Rice ripens in a field east of Eunice on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)

Rain marks rice season

Frequent rainstorms have cast a shadow over the rice farming season, but South Louisiana farmers can see the silver lining behind the thunderheads.
Weather dictates when farmers plant and harvest their crops. Farmers tend to plant rice around early March, said Steve Linscombe, director of the LSU AgCenter Southwest Region and director of the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.
“We had a mild late-winter to spring, which allowed people to plant rice very early. In fact, a lot of people were planting even in mid-February,” he said. “We had good growing conditions.”

Chefs from New Orleans and Baton Rouge examine a tray of brown rice at the milling lab of the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station. The chefs attended the station’s annual field day as part of a tour arranged by Jazzmen Rice of New Orleans. (Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter)

An aerial photo taken with a drone shows LSU AgCenter rice breeders Steve Linscombe and Adam Famoso during the field day at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station on June 28. Photo by Brady Williams/LSU AgCenter

Farmers at the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station Field Day watch a demonstration of a drone being used to pollinate an enclosed plot of hybrid rice. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter

New rice lines featured at AgCenter field day

More than 400 people attended the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station field day on June 28 to hear about the latest work being done to help rice farmers.
During the field tour, Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder and station director, said the new Provisia rice technology has taken five years to develop, with one line ready for release as a variety and three new lines in the works.

Recent rains concern rice growers

Continual rainfall in the past few days has farmers worried about disease problems in their rice crop, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist said at rice field days held in Jefferson Davis and Evangeline parishes.
“In the last week and a half, I’ve probably had 20 to 30 disease calls,” said LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Don Groth, speaking at the Evangeline Parish rice field day on June 1.
Groth also spoke about those concerns at the field day held the previous day in Fenton.

LSU AgCenter rice breeder Steve Linscombe talks at the Vermilion rice field day on June 25 about new varieties and hybrids under development. (Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter)

Louisiana rice acreage down 8%

This year’s Louisiana rice planting, estimated at 400,000 acres, is 8 percent less than last year, according to LSU AgCenter rice extension specialist Dustin Harrell.
AgCenter estimates for the 2016 crop were 432,168 acres.
Harrell told farmers at a rice field day in Vermilion Parish on June 25 that the 2017 crop got an early start because of warm weather.
Some rice was planted in February, and rice in those fields have already headed. “We’ll probably be two weeks earlier on our harvest,” he said.

Rice is drill-seeded on the Lounsberry Farm near Lake Arthur in early March. Planting in south Louisiana is considerably ahead of the usual planting time because of warm weather. (Photos by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter)

Louisiana rice planting gets off to a good start

Louisiana rice farmers have taken advantage of warm weather to plant their 2017 crop exceptionally early.
“We had a lot of people that started planting in mid-February,” said Steve Linscombe, director of the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.
Some farmers with large acreage had completed planting by the first week of March, Linscombe said, estimating that as much as 70 percent of the crop had been planted by March 28.


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