Louisiana farmers wrap up record sugarcane season

Agriculture

The Louisiana Sugarcane Cooperative sugar mill near St. Martinville in operation Wednesday, Jan. 27, within the last few days of grinding. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter

ST. GABRIEL, La. (LSU AgCenter) – The 2020-21 Louisiana sugarcane crop is almost complete after four months of grinding, and it appears the crop will set a record.

“We’re going to produce almost 2 million tons of sugar. That’s a record for Louisiana,” said Kenneth Gravois, LSU AgCenter sugarcane specialist.

Harvest started in September and continued for almost 125 consecutive days in some areas, with a few days off because of hurricanes. Gravois said the lengthy harvest indicates farmers and mills did well.

“That’s a good problem. That means we had a big crop,” Gravois said.

He noted some delays occurred because of hurricanes and problems with getting imported labor into the U.S.

He said sugar recovery probably will average 232 pounds per ton of cane. But the sugar per acre, 8,350 pounds, is an excellent outcome. “That’s a top three crop for Louisiana.”

Gravois said dry weather set up good conditions for planting, and most of the 2020 planting was complete when Hurricane Laura hit in August.

While hurricanes knocked cane down, the major variety L 01-299 is easier to harvest when lodged, he said.

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