Rice Heading in Most Areas as Harvest Kicks Off in Louisiana

By Michael Fruge, District Field Representative, Horizon Ag

Harvest is in full swing in south Louisiana, whenever it is not raining that is. There have been showers on the radar pretty much every day since July 6. This past Sunday and Monday were complete washouts for everyone in south Louisiana, with some areas receiving 3 to 4 inches. The amount and frequency of rain is making it very difficult for farmers to get their crop harvested. Ratoon crop potential is also being impacted because of the ruts farmers are making with combines and grain carts. On the brighter side, the yields have been better than expected. I have said many times that we had a lot of potential in the field, but didn’t know if we would see that potential because of all the rain we’ve had throughout the growing season.

Yields have been highly variable, but overall, they have averaged more than expected. I have heard many yields on CL111, CL153 and CL172 in the high 40s and low 50s (barrels per acre; 50 barrels = 180 bushels). There have been some fields of each of these varieties that have been in the low 40s (40 barrels = 144 bushels), and I really cannot explain why other than weather. Not only have the yields been surprisingly good, but the quality is there as well. Everyone I have talked to has said their rice is weighing very well, which usually translates into good milling. A lot of rice being cut is running in the 16 to 17% moisture, so we really need this rain to go away for a bit. That is supposed to happen Tuesday thru Saturday of this week, with another big rain chance on Sunday.
Harvest still hasn’t taken off good in Texas, with only a handful of farmers harvesting. Things will really pick up the end of this week. The only yield I have heard was a seed field of CL153 that yielded 56.5 barrels per acre (203 bushels per acre). I should have a lot more yield information by this time next week. The rains have not been as frequent on the west side of Houston, although they have gotten a few showers over the past week. Things are pretty dry in that area so the fields should dry up relatively quickly. East of Houston has received a little more rain, but I have not heard of anyone harvesting in that area yet.