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.

Friday, April 3, 2009

More rain, good and not so good

Weather seldom pleases everyone, and that was true Thursday.
Larry White, director of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station foundation seed program, wanted rain Thursday for the blog field and he got it. A line of thunderstorms blew through the area around noon, dumping .6 of an inch (1.5 centimeters) of rain in just a few minutes.
“Now we just need it to warm up,” White said.
Sunday will be warm, but after then, low temperatures are expected to be in the 40s until rain returns Thursday.
In the meantime, in Vermilion Parish, farmer Durel Romaine of Kaplan was hoping not to get any rain so he could plant a 40-acre field that will be featured in the blog. The field is in the LSU AgCenter rice verification program, directed by Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist.
Romaine, shown here in the field, had planned on drill-seeding the field Monday but now the field is too wet and he expects it will be the end of next week before he can get into the field.
He doesn’t want to change plans and water seed because he is concerned that the thick layer of vegetation will prevent the seed from anchoring roots into the soil.
The clouds that brought Thursday’s rain had a silver lining for Romaine, however. The additional moisture will mean even more freshwater in the canals that he uses for irrigation. The salt level in the canals had become excessive to be used for rice, but the recent rainfall has lowered the concentration of salt.
He took samples of water Wednesday in a canal that showed acceptable levels of salt for rice, but he said a neighbor took samples Thursday that showed a higher level.

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