by AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
A very small amount of harvest could start this week in southwest Louisiana. More rice is being drained in Louisiana and Texas.
Intense heat remains a concern in parts of our coverage area. Conditions could be setting up a portion of the crop for grain quality issues and predisposing plants to blanking and bacterial panicle blight.
Leaf blast has been confirmed in a few Mississippi fields. Stink bug treatments continue in Arkansas in the early heading rice.
Johnny Saichuk, Consulting Agronomist, Ducks Unlimited, South Louisiana: "Some rice harvest may have started or might get underway tomorrow (7/8), based on conversations with a couple of growers early this week. They were going to cut samples and then decide when they might start harvest in some early fields.
"More rice is being drained, so we might see a little more harvest activity next week. By the week of July 18 we really should be rolling, and that's considered pretty early.
"I think this crop will be better than the one we had last year. But I'm concerned about all the heat that's settled in over the last 2 weeks. Part of the rice has finished flowering, so it shouldn't be highly vulnerable. I'm not saying the heat won't have an impact, but it could have been worse as far as timing goes.
"Conditions have been miserable – mid 90s for highs and 105 to 110 for the heat index. Temperatures at night haven't been in an ideal range for rice, either. At 5:30 a.m. one morning this week it already was 80. One guy who's fairly close to the coast – where it should be cooler – said that it already was 84 one morning this week when he got up.
"Our earliest rice was planted in that last week of February and the first two weeks of March. Conditions then were ideal for planting, but then some guys stopped planting so they wouldn't outrun their harvest capacity. Then it rained for a month, so we've got a couple of crops out there. In a situation like this the later rice tends to yield less than the early fields do. We'll see."
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley: "I haven't been directly told of any harvest starting, although some people seemed to be moving towards it this week. It's been really hot and we've had high nighttime temperatures, which favors the development of bacterial panicle blight (BPB). In this area the lows have been at 78 to 79, which tells us that the temperatures were at 80 or above during a significant part of the night. When temperatures at night are 80 or higher, the potential for BPB increases.