Given late start, Louisiana rice crop so far looks good

Schultz Bruce, Saichuk, John K., Linscombe, Steven D.

Don Groth, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, far right, tells farmers about scouting for disease in their rice crop. Groth spoke at the Woodlands Farm in Richland Parish for the Northeast Louisiana Rice Field Day. Photo by Bruce Schultz

Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter agronomist, talks about a new fertilizer product that combines urea and ammonium sulfate. Photo by Bruce Schultz

News Release Distributed 07/18/13

RAYVILLE, La. – This year’s rice crop has defied expectations from earlier this year, LSU AgCenter rice specialist Johnny Saichuk said at the Northeast Louisiana Rice Field Day on July 17.

“As fields ripen, overall we ought to have a good crop,” Saichuk said. “It’s surprisingly good, given the late start.”

Unseasonably cool weather delayed the crop statewide, he said, but it has caught up. Farmers in south Louisiana may face the problem of most rice maturing at once, causing harvest problems.

He said disease pressure has been light this year, but insects have been a problem, especially rice water weevils. Stink bugs were numerous, he said, but the numbers seem to have decreased.

The harvest of corn and milo probably will cause stink bugs in those fields to move into rice fields, he said.

Yields could reach 6,500 pounds per acre, better or equal to last year’s harvest, but not as good as the 6,700 pounds two years ago, he said.

Saichuk said the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the AgCenter are estimating the state rice crop at approximately 400,000 acres. He said the amount of specialty rice has increased, while the acreage used for Clearfield rice has decreased slightly.

Steve Linscombe, AgCenter rice breeder, said a foundation seed line of Clearfield Jazzman rice was planted this month at the Rice Research Station near Crowley. He said more than 20,000 acres of Jazzman-2 are being grown this year, and a Clearfield variety would probably result in an increase.

“It would not surprise me to see that at 50,000 acres eventually,” Linscombe said.

He said a line of Clearfield medium-grain to replace CL261 is being developed with 32 acres of seed production at the rice station. The Kellogg Co. is interested in the line, but the company needs 200,000 pounds for testing. He said the line is less susceptible to blast and bacterial panicle blight than CL261.

Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter agronomist, said a new fertilizer product YaraVera is now available. It is a combination of urea and ammonium sulfate, with a total nitrogen concentration of 46 percent.

Don Groth, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, said farmers should find out if disease is being found in their neighbors’ fields. Blast spores can travel for several miles. Scouting and opening the plant canopy to examine the lower portions of a crop are essential to looking for disease, he said.

Blast disease was bad last year, he said, because of a warm winter that allowed the disease to persist in fields. This year, he said, late frosts apparently hampered the disease from developing.

Bruce Schultz

7/18/2013 9:45:41 PM
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