Feb 10, 2020
RAYVILLE, LA -- With winter providing a backdrop of scattered showers around the southern rice region, it was a perfect time for area growers to take a break from field work last week and attend the Northeast Louisiana (NELA) Rice Growers Association meeting to get the latest rice info in preparation for the 2020 planting season.
Dr. Don Groth, director of the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station in Crowley, gave updates on a variety of topics including disease, fertilization, and variety development. Dr. Sebe Brown talked about last season’s insect issues and possible solutions to consider this year for rice and other crops planted in the region. Wrapping up reports from the Ag Center, Brian Hilburn gave a presentation on the rice market outlook and what can be expected moving into the new crop season.
A highlight of the meeting was a round table discussion on NELA’s row rice experience. A panel made up of Jason Waller of Morehouse Parish, Elliot Colvin of Richland Parish, Michael Costello of Franklin Morehouse Parishes, and Scott Franklin of Richland Parish shared experiences in growing row rice on their perspective operations last season. Each grower explained the unique aspects of their operation, and the reasons behind the decisions to plant row rice. From soil type to variety selection, row width, herbicide and fertilization, and poly pipe placement, to describing customized equipment developed to make their operation more efficient in growing row rice, attendees got an in-depth look into this growing trend in rice production for northeast Louisiana.
“Honestly, we could have kept going as long as we wanted,” said Waller, who also serves on the Louisiana Rice Research Board. “When you get a group together that has that kind of knowledge and you’re able to share it, you get an appreciation for the value of everyone working together for the industry.”
Franklin, who is president of the NELA Rice Growers Association, said afterward, “We should have been recording this! Jason, Elliot, and Michael presented these ideas and practices, based on real life lessons learned over the past year, in a way that every grower can relate to.”
Also on the agenda was USA Rice’s Lydia Holmes with an update on USA Rice sustainability initiatives, including the ongoing Rice Foundation sustainability webinars, and USA Rice/Ducks Unlimited Partnership opportunities for rice growers in Louisiana.