Recent rains relieves drought but slows down sugarcane production

Photo Credit: Dalfred Jones/KLFY

When the season opened in early October farmers were in high cotton, or cane– given these circumstances.

Although many would argue that the rain over the past few days was much needed, sugarcane farmers are getting the short end of the stick, as the rain drastically slows production.

Sixth-generation sugarcane farmer Eddie Lewis III said business has taken a turn, “We’ve been getting a lot of rain. Some areas 6 to 8 inches! That makes things a whole lot more difficult to get out of the field with muddy conditions. It’s probably slowed things down maybe 20 to 25%.”

Sugarcane farmers lose a lot of money when the rain hits. The amount of clean crop harvested goes down when the fields are drenched. It also increases fuel and labor costs.

“Not being able to burn the cane makes it a whole lot harder and you’re sending a whole lot of trash to the mills; it’s hard to extract the sugar from the cane that way,” Lewis told KLFY’s Dalfred Jones.

The wet weather doesn’t make things any easier for everyday drivers, who are already dealing with the cane trucks and debris.

Now there’s mud added to the equation; but farmers try and do their part to keep the roads clean.

“Our number one concern is public safety, keeping the roads clean and keeping everyone in the community safe,” Lewis tells KLFY’s

Depending on weather conditions, sugarcane season should wrap up around mid January.

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