US Rice Harvest Affected by Flooding

Rice harvest in United States has been negatively affected by flooding in Louisiana. This happened even as rice likes water. Machines cannot be used to gather this food staple if the fields are flooded with water. The yields were damaged as this is a time of the year when rice farmers drain the land. Heavy equipment is then brought in for harvesting. A few fields continue to remain unreachable in a few parts of Lousiana and Arkansas.

Higher water levels

Dustin Harrell of LSU Agriculture Research Center situated near Rayne, Louisiana said that many farmers have reported that the water level at present is much more higher compared to past hurricanes. This bad news comes at a time when the crop of 2016 was expected to cross 2015 in yields. This loss of crop, however, does not mean that there should be an increase in the price for rice utilized for cereal, food or beer. It will also not affect food product which utilizes rice as a part of its ingredient list. This is due to the fact that crop yields, even after this flooding, will continue to be large. It will be much premature to make any prior assessment of all what this means.

According to Eric Wailes of University of Arkansas, an eight percent rise in the prices of rice futures during the third week of August may counter some losses in case a farmer is unable to transfer his complete crop to the market. The agricultural economist added that the biggest losers will be the farmers whose land is actually under water. The crop that is already harvested will now fetch more money in the market.

Rice contributing states

If one goes by the opinion of USA Rice, a known trade organization, the farmers in Louisiana have harvested approximately 80 percent of total crops prior to the flood. This is not inclusive of the second season growth which has taken place along Gulf Coast. The Louisiana state contributes approximately 15 percent of total US crop. Farmers in Arkansas are the other major contributor. They grow almost half of US’s rice crop. Arkansas farmers have completed approximately two percent of the harvest when the abnormal August rains arrived during the third week of August. Rainfall was about 350 percent of normal and the subsequent few weeks are important for the crop. Other states like California, Texas, Missouri and Mississippi also grow rice.

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