Rice planting progress is likely up around 80-85% this week. This is near record progress behind only 2012. Luckily conditions seem very reminiscent of 2012 which turned out to be a boon for growers when they broke the previous state record yield by 6 bushels per acre. We’ll see if the continued warm temperatures and occasional rainfall drive this crop forward as it did that year.
Right now most of the rice crop looks excellent. Emergence has been a little sporadic but mostly uniform. Some have missed much needed rainfall that was in the forecast and have been forced to flush to get emergence. For those that caught last week’s rain it was worth a lot of money in avoiding a flush.
The weekend calls for ample rainfall across the state. A system is currently moving across north Arkansas and another system is expected to move across south Arkansas tonight. However, the last few rounds of high percentage rainfall chances have led to hits and misses, haves and have nots. Up to an inch of rainfall won’t lead to many complaints with the need to activate herbicides and in some cases return soil moisture for planting.
Replant questions have been relatively few but some equipment problems have popped up. Keep in mind that by the time we get to May your yield expectation is 15% lower than if you planted a month before. In addition to the replant having a lower yield, we also have to consider costs already incurred like seed, herbicides, levees, etc.
Once all of these items are brought into play and it’s about May 1 – keep the stand if you have 5 plants per ft2 on varieties and 3 plants per ft2 on hybrids. Stand uniformity is just as important as stand count – a lot of zeroes in a stand count average may override the average recommendation.
Time for Weird Problems?
Since we do have an early start to the season coming off a mild winter we need to be on the lookout for strange things. Last week we reported cutworms in rice – a rarity if there ever was one. And now armyworms in seedling rice behind cover crops.
That should emphasize that the mild winter has insects present in numbers uncommon for this time of year and in the absence of a normal host plant they’ll take what they can get. And some of the normal ones could be bigger problems this year.
Chinch bugs could come into play with a lot of late burndown applications. They’re small and like to hide – field patterns of injury are usually patchy and irregular. No reports so far but something to keep an eye out for.
Rice that has been in the ground for over a month now may see the benefits of insecticide seed treatments (ISTs) begin to wear off. It’s possible that we’ll to take additional action to manage insects this year such as making an insecticide application rice water weevil.
Rice Seed Treatments – Coverage is the Key to the Investment
Every so often we see situations where seed treatments are applied poorly to rice. Fig. 4. shows seed from the same field planted at the same time from the same delivered seed. Some seed have good coverage, some are mottled, and some have virtually no treatment on them. The dye don’t lie.
If you have inadequately treated seed, you need to operate as though the field is not treated. That means more concern with seedling disease and insects such as rice water weevil, chinch bug, etc. When you receive seed each year – check it for coverage and give it back if it looks off.
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.