BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU AgCenter cotton specialists Joel Faircloth and Sandy Stewart say the Louisiana cotton harvest is about half complete and should be finished soon if the weather cooperates.

Rain in northeast Louisiana brought harvesting to a halt Oct. 7. If it continues to rain, cotton farmers could face problems, Faircloth said.

"We are between 60 percent and 70 percent harvested," Faircloth said. "If it will stop today (Oct. 7) and dry up quickly, it will not be too detrimental. But if it continues to rain and stay damp, we may have some problems."

Unfortunately, northeast Louisiana farmers may get a little more rain on their crops. Weather forecasts for the area call for thunderstorms another couple of days this week before sunny conditions return this weekend (Oct. 11-12).

In central Louisiana, Stewart says, the crop is about 60 percent harvested and 90 percent defoliated.

"Yields have been average to good," Stewart said. "It's hard to say right now how it will end, but I think we will pick an above-average crop."

Weather has been favorable for the central Louisiana crop so far, the LSU AgCenter expert said.

"We have had a lot of sunny days," he said. "The only problem with the weather has been the recent cool temperatures that have slowed the activity of the defoliants and all but stopped any more maturing of late bolls. Overall, things have gone well, but we still have a few more weeks of picking left."

The central Louisiana weather forecast also says rain is a possibility in that part of the state, but sunny skies are expected there by the weekend, as well.

LSU AgCenter experts predict more than 500,000 acres of cotton will be harvested this year. The usual cotton harvesttime in Louisiana is from mid-September through October.

A. Denise Coolman writes for the LSU AgCenter (318–366–1477 or dcoolman@agcenter.lsu.edu).