Texas Rice: Invasive Snail Inflicts Levee Damage

An apple snail from a crawfish pond near Rayne, Louisiana. Photo: Dustin Harrell, LSU Ag Center

Well, this week has been dry here at the Beaumont Center, but late last week we were pounded with 6.5 inches of precipitation. Very difficult to get in the fields and plant here at the Center. Then, early this week, I received a call from Crop Consultant/Farmer Cliff Mock who reported channeled apple snail damage to levees in Rosharon, TX (Brazoria Co.) south of Houston.

We have not observed direct damage to rice, but levee damage by this large, exotic snail is becoming more common. If you suffer damage from this mollusk, please report to me at 409-239-4265 or moway@aesrg.tamu.edu.

On an international note, Dr. Don Groth, Research Coordinator at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station near Crowley LA, invited me to sit in on an educational tour of the Station with Chinese rice scientists from The Rice Research Institute of the Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Nanning, China. Nanning is a large city in south China just northeast of Vietnam.

Mr. Weike Li from this Academy invited Don and me to visit this institution in October of 2017. We are endeavoring to build a scientific relationship with this Academy to benefit both Chinese and US rice industries.

Gang Qin, who is the Party Secretary and Associate Research Fellow at the Academy, headed up the Chinese delegation totaling 5 scientists. Don gave an introduction to rice production in the US with emphasis on Louisiana, then Dr. Dustin Harrell followed up with a presentation on common rice agronomic practices in the South.

We then visited Dr. Adam Famoso’s lab where he and Dr. Brijesh Angira talked about marker-assisted selection. Adam and Brijesh run the Rice Breeding project at the Station. Finally, we went to the field and shop to observe some of Adam’s plots and planting equipment.

I hope we can continue this international cooperation which I firmly believe benefits both countries. We learn from the Chinese and they learn from us. This cooperation may lead to exchanges of scientists and students to further advance our rice industries.

On a personal level, international cooperation with the Center for International Tropical Agriculture in Colombia is enabling my project to proactively develop management programs for the rice delphacid, which is a rice pest native to Colombia. We found this pest attacking ratoon rice in Texas in 2018.


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