Tropical rain season hurts Louisiana sweet potato farmers

Now that sweet potato farmers from Louisiana are nearing the end of this year’s harvest, they are getting a clearer picture of how much damage was done by the heavy rains that came down on their fields in a busy tropical storm season.

Up to 40% of the crop was damaged in Avoyelles Parish, while Acadia Parish producers escaped the back-to-back tropical systems from August to October with virtually no problems. Damage estimates for northeastern Louisiana farms fall everywhere in between.

Louisiana has 6,600 to 6,700 acres of sweet potatoes this year, about 70% of which has been harvested, said LSU AgCenter extension associate Myrl Sistrunk. Some growers are digging up rotten potatoes in fields that took on water during the recent storms, particularly Hurricane Delta in October.

Hurricane Laura in August and Tropical Storm Beta in September didn’t cause major problems, Sistrunk said. In fact, “some locations were needing some rainfall,” he told arklatexhomepage.com.

Most northeastern Louisiana growers have storm-related damage on about 10% of their crop. Morehouse Parish is an exception; Sistrunk estimates 20% to 25% of the crop there is rotten or otherwise damaged.


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