AgFax Rice - Louisiana

by AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com

OVERVIEW

Midsouth rice harvest has begun on a limited basis. More draining has started. A limited number of yield reports are floating around, and they are on the positive side.

Rain, though, is now delaying harvest, both in the Midsouth and southwest Louisiana. Rains also have helped trigger more disease pressure. In places, heavy rains and/or wind have caused lodging.

The rain complicates the ratoon crop’s prospects in southwest Louisiana. Where main-crop harvest has been put on hold, the ratoon crop will get off to a later start, which could affect yield potential. See further comments by Louisiana’s Dustin Harrell.

Rice stink bugs have bounced back in parts of the Midsouth, especially in Arkansas. 

In Texas, dryers are backed up in places where much of the rice crop was planted within a narrow period.

LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS

Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana: “Some of our acreage needs to be harvested but that’s been delayed by rainy weather and the need to take out soybeans first. Rainfall has generally been spotty through parts of the season, and it’s still spotty. But in the last 10 days (from 8/8) the amounts in those spots have ranged from 1 to 3 inches instead of just a few tenths. On Sunday night (8/7) I think everybody in my area received an additional half-inch to 2.5 inches, so we’re certainly wet this week. Our younger rice is coming into the boot stage. We treated a lot of stink bugs through every planting date for this crop, more so than average.”

Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley: “Harvest has slowed down to a trickle in southwest Louisiana due to frequent rainfall events someplace every afternoon. Today (8/11) we’ve got an 80% chance of rain at Crowley, then a 90% for Friday and 100% for Saturday. Over the next couple of weeks one weather model says the lowest daily percentage for rainfall is 60%.

“A lot of rice fields are ready for harvest but the weather isn’t cooperating. From a quality standpoint, nobody wants to see rice drying down in the field, then getting rain and soaking up moisture and then drying down again.

“Growers want to ratoon a lot of these remaining fields, so every day we’re delayed on harvest also delays the start of the second crop. When we have below-average first crop yields, we often can offset that with better second-crop production. Last year was a good example of that, and we had the right weather for second cropping. Dry conditions at harvest meant little or no rutting and growers could flail mow or otherwise manage stubble for better yields, plus they could apply fertilizer on dry ground. We probably won’t have that luxury this year in a lot of these fields that haven’t been harvested yet.

“Where main-crop rice has been cut, yields are better than last year’s averages but still not where we want them to be. Yields are kind of hanging in the mid 40s (barrels per acre). We’ve got higher and lower averages, depending on the field, but yields so far are kind of averaging out in the 45 barrel/acre range. That’s a couple of barrels more than in 2015, but we’ve yet to see what kind of effect all this rain will have on the rest of the crop.

“Where plants have lodged we can expect some rice to sprout, and a lot more will lodge. By the time we get back in the field I would expect some drop in yields due to harvest issues.”