“Growers were planting ahead of this last rain and a good bit of that acreage went under water for 3 or 4 days, so they’re assessing stands now. Farmers who raise organic rice were probably hurt more than farmers in conventional production. With organic rice, they tend to plant later and this rain really caught them.
“Right now, maybe 60% of our planted acres are at flood. Overall, rice acreage through here will be down 25% to 30%, and that estimate may be on the conservative side.”
Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“Tentatively, we’re finished planting rice this year. One field had to be replanted in the last few days due to a Roundup accident, but that’s it. The majority has gone to flood, but with all the planting intervals, we still have fields that aren’t quite there yet.
“Also, we’re taking certain fields to flood early just because of weed control. These fields are clean, so do we go to flood early? Or, do we wait and try to keep them clean, plus take a chance that we don’t have rain to incorporate herbicides? If it goes dry again, will it go bone dry?
“I don’t want to put out herbicides and then find that they won’t work. I’ll flush fields before I let that happen, although nobody wants to talk about flushing. We had issues last year where herbicides went out but then didn’t work because it was dry, and I don’t want to relive that.
“Our early-season weed control this year was a complete 180 compared to 2018. At this point in 2018, I wasn’t sure that some fields would even be cut, they were so grown up. So far, I’m happy with early-season grass control. Our preflood applications are starting to slip a little because of dry conditions and not being able to get water on fields fast enough.
“With this last weather system, it rained from 1 to 7 inches over about 3 days starting last Thursday (6/6). We did have enough of a dry spell to apply nitrogen ahead of the flood and rice is growing well. A number of fields are starting to move into green ring.
“In soybeans, we’ve started planting our wheat beans but still have cases where full-season fields haven’t been planted yet. Where growers are going in behind wheat, equipment can stand up better, and one grower actually has planted more doublecrop beans than full-season acres. Technically, I guess, a lot of the crop this year will be doublecrop beans, even if they didn’t follow wheat. Overall, beans range from blooming to still waiting to be planted.”
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley:
“After all the rain early in the month, most growers were able to get the water off fields in a timely manner but a few hundred acres were covered by backwater flooding from nearby bayous and creeks.
“Typically, that’s dark water, which is a concern. It’s not uncommon for rice to survive about 8 days when it’s submerged in water, but that can vary, depending on whether the water is clear or dark or if it’s cool or hot. In places, we obviously had the wrong combination.
“I’ve heard multiple reports this week of that flooded rice dying after only being submerged for a couple of days. The water in those cases was really dark and hot. A cool front has settled over the area in the last couple of days, and it’s a nice reprieve from all the heat, but the damage in the flooded fields already had been done.
“Our earliest planted rice has started heading. Most is at mid boot, so we should think about fungicides. If you want to control smut – false smut or black kernel smut – propiconazole needs to be applied at mid-boot, around a 6-inch panicle length. If the boot has already split and the panicle is emerging, it’s too late. After all the rain, things have dried out, and that will help reduce sheath blight and leaf blast activity. Plenty of soybeans are being replanted this week, all because of that rain.”
Lance Honeycutt, Sanders, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“Rice acres in my area will probably be down 20% and about 70% of what’s been planted is either going to flood or already flooded. With the rest, it ranges from late-planted rice that’s still coming up to fields where growers are pulling levees or making pre-flood herbicide and fertilizer applications.
“Probably 15% of the crop would be considered late any way you put it. Since I first started working in rice, I always had a few fields like this in June but just one here and there. It’s kind of surreal to have a few early fields hitting green ring this week but still have rice just coming up.