La. farmers see high yields, good prices

State sees high yield, good prices

“Corn doesn’t nearly have the same advantage over soybeans in terms of profitability per acre that we’ve seen in the last few years.” KURT Guidry, LSU AgCenter economist

Louisiana farmers saw high yields and good prices for all the major crops in 2013, the second good year in a row, according to LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry.

“We’ve had about as good a year as we could,” Guidry said. “We’re going to set state records in terms of yields for most of our row-crop commodities.”

Corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, cotton and rice all had record yields. While wheat and sugar cane didn’t set records, yields were still high.

The prices farmers received for their crops in 2013 were strong, although slightly lower than the high prices enjoyed in 2012. Louisiana set a record for the value of agriculture in 2012, thanks to record or near-record harvests and historically high prices.

It is still too early to predict what the total farm value will be for 2013, but Guidry said there is potential to reach last year’s record. Farmers received help from lower fuel and fertilizer costs, a trend Guidry expects to continue in 2014.

Guidry predicts that in 2014 some acreage will shift to soybeans and a small amount to cotton because corn prices are falling.

“Corn doesn’t nearly have the same advantage over soybeans in terms of profitability per acre that we’ve seen in the last few years,” he said.

Meanwhile, farmers enter the new year still waiting on a permanent farm bill, Guidry said. The lack of a farm bill makes it extremely difficult for farmers to decide which crops to plant and how many acres.

Guidry said some corn acreage will move into soybeans. Cotton, which has seen historically low acres, could pick up a few more in 2014.

“I think we will see some producers who prefer to grow cotton but didn’t because of high corn prices; these farmers will move back into cotton.”