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.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rice bounces back at Zaunbrecher farm

Eddie Eskew walks the field to examine the crop's condition.

“That’s a good field of rice,” remarked Eddie Eskew, LSU AgCenter county agent in Jefferson Davis Parish, as he gazed out on Ronnie “Blue” Zaunbrecher’s field near Lake Arthur.
A week ago, the rice looked limp and pitiful after a cold snap. Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, was prepared to recommend another shot of zinc if the weather didn’t warm up.
But Saichuk was pleased with the rice’s recovery. Most of the leaves were upright, and the plants looked much greener. And new leaves appeared to be wider and more robust than the spindly leaves floating on the water.

Comparison of new leaf at the top of the photo and the older, less healthy leaf.

Saichuk said the rice is about to start tillering, and he was pleased that no signs of rice water weevils could be found.
For Zaunbrecher, the field’s improved condition is a huge relief, even though he admits he knows a struggling rice crop usually will bounce back and make a good crop.
“This is the hardest time for a farmer, the first 6 weeks, to make it come through the water,” he said.
The rain gauge showed 1.38 inches since last week. Zaunbrecher said a thunderstorm with hard rain and hail passed over his house early Wednesday morning.

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