AgFax Rice - Louisiana

By AgFax Media LLC,


Tropical Storm Cindy – now downgraded to a tropical depression – still has the potential to deliver plenty of rain across portions of our coverage area. Whether that's a positive or negative depends on the stage of the rice and whether farmers want water.

Wind and heavy rains are about the last thing farmers in coastal production areas want right now. More rice is heading and flowering and a little acreage is being drained in southwest Louisiana. The Texas crop is far enough along that rain could be detrimental.

On the other hand, some Midsouth farmers might welcome rain where they've just been able to pull levees.


Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana

"I've got rice all over the board. About 150 acres were planted on Saturday on land that had just been leveled. Except for that last 150 acres, everything is at flood. Most of the crop is at midseason, but I'm in a field right now (6/20) with the first head I've seen this season.

"It's unusual to have any heads yet, but that rice was planted really early. So far, heads are scattered, but I expect to see more by the end of this week.

"In places, we had plenty of trouble getting levees in earlier, so weed control suffered in certain locations. Most of our rice is okay and about 50% is very clean where farmers could jump in quickly and stay on top of things. But we've also had to use our imaginations and improvise. Where the ground was too muddy to hold up the big sprayer, the farmer put tracks on a tractor and sprayed with it."

Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley

"Most of our rice in southwest Louisiana is probably in early heading, with some a little more advanced than that. I expect that we probably will see the first rice harvest beginning in early July, which is about 2 weeks earlier than normal. A few fields have been drained.

"The biggest thing this week is Cindy, the tropical system that's been moving out of the gulf. So far, it hasn't been too bad, but we're still not completely done with the system. The big fear, of course, is that it will cause flooding and lodging in the near-mature rice, but flowering rice also would take a hit.

"Sheath blight picked up quite a bit and a lot of fungicides went out, which seems to have slowed its progress. Sheath blight is still out there, but the applications knocked it back, plus we had a period of dry weather last week, which would have helped, as well.

"In northeast Louisiana the crop is mostly in mid tillering. Farmers in those parishes have been contending with wet soils on a wide basis and have been trying to wait for dry conditions so they could apply pre-flood nitrogen. In places, soils still haven't dried down and farmers have resorted to spoon feeding nitrogen.

"That's not the most efficient use of nitrogen, on one hand, but rice is far enough along that it will suffer a yield penalty if it doesn't get nitrogen. At this point, it's better in those cases to accept some inefficiency than to take the expected yield loss if nitrogen isn't available.

"A quick reminder: our annual rice field day is next Wednesday, June 28, at the Crowley station. The first trailer leaves after 7 a.m."