Greetings from Louisiana rice country! This year, the blog will concentrate research conducted at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station, in addition to showing the progress of a 6-acre field of rice planted March 19 to produce foundation seed. We encourage your comments and thoughts to help improve this online tool. If you would like a photograph of a particular piece of equipment or a better explanation of a process, let us know.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Rice harvest begins

Harvest of the rice blog field began at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Monday, August 06. This is 139 days since the field was seeded on March 20. The grain moisture of the first truckload of rice harvested was about 18%. This means that the grain at this stage contained approximately 18% water. Rice is typically harvested at between 17-21 % grain moisture. The grain is then artificially dried down to about 12% moisture. The reason rice is harvested at higher moisture then artificially dried (as opposed to letting the grain dry in the field prior to harvest) is to maintain the grain quality. If the grain dries much below 17% in the field, there is excessive breakage of the rice grains during the milling process. Even though the grain harvested from this field will be used for seed, maintenance of grain quality is still important.

Shortly after the harvest began, a bearing broke on the clean grain elevator on the harvest combine. The combine had to be brought into the Rice Research Station Maintenance Shop for repairs. The combine will be repaired and the harvest operation will resume as soon as possible. This is not a rare occurrence in any commercial rice farming operation. Harvest machines are very complex with a large number of moving parts and breakdowns necessitating repairs are commonplace during the harvest season.

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