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- Just upgraded to hurricane status and about six hours from hitting Louisiana’s coast, Isaac has chased over 500 evacuees seeking shelter to the LSU AgCenter’s Dean Lee Research Station in Alexandria.
- “We’re hoping not to get slammed too hard,” says Boyd Padgett, LSU AgCenter regional director. “We’ve had a lot more rain than we’ve come to expect in recent years. August has been very wet here. We don’t need any more from Isaac."
Producers are still about a month away from beginning to harvest sugarcane.
“So, there’s still time for the cane to pick itself up. However, it won’t be as sweet as we’d like. When cane is lodged it doesn’t mature like it is supposed to. That means we’ll likely begin harvest with less sugar per ton.
“We also won’t be able to apply ripeners as we’d like. Typically, the cane needs to be more erect to get the full benefit of our glyphosate ripener.”
And once harvest begins in downed cane, “we tend to leave more scrap in the field. We tend to pick up more trash, more leaves, more mud. We can’t remove the tops – so more trash will arrive at the mill.”
Last year, Tropical Storm Lee broke a drought and actually made Louisiana’s cane crop. Then, “it dried up again and we had an excellent harvest.
“Isaac will be hitting a much taller crop and we don’t need the rain. For the last six weeks it has rained almost every day. The fields are wet.
“Remember, seven years ago, (Katrina) hit New Orleans. Then, about a month later, Rita hit southwest Louisiana and flooded about 40,000 acres. The big concern with that flooding was saltwater.”
While Legendre doesn’t think Isaac will cause saltwater flooding, “there will be some tidal flooding along the coast. And there will likely be some flooding inland from all the excess rain on soils that are already saturated.”