The most important news this week is how much rice has been planted in southwest Louisiana. Estimates by county agents range from 30 percent to 50 percent from Evangeline parish south. Total acreage is not expected to change much from last year. Those who planted rice last year will likely plant again and those who switched to other crops such as soybeans are not likely to return to rice this year.

Most of the acreage decrease occurred in northeast Louisiana. When I compared acreage figures from the Ag Summary from 2011 to 2012 those parishes where rice acreage declined, corn acreage remained fairly constant and soybean acreage increased.

Two verification fields have been planted, one in Vermilion and the other in Jeff Davis. The fields in Evangeline and St. Landry are a couple of weeks away. We will let you know details as they develop.

Effective Jan. 1, 2013, Dr. Clayton Hollier, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, assumed the field crop plant pathology research and Extension responsibilities at the Macon Ridge Research Station.

Dr. Hollier’s current responsibilities with respect to rice disease management will be assumed by Dr. Don Groth, professor at the Rice Research Station, during the interim period.