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Story Archives: Farmers look to skies
|Farmers look to skies|
A recent run of drier than usual weather means Franklin Parish farmers are spending more time irrigating parched crops.
LSU AgCenter's Carol Pinnell-Alison said farmers are putting extra water into the field to make sure their crops are receiving enough water.
"We need a rain," said Pinnell-Alison. "It's very dry."
The last major rainfall in Franklin Parish came June 27 and 28 but it was not enough to make up for the six inches the area is missing over the same date last year.
Pinnell-Alison said the most up-to-date rain reports she has seen indicate the region has seen six inches less rain this year than the normal.
Pinnell-Alison stopped short of calling the dry spell a drought, though.
"We're borderline but we're below normal," Pinnell-Alison said.
Despite a lack of rainfall, the crops outlook for the region remained good.
Pinnell-Alison attributed the progress to proper irrigation, which she pointed out was typical, even when rainfall levels reach or exceed historical norms.
"For our area, on the Macon Ridge, we recommend all our farmers irrigate, because our soils don't absorb and retain water," Pinnell-Alison said.
That means area farmers know to plan on irrigating whatever they plant, so a lack of rainfall does not hamper crops quite as badly.
That seems to be the case, as Franklin Parish corn producers are watching corn mature faster than normal.
Pinnell-Alison said the warmer weather may mean an earlier harvest.
"Our season seems to be shortened, maybe because of the drier, warmer weather," Pinnell-Alison said. "A lot of our producers are saying corn seems to be maturing faster than usual."
Corn is usually harvested in late August and early September. However, because of the accelerated growth of corn coupled with early planters, Pinnell-Alison said the 2008 corn harvest may begin as early as the middle of August.
Cotton is also feeling the brunt of dry, hot summer days but the crop is "coming along," according to Pinnell-Alison.
"It's not as tall as it was in previous years and I think that may have to do some with the dryer weather," Pinnell-Alison said.
Without a major rain, Pinnell-Alison said farmers will have to continue making sure crops are well-irrigated.
In other agricultural news, the LSU AgCenter's July calendar will feature three agriculture field days aimed at giving area producers an edge in the field.
In Tensas Parish, farmers will participate in a harvest-yield monitor program focusing on using yield monitors in the field. That event will begin at 8:45 a.m. July 15 at the Northeast Research Station.
The Jay Hardwick Farm will host a master farmer field day on July 18, beginning at 9 a.m. and, in Rayville, the Elliot Colvin Farm will host a rice field day July 21st at 8:45 a.m.
For more information about the agricultural field days, contact the LSU AgCenter at (318) 435-7551.