Our rice planting is nearly done. Mark has been hard at it for the past two months wearing out the tires on the four wheelers. This time of year is critical not only for getting seed into the ground in a timely manner but controlling water levels on the new crop. These are two major tasks that can make or break the entire season.
Water control is critcal for two reasons the health of the young plant and more critical weed control. While it would be alot easier to control weeds with chemicals we still do it with the water. Try to imagine keeping one half inch of water on 1500 acres…you can’t have too much or you will streatch the plant and it will thn fall over and die. If you have too little water, weeds will germinate and smother out the rice plants. So there is an awful lot of checking and rechecking that goes on. Four wheelers get lots of use speeding from one field to the next “checking”
The other half of the equation is getting seed in the ground in the optimum fashion. The object is to plant early enough to harvest before serious Hurricane weather and yet space out the crop so everything is not ripe all at once. This is a tricky task and a major guessing game of sorts. You can plant early only to have late cold weather delay young plants, allowing later plantings to catch up and create one big mess with the whole crop rippening all at once. Every day the the ripe crop sits in the field unharvested it loses moisture, the rice seeds start to crack and we lose value.
Of course, a Hurricane is always an unwelcome visitor, especially with a fully rippened, ready to harvest rice crop. High winds of the hurricane will either flatten stalks of rice to the ground or worse shatter the seeds from the stalks. In this case an entire season can be lost in one day.
For now though we have had a great planting season and we are nearly done. We will start planting seed crawfish next month. Check back next time and I’ll tell you all about it.