Sweltering summer could contribute to lower crop yields

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The hot and dry summer we’ve been experiencing is likely to limit the yields for some of the state’s key crops, like rice. Louisiana Rice Specialist Ronnie Levy with the LSU Ag Center said if planted late in the season, anything flowering now could affect pollination.

“Because the plant uses energy at night to stay cool, so that can impact our yields most of our early rice is past those real critical stages.”

Levy said the full impact the heat has had on the rice crop won’t be known until harvest which hasn’t started yet. He said there are advantages to the hot, dry weather.

“We have a lot more sunshine, we don’t have the cloud cover, the moister and rain can contribute to disease development, so those things can lower yields as well.”

Levy said the bigger concern is the impact drought conditions have on other crops like soybeans, sugarcane and corn. But thankfully it’s not a statewide issue.

“There are some areas that did catch some rainfall. If we get into some of the central parts of the state, they’ve caught a few rains. It’s just where they haven’t caught rains it’s having an impact on those crops.”

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