AgFax Rice: Louisiana

by AgFax Media LLC,


More harvest has started in the Midsouth. Early yield reports vary widely. Heat in July clearly knocked back yield potential in places. Prolonged rains and flooding took a further bite out of the crop's potential, especially in Arkansas.

Growers in southwest Louisiana continue to struggle with harvest after rains and devastating floods there, and some rice is still under water. Plenty of rice was damaged or was lost to flooding. Ratoon acreage will be down significantly, too.

Rice stink bugs are still pushing into Arkansas rice fields. Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension Entomologist, said this may be the worst stink bug pressure to hit the state's crop in over a quarter of a century.


Johnny Saichuk, Consulting Agronomist, Ducks Unlimited, South Louisiana: "I've ridden several combines since growers were able to get back in the field after all the rain and flooding. It was surprising how much rice was still out there before the weather turned bad and also how quickly rice sprouted. Under those conditions, it didn't take much for grain to sprout in the heads if the rice was ripe.

"Growers are setting combines to blow more of that out the back, but it will take some adjusting to minimize the effect on yields. Where it didn't sprout, we still might see more chalk.

"All the downed rice is adding another layer of complication. One grower I know has a modern combine capable of cutting 100 acres in a day, but he's in a 100-acre field this week that has about 33% downed rice. He says it probably will take 3 days to cut that field.

"In places where the ground is still wet the combines are leaving plenty of ruts. If anybody wanted to second-crop in that situation he wouldn't be able to properly manipulate the straw for best yields and quality. And considering the delays finishing first-crop harvest, it's questionable whether we have enough time to second-crop rice in many of those locations."

Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley: "In southwest Louisiana we're waiting to see how things finally turn out after all the rain and flooding. It's a bad situation all around. Since the flood, some rice has been harvested and has varying quality issues. It's in the bin, and as far as I know none of that has been sold. Even today (9/1) rice is still under water in places. Everything has stacked up – depressed prices, lower yields and quality issues. On top of that, we lost the ratoon crop. It all adds up to a bad situation."