by AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Wet weather has thrown a huge monkey wrench into the 2016 rice season across much of our coverage area. Flood waters have covered thousands of acres of standing rice in Arkansas, south Louisiana and southeast Missouri. The US Rice Producers Association reported Friday night in The Rice Advocate that water had risen into some grain bins in south Louisiana.
The worst isn't over. Accumulating flood waters in north Arkansas and southeast Missouri are now moving downstream where more cropland will likely be inundated.
Where fields haven't gone under water, rice has started sprouting on heads in at least some areas, triggered by a combination of frequent showers, drizzle and high humidity. Similar sprouting has been reported in corn, grain sorghum and soybeans.
Rice stink bugs continued hitting later rice in Arkansas as the week started. Rains were delaying applications where growers and crop advisors saw a need to spray.
Things are more positive in Texas, at least by comparison. Plenty of rice was cut ahead of the last big round of rain. The state's rice is well into the ratoon phase, too.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana: "We've harvested a little rice. It's all been hybrids, and it's running about 185 bu/acre. That's not exactly great, but it still isn't too bad. We're pretty much through with most of the rice and have either drained it or are trying to drain it with all this rain.
"We've had rain someplace every day for the last 10 days (from 8/16). So far, we're north of where the heavy rains and flooding have been in Louisiana and neighboring parts of Mississippi. But Natchez, Mississippi, isn't far from here, and they've gotten 11 inches. Most of my clients have poured 1.5 to 5 inches out of their gauges lately."
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley: "A lot of these streams and bayous that connect to the Mermentau River are going down. Some combines were back in fields today (8/18) where water had receded. Growers were trying to get the good rice out before it goes bad. In some locations people were combining in standing water.
"We still have spotty showers everywhere. I ran through rain 3 times today between Crowley and Lafayette, and the weather forecast calls for 50% to 60% chances of rain almost every day.
"Farmers are looking for a plan of action, mainly what to do with all the damaged rice in the field. I've got a preliminary list of recommendations. The first thing is to document what you're finding. Take photos for crop insurance purposes and compile notes on what you're finding now. If you can time-stamp those photos, do that. With everything that's happened, it could be several days before insurance adjusters can make it to every field. Be prepared when they arrive.
"Harvest the premium rice first – the rice that's still standing and undamaged. As much as possible, segregate it from any rice that went down and/or went under water. Don't try to blend the premium and the damaged rice. You'll be better off keeping and selling them separately. Mixing the two could do far more harm than good, financially speaking.
"If standing rice has started sprouting, give it priority and move it into a dryer as quickly as possible. You want to prevent rotting and sour rice. Also, pay attention to any rice you cut before all this started. It would be easy to forgot about anything already in the bin when you're trying to cope with all the problems in the field. That rice you've already cut is an asset, so safeguard it."