HEAVY RAINS in northern Louisiana led to flooding in some low-lying areas and that, in turn, may mean serious financial trouble for cattle producers. LSU AgCenter agent John LeVasseur of Caddo Parish says flooded pastures mean plenty of headaches for local cattlemen.

“A lot of the producers with low-lying pastures have had to move their cattle and are having to feed their cattle because they're concentrating them on a much smaller area,” says LeVasseur. “That's starting to really set them back financially. It takes a lot to feed cattle if you've got them all in a certain area and you have to provide everything for them.”

According to the LSU AgCenter agent, the previous drought conditions during portions of last year also mean hay to feed cattle is in short supply.

“At the end of last summer it got very dry, and a lot of producers started feeding hay in August or September,” he says. “That's about two months earlier than we normally have to feed. So producers fed up their winter supply of hay early on, and most of them just did not have enough to feed as long as they've needed to.”

LeVasseur says the current financial and physical strains will last at least until the water subsides.

“Even then it's going to take a while for those pastures to rejuvenate themselves after being underwater for such a long period of time,” he explains.

Although the abundance of rain has created some problems, LeVasseur says there are positive aspects of the situation.

“The rain has increased the water level in the subsoil, and that's going to be positive in the summer months,” says the LSU AgCenter agent. “It will allow some additional subsoil moisture further into the growing season. But at this point in the game, we've had enough water, and we need a break from it.”