Rice: So, What Should My Seeding Rate Be This Year?

Rice field. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

The main question I get this time of year is about seeding rates for each variety. And like a good agronomist my answer is, “It depends,” followed by several questions like:

  • Where are you located? What type of soil?
  • What type of seedbed preparation do you do?
  • Drill seeding, dry broadcasting or water seeding?
  • When are you planting?
  • Are you planting treated seed?
  • Do your fields have any salt issues?

I ask all of these questions in order to get back to the correct answer. Everyone should be striving for a stand of 15 to 20 plants per square foot. However, depending on the answers to the questions above, the seeding rate will be slightly different for each situation.

We do not recommend planting non-treated seed. Seed treated with an insecticide/fungicide seed treatment is paramount. Using a seed treatment creates an environment for optimal seedling growth. When a seed treatment is used, less seed can be planted to achieve the optimal plant stand and the resulting plants are healthier. A seed treatment almost always pays for itself.

Not only can it add bushels to your bottom line, a seed treatment can help even out maturity so that permanent flood, fertilizer applications and later fungicide and insecticide applications can be more timely and effective.

Important variables to consider are degree of seed to soil contact and the environment in relation to whether it is conducive for vigorous emergence and seedling growth. With optimal seed to soil contact, which occurs with drill-seeding into a clean seedbed, the optimal seeding rate would be 25 seeds per square foot.

The pounds of seed planted per acre will depend on variety seed size. Below is a chart to help determine optimal seeding rate for each Clearfield® variety.

When the situation isn’t optimal, the recommended seeding rate will increase. Any situation that causes varying depths of planting and poor seed to soil contact, such as dry broadcasting, drill-seeding into a rough seedbed, no-till with a large amount of plant debris or water-seeding, could dictate an increase in seeding rate by 5 to 10 pounds per acre. Other situations that require increased seeding rates would be salt issues, bird feeding damage and planting in very cool conditions.

Last, but not least, when determining seeding rate is varietal characteristics. Most Clearfield variety seeding rates fall between 25 to 30 seeds per square foot. CL172 differs in that it has an erect growth habit and preliminary data indicates that yield stability may increase with a higher seeding rate in some cases.

Be mindful of seed size as well. I’ve heard several comments about treating CL153 similarly to CL151. CL153 should be fine planted at lower seeding rates, but you will need to increase the seeding rate of CL153 by 5 pounds to achieve the same seeds per square foot of CL151.

Suggested Seeding Rates

Seeding Rate (lb/A)
55 60 65 70 75 80
Variety Seed/lb* Seed Per Square Foot
CL111 18,250 23 25 27 29 31 34
CL151 19,600 25 27 29 31 34 36
CL153 18,000 23 25 27 29 31 33
CL163 18,500 23 25 27 30 32 34
CL172 18,500 23 25 27 30 32 34
CL272 16,750 21 23 25 27 29 31
* Seed/lb is not an exact number and is an average from LSU AgCenter. Planting date, weather conditions, seed bed preparation and seeding method should be considered when choosing a seeding rate.

Optimum drill seeded planting rate is only for fungicide treated seed. If using nontreated seeding rate should be increased by 10 lbs/A

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