Rice – More Going To Flood, A Few Heads Showing – AgFax

Owen Taylor, Editor

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


More rice is going to flood. Several of our contacts say that they are pushing a portion of their rice to flood sooner than might be expected.

Cooler conditions have somewhat slowed plant growth over the last 10 days in parts of the Midsouth. See comments by Jarrod Hardke.

Heading has started in older rice in southwest Louisiana. After heavy rains last week, flooding also killed at least some rice in that part of the state. See comments by Dustin Harrell.

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Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:

“We’re going to flood with a fair amount of rice over the next 10 days and are trying to push rice as much as we can. In places, rice was starting to stress and drying out, plus tillering began a little earlier than we would like.

“We decided to go with what I’d term a flush flood or what people call a sloppy flood. Herbicides and fertilizer went out ahead of the flood. We’ll let plants grow a little more and then establish the permanent flood. This wasn’t an ideal approach but we had to do it out of necessity.

On the other end of things, we actually planted some row rice last week that had to be flushed up. It’s been difficult to time herbicide applications during all the hot, dry weather. In places, we flushed fields just to start weeds growing enough that herbicides would kill them.

“In soybeans, we started finding low numbers of redbanded stink bugs south of Winnsboro last week. Redbanded tend to be tough in a year when you find them around here in the first 10 days of July, but this was within the first 10 days of June.

“I hesitate to make predictions about how bad they might be, but a colleague in the Ville Platte area said they’re on the verge of spraying redbanded and that they’re in every field. Oddly, I didn’t find them to any extent on winter hosts but they’re present now. With all the late planting, this could be an extended fight.”

Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

“Rice water weevil (RWW) activity has been outrageous this year and we’re seeing plenty of scarring on leaves. They’re still moving into fields that are going to flood. We have a tight window when you can apply an insecticide to knock out adults, so it’s critical that you scout closely to determine if and when to spray.

“Treatments need to be timed for 3 to 7 days after the flood goes on. Since nobody can instantly flood a field, judgment calls are necessary. With an 80-acre field, it might take 8 to 10 days to fully put on the flood. The bottom two-thirds may be at a flood while the upper end isn’t to that point yet. Go with the idea that you’ll treat when the majority of the acres have been under flood for 5 to 7 days.”

Tyler Fitzgerald, AgriLife Agricultural Agent, Jefferson County, Texas:

“Over a 3-weeks period we were hammered with quite a bit of rain. Something like 5.5 inches fell about 10 days ago (from 6/13). We’d already had a huge rainfall event in May. It rained 5 inches across this part of the state but in places it totaled 10 to 15 inches.

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“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.

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“I am happy with my early rice, and there have been some positive points with the late-planted crop. With late rice, you typically have to flush a good deal, but that hasn’t been necessary this year. Also, you expect more grass problems in those late fields. But it’s rained enough that herbicides remained active and control is pretty good.

“The forecast calls for 2 inches of rain around Sunday or Monday, and that will affect how much longer some people will plant soybeans. I have growers who will hold back planting just in front of a big rain, while others may keep going right up to when the rain starts. I’d roughly estimate that 50% of the expected bean acres have been planted. But later this week we could be closer to 100%, depending on how much it rains this weekend.”

Amy Beth Dowdy, ABD Crop Consulting, Dexter, Missouri:

“We mid-seasoned 3 fields this week and are still trying to get more fields to flood. Also, we’re still trying to get late-planted rice out of the ground. I don’t have a stand on several acres. Those fields didn’t get the 4 to 5 inches of rain promised last week and now (6/13) the subject of flushing has to be discussed.

“Most of my rice did get a half-inch to an inch of rain. That was enough to germinate seed in certain fields but not all of them. I’ve told people with flat fields to turn on the wells. If they work with levees, pull the levees and start moving water.

“A lot of the recommendations I’m making right now (6/13) are competing with soybean planting. Rain is in the forecast again, and growers are waiting to see what happens. In places, we don’t even have half a stand yet. Rice may have germinated but it’s in dry dirt now. A north wind blew for 4 days and that really dried out everything.

“That’s also complicating herbicide decisions. Grass needs to be sprayed but it’s too dry to expect control, so those fields need to be flushed so herbicides will work. This already is an expensive year, and people don’t want to talk about flushing. It’s hard enough to flush rice in May but here we are in June. As soon as the water hits the ground, it soaks into the soil, so it’s not flowing to the next levee.

“I finished my regular rounds yesterday but started over again today to find out what didn’t get sprayed on time and where we really need to flush. I’m also rewriting several recommendations. In a number of cases, I wrote recs based on using a herbicide that needed moisture, which we had early in the week. But here at the end of the week those fields dried down to the point that we need to move to a herbicide that performs better in drier conditions.

“Recommendations have an expiration date. Sometimes it’s 7 days but sometimes it’s only 3 days, depending on conditions. For a number of fields this week, that’s the case.”

Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“It’s been cool enough that the high didn’t reach 80 for a couple of days this week in various parts of the state, and you needed a jacket in the mornings.

“That weather slowed down the rice. Where we’ve been sampling DD50 plots for half-inch node elongation, plants have been moving in slow motion. We sample twice a week. Once movement starts and it gains momentum, it has usually passed that half-inch point by the third time we check. But since we began sampling the earliest plots 10 days ago (from 6/13) we’ve checked 4 times and those plants still haven’t hit the half-inch mark.

“In slightly younger plantings, it maybe hasn’t moved at all. Clearly, this current weather has held back development. Everything does look good, and rice likes these milder conditions, but we do need a little more heat.

“In fact, hotter conditions are in the forecast, and with this late-planted rice, be aware that things happen fast. For example, residual herbicides degrade sooner and will only last about half as long as they do in early-planted production.

“In that early period, there’s more rain to keep them activated. In later plantings, the weather tends to be drier. Also, residuals are exposed to hotter temperatures and more sunlight now, which shortens their effectiveness. So, be prepared to act faster with overlapping residuals. You might still put on the same number of applications as with early rice but you’ll treat at shorter intervals between applications.

“This rice will move faster toward flood, too. With early plantings, it takes 10 to 14 days for rice to emerge in cooler conditions and another 4 weeks to move to flood. But in June, rice may only need 5 days for emergence and certainly no more than 7, and only a scant 2 to 3 weeks before it’s ready to go to flood.

“Don’t run on an April schedule now. Readjust your thinking and be prepared for things to happen fast. If you have late-planted rice, don’t turn your back on it.”

AgFax Rice: Midsouth/Texas is published by AgFax Media LLC
Owen Taylor, Editorial Director.
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