the propane tank filled, and stock up on corn, potatoes
and seasonings. After a dismal crawfish season in 2006,
things are looking much brighter for 2007. Good catches
were reported as early as December and should continue as
we warm up into spring.
acreage this year is slightly lower than recent years at
about 100,000 acres of crawfish ponds. Last year, Louisiana’s
pond-raised crawfish, which were harvested from about 117,000
acres, had a gross farm value of $40 million, according
to the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Summary of Agriculture
and Natural Resources. However, if you recall last year’s
season, crawfish were in short supply and quite expensive.
This was due to the drought and hurricanes of 2005.
real difference for this year’s production has been
good rainfall which began in July and continued fairly regularly.
Crawfish producers also received an added bonus in mid-October
when heavy rains filled ponds, irrigation canals, and helped
to flush any salt left over from the hurricane storm surge.
happens in the summer affects the outcome of the spring’s
crawfish crop. Dry summers have devastated the crawfish
industry in the past, but this summer stayed wet enough
to encourage good survival and reproduction in the crawfish
burrows. Crawfish can live out of water for short periods
of time as long as there is adequate moisture to keep their
gills wet. So, during prolonged dry periods, crawfish will
burrow down to the water table to maintain this moisture.
When the water table gets too low for crawfish to burrow
down to, such as in droughts, survival and reproduction
is reduced lowering the following season’s catch.
factor which stimulated the early season production was
the mild winter experienced until the first week of January.
When water temperatures stay above 50 degrees, crawfish
are more active, feeding and growing quite rapidly. Regular
rains have helped to keep ponds refreshed and water quality
has stayed good.
we warm up into spring, the traditional Louisiana crawfish
boil should be a frequent, affordable event for the 2007