La. farmers wrap up record year
For all major agricultural commodities, 2013 was a good year, making it the second year in a row Louisiana farmers saw high yields and good prices, 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 came down slightly from the high prices they saw in 2012.
“From a historical standpoint, the prices were still very strong — just maybe not to the prices that we saw in 2012,” Guidry said.
Farmers are still operating without a permanent farm bill, which leaves some uncertainty heading in 2014. Guidry said this uncertainty makes it extremely difficult for farmers to decide which crops to plant and how many acres.
Guidry predicts that some acreage will shift in 2014 because of falling prices in corn.
“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.
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.”
Fuel and fertilizer costs were down in 2013, and Guidry said this trend is expected to continue in 2014.
Louisiana set a record for the value of agriculture in 2012, based on record or near-record yields for many commodities, coupled with historically high prices. It is still too early to predict what the total farm gate value will be for 2013, but Guidry said there is potential to reach last year’s record.