Through today (4/8) Arkansas has around 30% of rice acres planted throughout the state. The warm, windy conditions are drying out many locations that have been unable to make progress until now.
The northern half of the state, particularly the northeast, is just now kicking into high gear. Over the next 10 days we could see a jump to as much as 60% planted depending rainfall Monday night.
I find myself surprisingly optimistic about this growing season. Not about the price of rice, just the season in general. We’ll look back this fall and see if that optimism is well-founded or not.
However, we should prepare for the worst and hope for the best – that pretty much describes farming these days.
Prospective Plantings Report
Last Friday the USDA released its Prospective Plantings Report for the 2017 season. Arkansas rice acres are projected at 1,196,000 acres compared to 1,546,000 in 2016. This represents over a 20% decrease in rice acres for the state. Total U.S. rice acres are expected to fall from 3,150,000 to 2,626,000.
While the total number for Arkansas is in line with our projections of 1.1-1.2 million acres, there are some differences. USDA projects 1,050,000 acres of long grain and 145,000 acres of medium grain.
In comparison, I expect to see around 900,000 acres of long grain and 200,000 acres of medium grain. As always, projections are based on what we currently know, and commodity prices and planting windows can and frequently do significantly alter these numbers.
What to Plant on Levees?
With hybrid seed allotments running short, there have been plenty of questions about what to put on levees with no levee blend seed available. This can be a somewhat complicated question to answer. Depending on field management, some growers have levees mature earlier than the paddies, some later. The best we can do is try to line them up as best we can.
If planting a Clearfield hybrid such as CLXL745, preference would probably lean toward CL111 based on maturity, standability, and disease package. If planting a conventional hybrid such as XL753, then LaKast would be a good option based on maturity.
Some later hybrids are out there such as CLXL756 or Gemini 214 CL – there’s not a later CL variety so CL111 may just have to be the choice but CL151 is closer in maturity (with added disease risk). If planting XP754 then Roy J would be a good option for levees.
There are no perfect options, just to try match up as best you can.
Controlling ALS-resistant sedge
About 4-5 years ago, sedge populations starting showing up in Arkansas fields that neither Permit nor Newpath would control. After a series of tests we determined that we had confirmed populations of both ALS-resistant rice flatsedge (annual sedge) and a few populations of ALS-resistant yellow nutsedge.
We have been using Permit since before it was labeled for rice and Newpath since around 2002, not to mention League and Regiment, so it should not be a surprise that rice flatsedge has developed resistance. Since flatsedge reproduces by seed the likelihood for resistance is higher than for yellow nutsedge, which primarily reproduces by tubers or vegetatively. Hence, of the two, flatsedge has been the bigger problem statewide.
In response to ALS-resistant sedge, we wrote fact sheet FSA2173 “ID and Control of Problematic Sedges in Arkansas Rice”. I have used this fact sheet a lot to answer questions about sedge populations. If you think you have a problem it can be downloaded from the web here, or you might obtain a copy at your county office.
Basically, it is difficult to replace a simple sedge control program like spraying an ounce of Permit which has worked so well for us for so long. Also, for the most part if a weed population becomes ALS resistant to one herbicide odds are that it is resistant to all ALS chemistry.
In rice this means that we have nutsedge populations that League, Permit, Permit Plus, Newpath, Beyond, Grasp and Regiment, and any other ALS chemistry probably won’t work on.
In addition to yellow and annual sedge we also have smaller populations of umbrella sedge and swamp sedge that can be of significance to growers where they are found.
It takes a system approach now to control Annual Sedge that is ALS resistant. I like to start out with RiceBeaux or Bolero early POST followed by Basagran plus propanil mid-POST. Another approach could be 2 oz of Sharpen PRE or 1 oz EPOST followed by Basagran Plus Propanil later or 2,4-D mid-season, where allowed. Again this information is available in our fact sheet.
Enroll Fields in the DD50 Program to Help Time Management Decisions
The variability in environmental conditions the past few seasons has shown the importance of managing the rice crop on time. The DD50 Rice Management Program helps to predict the timing of the most critical practices to make sure we hit our marks and produce the best crop that the environment allows.
The DD50 program can be found here. The program is now much friendlier for mobile use than in the past and efforts are underway to further improve functionality for future seasons. Please let us know if you have any questions or encounter any problems.