⋅ BY STEVE LINSCOMBE ⋅
It’s been a busy week for the rice industry in Louisiana and Texas, with field days and meetings wrapping up just in time for growers to get back in the field. In Louisiana, that means harvesting fields of the varieties Avant, DG263L and PVL03.
On Monday afternoon, growers gathered for a harvest mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Eunice. Rice farmer Michael Fruge helped organize the event, which attracted a huge crowd preparing for the long work weeks ahead.
Tuesday, LSU AgCenter held its Northeast Louisiana (NELA) Row Rice Field Day at the St. Joseph Research Station. Scott Franklin, a grower and merchant from Holly Ridge who is president of the NELA Rice Growers Association, kicked off the meeting with a report on the recent USA Rice meetings and the important role the organization plays in advancing the rice industry for all. Franklin led a discussion on the history of row rice in the region and how research and innovations in this practice have been a major factor in the increased rice acres over the years for NELA.
“Furrow irrigated rice has transformed the industry in northeast Louisiana, giving our producers the ability to diversify and maintain flexibility in today’s extremely volatile commodity market,” said Franklin. “Row rice keeps rice in the rotation for many farmers in our region. I must give credit to Donnie and Darrell Vandeven of Tensas Parish, who pioneered the practice long before anyone here tried it.”
Franklin also awarded the annual RGA scholarships to Sarah Grace Krishna, Jackson Greer, and Taylor Burket, all students from Richland Parish with 4.0 GPAs.
The meeting included presentations by Bruce Garner, R.L. Frazier, and Dennis Burns on row rice practices, along with Tyler Mosgrove, Dr. Conner Webster, and Dr. Ronnie Levy discussing billbugs, weeds, and overall crop conditions, and closed with an industry update provided by Kane Webb, USA Rice director of field services.
On Wednesday, Nutrien held a field day at their research center south of El Campo, Texas. A large crowd heard updates on both the pureline and hybrid breeding programs. Highlighted were DG353M, the new conventional medium grain, and DG245L, the new conventional long grain.
Innovation in Texas rice irrigation was the theme of the 75th Annual Beaumont Rice Field Day held July 13. Following the field tours, Dr. Ted Wilson welcomed attendees to the event that included presentations by Dr. Cliff Lamb, Ryan Frey, and Dr. Joe Massey on maximizing water management and irrigation conservation practices.
USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited rolled out a new program open to Texas growers, the Migratory Bird Resurgence Initiative (MBRI), aimed at preserving, protecting, and improving habitat for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, neotropicals, and other avian species in key portions of the Pacific, Mississippi, and Central Flyways. To be considered for MBRI funding in FY23, applications must be submitted by July 31.