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DFP-RonSmith-CornHarvest19.JPG Ron Smith
The Louisiana corn harvest wrapped up this September with an average yield of 170 to 172 bushels per acre.

A smooth corn harvest despite a rainy spring

The Louisiana 2019 corn harvest was planted late due to rain, but the yields look good.

Dan Fromme, professor and state Extension specialist in cotton, corn, and sorghum at the LSU Agriculture Center in Alexandria, said Louisiana was able to finish harvesting corn in September.

“We had 540,000 acres planted this year in corn,” Fromme said. “We had a lot of trouble at the beginning of the planting season. We got started planting around the third week of March, but we didn’t get everything planted as quick as we wanted to.”

Due to rain, the corn planting was spread out from the third week of March to the end of May.

“This hurt our yields, having to plant a little bit later than we normally do. We like to get everything planted in March and finish up by the first part of April, but we didn’t this year,” he said.

Some corn was planted late, which affected yields, and corn that was planted earlier sat in water, affecting yields as well.

“Statewide this year, we’re averaging around 170 to 172 bushels per acre,” Fromme said. “About 70 percent of our corn acres are irrigated, which really helps stabilize our yields. However, Louisiana gets a lot of rain, so a lot of times we don’t get planted in a timely fashion.”

The challenge this season, besides the weather, was getting fertilizer, including nitrogen, applied at the right time. Pests and diseases were not major issues.

“Once we got planted, we had a hard time getting the nitrogen fertilizer applied to the corn in a timely manner. This hurt yields simply because the fields were too wet to put the nitrogen out early enough,” he said.

“We normally start harvesting the latter part of July and finish up by the end of September.”

In 2018, Louisiana averaged 182 bushels, and in 2017, the state averaged around 185.

“Just to give you some comparisons, in 2016 our yields were around 165, and in 2015, we had 172. In 2014, we averaged 182 bushels,” Fromme said. “From 2012 to 2018, we’ve averaged anywhere from 165 to 185, so a 170 to 172 average yield is pretty good.”

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