The weather this winter was really quite mild overall. In addition, warm spring temperatures arrived early this year. Due to this warm weather, rice planting in southwest Louisiana began in earnest the last week of February with several hundred acres being drill planted (where the soil was dry) before the first day of March.
The recommended planting window for rice in Southwest Louisiana is March 10 – April 15, while Northeast Louisiana is April 1 – May 5. However, it is hard to wait on a recommended planting date on a calendar when the weather is favorable for planting now and cooler temperatures are not in the foreseeable future forecast. This year is quite a contrast from last year, where rice planting did not really start until the third week of March due to the continuous rainfall and wet soils.
This year, by the first weekend in March (5th and 6th), many rice farmers were planting at full speed. The only problem with this was the looming rain storms that were moving into the area and the potential for several inches of rain and the possibility for flooding over the next several days. As of Friday morning (arch 11), the Southwest Louisiana rice production area has received some rain, but it has really not been that excessive.
However, the rice production areas in Northeast Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, have received excessive rainfall totals this week. One producer in Northeast Louisiana reported rainfall totals on his farm were in excess of 23 inches between Tuesday and Friday morning!
While no rice planting has been reported to me in Northeast Louisiana, there has been a lot of corn planted. While seedling rice can survive up to 10 days in submerged conditions, corn seedlings up to the 6-leaf stage of development can generally only survive 2 days under these conditions. Dr.
Dan Fromme, the LSU AgCenter’s corn, cotton, and grain sorghum specialist wrote a great article about flooded conditions on corn which can be accessed here:
If corn stands are lost and additional seed is unavailable, or if the soils remain wet for and extended amount of time, some of this corn acreage could possibly go into soybeans or rice. This will possibly have an effect on our overall rice acres in the state.