Louisiana rice farmers are ahead of the average planting schedule thanks to a relatively warm and dry spring.

Rice farmers are anxious to have a good crop after three years of declining yields and low prices.

“We have our highest yields when we get the rice in the ground early,” said Dustin Harrell, a Louisiana rice producer. “When it’s flowering and the grains are filling, we have lower temperatures, so this helps us for quality and yield.”

The only problem producers have faced have been blackbirds. Typically, the birds can devastate a field in a matter of hours, meaning many farmers have to replant.

Many experts are predicting smaller rice acres in Louisiana and across the country. Louisiana acres are believed to drop between 5 to 8 percent, and Arkansas and Mississippi are expected to see a greater decline