Report: Rains a welcome respite for La. crops

Published 4:21 pm Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Recent rains have provided a welcomed boost to Louisiana’s soybean crop, but dry conditions continue to be a problem for farmers in parts of Mississippi.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a weekly crop report the recent moisture in Louisiana helped growing soybeans and sugarcane and helped perk up range conditions. Some farmers have already begun their second cutting of hay.

For the week that ended Sunday, soil moisture was rated 66 percent adequate or surplus and 34 percent short or very short. A week earlier, it had been rated 43 percent adequate or surplus and 57 percent short or very short.

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In Mississippi, however, the department says there are concerns about yield reductions, due to the lack of needed moisture, and that row crops and pastures are already suffering. Soil moisture was rated 61 percent short or very short and 39 percent adequate or surplus.

Farming is a business of risk management. The department says farmers are worried about finances as expenses continue to mount.

The cost of inputs such as fertilizer and fuel have hit many farmers hard. Diesel, for example, cost an average $4.685 a gallon in Louisiana on Tuesday, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, and a slightly lower amount in Mississippi.