- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - Rain across Southwest Louisiana is threatening the survival of soybean and rice crops.

“Overall it’s a horrible season, and I don’t see much hope,” LSU AgCenter extension agent Barrett Courville said. “It is going to be tough even if we dry up, but it is Mother Nature and we can’t control it. We just do the best we can.”

Weeks of thunderstorms and heavy rains have saturated fields, increasing the presence of disease and mildew on many of the crops, he said.

Many soybean plants are already showing the stress of too much water, he said.

“It has not been a good thing with soybeans,” he said. “Things had just finally dried up for planting, then the frequent rains came and have reduced the stands.”

Older soybeans crops are also being affected by the rain because farmers cannot get herbicides onto the fields to help control weeds and insects.

“The whole season has been bad for soybean farmers,” Courville told the American Press (https://bit.ly/1eOXZNb). “They only had a few windows of opportunity to get their crops planted, then the rains came which have reduced the yields, stands and acres.”

Many soybean fields should have been replanted, but wet weather and muddy conditions kept many of the farmers out of the fields, he said.

Relentless rain is also threatening to take its toll on rice crops, he said. “Rice is not as critical, but it is bad because of the moist, humid conditions,” he said.

The wet, warm conditions are favorable for development of leaf blast and other disease in many of the crops, Courville said.

The wet weather combined with current market prices will make it a tough year for many of the farmers, Courville said.

Most farmers have crop insurance, which pays for most of the planting cost, but it does not cover the total loss, he said.

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Information from: American Press, https://www.americanpress.com

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