Louisiana Rice: Flash Flood Warning; Watch for Green Stink Bugs

Southern green stinkbug. Photo by Ethan Carter, University of Florida

Louisiana’s two-week dry reprieve from the frequent rainfall events this growing season ends today (Wednesday, June 5th). A tropical disturbance now in the Gulf will move northward and bring with it a lot of rain over the next three days.

In southwest Louisiana there is a moderate chance of flooding and the National Weather Service models are predicting between 4 – and 8-inches of rain in Southwest Louisiana where 75% of Louisiana’s rice crop is grown. This much rain in such a short period may submerge some rice, blowout levees, and cause slow drainage issues due to the already swollen rivers and bayous of the region. Let’s hope that is not the case.

If back water flooding occurs, rice can survive somewhere around 8 days. Fortunately, I have not heard of any headed rice yet; however, we have some that will be headed by next week.

Most of the rice in the region is at green ring to half-inch internode. Mid-season N fertilization is currently being applied in several areas and we are beginning to turn our focus to disease control. There has already been reports of sheath blight and blast in the area this year.

Southern Green Stinkbug

In Acadia Parish, the Southern Green Stinkbug (SGS) has shown up in a handful of fields. The SGS is a sporadic pest in rice and has not been observed in high numbers in rice in a couple of years. Typically, the damage from the SGS in rice is isolated to small areas of the field and low populations of the pest do not warrant a pesticide application. However, in very high populations an application of a pyrethroid insecticide may be warranted.

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Damage from the pest causes the rice to look brown. This brown look to the field is due to the desiccation and necrosis (death) of the leaf tissue caused by the feeding of the SGS. This damage limits the limits the relocation of nutrients and water in damaged portions of the plant.

The SGS uses its proboscis to pierce plants to feed. The SGS secretes and enzyme that liquifies the tissue and then sucks out the liquid. The SGS prefers headed grains and seeds as opposed to green tissue and typically will not go into a rice field unless other food sources, like headed rye grass or soybeans, are not available.

The SGS prefers to feed on the growing points of rice. If a field is not flooded, the crown of the plant is preferred. In flooded rice, the nodes or the newest emerging leaf are common targets. You can see in the series of pictures in Figure 6 below that feeding by the SGS on a rolled rice leaf causes the identifiable damage pattern on rice leaves.

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