Total farm income for all animal
enterprises is $1.634 billion for 2004, up from $1.331 billion in 2003. Value
added is $949.0 million. Total value of all animal enterprises to the Louisiana
economy is $2.583 billion.
Fisheries and Wildlife Enterprises
Total farm value of all fish and wildlife enterprises is
$451.0 million for 2004. Value added is $315.2 million. Total value of all
fishery and wildlife enterprises to the Louisiana economy is $766.2
The total value of all plant enterprises is $2.950 billion.
Value added is $4.427 billion. Total value of all crop enterprises to the
Louisiana economy is $7.377 billion.
In 2004 the beef cattle industry saw continued high prices. The
strong market encouraged producers to increase herd size and others to get into
or back into beef production. Cattle numbers increased slightly to 642,972, up
from 641,231 in 2003 and 632,887 in 2002, but still below the 651,126 in 2001.
The number of producers fell to 12,446, down from 12,522 in 2003 but more than
the 12,397 in 2002.
Gross farm income from beef cattle was $365.6 million in 2004, up $67.8 million
from the $295.8 million reported for 2003, and $109.8 million from $255.8
million in 2002, reflecting increased prices and numbers sold.
The number of steer calves in the 300-pound to 700-pound weight range sold was
260,258, down from the 265,284 head in 2003, but up from 255,759 head in 2002.
The number of heifer calves of the same weight range sold was 224,201, almost
equal to the 223,970 sold in 2003 and up from 206,342 head in 2002.
The gross farm value of the steer sales in 2004 was $132.5 million, up $21.1
million from 2003, which was $111.4 million, and up from $97.2 million in 2002.
The value of the heifers sold in 2004 was $106.1 million, up $21 million from
2003, which was $85.1 million, and a $41.1 million increase from the $70.3
million in 2002.
Sales of yearling cattle of both sexes were 63,516 head in 2004, down slightly
from 66,968 head in 2003 and 65,145 head in 2002. The value of the yearling
cattle sold was $42.1 million, up from $36.2 million in 2003 and $31.1 million
The number of cow-calf pairs sold increased to 48,794 in 2004, up from 44,409
pairs in 2003 and 41,415 pairs in 2002. Some producers are finding a niche
market of developing cow-calf pairs to fill the need for other producers. The
gross farm value of the pairs in 2004 was $46.4 million, up from $32 million in
2003 and $29.4 million in 2002.
The number of cull cows sold fell to 73,419, down from the 74,284 head in 2003
and up from 71,548 head in 2002. This, coupled with the increase in cow-calf
pairs sold, indicated continued herd improvement. The gross farm value of the
cull cows in 2004 was $30.1 million, up from the $24.5 million in 2003 and
$21.9 million in 2002.
The number of cull bulls sold in 2004 was 9,171, up slightly from 9,091 in 2003
and 8,445 in 2002. The gross farm value of cull bulls in 2004 was $8.4 million,
up from $6.6 million in 2003 and $5.9 million 2002.
The increased farm value of beef cattle in 2004 over 2003 and 2002 was primarily
a result of better prices.
The total value of the sales of the beef cattle industry in 2004 was $365.6
million, up $69.8 million from $295.8 million in 2003; $36.5 million of this
was value added.
Milk production was reported by 19 parishes in 2004. Three parishes in the
southeastern part of the state and one in the northwest accounted for about 91%
of the milk production, about 89% of the herds and 92% of the dairy cows in
Louisiana. The number of dairy farms declined from 334 in 2003 to 308 in 2004.
The number of milking cows decreased from 40,815 in 2003 to 36,768 in 2004.
Total milk production decreased from 510.5 million pounds in 2003 to 469.7
million pounds in 2004. Even though total milk production was lower, the
on-farm value of milk increased by $11.1 million in 2004, going from $66.3
million in 2003 to $77.4 million in 2004.
This significant increase in the on-farm value of milk was caused by a
substantially higher average price received for milk in 2004.
The value of cull cows, bred heifers, mature cows, breeding age bulls and calves
was about $13.0 million. The total value of milk and animal sales to Louisiana
dairy producers was $90.4 million. The value added attributed to further
processing milk and animal sales was about $121.4 million. The total economic
contribution from dairying in Louisiana, including milk sales, animal sales and
further processing, was $211.8 million.
The value of milk sales from dairy goats was $3,986 in 2004, down from $6,134 in
2003. Twelve producers with 126 milking does produced 18,120 pounds of goat
The total on-farm value of the sale of milk from cows and goats and the sale of
animals was $90.4 million in 2004.
The race horse industry has 1,202 breeders who own 10,552 mares that produced
6,677 foals that were sold in 2004 for $53.4 million. These breeders own 994
stallions that were bred to 9,504 mares, generating income from stud fees of
$19 million. The total income generated from race horse production was $72.4
million. An additional 2,231 race horse owners owned 12,411 race horses in
training or on the track at a value of $124 million. The impact of race horse
owners and breeders activities in 2004 was $196.5 million.
The show and competition horse industry (horse shows, barrel racing, cutting,
roping, team penning, etc.) has 2,536 breeders who own 8,026 mares that
produced 5,271 foals that were sold for $18.4 million. These breeders own 638
stallions which were bred to 5,600 mares, generating $8.4 million in income
from stud fees. The total income generated from show and competition horse
production was $26.8 million. Another 5,180 owners compete with 16,042 horses
valued at $64.1 million. The total impact of the show and competition horse
industry is $90.9 million.
A large portion of the horse industry is recreational. About 25% or 7,392 of the
recreational horse owners bred 21,999 mares and sold 10,769 foals in 2004 for
$16.2 million. These horsemen own 1,089 stallions which were bred to 6,371
mares, generating income from stud fees of $1.3 million. The total income from
production in the recreational horse industry was $17.4 million in 2004.
Another 25,620 recreational horse owners have 60,658 horses valued at $90.9
million. The total impact of the recreational horse industry is $108.4 million.
The horse industry is an important economic stimulus for Louisiana. About
200,000 horses are owned by an estimated 60,000 people. Their average value is
$2,500, for a total value of $500 million. The average horse owner spends about
$3,000 per year on feed, equipment, tack, veterinary supplies and medicines.
This results in an estimated expenditure of $600 million on horses and a total
economic impact of about $1.1 billion.
In addition to the value of horses produced and maintained in Louisiana, the
activities of the horse industry generate a tremendous cash flow. The four
racetracks employ 3,000 and generate expenditures of about $1 billion per year.
The show and competition industry conducts an estimated 500 activities and
generates $12.5 million in expenditures yearly. With the value of horses,
expenditures on horses and the activities in which they engage, the impact of
the horse industry is estimated at $1.5 billion per year.
Broilers and Eggs
Poultry production is the largest animal agricultural
industry in Louisiana, second only to forestry in total income production for
all agricultural commodities. Almost a billion pounds of broilers were produced
in 2004. Their gross farm value was $744.7 million. There were 405 broiler
producers. Commercial broilers are produced in 12 parishes: Bienville,
Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln, Livingston, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Sabine, Union,
Vernon, Webster and Winn.
There were 104 breeder flock producers in 2004. These breeder flocks produced
32.3 million dozen eggs with a gross farm value of $12.3 million. There were
992 edible egg producers in Louisiana in 2004. Table egg production decreased
in 2004 to 13.3 million dozen eggs. The farm value for commercial egg
production was $11.2 million in 2004. The gross farm value for all poultry
production in Louisiana was nearly $773.0 million in 2004.
Ratites and Other Exotic Fowl
The sale of ratites and exotic fowl generated $750 in Louisiana in 2004. The
decline in birds and values continued. There were 11 emu producers in 2004.
Quail and Pheasants
There were 37,837 birds produced in 2004. Quail and pheasants generated a gross
farm value of $75,674 in 2004.
The production of rabbits for meat and exhibition involved 413 producers in
2004. There were 241 fryer producers. This facet of the industry produced
118,857 pounds of meat. Louisiana rabbit producers generated $103,264 in gross
Sheep and Goats
Fifty-seven parishes reported sheep and/or goat production in 2004. Sheep were
produced by 521 producers and goats by 819. Breeding ewe numbers decreased
slightly to 6,769 head; breeding doe numbers rose to 12,957 head.
St. Landry (1,200), Vermilion (979), Acadia (850), Calcasieu (750), Allen (350),
St. Martin (350), Lafayette (325), Evangeline (243) and Iberia (240) reported
the largest number of breeding ewes in production. Natchitoches (1,000),
Calcasieu (750), Rapides (740), Beauregard (600), Richland (600), Ouachita
(590), Livingston (575), Evangeline (428), Vernon (450), Tangipahoa (450), East
Baton Rouge (400) and West Carroll (400) reported the largest number of
breeding does in production.
Total number of lambs marketed (slaughter, feeder and club lambs) was 6,769
head. Stocker sheep sold numbered 920 head. Cull sheep sold were estimated at
1,781 head. Wool production was an estimated 36,142 pounds.
Total number of slaughter goats marketed was estimated at 9,645 head. Stocker
goats numbered 3,576. Cull goats marketed numbered 2,295.
Gross farm value from sheep, wool and goats was estimated at $2.82 million.
Value added amounted to $253,483. Total value of sheep, wool and goats was an
estimated $3.07 million.
The number of Louisiana pork producers fell to 467 in 2004 from 498 in 2003 and
was about the same as 2002. The number of sows also declined from 3,894 in 2003
to 3,458 in 2004. There were 3,735 show pigs sold for $1.2 million in 2004, up
slightly from $1.1 million in 2003. Feeder pig sales of 17,508 head sold for
$805,368 in 2004, up from 16,504 head in 2003. Slaughter hog sales at 23,908
head were down slightly from 24,866 in 2003. There were 2,554 head of cull
animals sold. Gross farm value of sales of all classes of swine for 2004 was
$6.1 million, up from $4.8 million in 2003 and $5.3 million in 2002.
Exotic animal producers had gross farm sales of $104,050 in 2004, up slightly
from $99,575 in 2003. Deer/antelope producers sold 800 animals worth $100,000
while three llamas were sold for $4,050.
Louisiana supports one of the most diverse aquaculture industries in the nation.
While 2004 saw mixed results for various aquaculture commodities, the overall
picture was somewhat down, with 9.4% and 19% decreases in acreage and farm-gate
value, respectively, from 2003 totals. In spite of these downturns, the actual
number of aquaculture producers increased by almost 12%. Louisiana's producers
led the nation in crawfish, oyster, pet turtle and alligator sales, but not all
sectors of production posted growth in 2004. Louisiana crawfish acreage in the
2003-2004 season was down considerably (about 8.9%) from the previous season,
but production (almost 70 million pounds) was down only 4.8%. The number of
farm-raised alligators harvested was estimated at 278,445, an increase of
roughly 16% in 2004, with farm gate values increasing similarly. Oyster
production continued to be an important component of aquaculture in Louisiana.
Although reported numbers of producers increased significantly for the second
straight year, estimated production was down 38%. Pet turtle hatchling
production continued to increase, with industry estimates of more than 13
million hatchlings produced. Problems with export markets in Asia, specifically
China, resulted in low prices and many unsold hatchlings. Minnow culture for
bait purposes appears to be growing again, particularly in coastal
In 2004 7,525 acres of farmed catfish were in production by 53 producers. More
than 31.5 million pounds of catfish worth $21.4 million were produced. Pond
bank prices for farm-raised catfish rose sufficiently to result in a 10.9%
increase in farm-gate value, in spite of reductions of 8.6% in the number of
producers and 7% in overall yield. Louisiana's catfish acreage also decreased,
The harvest of freshwater and marine fish and shellfish in Louisiana continue to
be economically significant. Landings of the numerous species are recorded by
two agencies. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)
receives monthly reports from the initial buyers (processors, dealers, etc).
Species, weight and dockside value of the landings are reported for all
commercially harvested species. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is
responsible for estimating the landings of shrimp. This is done by local NMFS
The freshwater fisheries and marine fisheries data are for 2003. The one-year
lag is necessary for accuracy. Real-time reports on fisheries landings are not
available until four months after the fact, and final statistics are often six
to seven months behind. Estimating landings for the second half of the year
based on landings reports from the first half is inaccurate. This is the first
year of this method of reporting fisheries landings data; therefore data should
not be used on a comparative basis with those of previous years.
One final caveat is that close addition of the parish totals for fisheries
landings will not equal the state total because of legal confidentiality
requirements. When fewer than three sources in a parish report landings of a
fisheries commodity in that parish, the number cannot be publicly released
without disobeying confidentiality requirements.
Freshwater finfish is comprised primarily of catfish,
buffalo, gar, shad and freshwater drum and is typically less valuable on a
per-pound basis than marine finfish. Total freshwater finfish landings declined
by 13% by weight and 7% by value, although average price per pound increased by
6%. Catfish, the mainstay of the more valuable of freshwater species,
contributed most to the landings' decline, with a 22% decline. Price per pound
for catfish remained stable. Shad, a low-value bait species, typically landed
in half the amount of catfish, also experienced a significant decline in
landings. None of these shifts in finfish landings are beyond the range of
ordinary. Except for gar, most species of freshwater finfish are underfished,
and a minor change in demand can result in large upward and downward movement
in landings annually.
Freshwater crawfish landings dropped 47% by volume and 40% by value. The price
per pound increase of 12% did not make up for the drop in volume landed. Most
wild crawfish are caught from the Atchafalaya Basin, which serves as a spillway
for floodwaters of the Mississippi River. While wild crawfish compete in the
marketplace with farm-raised crawfish, the wild product is preferred by many
consumers because of its larger size. The volume of the wild crawfish harvest
is almost completely constrained by the timing and duration of the annual
floodwater event in the Atchafalaya Basin.
Marine food finfish landings are varied and complex, with about 120 different
species being landed. In 2003, the top 10 species landed by weight (in millions
of lbs) were striped mullet (4.5), black drum (3.5), yellowfin tuna (3.0), red
snapper (1.7), sheepshead (1.7), blacktip shark (1.2), vermilion snapper (1.1),
king mackerel (0.9), swordfish (0.6) and greater amberjack (0.3). By value, the
top 10 finfish species (in millions) were yellowfin tuna ($8.9), red snapper
($4.0), striped mullet ($2.6), black drum ($1.9), vermilion snapper ($1.9),
swordfish ($1.2), king mackerel ($1.0), sheepshead ($0.4), bluefin tuna ($0.4)
and greater amberjack ($0.3).
Total saltwater finfish landings increased by 12% in weight but decreased 4% in
total value. Total landings of saltwater finfish increased by 2.1 million
pounds, with striped mullet landings alone increasing by 2.0 million pounds
over the previous year. Other species that showed significant increases in
landings include black drum (13%), blacktip shark (56%), vermilion snapper
(40%) and greater amberjack (23%). Those increased landings were balanced by
decreased landings of several species, including yellowfin tuna (12%), red
snapper (16%) and swordfish (13%). Price received per pound increased most for
sheepshead (22%) and black drum (10%) and decreased most for blacktip shark
(67%), greater amberjack (18%), striped mullet (13%) and king mackerel (10%).
Menhaden, a low-value, but high-volume non-food finfish species, decreased in
pounds landed by 13% and 17% in value. Price received declined from 3.7 cents
per pound to 3.6 cents per pound.
Menhaden oil and meal are sold on the world market, and the prices received for
menhaden products is controlled by the world supply of oils and meals,
particularly those produced by the fishery for the anchovetta of the Pacific
Coast of South America. In 2003, 61% of the oysters landed came from private
aquaculture reefs and 39% from wild reefs. This fluctuates from year to year,
with production from the two areas being roughly equal in 2002. Prices were
essentially the same for oysters from the two sources. Total oyster harvest
increased by 2%, total value increased by 11% and price per sack by 12%. Values
used in these calculations were 7 pounds of shucked oyster meats per sack.
Blue crabs make up well over 99% of the Louisiana crab harvest, with stone crabs
making up the remainder. Blue crab landings declined 2 million pounds (4%) from
the previous year; however, total value of the harvest increased by $4.9
million (10%). Price received per pound rose from $0.61 to $0.70 (15%).
Louisiana crab landings normally fluctuate in the 40 million to 50 million
Shrimp landings are produced by six species - white shrimp, brown shrimp,
seabobs, pink shrimp, rock shrimp and broken-neck shrimp. White shrimp provided
51% of the harvest by weight and 60% by value. Brown shrimp contributed another
47% of the total weight and 39% of the total value of the fishery. Prices
received for white shrimp in 2003 averaged $1.29 per pound. Brown shrimp
averaged $0.89 per pound. The overall average price for 2003 was $1.08, an 18%
decline from the 2002 average price of $1.31. Because of massive shrimp
imports, prices paid for domestic shrimp have declined since 2000 and are
projected to continue to decline.
The 2003-2004 harvest of fur animal pelts had a gross farm value of $745,590.
This amount is represented totally by fur production and includes none of the
value associated with meat production, predominantly from raccoon and nutria.
Animals pelted and sold totaled 101,579. Nutria accounted for 76% of the pelts
sold in the state, with the remaining fur production from muskrat, raccoon,
mink, opossum, river otter, red fox, gray fox, bobcat, beaver and coyote.
Nutria removals associated with the Coast-wide Nutria Control Program (CNCP)
accounted for 332,596 animals being harvested. Included in this number are
254,924 nutria removed for the $4 incentive payment only and not pelted. Nutria
removals under CNCP, along with the gross dollar value of all other animals
pelted and sold in Louisiana for the 2003-2004 trapping season, amounted to
$2,075,808. The CNCP program once again had a tremendous impact in increasing
the total number of fur animals removed by increasing the nutria take in the
The average gross farm value of all pelts, regardless of species was $7.34 in
2003-2004, up from $5.30 in 2002-2003. Pelt prices varied with lows of 50 cents
for opossum to highs of $86 for river otters. Value-added components raised the
total value of furs sold in Louisiana during the 2003-2004 trapping season to
Honey production for 2004 was up from 2003 but slightly below average, creating
problems for the industry. The season began with pricing about $1.28 and
dropped to $0.65 with an average of about $0.74. The total production was
2,875,834 pounds, for a return of $2.1 million.
Wild honeybee populations continued to increase, and honeybee removal from walls
and structures increased, allowing several beekeepers to expand their
operations in bee removal. Pollination remains Louisiana's greatest asset, with
more than $400,000,000 in services to wildlife and agriculture, both commercial
and homeowners. Colony leasing increased to help beekeepers with the drop in
price. Most leasing is to vegetable and small fruit operations. There is
increased interest in beekeeping for hobbyists. An increase in the local honey
markets has helped beekeepers.
The small hive beetle continues to expand its area of infestation in Louisiana,
and deregulation was initiated in March 2004. Improved management impedes
losses from the mite infestations although losses do continue. The USDA-ARS Bee
Breeding and Physiology Lab continues its release of new strains of the Russian
honey bee queens to assist with mite management and honey production. The
African honey bee continues to press the border in the northwest part of the
state, but no swarms have been found in Louisiana yet.
Hunting Lease Enterprises
The value of recreational hunting to the state is expressed through the income
derived from hunting lease enterprises. The number of producers who leased land
during the 2003-2004 hunting season was 7,155. This figure represents 1,797
individuals who operated waterfowl leases and 5,358 individuals operating
upland game leases, predominantly for deer and turkey. Acreage leased were
1,612,681 for waterfowl and 6,372,437 for upland game.
Gross farm values were $41,674,750 for waterfowl leases and $35,048,404 for
upland game leases. Average lease rates were $5.50 per acre for upland game
leases, $15 per acre for waterfowl leases in coastal areas and $50 per acre for
waterfowl leases in other areas of the state. Leasing rates varied by location,
habitat quality and species involved. Value-added components raised the
economic impact of hunting leases to $80.6 million.
The 2004 total wild alligator hide production of 238,967 linear
feet of hide represented a gross farm value of $5.018 million.
In 2004, 1,514 cotton producers grew 491,299 acres of cotton, down from 1,716
producers growing 514,975 acres in 2003. There were 194,866 acres of irrigated
cotton with a yield of 991.1 pounds of lint per acre in 2004; this was down
from 217,328 acres yielding 1,081.3 pounds of lint in 2003 (a record year). The
2004 non-irrigated acreage of 296,433 acres was down slightly from 297,648
acres in 2003. The non-irrigated acreage yield of 787 pounds of lint was down
from the 2003 yield of 931.7 pounds.
The 2004 growing season was characterized by extremely adverse conditions for
cotton growth and development during the first half of the season and very
favorable conditions during the latter part. Adverse conditions encountered
early were caused mainly by excess rainfall and saturated fields that resulted
in stunted, delayed growth and replanting in some situations. From July 15
through harvest, environmental conditions were almost ideal, resulting in
excellent boll development and retention. Pressure from weeds was heavy early
in the year; many producers could not make timely herbicide applications
because of wet fields and frequent rainfall. Insect pressure from the
bollworm/budworm complex was light, but control of stink bugs and plant bugs
was difficult later because of fewer broad-spectrum insecticide applications
and the continued emergence of those two pests in low spray environments.
Producers were able to defoliate and harvest the 2004 crop on time despite the
delay in maturity from adverse early-season conditions.
In 2004, there were 487,047 acres of feed grains in Louisiana. Corn at 402,387
acres was the largest acreage, followed by grain sorghum at 79,277 acres and
oats at 5,180 acres.
The corn was grown on 1,642 farms, down from 1,795 farms in 2003. Yields of
128.8 bushels per acre were down from 141.9 bushels per acre in 2003. Planting
conditions in north Louisiana were close to optimal; most corn acreage is
located there. Southern and central Louisiana experienced heavy rainfall that
affected yields. Where plants were standing in water, ears were shorter and
kernel setting irregular. The normal weed, disease and insect problems were
Grain sorghum was produced on 608 farms growing 79,277 acres, with an average
yield of 46.4 hundredweight per acre in 2004. The 2004 acreage and yield are
down from the 155,258 acres yielding 57.2 hundredweight in 2003. Excessive
rains marred the growing season. Johnsongrass problems developed in standing
water. Insect problems were not unusual despite the weather, but uneven heading
out did occur.
Oat production increased to 5,180 acres in 2004 from 2,923 acres in 2003. 2004
yields of 71.3 bushels per acres were close to the 2003 yields of 72.2
The projected Louisiana gross farm value of forest products increased
substantially. The 2004 total sawlog harvest increased by almost 500 million
board feet (36.44%) to a cut of 1,613,785,576 board feet. The estimated harvest
of pine sawtimber increased by 36.44% to a total statewide harvest of
1,454,978,670 board feet. The hardwood sawtimber harvest increased to
158,806,906 board feet (a 36.43% increase) in 2004. Pine chip-n-saw harvested
in 2004 totaled 1,478,988 cords, an increase of more than 59% from 2002 totals.
The estimated 2004 Louisiana pulpwood harvest was 6,995,793 cords, up 1,735,817
cords (28.33%) from 2003's harvest. Pine pulpwood harvest increased 30.39%,
from 3,895,712 cords in 2003 to 5,291,690 cords in 2004. Hardwood pulpwood
harvest increased by 339,839 cords (22.15%), from 1,364,274 cords in 2003 to
1,704,103 cords in 2004.
Stumpage prices for 2004 were mixed compared to 2003. On average around the
state, pine sawtimber prices were 6% higher in 2004. Oak sawtimber prices were
4% lower on average in 2004. Statewide average pine pulpwood prices decreased
by 13% in 2004, reversing a 19% increase observed in 2003. Hardwood pulpwood
prices decreased an average of 22%, virtually eliminating a 23% gain seen in
2003. Chip-n-saw prices increased 15% on average in Louisiana in 2004.
With wood-using industries and commercial timber harvesting activities occurring
in all parishes, forestry provides benefits to both urban and rural areas. In
2004, Louisiana's private forest landowners received an estimated $796,415,421
from the sale of forest timber, up 39% from $536,706,681 in 2003. Timber
harvesting contractors and their employees earned $565,514,541 from harvesting
trees and moving wood to mills. This was up 30.04% from $417,816,083 in 2003.
This income is re-spent many times throughout the economy. In addition,
Christmas tree growers received $1.1 million from the sale of trees.
Louisiana-produced pine straw sales made $89,740 in 2004. Louisiana's private
sector forest tree seedling nurseries produced a crop worth $580,125.
The payroll and income derived from money generated by the forestry and wood
products industry totaled an estimated $5.3 billion in 2004, a 35.12% increase
from 2003. The gross farm income produced by all forestry-related products,
such as timber, pine straw and Christmas trees, was $1,363,709,027 in 2004, up
35% from $956,351,993 generated in 2003. The value added through further
processing and delivery was $3,913,844,908, up 35% from the 2003 value added of
$2,744,730,221. Total value (gross farm value plus value added) increased
significantly in 2004, mainly because of much higher harvest volumes combined
with slightly improved prices for pine sawtimber and chip-n-saw.
Blueberries were produced on 342 acres in 2004, an increase of 5% from
2003. Gross farm value increased in 2004 by 4% to $1,095,419. The increase in
gross farm value was caused mainly by the addition of 16 acres. The average
blueberry yield was 2,564 pounds per acre, about a 1% decrease from 2003.
Orchard mayhaw trees averaged 454 pounds per acre on 182 acres compared to 45
pounds per acre on 556 acres for native trees. Some of the orchard mayhaw
acreage with older trees is starting to produce yields of more than 2,000
pounds per acre. Orchard mayhaws produced 82,452 pounds of fruit in 2004. This
is a 2% increase over 2003. The larger size of the trees was the primary reason
for the yield increase.
The native mayhaw crop was very light in 2004. Several collecting areas were
closed or restricted harvesting. The gross farm value for mayhaws was $148,593
Many miscellaneous fruits are planted as either small commercial plantings or
as backyard plantings. These crops include blackberries, figs, grapes, pears,
plums, apples and persimmons. They are planted on about 150 acres. Their
estimated gross farm value is $150,000.
Muscadine production reporting was divided into fresh fruit production and
commercial production. Fresh fruit was produced on 54 acres. It was usually
sold at $6 to $12 per gallon. The gross farm value of fresh fruit production
was $101,600. Production for juice and wine was considered commercial muscadine
production. Commercial muscadines were grown on 18 acres and produced 95 tons
for a gross farm value of $30,400. The increased value of muscadines sold as
fresh fruit increased the total gross farm value of muscadines to $132,000.
Peaches were grown on 516 acres in 2004, a decrease of 10% from 2003 peach
acreage. Gross farm value in 2004 was $2,221,980, a decrease of 5%. The
decrease in farm value is primarily caused by a decrease in acreage. The yield
per acre was 144 bushels, a 6% increase over 2003. The increase in per acre
yield is probably the result of the removal of less productive trees. All areas
of Louisiana received adequate chilling for recommended peach varieties.
Excessive rain in May, June and July caused harvest and disease problems in
Citrus were grown on 1,330 acres and have a farm value of $6.3 million.
Plaquemines Parish leads the state in citrus production, with 1,075 acres with
a gross farm value of $5.0 million. Louisiana citrus is sold on the wholesale
markets and at fruit stands and roadside stands. Little change is expected in
the citrus industry.
The Louisiana strawberry industry has 93 producers who grow 405 acres of
strawberries for a gross farm value of $7.1 million. Tangipahoa is the leading
parish with 48 producers growing 300 acres of strawberries for a gross farm
value of $5.4 million. Most Louisiana strawberries are marketed through
peddlers; some go to wholesale outlets and the balance is sold at roadside
stands and farmers markets. Average yield in 2004 was near 2,000 flats per
acre, an increase of 300 flats an acre from last year because of mild winters.
Little change is expected in the strawberry industry.
Hay production for commercial sales is a limited part of the total hay
production in Louisiana. Nevertheless, hay produced from 100 acres of alfalfa
and 243,854 acres of grasslands was sold by 2,933 producers in 2004. Yields
averaged 3 tons per acre from the grasslands harvested for sale and 5 tons per
acre from the alfalfa harvested for sale. Production included 694,436 tons of
grass hay and 500 tons of alfalfa hay. The acreage and yield of grasslands used
for commercial hay production were similar to values reported in 2003. Gross
farm value was $34.8 million, was about 4% lower than the 2003 crop value of
Hay for all uses was grown on 360,000 acres and produced 2.6 tons per acre, for
a total production of 936,000 tons. This total production in 2004 was about 15%
lower than in 2003. The total number of acres devoted to hay production fell by
20,000 acres from 2003 to 2004.
Home Vegetable Gardens
The 2004 gross farm value of home vegetable gardens in Louisiana was an
estimated $103,475,700. Parish reports indicated 344,919 home gardens
statewide, reflecting that garden interest was down 12.7% from 2003. Every
parish has home gardens; highest concentrations (almost 40% of total) are in
the metropolitan areas of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport.
Commercial nursery crop production had a gross farm gate value of $115,806,625
in 2004. A small growth occurred overall in the industry. Fruit and nut crop
producers numbered 53 and grew crops with a value of $4,824,000. Floriculture
and bedding plant producers numbered 181; crop value was $28,433,125. Woody
ornamentals were the largest segment of the nursery crop industry, with 472
producers producing an estimated farm gate value of $74,351,250 in 2004.
Foliage plants were grown by 143 producers and had a farm gate value of
$8,198,250. Available plant inventory at wholesale nurseries at the end of 2004
was lower than at the end of 2003. With a value added of $59,061,379, the total
wholesale value of the nursery production industry in 2004 was
Louisiana harvested 7.8 million pounds of pecans in 2004, 6.6 million pounds
below the 10-year average of 14.3 million pounds. This was composed of 3.4
million pounds of improved pecans and 4.4 million pounds of native pecans. The
gross farm value was estimated at $8,835,350, which is 58% of the gross farm
value of pecans in 2003.
The 2003 pecan crop final USDA estimate for Louisiana was 20 million pounds. The
2004 pecan crop was down, in part because heavy rains in May reduced
pollination. The crop was further diminished by heavy rains in June that
increased disease problems. Warm wet weather also hampered harvest. The
positive note was the very good prices Louisiana growers received because of
hurricane damage to pecan crops in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and
South Carolina. The size of the crop was enhanced by excellent prices that
encouraged growers to be thorough in their harvesting. The good prices also
encouraged a large harvest from yard trees. The yard harvest was very apparent
in the Lafayette area, which had an excellent pecan crop.
Rice acreage in Louisiana decreased from 531,791 acres in 2002 to 455,080 acres
in 2003, primarily as a consequence of low commodity prices for rice and
government programs that favored rice in other states. Acreage remains below
the recent high figure of 640,000 in 1999, but it is expected to rebound some
Average yield per acre was a record 6,100 pounds per acre, well above the record
5,914 pounds per acre harvested in 2001. Most of the higher yield can be
attributed to higher yielding varieties and a mild summer. Improved management
practices also contribute because the economic situation has gradually
eliminated the poorer managers from the industry. Higher yields could not
offset fewer acres, resulting in a drop in total production for the second year
in a row to 27,405,017 cwt in 2003 or about or about 3.3 million cwt less than
The Louisiana crop was harvested by 1,560 producers, 155 fewer than in 2002,
continuing a steady decline in rice farmers for over a decade. The crop had a
gross farm value of $152,097,844; this is an increase of nearly $49 million.
Higher commodity prices and higher yields increased gross farm value in spite
of the decrease in acreage. Value added in marketing, processing and
transportation increased the value by $45,629,353 for a total value of
Rice acreage in Louisiana is expected to increase to around 500,000 to 525,000
next year. Acreage planted to rice will depend highly on the price at planting.
Low prices will prevent production, and higher prices will stimulate planting.
In 2004, 24 sod farms (down 4 from 2003) cultivated 4,125 acres of fine turf
grasses. Sod acreage was reported down 70 acres (1.7%). Gross farm sales were
$22,272,300. About 60% of the sod acreage in Louisiana is centipede grass. The
remaining acreage is divided among St. Augustine, Bermudas and Zoysias, in that
order. With new construction improving and Louisiana farms producing good
quality sod, our sod markets continue to hold a better price. Markets are
expected to improve as construction increases. Shipping costs are expensive, so
local sod is more competitive. Marketing is a limiting factor.
Soybeans were planted on 1,072,322 acres in 2004, with a yield of 32.9 bushels
per acre. This yield was down from the record of 37.0 bushels per acre last
year, but it almost equaled the old record of 33.0 bushels per acre set in
2001. This yield was attained even though 2004 had a difficult growing season
because of weather. Many producers planted early to take advantage of August
premium prices. This tactic was successful in 2004, but it may not have the
same success each year. Statewide, producers faced the usual weed, disease and
insect problems, but those in southern and central Louisiana had to deal with
the red shouldered stink bug. Nearly 50,000 acres experienced "green bean"
because of environmental conditions.
After the growing season was over, Asian soybean rust was discovered in
Louisiana. This was the first spotting of this disease in the United States.
Methods of dealing with this disease are under development for the 2005 growing
In 2004, sugarcane was grown on 454,487 acres (a decrease of 26,199 acres or
5.5% when compared to the 2003 crop) by 718 growers (a decrease of 15 growers
or 2.0%) in 24 parishes. An estimated 418,128 acres were harvested for sugar
(assuming 8% of the total acres were used for seed cane purposes); with a total
production of 1,202,234 short tons of sugar (a decrease of 218,495 short tons
or 15.4%). Sugar produced per harvested acre was 5,751 pounds (a decrease of
10.5%), and sugar produced per total acre (including acres used for seed cane
purposes) was 5,290.5 pounds (a decrease of 10.5%). The gross farm value of
$302,609,016 for sugar and molasses (a decrease of $56,411,224 or 15.7%), as
reported in the crop production statistics, is 60% of the value of the sugar
and 50% of the value of the molasses produced, with the remaining percentage
going to processing and marketing.
The total acreage reported of 454,487 acres for 2004 is the smallest area since
the 1999 crop year when 463,000 acres were grown. Louisiana produced a record
crop in 1999, with more than 1,675,000 tons of sugar (raw value) produced. Many
growers were, undoubtedly, worried about marketing allotments and proportionate
shares and chose to reduce their acres voluntarily. Further, many growers had
to plough out unproductive fields in the spring of 2004 that were previously
affected by harvesting equipment during the 2002 crop year because of the
persistent wet weather. About 91% of the 2004 crop was planted to one variety,
LCP 85-384, a new record for a single variety in modern history. Further, 47%
of the 2004 crop was in second and older stubble that had been harvested during
the 2002 harvest as plant-cane and first and older stubble. Even the
first-stubble crop for 2004 was affected by the wet weather of 2002 because
many growers were not able to plant all of their cane.
The 2004 crop year was one of contrast as well, with above-normal average
rainfall and below-normal average temperatures in April and May and
below-normal average rainfall in summer. This was followed by an unusually warm
October and November with both temperatures and rainfall well above normal.
Excessive rainfall occurred with the passage of Tropical Storm Mathew just as
the 2004 harvest season got under way, causing many factories to delay their
start because of wet fields. Rainfall again caused wet field conditions at the
end of November and most of December. For those growers who harvested before
Tropical Storm Mathew, the yield of sugar per ton of cane was generally
excellent, especially where the chemical ripener glyphosate had been used;
however, for most growers, the excellent sugar yields were offset by extremely
low field yields, especially in older stubble fields.
Because of the relatively mild winter, there was good early growth. Many growers
began fertilizer programs earlier than normal. Excessive rainfall occurred in
April and May. Water table remained high and the crop did not apparently
respond well to added fertilizer. In several instances, growers fertilized a
portion of their crops a second time because they felt much of the nitrogen
fertilizer had been lost because of the excessive rainfall and high water
table. Early growth measurements, however, were good in many areas. Then in
June, little or no rainfall occurred for eight to 10 weeks or more. With the
excessive early rain, most of the sugarcane roots could be found just under the
surface of the soil. With the onset of the drought, sugarcane growth decreased
During the grand growth phase, which normally occurs in June, July and August,
it is not uncommon for sugarcane to grow at a rate exceeding an inch per day;
however, because of the mid summer drought, there were instances in the western
sugarcane area where the growth rate decreased to less than an inch per week.
Further, it was noted that along with the earlier high rainfall and low
temperatures, many fields, especially those fertilized early, were severely
affected by rust that lasted well into the summer. Then with September rain and
higher than normal temperatures in October and November, the cane returned to a
vegetative state. Without glyphosate, this cane did not mature as expected with
lower than anticipated yield of recoverable sugar per ton of cane throughout
the harvest. The cane in many fields had a dark green appearance as if
fertilizer had just been applied. In those fields with available nitrogen and
with lodged cane, there were a great number of water suckers ('bull shoots')
that contributed to low sugar yields late in the season. Because of the low
field yields, especially in older stubble, many growers reverted to harvesting
by a whole-stalk machine in an effort to reduce cost of harvesting. In many
instances, field yields did not improve significantly in the first-stubble or
plant-cane crops. It appeared that LCP 85-384 did not perform very well across
the state; however, it is known that LCP 85-384 does not perform well with a
high water table nor does it yield to its potential in drought; however, field
yields of HoCP 85-845, HoCP 91-555 and HoCP 96-540 appeared superior to those
of LCP 85-384 when grown under similar conditions and crop year. Growers were
likewise pleased with the appearance of the two new varieties, L 97-128 and Ho
Sugar prices should be somewhat lower in 2004 when compared to 2003; molasses
prices should be higher.
About 15,353 acres of sweet potatoes were planted in Louisiana in 2004, some
3,855 acres less than in 2003. Growers were not able to get the number of
desired acres planted in May and June, the optimum planting time, because of
the wet soils from the excessive rains that occurred during these two months.
About 2,000 acres did not get planted because they would have been planted in
July; plantings made in July often result in lower yields. About 1,000 acres of
sweet potato are grown just across the Arkansas state line. They are not
counted as Louisiana acres, but the crops are sold by Louisiana producers.
After the excessive rainfalls in May and June, drought conditions developed in
South Louisiana, thus limiting yields. North Louisiana generally received
adequate rainfall, but excessive rains occurred statewide in October and
November, resulting in a loss of production. About 1,500 acres were not
harvested. The average FOB price received for the 2004 crop was about $11.20
for a 40-pound box. Processors paid an average of $2 a bushel. The farm gate
value of the 2004 crop is an estimated $47,908,364. Value added is estimated at
$34,973,106, for a total economic value of $82,881,470.
The Louisiana vegetable industry involves 3,000 growers who produce more than 30
different crops on 9,135 crop acres for a gross farm value of $36.2 million.
There was little change in the vegetable industry from last year.
The leading parish in commercial vegetable is Tangipahoa, with a gross farm
value of $8.7 million. Plaquemines is second, with a gross farm value of $7.9
million. The leading vegetable crop in the state is tomatoes, with a gross farm
value of $13.9 million followed by watermelons $3.8 million, southern peas $2.7
million, mustard $2.6 million and okra $2.0 million.
Most produce grown in the state is marketed by direct sales at farmers markets
or roadside stands, providing a simple low-risk means of marketing where
growers can obtain a premium price for their crops.
Little change is expected in the commercial vegetable industry in Louisiana.
Commercial Greenhouse Vegetables
In 2004, 24 parishes had farms producing greenhouse vegetables on 6.3 acres
(unchanged) of greenhouse space. Acreage was also similar to 2002 estimates.
All production was devoted to tomatoes. Distribution of the industry was
statewide, and sales were to local markets. All greenhouse produce was for
fresh market sales, and much was sold direct retail by growers. Estimated gross
farm value of Louisiana greenhouse vegetables is $1,972,785. A significant
expansion (18%) of this industry occurred in 1997 because of its promotion by
the LSU AgCenter. Little expansion is expected.
Wheat was harvested from 159,379 acres by 610 producers in 2004, an increase
from the 128,263 acres harvested in 2003. Yields averaged 51 bushels per acre,
which was higher than the average yield of 47 bushels per acre harvested in
2003. Total production was 8,135,580 bushels, up considerably from the
6,064,323 bushels harvested in 2003. The gross farm value of the 2004 crop was
valued at $26.4 million, up substantially from the 2003 crop valued at $19.5