Rice crop escapes flood, but off to tough start
by For the MBJ
Published: May 31,2011
ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Fields along the Mississippi River may be flooded, but the majority of the state’s rice crop is farther inland and needs either more water or time to dry after heavy rains caused other rivers to overflow.
Nathan Buehring, rice specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said rice fields do not need to be flooded until after the plants are about six inches tall. Farmers often will “flush” water over the field to prompt early growth.
“Some rice fields in Quitman County were flooded early by the Coldwater River. Rice can survive a couple of weeks under floodwater but will become more stretched and elongated,” he said. “Some of the flooded fields that stayed under water too long needed or will need to be replanted.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted in March that Mississippi farmers would plant 200,000 acres of rice, down from 305,000 acres in 2010. Buehring said the acreage estimate is probably high and predicted 150,000 to 175,000 acres.
He said cooler temperatures have slowed growth but should not impact yields.
After rice reaches the appropriate height and farmers have applied fertilizer, they will flood the fields to help with weed control and for crop growth. Water remains on the fields until about two weeks before harvest.
John Michael Riley, Extension agricultural economist, said prices are better than they were a year ago and flooded Arkansas rice fields will likely run prices even higher. Some estimates indicate just over half of Arkansas’ 1.4 million acres of rice have been planted.
“Arkansas produces 46 percent of the nation’s rice, and they have more fields impacted by river flooding and heavy rains than we do,” he said.
To sign up for Mississippi Business Daily Updates, click here.
FOLLOW THE MBJ ON TWITTERMy Tweets
Top Posts & Pages
- UMMC reaching out after death of high school football player
- Former Godwin CEO Danny Mitchell dies at 66
- Thousands of acres of Delta farmland to go on auction block
- Northrop Grumman lands $354M Air Force contract for Global Hawks
- Tragedy for Jackson Prep: Football player Walker Wilbanks dies
- Board files suit against VA over release of patients' names
- MDOT: Work on I-269 is on schedule, several phases at halfway point
- More school districts join MAEP lawsuit brought by Musgrove
- City trying to determine who has authority to spend gaming money