Rice harvest in Louisiana

A second crop of rice is loaded onto a truck in Acadia Parish. Most farmers are reporting their best second crop yields ever in south Louisiana.

Louisiana rice better-than-usual second crop

South Louisiana rice farmers have wrapped up their rice-growing season with an excellent second crop harvest.

“Most everybody I’ve talked to is very pleased with the second-crop yields,” said Steve Linscombe, director of the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station. “Numerous producers say this is by far their best second crop from the standpoint of yield, and the quality is good, too.”

Linscombe said quality of the second crop is typically lower.

He said the percentage of fields used to grow a second crop appeared to be higher, and the stubble left from the first crop in most fields appeared to have been manipulated by mowing or rolling to boost yields.

Research by Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter rice specialist and agronomist, has shown that manipulation results in a 5-barrel increase in second-crop yield.

Linscombe also said farmers growing a second crop were more likely to fertilize and flood their fields as soon as the first crop was cut. In the past, many farmers have delayed flooding and applying fertilizer until they see regrowth, he said.

Linscombe said the per acre average would probably fall in the low-to-mid-20-barrel range on a green weight basis, although he heard of many who cut more than 30 barrels an acre. “I even heard of a few 40-plus in the second crop.”

Linscombe said the good ratoon crop yields will take some of the sting out of the low prices and the lower first-crop yield.

Farmer Darrell Hoffpauir of Acadia Parish said his second-crop yield averaged 27 barrels an acre, and he had some fields with 34 barrels, which made up for a lower first-crop yield.

“My first crop was off by 6 or 7 barrels an acre,” he said.

He grew a second crop on 90 percent of his first-crop acreage and rolled all of the stubble, resulting in 21,000 barrels for the second crop, half as much as the first-crop yield.

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