Source: Mississippi State University

Early planting and higher-than-average temperatures have led to Mississippi's earliest rice crop harvest to date.

Optimal planting for rice is before May 1, and favorable conditions allowed most of the state's crop to make it in by that date. Then, hot summer temperatures accelerated the crop's maturation process, allowing more than half of Mississippi's rice to be harvested by early September.

"Rice responds well to heat, and because of the high temperatures the state experienced this summer, the crop matured early," said Nathan Buehring, rice specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "Almost 60 percent has been harvested already. This is the earliest harvest we've ever had."

Original news release