it hard on the equipment, and it makes it harder on the drivers. Our harvesting equipment is some of the best in the world, but you just can’t maneuver and drive that equipment in wet conditions nearly as good as you can when it in dry conditions.”
The mud slows the entire processes down, and that costs farmers money.
Hebert says, “I know it’s going to cause more wear and tear to the equipment, and that’s going to be more expensive. We know it’s going to be more expensive to get it to the mills because of our hauling efficiency. We are capped off at how much weight each truck can put on the roads.”
Time is another issue, Hebert added. “The time that it’s going take to get these fields back in shape, and we don’t know when that’s going to be,” he said. “That might be later this fall into the winter, or early next spring but at some time we will eventually get some better weather.”
Hebert says with the freezing temperatures coming next week, this year’s cane crop should be okay.
He says it was tested several times last year with freezing temperatures and the crop was resilient.