By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Some rice already has gone to flood in south Louisiana and more is heading that way. A small percentage also has gone to flood in Texas. That says a good deal about how early this crop has started – both in the coastal rice belt and in the Midsouth.
Rice planting in the Delta states has progressed so fast that some growers throttled back on planting to avoid bunching up too much maturing rice as harvest starts.
Rains missed parts of the Midsouth early in the week. Some flushing started in southeast Arkansas last week and probably in other areas, as well.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley: "Rice is pretty much all planted in south Louisiana. We got an early start with the dry weather and good growing conditions. A lot of rice has already been flooded and more will go to flood later this week, so things are moving along quite well in that part of the state.
"It's rained just enough in north Louisiana to delay things, and they're really just starting to any extent. A little weather system was moving through that area today (4/17) but planting should resume later in the week if they miss more rain after that.
"Planting, overall, is ahead of normal in Louisiana – there's no doubt about that. At one point it seemed like we were 1.5 to 2 weeks ahead of average. And we haven't had those delays with saturated ground where we would have to wait to apply pre-flood fertilizer. Storms that did come through were hit or miss. Here at the station we received 1.8 inches of rain over the weekend (4/15-16), but 2 miles down the road it only measured 0.3 of an inch.
"We've had only a handful of calls about any problems. A little wind damage was apparent in places, but most of that rice will be okay with a little nitrogen and water. In places enough rain fell that farmers had to get water off, and that ended up with a little stretched rice. But, again, that was a limited situation."
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana: "I won't have any rice this year, as things look now. Growers didn't see any point in planting it. Some will be produced in the area, but not by any of my guys. On the other hand, I've just about tripled my cotton acres. I picked up one farmer who was getting back into cotton and I also will work cotton for several farmers who've never been clients."