JACKSON, Miss. – The crawfish harvest this year is looking pretty scarce.Two of the main reasons there is a shortage, a particularly cold winter and a dry fall. Ray McClain with the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center says most of the market sized crawfish you are seeing right now were hatchlings in the fall.
“We had a dry fall, so we didn’t get a lot of heavy rains until real late. It was probably December in many areas. Just because a pond is flooded up doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to get brood crawfish, when they are young, coming up out of the burrows. In many cases, that was late last fall. Some ponds were late flooding up and it was late before we really got sufficient heavy rains to facilitate the emergence of those females with young,” said McClain.
“The other major factor was the prolonged cold winter we had. Young of the year take a certain amount of warm days to achieve optimum growth. When we had a winter like this past year where it was really cold for prolonged stretches, there were very little opportunities for young of the year to grow during the winter.”
Currently, crawfish prices are near $7 a pound. The average price usually sits at $4 a pound. McClain says once temperatures warm up in a couple of weeks the population of market size crawfish should increase, and that should lower the price.