Southwest Louisiana and Texas
It has been cool and wet in Louisiana for the past two weeks and the adverse weather conditions have our rice crop looking pretty rough overall. All of the stands looked very good, and things were going well prior to the cold weather. We are warming up this week, however, and our rice will start to look a lot better. Hopefully, the wind will begin to cooperate, since strong winds have been a challenge over the past few weeks.
Rice planting continues. However, we are down to the last 15 percent or so. This last bit of our crop will most likely drag on until late May, as it does every year. Farmers will start draining crawfish ponds and planting rice. We also have delayed planting trying to kill weedy rice.
We have had a good year with our Clearfield varieties, and it looks like CL153 will become the most planted variety in South Louisiana in 2018. That title has belonged to CL111 for the past several years.
Michael Fruge, District Field Representative
Arkansas Grand Prairie
Growers on the Grand Prairie were able to make a pretty good run before the rain on Friday the 13th. Rainfall amounts ranged from under an inch to almost 5 inches. Some growers with earlier-planted rice now have levees to repull. Overall, we fared as well as we could, and things are drying out very fast. I think some farmers should have been able to get back going on Tuesday (April 17) and the rest should be able to be planting by today.
We were able to get a trial planted on Wingmead Farms before the rain moved in last Friday (April 13). We could very easily plant the rest of the trials here this week if the ground continues to dry out as quickly as it has been. It’s been a tough spring so far, and we aren’t where we want to be in terms of percent rice planted.
I’m guessing that the Grand Prairie is only 10% planted, with most of that being on the north or south ends of the prairie. Every time we have started to make a run in the middle part, it seems like it rains 2-plus inches.
Garrett Williams, District Field Representative
North Louisiana and Mississippi
The weather has not been particularly kind to us over the last two weeks. We were able to plant in some areas last week (April 10) and saw some decent progress. However, we saw anywhere from 2–5 inches in my area from the rain event on Saturday (April 14). Couple that rain with cool temperatures over the weekend through Monday, and it’s been slow all around. Most of the earliest-planted rice has emerged, and the 10-day forecast looks to be an improvement over the last month.
I’d estimate we are between 30% to 35% planted in my area as of Tuesday (April 17), and it looks like some farmers were able to get back in the field in some spots earlier this week. There is a chance of rain this Sunday, so hopefully we are able to take advantage where conditions permit until then.
Overall, planting conditions have not been ideal by any stretch and have compressed progress. However, getting the best start possible will pay off come harvest. Optimistically, the weather will cooperate and we will be able to finish planting quickly, make herbicide applications and get starter fertilizer out where necessary.
Tim Jett, District Field Representative
Rice planting in northeast Arkansas was wide-open last week. Many farmers in my area planted around the clock to get as much done as possible within the four-day planting window. My best estimate is that we are between 50-60 percent planted to this point.
The rain this weekend caused a short break for most of the region with rain totals varying from 2 to 3 inches. Most farmers were back in the field by the middle of the week and should get a solid 3 to 4 days of planting. When the farmers are able to get back into the fields, it will be “left lane hammer down” to try and get finished with rice planting. The short-range forecast is favorable to allow for most early-planted rice to emerge and to speed along germination on the rice planted last week.
Chase Kagen, District Field Representative
Northeast Arkansas and Missouri Bootheel
Good progress was made in Missouri and Arkansas last week as a number of farmers kicked things off in my territory. The storms forecasted for last weekend held true and dropped on average 2 to 3 inches of rain in most areas. That had many farmers running long hours throughout the week, both planting as much as possible and also finishing up remaining field work.
According to the USDA NASS report, Missouri went from 0 percent to 11 percent planted last week. At this point, we are tracking behind the 5-year average in both Arkansas and Missouri. However, if we can catch a break in weather patterns, we will see a huge jump in planted acres very quickly. We were also able to make progress last week with variety trials by getting a couple planted in northeast Arkansas and one in Missouri. Please feel free to call me with any questions.
Jason Satterfield, District Field Representative