Texas Rice: Draining Fields; Spider Mites; Beaumont Field Day

Spider mite lesions on rice foliage. Photo: Dr. M.O. Way, Texas AgriLife

Quite a bit of Texas rice is now being drained in preparation for harvest. In general, the Texas rice crop looks good, but recent rains have put a damper on drying fields in advance of harvest. You sure don’t want to rut up your fields if you plan to ratoon crop. 

I have recently received inquiries about a mite attacking maturing rice. I identified the species as Schizotetranychus oryzae. I don’t know what the common name is, but it is a spider mite that frequently attacks rice foliage. Normally it is a pest of rice growing in the greenhouse where temperatures can reach high levels (higher than outside temperatures in the Beaumont Center greenhouses).

I have observed this tiny, 8-legged creature in past years, but have never considered these infestations of real concern. The infestations have been spotty and usually observed when rice is maturing during the heat of summer. So, I think the mite is associated with high temperatures. The signs of the mite are very characteristic (see photo): white, narrow linear lesions running parallel to rice leaf venation. These lesions look somewhat like adult rice water weevil feeding scars, but they are narrower and can be very numerous. You can slit open the lesions and you can see the mites inside where they are protected from desiccation and predators. The mites abrade the leaf tissue with their mouthparts and suck up the resulting juices from the wound. So, if you see these critters or their signs of damage, contact me at 409-658-2186 or 409-239-4265 or moway@aesrg.tamu.edu.

We had a good Field Day at the Beaumont Center July 12! I thought we were going to have to cancel the morning tour due to muddy roads, but they dried in the nick of time. Dr. Fugen Dou was one of 8 scientists on the morning tour. Fugen spoke about his experiments in fertility management. He mentioned that preflood nitrogen (N) management is critical to rice production and also commented on overall N use efficiency. He also has on-farm trials with rice/soybean farmer and Crop Consultant Cliff Mock and other producers to help update soil phosphorus and potassium recommendations for rice production.

During the inside morning program, Robert Morris from California spoke about drone technology applications in agriculture. Dr. Shane Zhou, Beaumont Center Rice Pathologist, spoke about novel rice endophyte research which he and his Post Doc, Dr. Sai Sree Uppala, are advancing. Drs. Ted Wilson and Omar Samonte spoke about the new hybrid rice breeding program which is off and running at full speed.

After a delicious barbecue lunch catered by Austin’s barbecue from Eagle Lake (yes, they come all the way from Eagle Lake to do our noon meal here at the Beaumont Center) and paid for by BU Growers (thanks Joe Crane!), the Beaumont Center hosted an organic rice workshop which was organized by Shane.


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