Rice in Louisiana is grown under flooded conditions during most of the growing period. Rice fields, however, must be drained prior to harvest. Timing of drainage is important since it can affect quality and yield.
Drainage must be early enough so that there is ample time for the field to dry up in order to support harvest machinery.
However, if fields are drained too early, sufficient moisture may not be available to ensure that the lower grains on the head, which are the last to fill, can properly fill prior to harvest.
The timing of drainage is usually dependent to a certain extent on the soil type in your rice field.
Heavy soils (clays) tend to dry out more slowly than lighter soils (silt loams or sandy soils). So heavier soils must be drained earlier than lighter soils to allow sufficient time for drying.
Most of our rice fields have a silt loam type of soil.
A general rule to thumb is to drain a silt loam rice field about 2 weeks prior to harvest, or when the top 3/4 of the head is yellow and turned down.
Rice is usually harvested when the moisture content of the grain is between 18 to 22 percent. Moisture content should be determined by cutting a combine sample for testing.
Rice too green at harvest will have more light, chalky kernels, which will result in reduced head and total milled rice yields. Harvesting at excessively low moisture content will lead to more shattering and more broken kernels, again lowering head rice yields.
Now for a horticulture hint on pumpkins.
Pumpkins for Halloween should be planted in early to mid-July. Apply 2 to 3 lbs. of a complete fertilizer for each 100 feet of row prior to planting. Plant five to six seeds in hills about 4 to 5 feet apart on rows 6 to 8 feet apart. Thin to one or two plants per hill. Apply a sidedressing of 1 lb. (1 pint) of ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row when vines begin to run. Soil should be kept moist for best production.
For a small size, choose Orange Smoothie (AAS), Spooktacular, Oz, Small Sugar, Spookie or Baby Bear (AAS). Trick or Treat or Triple Treat have edible, hull-less seeds.
Good medium-sized pumpkins are Big Autumn, Jack-O-Lantern, Frosty, Casper (white), Peek a Boo and the AAS winner, Autumn Gold. Good large or Jack-o-Lantern types are Howden, Spirit-AAS, Gold Rush, Connecticut Field, Jumpin Jack and Aspen.
Howden is an excellent variety to grow for Halloween. It is an attractive deep orange skin. Connecticut Field is also a popular variety. Other smaller hybrids recommended are Spirit, Trick or Treat and Oz. The ornamental pumpkins Jack-Be-Little and Munchkin can be planted at this time. Be prepared to spray with an insecticide and fungicide.
For more information, come by or call our office at 788-8821 or you can visit our website at http://www.lsuagcenter.com