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IberiaSt. Martin

Tropical Storm Olga Brings Challenges For Sugarcane Farmers

Tropical Storm Olga comes at the peak of the sugar cane harvest so it brings challenges for farmers.

“I think our farmers can deal with a 3-4 inch rain, but it’s like anything else. It makes life harder.” said St. Martin Parish County Agent Stuart Gauthier.

Despite the heavy rain, the sugarcane farmers in Acadiana are trucking along to harvest crop.

Gauthier says farmers still have to harvest a certain amount of sugar cane everyday before the season ends in early January.

“Cane farmers are spending more money to harvest the cane. Yet what they are pulling out of the field is also typically going to be lower in sugarcane. That’s kind of the bottom line.” said Gauthier.

This tropical storm is just part of the cycle of adverse weather conditions that have stifled sugarcane farmers within the last three years.

“Sugarcane fields have not had the time to rebound from that. You couple that with the weather we had, the sporadic weather we had. We knew that this cane crop coming in was going to be lighter in terms of tonnage.” Iberia Parish County Agent Blair Hebert.

Gauthier remains optimistic about this year’s sugar cane crop because they have yet to harvest 75 percent of the crop.

“Hopefully that can turn around, but for that to turn around. We need the weather people to give us bright sunny weather.” said Gauthier.