With more than 20 inches of rain in southwest Louisiana since last week, early estimates are that flooding has destroyed $14 million worth of the state’s rice crop. That estimate remains “fully speculative,” however, as the full scope of damage will not become clear until the water recedes. Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says “once the water recedes we’ll begin doing analysis” along with federal officials. The U.S. Rice Federation says about 80 percent of the southwest Louisiana crop had been harvested before the flooding, but of the 20 percent still in the field, 20 percent of that would likely be lost due to the flooding. None of the rice mills in the state have reported flood-related disruption.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.
From: USA Rice
More than 20 inches of rain have fallen in southwest Louisiana since last week, and with more on the way, the full scope of damage due to historic flooding in the area won’t become clear until the water recedes.
“We’re still in the stabilization and rescue mode now,” said Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain. “Once the water recedes we’ll begin doing analysis. The feds will join us with teams on the ground doing assessments.”
As of noon today, the following parishes are included on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Louisiana disaster declaration: Acadia, Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tangipahoa, and Vermilion. Twenty-nine parishes have requested disaster declarations.
“Estimating the value of damage to the rice crop in southwest Louisiana will not be easy since, at this point, everything seems to be constantly changing,” said Dustin Harrell, Research Agronomist & Extension Rice Specialist at Louisiana State University.
After talking with extension agents in every affected parish, and using an average yield value of 7,100 lb/acre and an average rice price of $11 per cwt, Harrell came up with what he called “a highly speculative estimate” of approximately $14.3 million in losses for the southwest Louisiana rice crop. This estimate does not include potential ratoon rice losses.
Rice farmers throughout the affected areas report varying degrees of damage. Kevin Berken, from Lake Arthur, is pumping water off his rice and remains optimistic that his crop will be saved, although he thinks his second crop is “toast or teal [duck] food.”
Image credit: (lower right) The view Saturday (8-13-16) from atop Allen McClain’s grain bins south of Abbeville (courtesy USA Rice).