By now, if you haven’t read or heard about how the harvest began in the south part of Louisiana, you must have been hiding under a rock, or more appropriately, an umbrella. Consistent days of rain showers, some episodes producing much more rain fall than others, have made the start of this year’s harvest more challenging than most would prefer.
“We had rain every day for fifteen out of twenty days in mid-July,” says Christian Richard, a rice farmer in Vermillion Parish. “That kept us from getting in the fields to harvest until July 25, about a week behind what we had planned.”
This soggy theme seems to resonate across the area as Dustin Harrell with the LSU AgCenter recently reported measurable rain at the Rice Research Station for 16 days in the month of July.
“We’re seeing a mixed bag when it comes to yields,” said Harrell. “The variability of timing for some of the rains during maturity has created some low to average yields in early reporting. It’s dry right now, so everyone is cutting what they can as our rain chances increase again this Wednesday.”
Near Kinder, rice farmer Eric Unkel reported that “yields are decent, slightly up, from the bottom end we saw in the first fields harvested.” With close to 1,100 acres of a 2,600 acre crop harvested, Unkel said, “it still feels like we are trying to catch up, same as everyone, when you’re dealing with consistent rain showers at harvest.”
As the rice harvest continues throughout southwest Louisiana, we will close the book on July and open it for August, hoping the skies will not open up as well.