Rice Harvest Delayed in Butte County

Late spring rains have caused a delay in rice harvest for Butte County farmers.

Posted: Sep 25, 2018 11:30 AM
Updated: Sep 25, 2018 1:43 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Late spring rains have caused a delay in rice harvest for Butte County farmers, and some were not able to prep land in time for planting season. 

Matthew and George Sligar, rice farmers in Butte County, started their harvest on Sept. 20, one month later than they would normally start. 

"We had a real roller coaster of a winter, which played with our emotions," Matthew said. 

Matthew also said that the total rice acreage in Butte County is down 25,000 acres. 

"There are two main reasons as to why we don't have a full planting year and acreage is down," Matthew said. "We sold some of our water and therefore didn't plant the fields. Or, because of the late spring rains. We were unable to work the crop in a timely manner, so they lay in a fallow." 

The late start affects them in the long run when running into possible rain in the fall. 

"We need to harvest in a timely manner, so as our entire crop moves later into the year based on a late planting start," Matthew said. "We're going to be harvesting later too, and we run into the risk of fall rains raining on top of our rice, leaving us unable to cut it." 

With late spring rains cutting into their harvest season, it makes it much harder for them to harvest. 

"We usually like to have tractors in the field beginning of April so we can get to planting in a timely manner," Matthew said. "But when it's raining in April, it's hard to do that." 

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We've had a gray and cool start to the first full week of December in northern California. Light rain showers will fall tonight, we can expect a breezy and brighter Tuesday, with much more active weather ahead.
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