La. saw another good sugar cane harvest in 2013

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Sugar cane is harvested from a field along Chemin Metairie Parkway in Youngsville. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Sugar cane is harvested from a field along Chemin Metairie Parkway in Youngsville.

Louisiana’s 2013 sugar cane harvest was one of the five best in the state’s history, although the crop didn’t top 2012’s record production, according to LSU AgCenter sugar cane specialist Kenneth Gravois.

Farmers produced around 34 tons of cane per acre and about 220 pounds of sugar for each ton of cane.

Louisiana has 11 sugarcane mills, which grind the cane and produce raw sugar. The milling season starts in early fall and lasts through midwinter. The last mill will finish grinding on Friday, Jan. 10.

A relatively wet fall made harvest more difficult, Gravois said, and the freeze Nov. 28-30 hit hardest north of Interstate 10.

But mills were able to process most of the affected crop before the cane started to deteriorate.

“A cool December helped prevent additional deterioration, so the cane ‘kept,’” Gravois said. Growers lost little of their crop.