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|Farmer experiment could pay off|
Bob Moroni's farm may not look like an agricultural experiment in progress, but that's exactly what it is.
Moroni is attempting to take double-cropping — planting one crop behind another — to a new level in Franklin Parish.
He's followed a successful early corn harvest with another corn crop, testing the theory that the temperatures and climate of northeastern Louisiana will enable two corn crops.
It's a risky proposition and, so far, Moroni remains cautious but optimistic he'll get a harvest out of the field in November.
"We've got a lot of money tied up in it right now," Moroni said. "So it's too early to tell if it's a good deal or not."
One factor enabling Moroni to even attempt planting late corn is the sandy soil of his farm.
"It needs to be on this ridge, on the real sandy lands where you don't have any trouble with the mud," Moroni said.
Lower temperatures are not the danger to late corn in Louisiana. After all, corn will grow well into October in much cooler climates.
The big risk in Louisiana are winter rains that soak roots, creating a fertile breeding ground for diseases and putting corn stalks in danger of blowing over in winds.
Moroni's sandy soil atop the ridge should facilitate drainage and give the corn a firm enough ground to continue standing, even in the face of late fall and early winter rains.
Moroni said it's a pricey experiment, but he is seeing progress.
"It's coming along, but it's got some disease looking at it," Moroni said.
He's successfully fought off the early crop diseases and is now keeping a close eye on his experiment — the first of its kind in Franklin Parish.
Moroni said he's hoping the endeavor proves cost-effective but also granted there is a risk.
"It's a first time experiment," Moroni said. "We'll just have to wait till the harvest to see if it's practical or not."