SUPERIOR — The wild rice beds in northern Wisconsin are nearly ready for harvest. But, aerial surveys by agricultural observers show the crop isn't looking that great.
Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission biologist Peter David, in Odahah, says a warm spring triggered early germination and heavy rain did some damage. David says while a few scattered beds look good, the overall crop looks poor, especially in northwest Wisconsin. He tells Wisconsin Public Radio News that beds in east-central Minnesota are in even worse shape.
The grain grows on tall stalks in shallow lakes, streams and riverbeds throughout the upper Midwest and Canada. In Wisconsin, most of rice harvest comes from Burnett, Washburn, Polk, Vilas and Oneida counties. Additional beds are managed on tribal lands.