AgFax Rice: Louisiana

By, AgFax Media LLC


Flushing widely. Hot, dry weather has forced growers into flushing significant acreage in the Midsouth. Temperatures have edged into the 90s now and windy conditions have further pulled out soil moisture.

More flooding starts. Growers are moving more acres to flood in the Louisiana and Texas coastal belt. A small amount of early-planted rice in the lower Delta is either going to flood or will be next week.

Planting winds down. Midsouth rice planting has moved along at a fast clip. Our contacts this week estimated that 90%-plus of their intended rice acreage has now been seeded.


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

"The rice in southwest Louisiana looks really good now, thanks to this warm weather. A lot of rice has gone to flood and it's really taking off – almost like you can see it growing.

"In this part of the state we seem to be in kind of a mini-drought situation. Crowley hasn't had a measurable rain in 23 days (as of 5/9). With rice, that's been perfect timing because we can apply pre-flood fertilizer on dry ground. In recent years, too much rain kept us from doing that on time in many fields or we had to apply fertilizer in less-than-ideal conditions.

"The only negative with this is that we'll be running pumps more. The ground is so dry that it will take more pumping now to establish a flood. And without rainfall events, we'll need to pump more to maintain the flood.

"From an agronomic standpoint, that's a good thing. Producers always say that rice yields better in years when they have to pump more water.

"In northeast Louisiana, a lot of rice is going in the ground and that part of the crop is responding to better growing conditions. I planted experimental plots up there last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (5/1-3). That rice isn't just up, it's already a couple of inches tall. That's how fast the rice is growing. When it was cold and windy, plenty of rice needed 3 weeks just to make a stand."

Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana:

"This year, I'm scouting about 1,000 acres of row rice and we've just taken 300 acres of that to the rough equivalent of going to flood. Urea went out and we're running water.

"With my levee rice, most is at the 3- to 4-leaf stage. We're flushing and applying ammonium sulfate. It's getting hotter and soils are fairly dry, so a good deal of flushing is underway now (5/10). Rice is moving along pretty well and we don't have any real weed issues. We're 95% planted. The only acreage left has had backwater flooding on it."