In 2015, University of California Cooperative Extension began the UCCE Rice Yield Contest as a pilot study in Butte county. Due to the success of the pilot study, the contest in 2016 was expanded to include all of Sacramento Valley. Due to possible yield potential differences, the valley was separated into four regions using Highway 20 and the Sacramento River as dividing lines.
For these contests, harvest and weighing are closely monitored by UCCE personnel. Yields are determined from a minimum of 3 acres from a 10-acre test plot and reported at 14 percent moisture. In 2017, there were more than 20 yield contest entries; however, many contestants withdrew as overall yields were lower than they have been accustomed to.
Indeed, many growers reported yields were about 10 to 15 percent lower than previous years. Similarly, the winning fields had yields that were lower than we saw in 2015 and 2016. That said, there were still some very respectable yields, according to UCCE rice pecialist Bruce Linquist.
The winners were Rodney Jenkins from Butte County (115.5 cwt per acre), Seth Fiack from Glenn County (105.5 cwt per acre) and Kim Gallagher from Yolo County (100.9 cwt per acre). Interestingly, all winning entries were the variety M-209.
Nitrogen rates ranged from 152 to 172 pounds nitrogen per acre. UCCE thanks the participants and Ag One Solutions, which provided the prizes for the winners — an aerial drone flight and images covering up to 200 acres of rice land, an $800 value.