WELSH, LOUISIANA-- Rice crops in southwest Louisiana are thriving due in large part to the unseasonably mild temperatures in February that allowed early planting. Many growers are now expecting to begin harvesting their crops in early July, putting them a couple of weeks ahead of the traditional harvest schedule.
This bodes well for the outlook of the ratoon crop--or second crop--that is harvested in late autumn and provides a substantial economic boost to the area.
Paul Johnson, a rice farmer from Welsh, Louisiana and member of the 2015-2017 Rice Leadership Development Program, reported this is somewhat of a unique year for rice in southwest Louisiana. Johnson typically produces a ratoon crop on 75% of his acreage, but he expects that this year he will be able harvest a second-crop on every acre of rice due to the favorable weather conditions.
"So far, I'm very pleased with how things have been going with our rice this year," said Johnson. "My main concern right now is of course with the market. The news about the successful Iraq tender a few weeks ago was great for everyone's morale around here. We're always looking forward to hearing more news like that."