LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Heavy rains in southwest Louisiana are flooding land and keeping some farmers out of the fields.
Calcasieu Parish County Agent Jimmy Meaux tells The American Press (http://bit.ly/cseYHv) that although sugar cane harvesting is through in most areas, rice and soybean farmers are being kept from preparing their fields for the planting season.
Most farmers spend January and February getting fields in shape for spring planting, which can begin as early as March, he said.
The muddy fields prevent farmers from walking about or moving heavy equipment into the fields.
More rain is expected to spread through Louisiana this weekend.
"Hopefully we will get a dry period, but it is going to take a long time to get the fields dry," Meaux said. "We are really saturated right now."
The wet conditions are also making it harder for cattle farmers to get hay and rye grass to their animals, he said.
Many areas in Southwest Louisiana, including Hayes and Grand Chenier, reported 5-10 inches of rain in a 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday.
"It looks like it is going to be a wet winter," Meaux said. "We've had a few dry patterns, but things are sort of getting back to normal."
Kevin Savoie, sea grant agent for the LSU AgCenter in Cameron Parish, said the rain is not all bad for crawfish farmers. "The rain is providing them with a free source of water to flood their fields," Savoie said.
Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com