Rice – Planting Progresses In Midsouth, More Flushing Likely – AgFax

Owen Taylor, Editor

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


Heavy rains moved through parts of Arkansas and into the Missouri Bootheel on Wednesday. But it remains dry enough in other areas that flushing has either started or is being considered. Depending on the situation, the water is needed to activate herbicides or bring up rice planted in dry soils.

Planting progress picked up over much of the Midsouth in the last week. How much more will be planted remains to be seen. Some acreage went to prevented planning but seed is still going out in parts of the region.

More rice is going to flood in the Delta states.

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Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“After all the rain this year, it’s dry enough now that we need a rain. That may sound like a sick joke but it’s true. The wind this year has been ferocious and it’s drying things out. That’s kind of a ‘good news/bad news’ scenario this year. When it did rain, the wind dried up fields fast enough that we could catch those brief planting windows before the next front came through. But the wind also makes it a battle to apply herbicides.

“We have now had an extended 6-day window without appreciable rainfall but the wind has still been going at 15 mph. That’s left us with bone-dry conditions in the upper soil layer, so the ground is cracking and rice is desiccating. It’s also triggered salt issues in areas where we don’t expect that.

“So on a lot of acres, we need to start flushing if we don’t receive enough rain to soften the soil and minimize stress.

“USDA’s survey gave us a nice jump in planting progress, and we’re at 80% planted. That 80% — it needs to be noted – is the percentage of rice that people on the survey list believe has been planted of what growers intend to plant now, not the number of intended rice acres that were estimated in March before planting started.

“The forecast calls for a chance of rain tonight (5/28). That front may not drop a lot of rain but it could somewhat lower temperatures, which could be a benefit right now. Also, the wind velocity is supposed to decrease, which will help everyone catch up on fertilizer and herbicide ahead of taking fields to flood.

“Without a rain at this point, it will be more difficult to establish a flood. Also, rice in these later fields has a shallower-than-normal root system because the roots haven’t had to grow deeper to find moisture. But the top layer of soil has suddenly dried out and those plants don’t have roots running deep enough to tap into the moisture below them.

“I’ve spent most of today looking at sickly rice and that accounts for a lot of it. Secondarily, the roots can’t connect to nutrients, so we’re seeing signs of deficiency. It’s not that the soil, itself, lacks key nutrients but the roots aren’t actively collecting any of it.

“I can’t emphasize enough the need to minimize herbicide drift. I’ve seen some instances of damage where labeled rates were used and everything was seemingly done right but the wind didn’t give up.”

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

“Rice is moving along very quickly in southwest Louisiana. I’ve had several calls about what to do with rice that only had a starter shot of fertilizer and now is almost at green ring. They waited so long without applying nitrogen that those fields already have lost a lot of yield potential.

“At this point, you still should get the full amount of nitrogen out because you don’t want to limit yield potential any more than already is the case. But you’ll need to take a different approach now. Split it into two applications that are 7 to 10 days apart. Don’t reduce the amount of N but don’t put it all at once, either.

“We’ve had good growing conditions this week and a lot of rice is at green ring or nearly to it. We still have some ugly rice out there that’s flooded and stressed. Overall, we won’t break any records this year. Too many things worked against us – wet soils early, uneven emergence in cold soils, too much wind to apply herbicides on time and too wet to apply nitrogen when needed.

“All that cascades through the season and we will be running behind normal on one thing or another all the way through harvest. If I can point to one positive thing, there’s no disease at this time.

“Some rice is still being planted in northeast Louisiana.

“A reminder: a number of local rice field days are coming up. On June 11 we’ll have the Vermilion Parish rice field day at the Lounsberry Farm east of Lake Arthur on Louisiana 14, starting at 4 p.m. followed by supper at the Klondike Fire Station. And on June 12, the Acadia Parish rice field day will be held at the AgCenter Rice Research Station’s South Farm starting at 8:30 a.m.”

Hugh Whitby, KC Consulting, Wynne, Arkansas:

“A few people are still planting rice but close to a third of our crop has gone to flood or is approaching it, and some fields actually went to flood last week. The rest of this crop is staggered out and a lot of it probably won’t be ready for a

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“It has gotten very dry – enough that we’re having to flush some rice to activate chemicals. A slight chance of rain is in the forecast over the next 2 to 3 days.

“A lot is happening all at the same time – people are still planting but also spraying and fertilizing fields that are moving to flood. So far, no flushing has started to bring any rice up, although that may be necessary with some of this late rice.

“We’re starting to irrigate corn this week. Some of the early beans have received a second herbicide application. Growers started back planting beans at the end of last week.”

Andy Tonos, Delta Ag Consulting, Greenville, Mississippi:

“We’re finally able to get levees up. We would have flooded some fields before now (5/28) except for that. Some people are still seeding levees to have something on them for weed control or to hold the levees together.

“One guy is planting rice this week. He had to work the ground, so the soil dried out and he won’t get a stand until he flushes it up. It’s gotten dry enough overall that several other growers have had to do that, too.

“Weed control has been pretty good, although in places we’re trying to figure out why grass control has been a bit off. This has been a season to remember. Every time we take a step forward, we seem to have to take three steps backwards.

“We finally got to plant corn and then had to replant a lot of it. We finally were able to plant beans and then had to replant a lot of that. Some people are still planting cotton.”

Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana:

“Some rice is going to permanent flood and some was just planted on Saturday or Sunday (5/25-26). I don’t know how much longer growers will plant rice but at least some of those acres will move into prevented planting.

“Among growers who’ll continue planting, I don’t know how far they will go into June. Conditions are somewhat mixed. In places, we’re about to run out of soil moisture but in other locations it’s too wet to do any field work ahead of planting rice.

“In corn, guys are putting out polypipe and have started watering some. The forecast calls for a chance of rain on Thursday but accumulation will be light.”

Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“We’ve gotten plenty done with a week of dry weather and planting is probably close to being 80% finished (as of 5/30). Everything is spread out, from not planted yet to a lot of our earliest rice going to flood. More fields are heading towards flood. By the middle of next week, we may have as much rice flooded as was actually planted in the last week.

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“Growers in Tunica County have finally been able to break loose on planting and they’re moving at a fast pace. Overall, our producers are trying to kill a lot of grass, and this hot and dry weather is complicating that. Nutsedge also has been an issue for a lot of people all season.

“Weed control in an ultra-dry environment isn’t something people want to tackle. Nobody wants to flush, either, but that probably will be necessary to activate herbicides. A lot of rice seed also went into dry dirt this week, so those fields probably will have to be flushed, as well. The 10-day forecast holds minimal chances for rain.

“The wind, heat and sun have dried up the top soil layer. In parts of Tunica County, the top 2 inches are dry but the soil is wet and mushy below that.”


Wendell Minson, Bootheel Crop Consultants, Dexter, Missouri:

“More rain – that’s the story here. It started in places yesterday (5/29) morning and then a big storm came through later in the day. It blew down trees and left some people without power.

“Generally, everyone received 1.5 to 2 inches but an area around New Madrid got 6 inches through the day. That’s all aside from rivers being up.

“Folks around here are probably through planting rice, with maybe a field or two going in late. Colleagues are telling me that their rice acreage will be down 15% to 20%. I don’t think mine will be off like that but all the totals haven’t been sorted out yet. Overall, acreage could be down 20% to 25% in this area.

“We have some rice ready to take to flood and are trying to pull the levees, which we normally don’t do until we’re ready to flood. There are places with 6 inches of water now where gates aren’t in, levees haven’t been butted up and no fertilizer or herbicide have gone out yet. I don’t have anything quite like that and wouldn’t be sure what to do if I did.

“More rain is in the forecast around the middle of next week. If we had 10 days of dry weather, everyone could get plenty done. But at best this year we’ve only had 5 or 6 days at a time. A lot of what has been planted just went in a few days ago. Due to late planting, we know yield potential will be off.

“Very few beans have emerged. Some are at V3 and have been sprayed once with dicamba, but those are probably the oldest beans around here and are a small portion of the crop. We’re laying by corn and some is maybe waist high. A little corn was still being planted yesterday.”


Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Arkansas:

“About 20% of my rice is going to flood this week and growers are still planting. Less than 5% of my acres went to prevented planting but we’ll probably only have 80% of the rice acres we intended to plant. The balance is going to soybeans.

“Growers had already planted a lot of rice on the late side and decided to shift to beans to spread out risk. Soybean planting has moved quickly. Less than 10% of our soybeans had been planted 4 days ago (from 5/28), but today it’s more like 30% to 35%. This time last year it was at 80% to 85%.”

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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