Farmers, experts cautiously optimistic about sugar cane crop after hard freeze

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(KLFY) – Louisiana’s sugar cane crop hit a record high in 2020, producing nearly 2 million tons of sugar.
However, the recent hard freeze could impact the crop this year.

“We had some concern, but it’s one of those things out of your control,” said sugar cane farmer Taylor Blanchard. “Just pray for the best.”

Fields in Acadiana were under a blanket of sub-freezing temperatures about two weeks ago.

“We are seeing some green emerging from the cane. So, with that, we have hope that it didn’t do too much damage,” said Blanchard.

“We won’t know until the next two or three weeks fully,” said Kenneth Gravois, sugar can specialist at LSU Ag Center. “The crop is starting to come out right now as we speak.”

Sugar cane in Louisiana went through a big freeze in 1989, when the thermometer dipped into the single digits, and again in January of 2018, when temps were in the teens.

Gravois says this recent freeze has two positive signs. Soil temps did not go below 34 degrees, and precipitation before the freeze offered protection. Gravois hopes the crop dodged the bullet on this one.

“I’m sure there will be pockets of concern. We’re going to continue to monitor the crop like we always do each spring, but an early assessment indicates that we may have bypassed a big threat,” said Gravois.

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