Approximately 99 percent of the cultivated wild rice grown in the U.S. is produced in California and Minnesota. The remainder is produced in Idaho, Wisconsin, and Oregon. Minnesota’s cultivated wild rice is produced primarily on the north-central peatlands. California’s wild rice acreage is divided among three distinct climatic regions, the riceproducing areas in the Sacramento Valley, areas surrounding Clear Lake in Lake County, and the mountain valleys in northeastern California.
Wild rice is adapted to cool climates. It yields poorly in the southern United States, where extreme heat and shorter summer-time day lengths accelerate plant development and maturation, lessening seed production. In addition, the high humidity in the South favors the develop of leaf diseases, such as brown spot.
Virtually all wild rice is grown in flooded fields. The soil needs to be saturated from the time the seeds germinate in the spring until 2-3 weeks before harvest. The water depth during the first 8-10 weeks after germination needs to be held at a constant level to assure vigorous plant growth. Variable water depths during this period may uproot young plants or result in weak stems and will greatly affect the success of wild rice cultivation.
The harvest in central Minnesota for 2011 is finished. This year's harvest was described in interviews as fair to poor due to higher water levels in particular during the spring, when the wild rice germinates. The harvested rice converted better than last year, and yields of 48% were reported. Please email us for more information.