Many Louisiana rice growers didn’t think much of their crop’s chances at the beginning of the 2013 season. But what started out looking like a disaster turned into a pretty good year. The LSU AgCenter’s John Saichuk discussed the year in this video from the USA Rice Outlook Conference in St. Louis.
Louisiana growers harvested an estimated state-wide yield average of 7,200 pounds per acre, including ratoon-crop or second-crop rice. That would be up from the previous high of 6,600 pounds. Louisiana's long growing season often allows them to grow and harvest a second crop from their original crop planting.
“We think we have set a real, significant record in Louisiana this year,” said Johnny Saichuk, Extension rice specialist with the LSU AgCenter. “From the conversations we’ve had with our farmers we think we may be around 7,200, second crop included, well above anything before.”
Louisiana’s second crop acreage also expanded,” he said. “We had over 130,000 acres of second crop rice, which is one of our highest totals in a number of years. Someone asked me if we were through harvesting for the year, and I don’t know. I do know we cut our last verification field on Nov. 30, the latest we’ve ever done.”
Saichuk said he believes Louisiana’s rice acreage will be about the same in 2014 as it was in 2013 with the possible exception of an increase in hybrid rice, which appears to be gaining ground in Louisiana because of its higher yield potential.
Another development he reported at the Rice Outlook Conference was the growth in special purpose rice in 2013. Louisiana growers harvested 30,000 acres, most of it the Jazzman 2 line of aromatic rice. Growers also planted the Jazzman, Sabine and Hidalgo varieties.