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DNR: Some Good Signs for 2020 Wild Rice Crop
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/15/2020

As harvesters begin picking wild rice on the few waters with an early maturing crop, Wisconsinites can look forward to a season consistent with recent years in northern Wisconsin. Because of prolonged periods of high water over the last decade, many historic wild rice lakes in Oneida and Vilas counties continue to suffer below-average or failed rice crops.

Further to the west, the agency says the rice outlook improves across northern Wisconsin, thanks to lower water levels.

"Harvesters can generally expect wild rice crops similar to last year's harvest across northern Wisconsin," said Jason Fleener, DNR wetland habitat specialist. "While most known wild rice waters across northern Wisconsin are producing less grain than their long-term average, many of the larger and more popular wild rice lakes and flowages are producing quite well this year."

Fleener adds that wild rice harvesting is an excellent way to put nutritious, delicious, natural foods on the table while enjoying the outdoors. Unlike cultivated or paddy wild rice, natural wild rice grains have greater variation in coloration and are lighter than the black-grained cultivated wild rice often sold in stores. Natural wild rice is often considered a delicacy by professional chefs.

Wild rice maturity ranges from mid-August through September across the state and differs by water body and rice beds within them.

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