Louisiana assessing storm's impact on rice

by World Grain Staff
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KINDER, LOUISIANA, U.S. — As the remnants of Hurricane Isaac pushed their way up the Mississippi Valley, the Louisiana rice industry began assessing crop damage, USA Rice said on Sept. 4. 
Early reports indicate that 95% of the rice in the southern part of the state was harvested when the system churned through on Aug. 30. Growers reported limited rain and wind and expect minimal impact to the unharvested main-crop rice in the region. However, Dr. Steve Linscombe of the Louisiana State University (LSU) AgCenter expressed concern for ratoon crop rice, which would be susceptible to blanking from the high winds. 
In anticipation of the winds and rain, rice growers in central Louisiana ramped up harvest, which left approximately one-half of the acreage subject to the weather. Following passage of the tropical system growers reported one to two inches of rain and winds, but noted some downed rice, which will decrease harvest efficiency.
Although Isaac was a tropical storm when it impacted North Louisiana, growers reported rainfall totals of three to five inches accompanied by sustained winds of 20 mph. One grower who flew over a four- to- five parish area in the extreme Northeast part of the state estimates 10% to 15% of the unharvested rice was down. However, many growers had drained their fields to avoid having rice blown down into standing water.  He expects minimal yield loss due to shattering by wind and during harvest.
LSU AgCenter Economist Dr. Kurt Guidry expects to have preliminary damage assessments for all crops within the week, but noted final damage to the crops will ultimately be dictated by weather going forward. Extended periods of rain could worsen the damage, while clear weather would minimize damage impact.

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