UCCE advisor reports on last September's mysterious rice slow down

Jan 29, 2013

When the calendar said it was time to harvest rice last September, the crop wasn't ready. Over the winter, UC Cooperative Extension advisor Randall "Cass" Mutters tried to solve the mystery of the untimely immature rice, reported the Oroville Mercury-Register.

Since the problem was ubiquitous in the Sacramento Valley, Mutters deduced the weather was the culprit. He crunched weather numbers, studying humidity, nighttime and daytime temperatures, and uncovered a plausible explanation.

Average temperatures were comparable to 2009, when rice growers enjoyed a bumper crop. But from Aug. 24 to Sept. 12, he said, there were 18 days in a row where nighttime temperatures fell below 55 degrees. The cold nights likely delayed the crop's maturity.

Reporter Heather Hacking also wrote in her story about a another presentation at the annual Rice Growers Meeting in Richvale, in which UCCE advisor Chris Greer commented on recent media attention about arsenic in rice and rice products.

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist