June and July were both months to highlight rice research in Texas. On June 28 a Rice Field Day was held at the Eagle Lake Rice Research Center and on July 14 a Rice Field Day was held at the Beaumont Rice Research Center. Why two? Well, there are two areas of rice production in Texas split by the City of Houston!
The field days provided opportunities to work on two organic rice projects with producers. First, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is part of a multi-state project to facilitate the growth of organic rice production and foster the growth of the domestic organic rice market. We are working on the adoption of new and innovative organic production practices, barriers to adoption of those practices by producers, some economic information about organic rice production and overall consumer attitudes toward organic rice in the US. During the field day we were able to meet with organic rice producers and start this rice project.
A second project is just beginning but will have a huge impact on improving organic rice production. Dr. Tanumoy Bera along with other researchers and extension specialists are working on a project entitled, “Development of Sustainable Organic Rice Ratoon Production Systems.” In the past, research has led to improvements in main crop organic rice production, but data on how to optimize ratoon (second crop) crop organic rice nutrient management and assess sustainability are sorely lacking. Developing economically and environmentally sustainable practices is critical to further expansion of organic rice production in the US. We propose to conduct comprehensive field experiments to assess the effects of cultivars, cover crops, and nitrogen rates on ratoon crop rice yields, milling quality, pest pressures, environmental sustainability, and economic viability. This project will be conducted in organic grower fields and give us great data to improve overall organic rice yields.