AgFax Rice - Louisiana

by AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com

OVERVIEW

A very limited amount of rice harvest should start this week in parts of the Midsouth. Rice is being drained on a wider basis through the region.

Rice harvest continues to progress in south Louisiana and Texas, although rain has delayed cutting in some areas. Rain also has led to rutting in some fields, which could affect second-crop production.

Concerns remain about the effect that high nighttime temperatures could have on grain quality.

LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS

Johnny Saichuk, Consulting Agronomist, Ducks Unlimited, South Louisiana: "Most yields I've been hearing are in the mid 40s (barrels per acre). Several growers I've visited with are seeing more blanking than anyone cares to think about, and those farmers were disappointed with how some fields turned out.

"A couple of people weren't seeing any leaf blast, but when they began harvesting rice they realized that rotten neck blast had developed, which hurt yields. I'm hearing about that in 2 varieties.

"I've been in rice where an obvious portion of panicles didn't completely fill out, probably due to high temperatures and a lack of sunshine. We had less-than-optimal sunshine in 2015, too. The intense heat and humidity hit us late in the 2015 season, but this year the heat came in early and stayed with us all summer.

"I've worked outside my entire career and know what it's like to live through a south Louisiana summer, but this is the hardest one I can ever remember. You might write some of that off to age, but other people younger than me are saying the same thing. Sure, it's supposed to be hot in the South in the summer, but this has been different. Along with the cloud cover and high humidity, we had high nighttime temperatures that worked against the crop, especially grain quality.

"It's been raining enough lately to slow down harvest. No big systems moved through, but it's rained somewhere every day. If it hadn't been for that, we would be finished with first-crop harvest in places.

"Last year we had a dry period at harvest, so guys were able to take out the first crop without rutting fields, and that started the second crop on the right foot. This year it's rained enough that many fields were rutted, so we won't be able to manipulate stubble in a way that helps yields. Plus, the rutting damaged a lot of stubble that won't produce new growth now.

"Bottom line – the second crop is starting out with a big handicap. Overall, I suspect that 2016 will fall into a middle ground. It won't be a record year for yields but it won't be a horrible year, either."