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|Weather dampens wheat, planting|
A spate of cold weather could put strain on the Franklin Parish wheat crop while a run of wet weather has kept some area farmers from planting their spring crops, according to LSU AgCenter's Carol Pinnell-Alison.
Among the biggest concerns this week are a projected drop in temperatures as a cold front moves through the region and wet fields that could hinder timely planting.
"As I understand it, the weather that's coming through over the week, the temperatures are going to drop drastically," Pinnell-Alison said.
Any dramatic temperature swings could be harmful to wheat crops, which are nearing harvest.
"It's typical of any growing plant," Pinnell-Alison said. "If you go over 70 degrees one day and drop to 30 degrees the next, it's hard on the plant."
Pinnell-Alison said there is a possibility wheat plants could be damaged by the temperature swings, depending on where the plant is in its growth cycle.
Another area of concern for local farmers is a recent run of wet weather that has kept them out of the fields.
Pinnell-Alison pointed out the recent rain and high winds are threatening to encroach on the spring planting season.
"In northeast Louisiana, our recommended planting date for corn is from March 10 to April 1," Pinnell-Alison said.
With the 10th just around the corner, Pinnell-Alison worried that wheat harvest could run late and interrupt planting of corn and soybeans.
Aside from the wet weather, that could mean some area farmers could face seed availability issues.
"There may be a concern depending on seed availability," Pinnell-Alison said. "If you're waiting to plant soybeans after wheat, how much seed is going to be available?"
Pinnell-Alison said this year's big crop is shaping up to be soybeans, closely followed by corn and then cotton.
"The economics of soybeans will make them far more attractive to farmers, as inputs are lower," Pinnell-Alison said.
One area expected to see declines in acreage is cotton.
"We're probably going to lose a few more acres of cotton," Pinnell-Alison said. "Cotton growers can't get the price they need."
Pinnell-Alison noted it's still early in the 2008 season and things could still change.
"There are lots of ifs out there, but from what I understand it's going to be soybeans with a high concentration of acreage, followed by corn and then cotton," Pinnell-Alison said.