Rice farmers learned about LSU AgCenter research being conducted to help them control weeds during the Acadia Parish Rice and Soybean Field Day on June 12.
Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, said he is testing nine different experimental herbicides. He said confidentiality agreements prevent him from providing many details, but he said the testing has been promising.
“A lot of them have good potential,” he said. “I don’t have one bad one in the bunch.”
One of the products is the Gowan herbicide, Targa, to be used with the Provisia herbicide-resistant rice technology from BASF. Webster said the new system will give farmers a method of fighting red rice in addition to the Clearfield technology.
Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said Provisia was developed through traditional plant breeding techniques similar to the development of Clearfield.
“We’ve got a lot of breeding lines nearly developed and a lot of lines in yield testing,” he said.
Linscombe said the hybrid rice company RiceTec recently signed an agreement with BASF to develop hybrids with this technology.
As far as when Provisia will be available commercially, he said, “I’ll have a better answer at the end of this summer.”
Linscombe said the new technology will complement the Clearfield system. “I think when we get this technology out there, it will prolong the life of Clearfield.”
Don Groth, LSU AgCenter pathologist, said the recent rainy, humid weather will result in more sheath blight disease.
He said some fields have shown no sheath blight signs, while others have lesions halfway up the plants.
Scouting is essential, he said, to ensure the application is done at the right time. Scouting may reveal that no disease is present, and fungicides won’t be needed, he said.
Mike Stout, LSU AgCenter entomologist, said the Mexican rice borer is increasing its range in southwest Louisiana, and an adult was found in a pheromone trap last year in Acadia Parish.
“We expect in the next four to five years, this pest will establish itself in the entire rice-growing region of south Louisiana,” he said.
But, Stout said, it’s unclear how much of a problem the insect will be for rice farmers. He said it may pose more of a threat for sugarcane. He said pheromone traps are available to help monitor the insect’s spread.
Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, said adult weevils made a sudden appearance in some fields.
Saichuk said the rice crop overall is late by four to seven days. But, he said, he has yet to find any blast disease, and only one case of sheath blight.
Ron Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist, said the state probably will have 1.2 million acres of soybeans. Levy said forecasters are expecting good soybean prices for several years.
He said north Louisiana did not receive the heavy rainfall that has hit south Louisiana in the past two weeks.
Levy said north Louisiana farmers are starting to use more pre-emergence herbicides to fight herbicide-resistant pigweed. He said herbicide-resistant Johnsongrass is also becoming more of a problem.
Levy advised soybean growers to look for redbanded stinkbugs because of their potential for causing yield losses.
Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter agronomist, said soybean and rice farmers should be aware of the need to replenish potassium and phosphorus in their fields. He said both crops use large amounts of the two nutrients.
Harrell said a bushel of soybeans takes approximately 2.3 pounds of potassium and 1.1 pound of phosphorus from the soil, while a barrel of rice removes approximately a pound each of phosphorus and potassium.
The optimum time for applying phosphorous and potassium is at planting, he said. Yields decrease when the fertilizer is applied later in the season, he said.