Cotton losses in east central Louisiana parishes will be 50 percent in fields that are harvestable and 95 to 100 percent in others following heavy rains from Hurricane Gustav, says Roger Carter of Agricultural Management Services.

“Grade losses will be huge. Most cotton looks gray and the seed have sprouted in the bur. Gins will have a difficult time ginning cotton without seed and will receive little to nothing for what damaged seed can be saved at the gin. Gins that had guaranteed $90 per bale or more as a seed check may have to renig on that promise,” Carter reported in his Sept. 8 AMS Ag Report.

Wind damage was bad, but the 17 to 25 inches of rain were more damaging. “Tens of thousands of acres of crops are underwater and some rivers and bayous are still rising. We have not seen this kind of water since the horrendous flood of 1973,” Carter said.

“Only a few fields have been scouted since the event. Some we cannot get to yet and on others we are awaiting Ike to determine what to do. Ike is currently expected to hit the Louisiana coast sometime after Friday of this week. We do not yet know if we will be on the ‘good’ or the ‘bad’ side, but either side would be bad now.

“Cotton that had fluffed prior to the extensive rainfall will not fluff again. It is hardened, yet pickable. We have seen this same situation before when cotton would not fluff again. It has just had too much rainfall on it.

“Cotton continues to deteriorate daily, but there is little we can do with Ike making a promise to come our way. Some defoliant will be applied for those who are optimistic and even some second shots are being made. Most farmers are awaiting Ike to determine whether or not they have anything left to harvest.

“Approximately 20 percent of our acres went underwater and will not be harvested. Another 30 percent was damaged to the extent that it will not be harvested. Approximately 65 percent of cotton acreage had some type of buy-up crop insurance; the remaining had only CAT policy.”

Other crop conditions reported by Carter:

CORN —

“Corn harvest 80 percent complete for our area and most of the remaining corn is flat on the ground. Some farmers will be attempting to harvest the downed corn beginning tomorrow.”

GRAIN SORGHUM —

“Grain sorghum harvest was 80 percent complete when Gustav arrived. Remaining grain sorghum is down and may or may not be harvested.”

SOYBEANS —

“Soybean harvest continued into the night last Sunday until early bands of rain from Gustav stopped harvest. Damage was already high in soybeans due to rainfall that occurred on the preceding 21 days. There were few hours of sunshine, but farmers took advantage of what was there and harvested what they could. Some elevators turned down soybeans due to damage or moisture. The word is on the street is that they will now accept damaged soybeans. But we do not know at what kind of discount and whether or not they will count towards contracts.

“Farmers have also been told that if they have multiple contracts at an elevator they must fill all contracts before the elevator will release any checks. Elevators are protecting themselves in case farmers do not fill all of their contracts and have to make up the margin money between selling price and the higher price on the Board. Board prices are currently tumbling, therefore, the situation may be moot if Board prices drop to selling price. We do not know if what the elevators are doing is legal or not. Language in the contracts may address this issue.”

Tim White, Walter Myers, Wil Miller, Matt Myers, Lydia Ellett, and Roger Carter of Agricultural Management Services, Inc., are located in east central Louisiana, serving Catahoula, Concordia, northern Avoyelles, southern Franklin, and southern Tensas parishes.