Rice lost before or during harvest operations (hereafter waste rice) provides important food for waterfowl in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, USA, but >70% of waste rice is lost during autumn. We conducted experiments in 19 production rice fields in Arkansas and Mississippi during autumns 2003 and 2004 to evaluate the ability of common postharvest practices (i.e., burn, mow, roll, disk, or standing stubble) to conserve waste rice. We detected a postharvest treatment effect and a positive effect of initial abundance of waste rice on late-autumn abundance of waste rice (P < 0.022). Standing stubble contained the greatest abundance of waste rice followed by burned, mowed, rolled, and disked stubble. We recommend standing stubble or burning to maximize waste rice abundance for wintering waterfowl.
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Conserving waste rice for wintering waterfowl in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley