THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — The cold spring is coming back to haunt local sugarcane farmers who are expecting a stunted crop and later harvest season.

American Sugar Cane League executive director Jim Simon says he expects the harvest to begin later this year because of spring's cold temperatures.

Usually, harvesting starts in mid- to late-September. It often ends in late December.

The Courier reports Louisiana farmers harvest about 13.5 tons of sugarcane on average. Last year, the crop topped 14.5 million tons. The largest Louisiana crop came in 1999 when farmers brought in almost 16 million tons.

Spring's cooler temperatures have produced about 4- to 5-foot sugarcane stalks, about a foot shorter than normal, farmers say. The shorter stalk can affect how much farmers earn because they are paid by weight.

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