Missouri Rice: Harvest in Full Swing, Yields Mostly Average

    Rice harvest. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    It has been an interesting rice growing season so far. It all started with an extremely wet fall and harvest, which in turn put us behind this spring with little to no field prep done for planting. When spring did come, it seemed the wet weather cycle was stuck on repeat. We would get a couple of days to get field prep work done and as much planted as we could, and then it would rain.

    All throughout spring, we worked hard for 2 to 3 days and then got a week or so out of the field because of wet weather. We finally finished planting the crop the first week of June, so the rice spread out from the first of April to the first of June planting dates. The abundance of rain continued all the way up until about 10 days ago.

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    According to Missouri rice farmer Zach Worrell, this season’s rain hindered both spraying and fertilizing in a timely manner. “It was an expensive crop overall, grassy in some fields due to lack of field prep because of last fall’s wet harvest. The lack of grass control increased populations of rice stinkbugs. Some fields were sprayed twice, which is unusual in Missouri. Harvest has found early April plantings yields to be lower than mid-April and later planting dates.”

    On the bright side, all this rain led to lower water pumping cost on our rice acres.

    Harvest is in full swing now that most everyone has started. The yields at this point are just average to a little below, and acreage is down roughly between 20 and 30 percent from last year. The weather so far has been great, and the 10-day outlook is good. We’d like to see it stay dry until at least Thanksgiving. This week we have rolled up poly pipe off our earliest planted row rice fields and have laid poly pipe on some bean fields that are just now needing to be irrigated.

    Despite all the rain earlier this year, hopefully we will all be able to remember the 2019 harvest season for perfect weather and smooth and efficient rice production from the field.

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