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LSU AgCenter Study to Reveal Effects of Second Rice Harvest on Crawfish

The LSU AgCenter is studying the effects of how the rice harvest can affect the upcoming crawfish season.

As most rice farmers double as crawfish farmers, the study funded by the Louisiana Seagrant can help improve both.

“Rice and crawfish go well in the pot, but they are also go well in the field.” said Mark Shirley, LSU AgCenter County Agent for Vermilion Parish

After the initial rice crop is harvested in the summer, the second crop grows right behind, but this time it will stay there because it will provide the nutrients for the next crawfish crop.

Shirley is conducting the study at the Rice Research Center in Crowley.

“Harvesting that second crop rice, it actually affects water quality by dumping a lot of straw in the water so oxygen levels go down. It can have a negative impact on your crawfish.” said Shirley.

For crawfish farmers, that can be a big deal

“The production of crawfish, you can actually make a lot more money off of the crawfish so for the last several years the crawfish crop has been the lucrative crop to grow.” said Shirley.

Crawfish season is in its early stages as places like D&T Crawfish in Abbeville are getting their first round of shipments, but it’s expected to be slow for the next 4 to 6 weeks.

Shirley is optimistic the weather will be favorable this season.

“A lot depends on the weather. Crawfish may be a little more active so they will go in the traps, but if we could get a cold nasty spell or freeze that slows them.” said Shirley.

The study is expected to be completed in May.

Crawfish season starts slow in the cold months and peaks between March and June.

Rice production provides a $379 million dollar impact to Louisiana’s economy while crawfish adds $209 million.