Strong winds, rain impact sugar cane crop
Jessica Goff, firstname.lastname@example.org October 27, 2015
Texas and parts of South Louisiana sustained tropical
storm-like conditions as remnants of Hurricane Patricia rolled through over the
weekend, the National Weather Service said.
The storm dumped up to five inches in Acadiana with some
gusts reaching up to 30 miles an hour, NWS meteorologist Donovan Landreneau
Several areas of Acadiana remain flooded, and more rain is
forecasted for this weekend.
The weather comes at a crucial time for sugar cane farmers
who are in the midst of harvesting their crop.
Acres of the cane stalks have been flattened by the unexpected
heavy wind and rain, which may impact the harvesting process and the quality of
the crop, Louisiana Sugar Cane League agronomist Herman Waguespack said Monday.
"It will certainly have an impact,” he said. "We had really
dry harvest conditions, and we had straight cane before this. It was
ideal. The crop had really good sugar
content. The mills were able to recover a lot of sugar. But now a lot of that’s changed.”
The recent poor weather conditions may not necessarily mean
a major impact, but it was certainly an unexpected downturn, Duson sugar cane
farmer Chad Hanks said.
"We were desperate for rain,” Hanks said. ”I think this is
going to help more than it’s going to hurt, but we don’t need it to continue.”
Sugar cane farming is a $2 billion industry in
Louisiana. There are high hopes that
domestic growers will benefit from negotiations between the U.S. and Mexican
government to regulate the influx for Mexican sugar into the Unites States,
which drove process down. The American
Sugar Cane League has been lobbying for increased regulations in recent years
as odds continued to be stacked against U.S. farmers already struggling with
increased production costs and often unpredictable weather.
"We were getting record sugar recovery before because we had
such dry harvest conditions and really good weather so far this year,”
Waguespack said. "We are going to have some losses because the cane is down.
The mills are going to have to deal with some of that extra leaf material and