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Wild Rice Season Approaches; Production Improved, Still Low

29 Aug News

Officials say this year’s rice harvest could be a mixed bag, and that it may also be late arriving.

According to DNR officials, the recent wild rice production has been below average the last several years.

This year, aerial surveys show some lakes appearing to have better than average production, while others appear to have less rice than the historic average, according to Jason Fleener, a wetlands biologist with the DNR. Overall, the harvest is expected to be below the long-term average, but a little better than last year.

The Northern Harvest can be affected by many variables including: climate, water quality, invasive species, wave action, and water level manipulation.

September 1 is often the time one can expect to find ripe rice ready for harvest. However, Fleener says, rice may still be “green” in many areas come September 1 this year. A prolonged winter has resulted in a later growing season and later maturity of the seed.

More information on the state’s wild rice harvest including regulations and harvest methods is available on the DNR’s website.