Report: Dry weather ongoing concern for La., Miss.

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A new report rates soil moisture at short or very short in over half of Louisiana and Mississippi, stoking farmers’ concerns about their hay and grain crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its weekly crop report, reiterated Louisiana ranchers’ complaints about declining pasture and hay conditions — a complaint that’s turned up repeatedly in reports this summer. For the week that ended Sunday, pasture conditions were rated 73 percent fair or good, 20 percent poor or very poor and 7 percent excellent.

The U.S. Drought Monitor last week showed a patch of moderate drought in northeast Louisiana and abnormally dry conditions in all but the southeastern toe of the boot — a situation virtually unchanged since mid-June.

Conditions in Mississippi have improved since then, though last week’s drought tracker showed abnormally dry conditions across much of the state and a small area of moderate drought in the southwest.

The Agriculture Department says Mississippi farmers are predicting lower-than-expected yields on their corn, due to the dry conditions.