Louisiana Rice Crop About Two Weeks Late

John K. Saichuk, Eskew, Charles E., Schultz, Bruce, Salassi, Michael, Groth, Donald E.  |  7/13/2005 10:46:03 PM

Eddie Eskew tells farmers about a Clearfield demonstration project near Fenton during Wednesday’s Southwest Louisiana Rice Tour near Iowa. (Photo by Bruce Schultz)

News Release Distributed 07/08/05

IOWA – The 2005 rice crop is about two weeks behind the usual rate of maturity, according to LSU AgCenter rice specialist Dr. Johnny Saichuk, who spoke Wednesday at the Southwest Louisiana Rice Tour here.

"Some rice varieties are ahead of others, including the new variety Trenasse, and they are just starting to flower," Saichuk said.

He said a field he inspected last week was just starting to head.

"We should have had a field full of panicles," he said.

A field will be in the panicle stage for pollination for a week to 10 days, he said.

Saichuk said he expects the first verification field to be drained will be in Acadia Parish, sometime next week. Verification fields are on-farm production fields monitored by LSU AgCenter personnel to validate that AgCenter recommendations actually work.

Louisiana’s crop is 28 percent headed, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but that’s 14 percent behind last year and 23 percent behind the 2000-04 average. The Texas crop, which usually keeps pace with Louisiana, is 31 percent behind its average.

The USDA also reported this week that Louisiana rice acreage is at 530,000 acres, 8,000 acres less than in 2004. Nationwide, the acreage is 3.34 million acres, 40,000 more than last year.

Saichuk said farmers who are considering a second crop should consider whether it will be worth the extra expense of pumping water combined with low prices for rice.

"Maybe this is the year you try to pick certain fields (for a second crop) and just give up on anything with a lot of red rice," he said.

Dr. Mike Salassi, LSU AgCenter economist, said the 2004-05 rice marketing year was an anomaly. Usually rice prices peak around February, and that normally would be a good argument for storing some rice to sell a few months after harvest, he said. But during the last season, prices peaked in August and have continued to slide.

Eddie Eskew, LSU AgCenter county agent for rice in five parishes, said diseases are starting to show up in rice fields in Allen and Jefferson Davis parishes. Little disease pressure had been seen until the past few weeks, he said.

Dr. Don Groth, LSU AgCenter pathologist at the Rice Research Station near Crowley, said fungicides only work to protect a crop against disease, but they don’t increase yield.


Johnny Saichuk at (337) 788-7547, or jsaichuk@agcenter.lsu.edu
Mike Salassi at (225) 578-2713, or msalassi@agcenter.lsu.edu
Eddie Eskew at (337) 824-1773, or eeskew@agcenter.lsu.edu
Don Groth at (337) 788-7531, or dgroth@agcenter.lsu.edu
Bruce Schultz at (337) 788-8821 or bschultz@agcenter.lsu.edu

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