Reports of damaged crops continue after severe flooding

August 25, 2016

A downpour that dumped two feet of rain in less than 48 hours over Louisiana, killing several people and flooding 40,000 homes, has inundated rice fields and some soybean crops, according to a Louisiana Farm Bureau spokesman. Along with waterlogged crops in flooded fields, some rail lines remain under water and roads closed, making transport of grain (or anything) difficult.

“Some farmers lost crops,” Neil Melancon, assistant director of public relations at the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, said in an article. “We’re assessing the damage to rice and soybean fields and displaced cattle,” he added.

Markets reacted sharply, with rice futures making their biggest gain in five years, observed Cary Martin, of the Farm Bureau’s radio network. The damage could be considerable. Dustin Harrell, a research agronomist and extension rice specialist at Louisiana State University, offered a “highly speculative estimates” earlier this week that Louisiana rice growers could already be seeing more than $14 million in losses from the flooding damage.

Most farmers were helping each other herd cattle to higher ground and mending fences, Melancon said. “This flooding is severe. It’s the worst we’ve ever seen."

As of last week, Baton Rouge had received 22.11 inches of rain since the beginning of August, more than 19 inches above normal, according to the National Weather Service. While about 50% to 75% of the first rice crop harvest was completed, the second rice crop could be lost now, Melancon said.

Although it could be too early to tell, an estimated one million acres of soybeans could also be affected. Melancon explained that a big crop was expected this year, “and the bean crop looked better than ever,” on the verge of harvest just before the torrential rains hit.

According to the National Weather Service, localized flooding is also a concern in Texas from Houston to the central Texas Hill Country region. But the impact on agriculture is uncertain, according to Texas agriculture state officials who are still gathering information around the state due to the ongoing flooding.

For the areas of Texas that are still experiencing a drought, the rain may be helpful. Summer crops, such as grain sorghum and cotton, in other parts of the state likely needed the relief from the heat and drought, the article explains.

Looking ahead, however, the weather news is not encouraging. Meteorologist Bryce Anderson said although the heavy rain has eased up in Louisiana, there will still be light to moderate showers throughout the next week to 10 days. “There's not a completely dry day indicated until Monday, Aug. 29," he continued.

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Category: Agriculture