• By Deborah Willenborg •
At the opening of the Allen Parish Rice Growers Association annual meeting May 26 in Kinder, Louisiana, President Eric Savant, a local rice grower, welcomed everyone back in-person for the first time in more than a year.
“I don’t know if things will ever get back to ‘normal’, but it’s time to get together and connect with our fellow growers, discuss the business of our organizations, and catch up on the current issues in our industry,” he said.
Dr. Ronnie Levy, the new state rice specialist at the Louisiana State University AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station in Crowley, gave a presentation on the status of local and statewide rice crop conditions. Inclement weather continues to affect planting in the northern part of the state. And the lack of warm and sunny days due to consistent overcast skies have the crop struggling somewhat, although things seem to be improving heading into June.
Kane Webb, USA Rice director of field services, updated growers on issues such as the zero tolerance of propiconazole present on crops proposed by the European Union and what implications it may have on future trade with the EU and the United Kingdom, the planted acres forecast for U.S. rice, information on the Colombian TRQ and upcoming events with meeting schedules returning to pre-pandemic form.
In the field the following day, growers gathered for the Central Region Rice Field Day, the first chance this year to view one of the LSU Rice Research Station’s regional variety testing plots located at the Bieber Farm near Mamou. June 2, growers in southwest Louisiana attended the SWLA Region Rice Field Day in Iowa.
New varieties in the works
At both those events, LSU’s Dr. Adam Famoso shared the latest on new rice varieties and the rice breeding program’s progress in development. One key advancement is a promising conventional experimental line (LA2126) that received high marks from Central American buyers in a recent meeting held at the Rice Station in Crowley.
In addition, growers heard presentations by Drs. Dustin Harrell, Blake Wilson, Ronnie Levy and Eric Webster on weather-related issues impacting this year’s crop. The experts also made management recommendations and took time to answer questions on specific issues from those in attendance. I
n all discussions, the common culprit at the root of most issues growers are dealing with in this crop year relates to weather, from planting and stand establishment, to fertilizer and herbicide treatment delays due to inclement weather patterns across the south.
The schedule over the next few weeks remains busy as more regional field days are planned.
the LSU AgCenter Acadia Parish and South Farm Rice Field Day is scheduled for June 16, and the LSU AgCenter Annual Rice Field Day at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station in Crowley is planned for June 30.
The LSU AgCenter Row Rice Field Day is scheduled for July 15 at the St. Joseph research center.
This article originally appeared in USA Rice’s “The Daily.”