Tale of two rice crops playing out in Louisiana

Farmers hoping Tropical Storm Cindy doesn't bring a repeat of 2016 flooding in Louisiana rice areas.

It is almost a tale of two rice crops – one in south Louisiana that seems to be doing well for now and one in north Louisiana that is struggling.

Dustin Harrell, Extension rice specialist, LSU AgCenter, said much of the south Louisiana crop was planted on or around Valentine’s Day this year, a historically early date for planting rice, even in the southern part of the state.

The crop in the northern part of the state was delayed because of heavy rains during the traditional planting window. Since then, it has stayed wet in north Louisiana, frustrating efforts to apply nitrogen on dry ground for the crop.

“Some of our growers are reaching the point where they will have to give up on the recommended practices for applying nitrogen,” said Dr. Harrell, speaking at the Northeast Research Station Field Day in St. Joseph on Tuesday (June 20). “That means they will have to spoon feed the nitrogen to the crop.”

He said farmers in south Louisiana could be harvesting their first crop rice during the first week in July, while growers in the north still have quite a ways to go.

The big question when he spoke at the Northeast Research Station Field Day was what impact Tropical Storm Cindy, which was then forming in the Gulf of Mexico, would have on both crops when it made landfall, possibly in southwest Louisiana and traveled to the northeast across the state and into the Mid-South.

For more on the Northeast Research Station Field Day, visit http://www.deltafarmpress.com/cotton/louisiana-corn-phenomenal-cotton-mixed-bag.

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