2019 Louisiana Rice Field Notes #1

louisiana-rice-notes-2019-01.jpg thumbnail

Great Start to 2019 Season but Excess Rain Will Provide First Challenge


Past date-of-planting trials at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station indicates that the optimum planting window to maximize rice yields in Southwest Louisiana begins March 10 and ends April 15. Wet soil conditions in late February and through the first two weeks of March prevented any rice from being drill planted. Several acres of water-seeded rice was planted during that time period. It seemed that the soil would never dry, looking at the early March forecast, and planting was going to be way behind schedule for 2019.

Predicting the weather is a lot like herding cats, I really don’t know anyone who is good at it. When it comes to weather and farming, I guess we should always expect the unexpected. Unexpectedly, we missed several rain possibilities in the region, and around March 15 many rice growers south and central Louisiana were able to start drill-planting rice. In fact, the weather stayed dry for approximately two and a half weeks. During that dry window there was a considerable amount of rice planted in the state. The optimum window for planting rice in northeast Louisiana begins April 1 and ends May 5. Some rice acres have been planted in that region however, mostly corn was planted during the dry spell and now growers will now switch their focus to rice. I would estimate that we are currently 70 -75% planted in the state with the southern region nearing 90% completion. So, although the planting season started later than normal, today we are right on track.

Figure 1. Rainfall totals for Louisiana for April 4, 2019. Data derrived from AccuWeather.com.
Near Iowa, Louisiana. Photo by Johnny Hensgens.

Figure2-rice-research-location-Calcasieu-ParishjpgThe unexpected and prolonged dry spell allowed tillage (many growers were behind on their winter and spring tillage) and herbicide applications to be done quickly and efficiently. Many growers did have to flush their fields to activate the residual herbicides and to provide soil moisture for even seed germination. The only true problem we faced so far this season was the fact that all this rice that was planted in a two-and-a-half-week time period will likely mature and be ready for harvest very close together. Unfortunately, we will not be able to harvest all fields as fast as we planted them, and this will cause some fields to be harvested at a lower grain moisture than optimum. Optimum moisture to maximize harvest efficiency, reduce shattering, and maximize milling is 18-22%. As grain moisture gets lower, milling quality typically begins to drop, rice stalk strength tends to weaken as it dries and we can see more rain and wind caused lodging. Ratoon rice tends to come back slower too. However, we will wait until later in the season to see if this becomes a problem.

Storms which left considerable rainfall totals moved across the state on April 4 (Figure 1). Rainfall totals across the state for the 24-hour period ranged from less than 1­inch to over 8-inches. Most of Southwest Louisiana received 2-to 5-inches. My research location near Iowa, Louisiana, received 4-inches that morning (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Rice Research loca..on in Calcasieu Parish
Near Iowa, Louisiana. Photo by Johnny Hensgens.

Current 10 Day Weather

The current forecast has another system moving through on Sunday that has the potential to add a lot more rain. Fields are currently holding water and may not have a chance to drain completely before this new storm moves through. Although rice is grown in submerged fields, it cannot live under submerged conditions for an extended period of time. How long the rice can live underwater depends on the conditions and the stage of rice development. Consensus is that rice can live under submerged conditions about 8 days, but less if the rice is already stressed from other factors (herbicide, nutrient, insect, and disease), if the water is not clear, or if the water is excessively hot or cold. Getting the water off the fields will be the first real challenge of the 2019 the rice season.

Rice Varieties and Management Tips

The 2019 version of the Rice Varieties and Management Tips publication is now available online. The publication contains the official LSU AgCenter recommendations for all phases of rice production including variety selection, agronomy, fertility, diseases, insects, and weed management. Hard copies of the publication are available at your local county extension office. If you are like me, I like to keep a hard copy of the publication in my truck so I can have it handy when I am in the field and not worry if it gets wet. So, be sure to pick up your copy at your local extension office soon.

Join the Louisiana Rice Text Group List

If you would like to join the Louisiana Rice Text Group, simply text @larice to 81010. To unsubscribe to the group, simply text back “unsubscribe@larice” to the group.

If you would like to get the text messages by email, send an email to larice@mail.remind.com. If you would like to unsubscribe to the email messages, simply email larice@mail.remind.com with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.


Date: Location:
May 28Southwest Louisiana Rice Field Day, Iowa, LA
May 31Evangeline Parish Rice Field Day, Mamou, LA
June 12Acadia Parish/South Farm Field Day, Crowley, LA
June 26 LSU AgCenter’s H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station Field Day, Crowley, LA
July 18Northeast Louisiana Rice Field Day, Rayville, LA

Additional Information

Louisiana Rice Notes is published periodically to provide timely information and recommendations for rice production in Louisiana. If you would like to be added to this email list, please send your request to: Dustin Harrell

This information will also be posted to the LSU AgCenter website where additional rice information can be found. Please visit www.LSUAgCenter.com.

Contact Information

Dustin Harrell Rice Specialist & Research Coordinator(337) 250-3553
Don GrothResident Coordinator & Rice Pathologist (337) 296-6853
Eric WebsterRice Weeds & Asst. SW Regional Director(225) 281-9449
Adam FamosoRice Breeder(337) 247-8783
Mike StoutDept. of Entomology Head & Rice Entomologist (225) 892-2972
Blake WilsonRice & Sugarcane Extension Entomologist(225) 578-1823
Michael DelibertoRice Economist (225) 578-7267
Keith FontenotRice Verification Program(337) 290-0510
Jim OardHybrid Rice Breeder(225) 281-9447

Visit our website: www.LSUAgCenter.com Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, and Louisiana State University College of Agriculture. The LSU AgCenter is a statewide campus of the LSU System and provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. This project was partially supported by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Louisiana Rice Research Board.


LSU AgCenter logopng

Facebook iconjpg


4/8/2019 6:33:35 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture