Louisiana Rice: 2014 Disease Management Starts Now
Most first crop harvesting is done, and the second crop is developing; therefore, it is time to start thinking about next year. One of the most important decisions a rice producer makes before the season starts is which variety to plant. One of the most important characteristics, besides yield and milling, is the disease reaction of those varieties.
Severe disease can devastate a crop; therefore, picking the most resistant or a less susceptible variety can mean the difference between a profit and a loss. Although we have been growing many susceptible and very susceptible varieties over the years, there are alternatives with resistance. If you pick a susceptible or very susceptible variety, make a commitment to manage it correctly by planting early, using the recommended N rate, making timely fungicide applications, etc.
Below in Table 1 are the three-year average disease ratings (some varieties only have one or two years of data as noted) and reactions of various rice varieties to blast, sheath blight, narrow brown leaf spot (Cercospora), and bacterial panicle blight.
Table 1. Rice varietal average disease ratings (0-9 scales) and reactions to rotten neck blast (Blast), sheath blight (SB), narrow brown leaf spot (NBLS), and bacterial panicle blight (BPB) in Louisiana disease nurseries (2011-2013).