Posts Tagged: rice
DAVIS--A memorial for UC Cooperative Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey, a 26-year member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and...
UC Cooperative Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey, a 26-year member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty and widely...
Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey presenting a talk at the 2016 California Rice Field Day in Biggs. He spoke at the annual field day for 25 years. (Photo by Evett Kilmartin, UC ANR)
Contestants in California's rice growing region have worked all summer, and now researchers are harvesting designated plots to be entered into the 2016 UC Cooperative Extension Rice Yield Contest. The contest is in its second year, following a pilot contest in 2015 that included only Butte County farmers.
The contest is held largely for educational purposes, said organizer Bruce Linquist, UCCE specialist based at UC Davis.
“We are providing an opportunity for rice producers and UC scientists to share information about intensive rice production in California,” Linquist said. “We started small last year to be sure our contest wouldn't interfere with the farmers' harvest, and now our contest spans the entire Sacramento Valley.”
Among the five 2015 entrants, farmer Joe Richter came in first, growing variety M-205 and raking in 6.3 tons of rice per acre. Farmer Rodney Jenkins came in second with 5.7 tons per acre growing variety M-206.
The UCCE Rice Yield Contest is modeled after the National Corn Yield Contest, which goes back more than 50 years. The National Corn Growers Association created the contest as a way to encourage advances and new approaches in corn production, and then sharing what is learned on farmer's plots with growers across the country.
Linquist said he believes rice farmers in the contest might try a new approach to boost yield on the contest plot, and if successful, apply it to the rest of the farm in the future. The participating growers are required to share basic crop management information such as variety, planting date, seeding rate, water management; while other practices are asked for but not required.
Yields in the pilot study were high for all the contestants, Linquist said.
“This process gives you an upper limit,” Linquist said. “The information is helpful for sustainable intensification – increasing yields without impacting the environmental footprint.”
The prize for the highest yield was modest in 2015 – a hat and custom engraved hunting knife. But if the UCCE Rice Yield Contest takes off like the National Corn Yield Contest, interest could grow.
“For rice, right now it's more about bragging rights,” Linquist said. “What we'd like to do is get the industry involved. Winning the corn yield contest is a really big deal. The organizers give out a trophy, and the industry gives vacations, small tractors and other prizes.”
Water uncertainties delayed planting of the California rice crop, but it finally began the last week of April, reported Tim Hearden in Capital Press. The National Agricultural Statistics Service predicts 408,000 acres to be planted to rice in California in 2015.
“Planting is going full swing right now,” said Luis Espino, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) rice crop advisor with UC Cooperative Extension in Colusa County. “With the water situation early on, everyone was expecting water deliveries to be a little late — the first week of May. Then it was actually delivered a little earlier than that.”
Planting is about two weeks ahead of schedule in Butte County, said Cass Mutters, a UC ANR CE rice farm advisor.
“This spring was unfortunately so dry and so warm that growers were out working their fields,” Mutters said. “As a result, the planting schedule is accelerated this year.”
Because water deliveries from the Sacramento and Feather rivers have been cut, some land that typically produces rice will be fallowed in 2015.
“It's hard to say how much, but my guess is it's going to be maybe 10 or 15 percent more than last year," Espino said. "Growers might not get surface water but might be able to pump here and there or get water from somewhere else. We'll see at the end what the actual acreage is.”
Oroville Mercury Register.
Despite early worries about water supplies, Cass Mutters, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Butte County, said 25 to 30 percent of rice acreage is planted; statewide about 10 to 15 percent of acreage has been planted. According to the article, rain in March delivered enough water to Lake Oroville for full water contracts to be honored.
Things could have turned out a lot worse, said Chris Greer, UCCE adviser in Sutter, Yuba, Sacramento and Placer counties.
A month ago it looked like 200,000 acres statewide would go without being planted, of a total of about 550,000 acres of rice land.
Greer told the reporter that farmers are still deeply concerned about the California water situation.
"It still worries you thinking about this winter," Greer said. "We're eking by as we can this year, but if we have another dry winter, I'm not sure we're going to be able to meet what we are delivering this year. That would be difficult."
Most rice is planted by airplane, but some farmers are experimenting with drill seeding. Drill seeding requires more labor, but results in more precise placement of seed and fertilizer in the fields.