What is in this article?:
- Assessments of Louisiana agriculture post-Isaac.
- LSU AgCenter prepares report on impact to state's agriculture sector.
- LDAF continue emergency operations.
In the days prior to Hurricane Isaac dumping over five inches of rain on his Jonesville, La., operation, Buddy Pierce was hustling to harvest what he could.
“We were blowing and going and cut until 4 or 5 in the morning in the days before Isaac,” said Pierce on Tuesday (September 4). “The day that Isaac arrived we actually cut until about 1:30 in the afternoon. It was cloudy but we cut until it rained us out.
“I’d guess we had about eight hours of sleep in the three days leading up to Isaac.”
The hurricane hit Jonesville, in the east part of the state, on August 30.
“Actually, we only got around 2.5 inches of rain initially. Then, Friday night into Saturday, a big cell came through and brought about 3.5 inches. That late cell out of the southwest hurt this area more than Isaac.
“It’s still awfully wet here. It’s necessary to run tracks on our combine to get the rice out. Now, we need some dry weather to finish getting the crops out and firm the ground up.”
Pierce believes his soybeans will be fine where they didn’t go underwater. “Of course, we’re especially worried about damage to those that were ready to cut.
“We still need to harvest around 2,000 acres of soybeans and about 300 acres of rice. It’s going to be a slow go with the rice because it’s so muddy. Some of the rice is down and twisted.”
Was Pierce pleased with the crops prior to Isaac?
“Absolutely. We were probably looking at the best soybean crop we’ve ever had. The dryland beans we’d cut were anywhere from 25 to 30 bushels per acre. Irrigated beans were at 40 to 50 bushels. We plant a lot of Group 4s.
“The early rice we cut before the storm was averaging around 170 bushels per acre. That’s really good for here.
“With these good yields, grain storage isn’t a problem for us because we operate our own elevator. But there have been some long lines at other facilities.”