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Louisiana corn planting starts slow in 2024

High rainfall, cool temperatures temper early season corn progress.

Raney Rapp, Senior Writer

April 15, 2024

6 Slides

Rain is a good thing – though farmers are constantly facing the challenging reality of too much or not enough of one of their occupation’s most critical resources. In Louisiana, where corn planting typically kicks off in late February, rebounding rains after 2023’s widespread drought have stalled progress planting 2024 corn.

In USDA crop progress reports released March 11, 18 and 25, each found the state averaging just over two days per week suitable for field work – based on soil moisture and temperature. By March 25, corn planting completion hovered around 52%, a sharp difference from 2023’s 93% and grand progress form the week prior at 28%.

Ahead of the curve

On his acreage in East Carroll Parish, Rayville farmer Dustin Morris was ahead of the curve attempting to get corn into a still-wet field before evening rains set in on March 21.

“In general planting is way behind,” Morris said. “I hate to put a percentage to it, but I mean there's probably 50% of acres planted that they'd like to have planted, maybe more maybe less. We’re probably closer to 60% finished and that’s probably ahead of a lot of places.”

Morris is a “reformed” cotton farmer, who raises almost exclusively corn and soybeans on a large acreage in Northeast Louisiana. Corn price’s steady decline since 2022 has necessitated a shift in his production from primarily corn to a more even ratio of corn and soybeans – despite his truck still proudly declaring “GROCORN.”

“We planted so much corn last year that we had a lot of acres we could rotate to, so it just made it made an easy decision,” Morris said. “We probably should be closer to 50/50 every year. The only reason we're not 50/50 every year is the harvest rate. Soybeans and low-pressure systems or hurricanes here make the equation a lot riskier than corn and we try to mitigate that a little bit by not having too many acres.”

Although corn prices are discouraging, Morris said he doesn’t plan on scaling back spending. Instead, he hopes to grow the best possible output to maximize efficiency.“We're kind of high input, high output operation. I get really nervous when I started talking about cutting stuff,” Morris said. “Obviously fertilizer prices are still relatively expensive, along with everything else. But this isn’t the year to scale back, this isn’t the year to shortcut. This is the year to focus on what you know is necessary to hunker down and grow a good crop.”

About the Author(s)

Raney Rapp

Senior Writer, Delta Farm Press

Delta Farm Press Senior Writer

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