Roughly 80 percent of rice production in Louisiana happens in Acadiana and the LSU Ag Rice Research Station near Crowley works to develop the best rice varieties with the highest profitability.
Today the station hosted their annual field day and it’s the largest in the state with usually around four to five hundred people in attendance.
"If you look at 2017, the farm gate value or basically the value of rice produced by farmers in the state of Louisiana, it was almost $300 million dollars. If you add the infrastructure that goes around it, that number goes up to $400 million dollars," explained Southwest Regional Director for the LSU Ag Center Kurt Guidry.
With that economic impact, it’s important that rice producers understand the latest technology and methods to produce an optimal crop.
"The main thing that I’m talking about is three new herbicides that we had labeled this year." explained Eric Webster.
Those herbicides work to prevent other plants from getting into farmer’s rice paddies.
There were also a number of stops featuring emerging technologies, such as sprayer drones.
"They’re really small acreage type sprayers not really big acreage. So, they’re not really to replace spray planes or anything, but we do see a utility in these in that you could probably do spot spraying in rice fields for red rice. You may be able to spray levees, and they’re really easy to use," explained LSU Ag Center Assistant Professor, Randy Price.
The field tour caters to everyone tied into the rice industry, including a rice breeder with a large company from Argentina. "It’s a holding group. And, of the businesses is rice so we grow rice in the north and in the south region."
The producers also learned about topics like rice breeding, pest management and weed and disease control.
"This is where we get to showcase what we’re doing here, because the number of research programs and information that we provide to farmers is extensive. This is our way to show off," said LSU Ag Rice Research Center Director, Dr. Don Groth.