Owen Taylor, Editor (601-992-9488)
Fall armyworms have marched farther north in the Midsouth since our last report, especially on the west side of the Mississippi River. Treatments have been necessary into northeast Arkansas. Flooded rice isn’t immune, either. Moths are likely laying eggs in some rice, so infestations aren’t totally due to migration from surrounding crops. As more than one consultant has noted over the last 2 weeks, it's a challenge scouting for this pest.
Texas issued a blast advisory early in the week. Connect in our Links section to a bulletin from Shane Zhou, Texas A&M Plant Pathologist.
Sheath blight is becoming more widespread in parts of the Midsouth. Blast is still being found in some areas in the region but no huge explosions are being reported.
Heavy rains in Arkansas heaped more misery on rice farmers late last week. Confirmed totals of 8 inches were reported, but we’ve heard unofficial accmulations of 11 inches in places. Early this week Arkansas Extension estimated that 75,000 acres of rice, grains and cotton were flooded in 5 northern counties. Floods caught some rice in early reproductive stages. See comments by Jarrod Hardke about potential effects of flooding and also connect to a report on the flooding in our Links section.
Texas also received heavy rains in some rice counties. The storms developed as more of the early fields were flowering, which could affect pollination.
Rice water weevils (RWW) continue to be an issue in parts of the Midsouth and Texas. As late as some fields went to flood in Arkansas, farmers are facing difficult decisions about whether to drain rice as it approaches reproduction and risk yield loss or take a hit from RWW.
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Amy Beth Dowdy, ABD Crop Consulting, Dexter, Missouri: "A couple of clients aren’t totally done getting levees finished and rice to flood. Maybe 2,000 acres are at that point – fields were sprayed but levees aren’t up or levees are up but herbicides haven’t gone out yet. Most rice, though, has a flood and is starting to look better.
“We’ve held off for a week on midseason on about a third of our acres because we’ve just got it to flood and it probably hasn’t used all the fertilizer that already was out there. Our earliest rice is on schedule, and midseason went out last week.
“A little Clincher is being applied here and there on those fields, but I’m not sure how we’ll be able to clean up some of the later rice. We may have to live with some vegetation that we’d certainly rather not have. We’re suppose to move into cooler weather, with the forecast calling for a high on Thursday (7/3) of only 80. In rice, that’s not what we need right now.”
Johnny Saichuk, Louisiana Extension Rice Specialist, Crowley, Louisiana: "I expected to see stink bug counts increase this week in certain fields but the numbers actually went down. I’m not sure why. We’ve still got sheath blight developing. Fungicides are going out. We should be just about done in south Louisiana and people are still making applications in north Louisiana. Overall, no major catastrophes. Rains over the last several days have varied widely. I poured 4.5 inches out of the gauge at our verification field in Evangeline Parish but only a half-inch in Concordia Parish.”
Curt Johnson, CRC Ag Consulting, LLC, Lake Village, Arkansas: "About 80% of our rice has gone to flood or is heading that way soon. The rest pretty much will be flooded next week except for a couple of small, late-planted fields. We’re still cleaning up some grass where adjacent crops and prevailing winds kept us from spraying sooner. Mainly, we’ve got sprangletop and barnyardgrass. It’s not terrible, but we do have patches that you don’t want to see. Where we’ve had armyworms, it’s been a traditional migration from grass where the grower mowed the turnrow and worms moved into small rice. We sprayed edges and where rice was next to woods. In one case I found leaves ragged up about 50 yards out in the field but couldn’t find worms or damage in nearby fields.”
Dan Bradshaw, Crop Aid Agri Consultants, El Campo, Texas: “We’re trying to line up fungicide and stink bug sprays before the Fourth of July. A lot of our commercial hybrid rice is pretty well headed now. Mainly, we’re checking for stink bugs and keeping the water on. We have other fields that range from being in the boot to about to head, so we’ve been putting out fungicides and applying topdress fertilizer.
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“Stink bugs hadn’t reached threshold on our last check, but we’re going across today (7/1) to see if anything has changed, then treat where needed before the Fourth. With pilots taking the holiday off, it could be another week before applications could be made if we hold off now.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: “Things have escalated in terms of fall armyworms (FAW). They’ve now moved north of Interstate 40 and are just south of Jonesboro (as of 7/1). They’re wearing some folks out, mostly in rice but in soybeans, too. They’ve developed in Monroe and Woodruff Counties and into Poinsett County, too. If anything, they’re gaining momentum.
“Closely watch late-planted soybeans and all the rice, regardless of whether it has a flood. They’re getting into rice pretty good. Moths are laying eggs in rice, so worms are starting out in flooded fields, which isn’t common at all. We see FAW once in a while in rice, but it’s pretty rare for them to materialize at these levels.
“Rice water weevils (RWW) continue to rear their ugly little heads. Several more people reported seeing spots in the field, then pulled up plants and found RWW larvae all over the roots. RWW pressure was above average a few weeks ago but they’re more so now. At this point, many of these fields are 14 to 20 days into the flood and the only thing you can do to control RWW now is to drain the field to cracking.”
Bobby Golden, Interim Mississippi Extension Rice Specialist: “Probably more rice in Mississippi is flooded now than dry. Other than trying to kill some big grass in the flood, things are pretty calm. Very few drift complaints this week. We’re moving into midseason on more rice, with a lot just past it. The first crop out there, which was planted on time and has had midseason, looks very good in most cases. Some of the later rice is just being flooded. We haven’t had a call yet about blast and, in fact, probably haven’t received a disease call at all.”
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana: “We had to spray a gob of rice for fall armyworms (FAW), whether it was flooded or not. They migrated into fields however they could. It beat all I’ve ever seen. In some of this, eggs probably were laid in rice. It’s a hard pest to find or sample for, especially if you’re only checking once a week. The worms get big in a hurry. You might not find any sign of them, then come back a week later and see them eating away.”
David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas: “Last week we sprayed our first field for sheath blight. We may have boots this week. We ran a lot of our pre-boot hybrid fertilizer last week and this week and have been applying midseason on a lot of fields with conventional rice.
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“We’ve got a good bit of rice with internode elongation with no water on it yet. I’m finding movement from a half-inch to an inch, with 25 to 30 fields like that. Levees are up but we don’t have gates in or can’t get into the field to join the levees. It keeps raining, so the ground is too wet to finish things. We fertilized on dry ground, and the rice actually doesn’t look that bad. We also have some row-watered rice and can’t see much difference between it and the fields we can’t flood yet. Again, it’s rained a lot.”
M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont: “Shane Zhou (Research Plant Pathologist) issued an advisory about finding some leaf blast on Jupiter. We had wet weather last week, which encourages blast sporulation and movement. (Connect to Zhou’s advisory in our Links section).
“Overall, stink bug populations haven’t been that bad this year. I’ve been checking some rice on the east side of Houston and have found pretty low populations. At least one consultant also has noted light numbers. We’re over the fall armyworm problems. Rice water weevil (RWW) pressure has been really severe. Most farmers either used seed treatments or timed pyrethroid applications to reduce pressure.
“Rice has pulled out of the effects of the cold spring and looks better and better every week. It will be delayed, though, due to the cold spring. Rain has varied in the last week. Areas around Eagle Lake probably ranged from 4 to 6 inches. Other areas west of Houston were clobbered. In this areas we got 3 to 4 inches over the course of several days.
“Some rice was flowering when it started raining, and you sure don’t need that during pollination. The forecast calls for an increasing chance of rain east of Houston. It rained enough at Eagle Lake during our field day that things moved inside and presentations were made there, which worked out fine.
“A reminder: our 2014 Rice Research Center Field Day will be held July 10 here at the station. After the regular rice tour and lunch in the morning, we’ll have afternoon tours focusing on alternate and specialty crops like organic rice and energy cane. The schedule includes a workshop on organic rice. I’ll also have information on work we’re doing in soybeans and grain sorghum.” (Connect to more details on the field day in our Links section.)
Scott Holder, Helena Chemical Co., Cleveland, Mississippi: “We’re flooding up some more rice this week. Part of the crop is past midseason and we’ll probably have a few flag leaves out next week. In spots, we’ve got weed escapes and are coming in with Clincher, RebelEX and materials like that. Overall, the crop looks pretty good. Rice is progressing pretty fast now, even though it took a while for things to dry up enough that we could get all the pre-flood work done.
“If you think about it, some of these plants were pretty old before we could get water on them, so it probably didn’t take them long to respond when we could put on the flood. We sprayed a little last week for fall armyworms (FAW), the first time this year. I also found some Friday, but they were so scattered that they didn’t look like a problem. Today (7/2) a farmer said they were finding some when they were spraying levees in a field I scouted last week. It appeared to be clean then, but FAW can develop fast. I’m going back now to sweep and see if we need to treat.”
Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist: “Fall armyworms (FAW) are still an ongoing issue and we can find places where they’ve eaten rice down to the water. The crest of this wave is in north Arkansas now (7/2). This insect migrates from the coast, and it’s developed early, so we could see yet another wave later in rice or other crops. It's not too picky about what it eats.
“Growers are still finding places where rice water weevils (RWW) are an issue. Farmers talk about pulling up plants that are dripping with pupae. Tough decisions are having to be made. Normally, we’d find these problems soon enough after the flood that we’d have time to drain fields to cracking to control them, which also would coincide with draining for straighthead control. You could get water on again before half-inch elongation.
“But with all the delays and late flooding, a lot of this rice is close to reproductive stages, so you could take a yield loss if you put rice under drought stress then. It’s going to be a matter of trying to see how many larvae are present and to what extent you’ll take a yield loss compared to the effects of draining. This will be a field-by-field call and not an easy one.
“Sheath blight lesions are showing in rice pretty much from the Louisiana to the Missouri state lines. In places, we’re already seeing movement, and with all the rain, our recent weather conditions have been optimum for it. We’re still getting spotty reports of blast in susceptible varieties in locations where blast could potentially develop.
“Herbicide drift issues have died down for now. We’re not out of the woods yet on drift, though. All the flooding since late last week will prompt farmers to replant some soybeans, so the herbicide season isn’t over yet. What makes matters worse is that when all that Roundup goes out virtually all the rice in Arkansas will be in some stage of reproduction. That really makes me nervous.
“In places it rained 8 to 10 inches and a lot of rice in reproductive stages is under water. How well it comes out of that depends a lot on the quality of the water. If it’s clear and flowing, light penetration will be better. If the water is murky and stagnant, that’s not good. With a lot of sediment in the water, plants will have a thin film of mud when the flood recedes. The faster we get a small rain to rinse that off, the better.
“I’ve gotten fewer reports than expected about blown levees, but some were worn down. So, people may not be able to hold as much water as they’d like, but do you really have time now to dry things up enough to pull taller levees?
“A reminder: our 2014 Rice Expo at Stuttgart is on August 1. Be sure to put that on your calendar.”
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