Arkansas Rice: Ready to Get the Show on the Road. Is the Weather?

We’re Having a… Heatwave?

“Sun is shining, the weather is sweet, make you want to move your dancing feet.” Wait a few minutes and Arkansas weather will change. That wasn’t really true the last six months, but in a blink we may be on the verge of the first real positive change in the weather.

The next week is not only sunny and dry, but there are a lot of days with a north wind. It couldn’t actually dry out, could it? I’m going to act like it is. The great philosopher Joe Dirt once said, “You can’t have no in your heart.”

The forecast got it right the other day with 1+” of rain which turned into 2.5”. With the weather conditions we now have moving things along, I believe we’ll have rice in the ground by the end of next week. Of course, as has been stated many times, most of what will be going on in the next week is field preparation rather than planting.

We’re all ready to get this show on the road. But let’s try to keep costs down by avoiding recreational tillage and of course recreational planting (or practice planting). We don’t have the time or money or seed to do it over again.

Managing Zinc Fertility

We currently recommend zinc (Zn) fertilization on soils with pH over 6.0 and soil test Zn below 4 ppm. When fields meet these conditions, it is recommended to apply 10 lbs of actual Zn per acre (typically as zinc sulfate). This rate recommendation is due to the lack of mobility of Zn in the soil and to obtain sufficient distribution of fertilizer granules. We can achieve adequate Zn fertilization and build Zn soil test levels at the same time.

AgFax Weed Solutions


The use of a Zn seed treatment can also be beneficial, primarily as insurance to combat areas of fields with lower Zn levels. Best results are obtained when Zn-treated seed contains 0.25 to 0.5 lb Zn/cwt after treatment, which can result in increased tissue Zn levels and yield increases. The primary problem with Zn seed treatments is failure to get enough Zn on the seed.

The Zn seed treatments we mainly use are a zinc oxide form. There are some Zn seed treatment products out there claiming better performance at lower rates with forms other than zinc oxide. This is not true. The form the Zn comes in is not as important as rate.

Where soil Zn levels are marginal, a Zn seed treatment combined with another low-use-rate Zn fertilization method may be adequate. The lower the soil test level, the greater benefit received from 10 lbs Zn per acre and the avoidance of very costly methods to recover from a deficiency inseason. Recent research has shown that 10 lbs Zn/acre as zinc sulfate significantly increases the rice seedling Zn tissue concentration compared to other Zn fertilization methods at low Zn rates.


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