David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“Except for a few fields, all of our rice has been flooded. We have a clean crop. Last year, we had more grass than anyone would want to see. Our rice is really yellow today (6/17) due to ALS applications. Otherwise, it looks good. It’s clean and weeds are dead.”
Keith Collins, Extension Agent, Richland, Ouachita and Franklin Parishes, Rayville, Louisiana:
“Our first rice went to flood at least 2 weeks ago (from 6/17), but that was a fairly small part of the crop. Those were some of the few fields where it was dry enough to plant early. But the majority of our paddy rice went in later and isn’t ready for the flood yet.
“A tremendous amount of our expected rice crop shifted to prevented planting. I doubt if anyone has a total yet but it was easily thousands of acres that were taken out in this part of the state. May 25 was the cutoff date for prevented planting and a good deal of ground in my area still had 2 to 3 feet of water on it. Down in Catahoula Parish, I’m told that backwater covered even more acres that were supposed to go into rice or cotton.”
Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:
“The majority of the crop does look good and it’s moving along but not quite as rapidly as you’d expect at this point in the year. We’ve had this ebbing and flowing of temperatures and winds, plus overcast skies.
“Some fields also have a lighter-than-optimal appearance. I don’t want to say they’re yellow but the plants aren’t as dark as you’d expect. We’ve seen this before in seasons with yo-yo weather patterns. The temptation is to immediately throw nitrogen at the problem. My best advice is to fight that temptation. The weather will shift to more normal conditions soon enough and in 3 to 5 days you’ll see a magical color change and rice will take off again.
“But if it’s looking a little questionable and then suddenly takes a dive, something else is going on. But don’t panic over a subtle color difference. With unstable weather, this isn’t unusual.
“Weed control in the early rice looks pretty good but we’re still fighting battles in part of the later crop.
“We’re now seeing a bit of nutrient deficiency caused by that extended wet stretch in the winter and into early spring. With that much water, you expect to lose some fertilizer and you’ll see symptoms in weaker spots. Where this is happening, we’re finding potash deficiency and potential sulfur deficiency.
“Typically, potash deficiency is easy to identify, even looking at a photo. But don’t base application decisions on that. Take a couple of extra days and pull diagnostic tissue samples. Sample in both good and bad areas so you can see numerical differences between those parts of the field.
“Sampling helps confirm that you do, in fact, need to spend $20 to $25 an acre on additional fertilizer. With potash, in particular, you have time to correct those levels.
“We’ve had our first report of leaf blast for 2019. It was found in a field of Titan in Randolph County. Yeshi Wamishe (Extension Rice Plant Pathologist) and I have noticed that the first case of leaf blast every year always turns up during this week. It’s like clockwork.
“If the initial weather forecast for this week had held true, I would have been more concerned about leaf blast right now. Starting on Sunday (6/16), 3 to 5 inches of rain were predicted, but most areas only got a sprinkling. Rain is in the forecast again tonight (6/19), unfortunately with a risk of high winds.
“Wind, in general, has been delaying things where growers want to take rice to flood. It’s held them up on herbicides, but it’s also been windy enough to keep people from flying on fertilizer for fear of streaking.”
Gary Bradshaw, Independent Agronomist, Bradshaw Agricultural Consulting, Richmond, Texas:
“Some of my oldest rice fields are fully headed out and those clients may be able to start cutting samples around July 19-20. With a couple of small exceptions, the rest of my rice is in early boot. So, the bulk of my crop is within a two-week window in terms of development.