By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Rice harvest continues in the coastal belt of Texas and southwest Louisiana. Yields are mostly trending below average.
Midsouth draining continues. Growers likely will cut a few scattered samples over the next week.
Insect pressure in the Midsouth remains mixed. In places, rice stink bugs required applications in the first-headed fields but then dispersed as more rice headed. But in other areas, populations are still bouncing around threshold levels.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana:
"My youngest rice is beginning to head and stink bug numbers have fallen off. I'm through with about 50% of the acres I scout. We've drained about 40% of the crop, Disease has been very light. Probably 60% of the crop is later than average. We should start cutting samples in 7 to 10 days."
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley:
"Rice harvest is moving along in southwest Louisiana, although it's been stop-and-go at times due to frequent and scattered afternoon showers.
"Yields continue to run a little below average for the earlier fields. Growers hope that averages will increase as we move into more of the rice planted somewhat later. A couple of growers indicate that might be the case in their fields, but most are less optimistic.
"Plenty of people are asking why yields are off this year, but we can't put our finger on any one factor. What we're seeing is an accumulated effect from several things that went against us.
"The season started wet and cold, which led to uneven emergence. That, in turn, left us with different maturation within the same fields, which complicated management decisions all season, even into harvest. On top of that, wet conditions delayed herbicide and preflood fertilizer applications.
"After all that, the wind and rain from the hurricane (Barry) hit during flowering, resulting in blanking. And more recently, bacterial panicle blight and other diseases developed late, and those further reduced yields in places.
"This has probably been one of the more challenging years in a long time. As bad as that sounds, it could have been worse. With Barry, the forecast called for heavy rains â€“ upwards of 20 inches in places. That would have put thousands of acres of heading rice underwater. But far less rain fell, so we dodged what could have been a widespread disaster.
"If you're looking for anything with a positive glint to it, the ratoon crop typically yields much better after a main crop with below-average yields. The plant still has unused energy that it will throw into second-crop production. Higher ratoon yields won't offset all the lower main-crop averages, of course, but they could soften the blow a bit.
"On a somewhat related note, we're working through an issue with the text messaging system used to gather and distribute the weekly yield reports. As soon as the system is running again, we will crank up the reports for 2019."