Morehouse Parish corn growers are reaping a bountiful harvest in spite of this summer's drought conditions, while dry weather elsewhere in the country has brought corn prices up.
“Our crop [in Morehouse Parish] is very promising,” said Terry Erwin, parish agent with the LSU AgCenter. “Our farmers are starting to harvest their corn and reporting very good yields, within the 150 to 200 bushel range.”
CNN reports corn prices nationwide surged to a record high Tuesday as the worst drought since the 1950s continues to ravage crops in the Midwest. Nearly 90 percent of the American corn crops are in drought-struck areas, resulting in prices soaring more than 50 percent in the past six weeks, according U.S. Department of Agriculture records cited in the report.
“We're suffering the drought here also,” said Erwin. “But the majority of our farmers have some form of irrigation, which alleviates it to some extent.”
Morehouse corn growers got an early start this season with approximately 75,000 acres planted. Erwin said those farmers who irrigate from groundwater – drawn from the Mississippi River Aquifer, which replenishes itself each fall – have fared better than those who have been pumping from Bayou Bartholomew and the Boeuf River, which have also suffered from lack of rainfall.
“Farmers pumping out of the ground have had plenty of water” in spite of a shortage of rainfall, said Erwin. “Corn production is done and the rain won't have any effect on it this year.”
Local growers have also benefitted from temperatures “not quite as high” as the scorching heat Morehouse Parish endured during the 2011 summer drought, in which crops suffered more so than this summer.
Erwin said the official corn yield figures will not be tabulated and released by the LSU AgCenter until wintertime.
“All things considered, farmers have had a pretty good year,” he said.