As growers know all too well, sometimes the weather just cooperates. Such was the case this week when torrential and dangerous rains in some areas during the day suddenly gave way to cool evenings and one of the mildest LSU Field Days most can remember.
On Wednesday, the LSU H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station in Crowley hosted the 107th annual rice field day to large crowds and insightful presentations led by Dr. Steve Linscombe with other researchers from LSU, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and private industry.
New varieties – including a Clearfield hybrid; fungicide timing; the impact of Provisia, a new herbicide-tolerant technology, on weed control; and pests – including a new threat from Central America now being tracked in Texas; were covered during the field tours. Researchers also shared the latest information on promising new techniques to maximize ratoon crops.
The sun came out just as the tours were concluding, chasing the hundreds of attendees inside for additional presentations and remarks from Jackie Loewer, Chairman of the Louisiana Rice Research Board, Jim Guinn, USA Rice Vice President of International Promotion, Ronnie Anderson, President of the Louisiana Farm Bureau, and others.
While the crowd appreciated the fine work the LSU Ag Center staff are completing on behalf of the rice industry, talk of the potential opening of Cuba as a new market for U.S. rice dominated many discussions.
“Cuba has great potential for us – at one time our top export destination,” said Guinn. “While USA Rice has an excellent relationship with the government and trade in Cuba, it’s going to take some more action by Congress before we can begin to realize the full potential of this market.”
The evening before the LSU Field Day, more than 100 growers gathered at Christian Richard’s farm in Kaplan for the HorizonAg Field Day that featured exciting presentations, including varieties that Horizon’s General Manager Dr. Tim Walker is confident will satisfy the demanding expectations of Central American customers who are highly focused on quality.
USA Rice staff attended the field days and gave presentations at meetings of the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board and the Central Louisiana Rice Growers Association (CenLARGA).
“What struck me most perhaps about all of the activities was the number of graduates and current students in the Rice Leadership Development Program who were presenting,” Guinn added. “From the HorizonAg host, Christian Richard, to the HorizonAg presenters in Dr. Walker, Michael Fruge, and Sunny Bottoms, to the LSU Field Day, led by Dr. Linscombe and Dr. Dustin Harrell, and John Earles Jr. in the CenLARGA organization. It shows the success and reach of the program and that the graduates are doing exactly what is expected of them – leading the industry.”