Thunder Bay

Wild rice harvest may be hampered from wet, cool 2014

The harvest of wild rice, about to begin in northwestern Ontario and Manitoba, could be hampered because of this year’s cool and wet spring and summer.
Wild rice is a natural crop in northwestern Ontario and Manitoba, but this year's moderate cool temperatures and larger amounts of rain have hindered the growth of many rice plants. (www.eatwildrice.ca)

The harvest of wild rice, about to begin in northwestern Ontario and Manitoba, could be hampered because of this year’s cool and wet spring and summer.

Wild rice is a natural crop in northwestern Ontario and Manitoba.

Murray Ratuski, operator of the Shoal Lake Wild Rice plant, said that cool temperatures and a lot of moisture affected the plant’s growth so there might not be that much rice to pick.

"The rice comes from underneath the water, what happens if water is too high, it drowns, so that's what you are seeing.” Ratuski said.

Wild rice grows out from underneath the water, but the problem with too much rain is a higher water level which leads to the plants inability to peak above it and thereby causing it to drown. (www.eatwildrice.ca)

Ratuski said that the yield of wild rice crops could be down as much as 40 per cent this year all while the world-wide demand for their product is growing.

“Some of the places we have sent it to, we have markets in Canada and U.S., to South Africa, to Israel, to Europe, now selling it to Hong Kong and South Korea,” he said.

The ideal conditions for wild rice are lower, consistent water levels and warmer spring and summer.

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