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Story Archives: Cotton crop under dry spell
|Cotton crop under dry spell|
Despite rainfall last week, dry weather this year is expected to dramatically reduce cotton yields in Franklin Parish, according to LSU AgCenter officials.
AgCenter surveys estimate the parish will produce about 6,600 acres of cotton this season — down from around 12,000 acres that were grown last year.
It is expected to be the second consecutive year that Franklin Parish cotton production has dropped 40 percent to 50 percent from production in the previous year.
While falling prices and a rise in production costs were blamed for last year's downturn, dry weather is responsible for hampering this year's crop, said Carol Pinnell-Alison of the LSU AgCenter.
"It's getting to be a concern that it's dry this early. We got so much rain in the fall that the averages look to be good this year, but the rain hasn't been evenly distributed," she said. "We are not at a terrible, desperate state, but we are concerned."
The National Weather Service reports Franklin Parish is down about 12 to 17 inches in rain averages this year.
"We are far below normal across the parish and if you look at all of northeast Louisiana, you will find pretty much the same story," said forecaster Marty Pope with the Weather Service.
The parish has only received around 11 inches of rain in 2010, with much of it —four inches—falling in January, according to the Weather Service.
Statewide, cotton production was down 23 percent from 2008 to 2009, when 225,000 acres producing 725 pounds per-acre were grown in Louisiana.
While officials totals are still months away, most other crops grown in Franklin Parish seem to be fairing at least as well as they did last year.
There were over 7,900 acres of corn —Franklin Parish's chief crop —grown in 2009, with 160 bushels per-acre yields, according the AgCenter. There will be at least as much grown in Franklin Parish this year, said Pinnell-Alison.
The United States Department of Agriculture reported 80.5 million bushels of corn for grain was produced in Louisiana in 2009.
Soybean production in Franklin Parish is expected to be about the same in 2009 as in 2010.
Last year, Franklin Parish grew 40,871 acres of soybeans, yielding 40 bushels per-acre, the AgCenter reports.