AgFax Rice – Will Some Acres Go Away With All This Rain?

    While the Midsouth makes little planting progress due to storms, a few fields in Texas are actually going to flood.

    Owen Taylor, Editor
    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Rice, sponsored by the Southern rice team of Corteva Agriscience.


    In Texas, a small number of fields could go to flood this week.

    Drier conditions in the Midsouth this week gave growers at least a brief opening to work ground and/or plant rice. As we closed this report Wednesday night, another round of storms was moving into the region from the west.

    How much rice will finally be planted is anyone’s guess. While farmers can plant huge amounts of acreage these days, plenty of ground remains under water from river and backwater flooding.

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    Wayne Dulaney, Agronomist, Local Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi

    “Some rice has been planted around this area. On our own farm, all of ours has been planted and is up to a good stand and a few of our growers have rice in the ground south of us. But from Clarksdale north, little or no rice has been planted.

    “It’s simply been a matter of too much rain too often. In those areas north of Clarksdale, a lot of that rice last year wasn’t planted until late due to rain, so it came off late, also during wet weather. Those growers are now dealing with more ruts than the rest of us.

    “Where we made progress with planting, it was during a 7-day window in late March and early April, and that rice is coming up pretty good. Over the last couple of days, you can see a green cast across those fields. Overall, our rice acres will be down.

    “A good deal of corn was planted and some of that will have to be replanted. We’re in the field now and people are planting soybeans like crazy, especially south of here. Cotton acres will be pretty good in this area and growers are steadily adding acres. Several guys said they won’t replant corn and instead switch to cotton.”


    Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas

    “Not a lot has been done yet. We made a pretty good run in corn about 3 weeks ago and also planted about 700 acres of rice, but that’s been it. Depending on the area, it’s rained up to 6.5 inches in about the last 2 weeks.

    “We’re drying out now (4/23) and a few people are trying to get in the field today, but the forecast calls for another 80% to 90% chance of rain on Thursday. Growers also may plant a little corn today. As far as I know, none of my cotton has been planted yet.

    “With rice, we’ll still plant as late as May 25 with hybrids. With conventional varieties, nobody wants to go past May 15. Most of my guys who’ll plant hybrids have booked their seed. My rice acres will either be flat or maybe down 10% compared to 2018.

    “We will have to replant quite a bit of corn. Higher beds definitely made a difference. But even with high beds, water did come up on the bottom ends, so we’ll have to replant some of that.

    “We need 10 solid days of running to get things on track again and we sure don’t need this rain. With all these delays, we’re right at the edge of a critical situation. This is the crunch time to finish corn planting. Normally, we try to start planting at least some cotton around April 18-20, and we don’t want to hit April 28 without a lot of cotton already in the ground.

    “How any of this plays out is still uncertain. All of our rivers are full. Besides the Mississippi River being up, the St. Francis River is full and the floodway is backed up.”


    Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley

    “Any further progress on planting rice has been limited since we planted a big portion of the crop in a 2-week window after March 13. Much of that early rice is around the 2-leaf stage now (4/23).

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    “We are seeing some uneven stands where emergence varied across fields. In places, emergence has been considerably later. A number of things might explain this. Wet and cold weather could affect germination where maybe soils weren’t quite warm enough or seeds were deeper in spots.

    “We’re coming into that time when the first herbicide will go out after the initial residual material. Because the ground is still really wet, a lot of these treatments will have to go out by air, and that will really pressure aerial applications. The forecast calls for a 100% chance of rain on Thursday.

    “All that said, we don’t have any significant complaints in southwest Louisiana. In the Midsouth – including north Louisiana – rains have drastically delayed planting and crop development. Down here, we’re still trying to plant that last 10% of the acres. By comparison, that’s not a bad situation.

    “I did hear my first report today (4/23) about potential herbicide drift damage. I also get a call about leaf miners. I’ve never heard of leaf miners coming in so early. It’s just in one location north of Eunice.”


    Gary Bradshaw, Independent Agronomist, Bradshaw Agricultural Consulting, Richmond, Texas

    “The wet weather kind of broke in mid-March after 6 months of rain. We were able to get in, work the ground and pretty much plant the majority of acres that I will consult on this year. All that happened in the last 2 weeks of March.

    “Just a few fields were on the tail end of it and the last of those was planted a week ago (from 4/23).

    “Once it did quit raining, we had to plant into dry soils or marginal moisture in places, and we did have to flush to finally get everything up. As things sometimes turn out, it rained right after flushing, which delayed emergence and raised some concerns. But those stands actually look pretty good now.

    “We had a good rain about a week ago, with another chance in the forecast for tomorrow. So, we’ve had a small window in the last couple of days and have been in a rush to get things done ahead of this next rain.

    “The earliest rice is starting to tiller and we’ll take our 2 earliest fields to flood over the next couple of days. If it rains, we’ll hold that water and take it to flood. If it doesn’t rain, we’ll begin pumping it up.”


    David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas

    “Rice planting isn’t too far along, maybe 30% of what we expect to have. A number of my growers haven’t been able to start and only 3 or 4 of my clients have actually planted any at all.

    “We need dry weather. With all the rain, not all of what we’ve planted has been sprayed. Grass is coming up and we don’t have anything out, so we’re trying to overlay preemergence materials as best we can.

    “Cotton planting has started, maybe a little more went in today (4/23) and probably 15% has been planted so far. Maybe 80% of the corn has been planted. On the positive side, I don’t think we’ll have much replanting in corn. We did not get all the chemicals out, so growers are trying to catch up on that.

    “With all the rain, soils compacted and we’re dealing with thick crusts in places. We’re in one of those periods where we need rain to loosen things up and bring along emergence but not so much rain that it delays further planting and spraying. Overall, I’d take dry weather over rain. A half-inch right now is all we’d want.

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    “The last rain totaled about 2 inches and the system before that dropped 3 inches on us. It’s been like that for a while, with 2 to 3 inches of rain every week. It seems like my standard recommendation in rice has been to apply herbicides before it rains on Wednesday or Thursday.”


    Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist

    “As of yesterday (4/23), people were able to plant again pretty hard and guys are really rolling in places. Another potential rain is in the forecast for Thursday and we should see a fair amount planted before that starts.

    “We planted a big chunk of acres in the last week of March and into early April, and that rice is coming up now. After this next rain, we can better assess how things are going but what we’ve seen so far has come up pretty well. Hopefully, this won’t be a big rain and it won’t set us back too much. We’ve mostly been in a holding pattern this planting season. Rice calls haven’t really picked up yet but we’re getting incidental calls about failing corn stands.”


    Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist

    “We’re making a little more progress than previously thought. Also, we’re into that part of the season when warmer weather and wind reduce the downtime after it does rain. Things are definitely drying out faster. It rained another couple of inches at the end of last week across a wide area, but drills were rolling again by Monday in a number of areas.

    “This week we’ve gotten a lot done pretty much from the top to the bottom of the state, although growers in south Arkansas with heavy clay soils are just now going again. People are planting rice today (4/24) on lighter soils and where the Cache River hasn’t backed into fields.

    “The last USDA rice planting progress estimate was at 25%, which was up from 19% the week before. As much as it has rained, I can’t really say where that extra 6% might have been planted. I do think that before this next rain we can hit 30%.

    “The earliest rice was planted in late March and into very early April, and farther north it’s not looking great. We’ve had wide temperature fluctuations, a lot of overcast days and pounding rain, so those plants generally look weathered. Compared to a couple of weeks ago, I do feel better about where we are but a significant number of growers are just at step one of planting this crop.

    “With good conditions, we can plant 30% of the crop in a week, but we still have low ends and heavy ground that haven’t been worked. Part of that acreage may not be planted in rice, depending on how the weather goes. A lot of those low ends were rutted from last year and are still another week away from being dry enough, provided it doesn’t rain again.

    “With all that, I’m expecting some potential decline in acreage. If things don’t turn around soon, we could get into prevented planting situations. We also need to focus on getting herbicides out. If periodic rains continue and we don’t get levees up, let’s go ahead and apply herbicides and then we’ll worry about the levees later. I’m already seeing grasses and broadleaf weeds popping up and we need to get out ahead of that with preemerge materials.”

    AgFax Rice: Midsouth/Texas is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director.
    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the cotton production season. It is available to United States residents engaged in cotton farming, field scouting and other qualifying ag professions. Mailing address: 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047. Office: 601-992-9488.
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