More fields are going to flood throughout our coverage area – but not at the rate we would expect with warmer, more seasonable weather. Rice continues to grow slowly, which has further delayed many fields from moving to flood. Two of our contacts this week used the word "stuck" to describe plant development.
Conditions have gotten dry enough in parts of the Midsouth that farmers would welcome a rain – even in north Louisiana where heavy rains flooded vast amounts of acreage in the spring.
Where more rain has fallen – particularly in parts of Texas – some growers have likely thrown up their hands and started flying nitrogen fertilizer into muddy fields or pooling water rather than wait for dry soil.
Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana: "Our oldest rice is under permanent flood but not at green ring yet. We possibly will have some more rice planted behind crawfish."
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley: "The crop is moving along and more and more people are close to midseason. The rice across the state is really spread out. They've still been planting in northeast Louisiana where all the rain and flooding put things on hold. We'll also have late fields in south Louisiana behind crawfish.
"On the other extreme, plenty of rice was planted early this year in southwest Louisiana, and a farmer sent me a photo of a 2-inch panicle early this week. At that rate we could start our first harvest down here in 4 or 5 weeks.
"This week 3 different consultants called within 2 days about different fields that were showing symptoms of potassium deficiency. Partly, they wondered if they would get an economic response if they applied potassium to the main crop. We do get a response from potassium but not from phosphorous. With all 3 fields, the rice was planted early and will be ratooned. My recommendation was to put on 30 pounds of potassium now, partly to ensure they've got healthy stubble for ratoon production. I also recommended applying another 30 pounds after main harvest to ensure adequate levels for that second crop.
"More rain is heading towards us. A cool front came in yesterday (5/18) and a big storm that's already been hanging over Texas will hit us over the next couple of days. The forecast calls for a lot of rain."