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|Crops need rain|
Corn fields aren't expected to match last year's record-shattering yields in Franklin Parish, caused in part to a lack of rain.
"The last few weeks, the heat's just been killing us," said Buckshot Sims, a corn producer and agriculture consultant. "We're right here on the tail-end of finishing the corn crops."
According to recent figures, Franklin Parish is far below the average rainfall expected during July.
LSU AgCenter's Carol Pinnell-Alison said the scattered showers that have fallen on parish farms just haven't satisfied the needs of the plants.
"We wish we could get some rain," Pinnell-Alison said. "We just haven't had enough."
The lack of rain means farmers are having to water their crops more frequently than usual.
Sims pointed to the area's cotton crops as just one example of increased watering habits.
In a typical year, Sims said he will irrigate cotton eight times.
"And we're already on the fourth watering of cotton," Sims said. "So we're already halfway there."
Irrigating crops is key, Sims said, and he said farmers know not to plant crops unless they are prepared to water them regularly.
"I look at 20 acres of cotton that's not irrigated," Sims said. "Everyone has learned through the years you just have to water, water, water."
Though corn crops will be down from the stratospheric yields of 2007, both Pinnell-Alison and Sims said they expect decent yields.
Sims said he predicts cotton to be "very, very good this year."
However, his assessment of that portion of the region's soybean crops planted after the wheat harvest was not positive.
"They'll never cut them," Sims said.
Sims attributed that crops failure to the scorching heat and lack of steady rains. Given that many of the area's soybean crops were planted on wheat fields that weren't prepared for irrigation, that means the plants have withered.
"Pretty much, if you can't water it, you don't need to farm it," Sims said. "The risk is just too high now."