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Strong winds, rain impact sugarcane crop - The Advertiser (Lafayette, La.) - 10/27/2015 -

Strong winds, rain impact sugar cane crop

Jessica Goff, jgoff@theadvertiser.com 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 said.

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 thats 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 its going to hurt, but we dont 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 mud.


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