Local farmers and scientists are indicating that this year’s sugar-cane crop is coming in exceptionally well although the final numbers will have to wait until early next year.
Local farmers are seeing signs of good yields from their fields as well as the sugar content being better than usual. One of the major factors farmers are pointing to is how the weather has been cooperating and there hasn’t been much rain.
“It’s going very well. We can’t ask for better weather for harvesting conditions. The yield is very good this year. Tonnage is better than last year and sugar content is looking good, so the overall crop is looking very good,” said Gary Gravois, a sugar-cane farmer in Napoleonville.
The amount of sugar cane and how much sugar is being produced is varying from farm to farm.
“The weather’s been really cooperating. Our tons per acre is not what we would hope, but sugar content is really good and making up for it,” McCollam said. “We won’t know how good of a stand we’ll get because of the delayed planting we had from the wet spring and summer, but it’s been going really good.”
Herman Waguespack, senior agronomist for the Thibodaux-based American Sugar Cane League, said sugar content is just barely below the record numbers the industry had last year and the good yields and sugar recovery seem to be occurring across the state.
“Generally it’s been a very good season across the board. Some areas are slightly better than other, but in general this has been a good crop. We’re fortunate we didn’t have any hurricanes hit us directly and we’ve had good harvest conditions. A lot of cane is still growing too since we haven’t had any freezes, so it’s good news this year,” Waguespack said.
According to the American Sugar Cane League, the sugar industry has an annual economic impact of about $2 billion to growers and raw sugar factories and generates an overall economic value of about $3 billion.
Louisiana produces about 13 million tons of cane on more than 400,000 acres in 22 parishes, the league says.
According to the 2016 LSU agriculture summary, there were 22 sugar-cane producers in Lafourche Parish and eight in Terrebonne Parish last year. There were 25,000 acres of sugar cane in Lafourche and 8,800 in Terrebonne.