Wild rice production looks below average in the Lac du Flambeau reservation area.
Scott Smith and the other two wild rice chiefs for the Lac du Flambeau reservation check lakes daily to monitor the rice as it ripens. Smith says the peak of the harvest has probably already passed.
“Usually 5 to 10 percent ripens per day. So there are a few lakes left that still have rice – where it’s more dense, they still have rice to harvest.”
Smith says heavy spring rains may have hurt this year’s crop, because high water levels can make it difficult for rice to germinate. He says weather continues to play a role in how fast the rice ripens.
“We did have some really nice weather here for the last week, with warming days and cool nights. And less wind that was keeping the rice on the stalk. Rain like today now is maybe knocking the rice off, and got to wait a few more days for some rice to ripen up.”
Smith notes this year has also been unusual because rice has been ripening erratically on the 20-some lakes in the Lac du Flambeau area.