What is in this article?:
- California producers struggled through late planting and rising production costs.
- Harvest in California, at 55 percent complete, is behind the five-year average of 87 percent.
- The largest challenge for the financial viability of California rice growers is controlling production costs.
Rice consultant Amy Beth Dowdy, with ABD Crop Consultants, LLC, in Dexter, Mo., says the overall dry bushel average yield in Dunklin and Pemiscot counties “is going to be somewhere 135 bushels and 140 bushels. We had some high yielding fields, but we also had enough low-yielding fields to offset that.”
Dowdy says in fields she scouted, the lowest yields occurred where the crop was starting to head out the week of July 25. “If it headed out before that or after that, it wasn’t nearly as bad. That one week was particularly bad. The heat just did a number on everybody.”
Dowdy said the lower yields occurred in both hybrids and varietal rice.
The cost of the crop was also higher, due to pumping costs.
“In one word, disappointing,” Wendell Minson, owner of Bootheel Crop Consultants, said of the Bootheel crop. “It promised so much, but it didn’t come through. We were set for a record harvest, but by the time the smoke clears, it’s going to be a below average yield for us.”
Minson said hybrid yields were off an average of 15 bushels, while conventional varieties were off 20 bushels to 25 bushels.
Like Dowdy, Minson blamed much of the reduced yield on the heat. “The milling is not going to be as good as we liked. Last year’s milling was terrific, and this year it’s on the other extreme.”
“Weed control was excellent, but we had to spray more for armyworms and stink bugs than usual.”