Rice Crop Progresses — With Complications – AgFax

Rice beginning to flower. ©Debra L Ferguson

Owen Taylor, Editor

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


More rice is heading in southwest Louisiana. How soon harvest will start will partly depend on how uniformly rice emerged in a given field. Growers in that part of Louisiana saw wide variations in emergence early in the season. Within many fields, a portion of the plants will be ready for a combine but will have to wait for the rest of the crop to finish out. See comments by Dustin Harrell.

Midseason applications are starting on a wider basis in the Midsouth and more will crank up next week. Of course, plenty of late-planted rice hasn’t gone to flood yet. Continued rains in the upper Delta continue to delay that process.

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Wendell Minson, Bootheel Crop Consultants, Dexter, Missouri:

“Of my rice, pretty much 95% is flooded or it’s row rice that we’re flushing. I’m very fortunate. In this area, people have quite a bit of acreage still at 3 or 4 leaves and things won’t dry up enough for them to get levees up and apply fertilizer.

“It’s raining every 3 or 4 days and that part of the crop is on hold. I have a small amount of rice like that but nothing extreme.

“In this general area, only 60% to 65% of the rice is flooded, I’d estimate. One colleague said that when he finished checking rice at 8:30 p.m. the other night, he had not been in a single flooded field all day. With a big portion of his acres, growers are waiting for an opening to put up levees, spray and apply fertilizer.

“My early rice looks pretty good. It’s not going to be as clean as we would like and we’re dealing with that now. In places, rice was planted into real messes, and it’s going to be an expensive process to handle weeds and grass. How do you clean up some of these situations – that’s a tough deal. One consultant said that every time he works up a prescription for a preflood herbicide application, it rains again.

“Most of my growers were able to avoid planting into jungles, although there were some instances of it. In places, growers kept volunteer rice from last year, which is something I don’t want to do.

“We still didn’t plant all the rice that was intended. I haven’t worked up the numbers yet but I suspect that my rice acres will be off by 15% to maybe 20% compared to what we expected.

“My regular rice – fields that were planted early – are on schedule with development compared to last year. They’re tracking 2018 almost to the day and look good.

“No insect issues up here yet and no disease. More rain came through this morning (6/27) in places, with the heaviest amounts along the St. Francis River. At one location, 5 to 6 inches fell, with lesser amounts as you moved away from the river.

“Quite a bit of hail fell in spots, too, and I’ve seen some cotton that was pretty roughed up. The rain was completely unexpected. If anyone in that area had rice, they’re probably okay unless it busted levees. However, a lot of those guys are still trying to plant beans.”

Hugh Whitby, KC Consulting, Wynne, Arkansas:

“We made our first midseason application last week and may see some heads in the next 10 days (from 6/27). On the other end of things, I also have a field of rice that I just declared a stand yesterday.

“We have a little late rice every year, a field here and there that was planted after dirt moving. But this year, thousands of acres were only planted within the last 10 days. That said, I still don’t think we’ll be that late. With late rice in this area, it’s usually out of the field by mid-October, provided we have a dry fall.

“Those yields tend to be lower but they’re generally okay or at least acceptable. One positive point about late rice, it’s not forming grain when that typical heat develops in late summer, so the quality is much better. This late-planted rice also has jumped out of the ground and is growing fast, so it should be okay.

“We’re in almost the same situation with soybeans as with rice. Our beans range from fields not planted yet to beans that have been blooming for 10 to 14 days. With beans, the weather has really worked against applying herbicides on time. I hate to complain about rain this close to July but that’s the reality this year. More rain fell this morning, from half to three-quarters of an inch, which was on top of 1.5 inches last week.”

Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana:

“A few growers are still trying to get a stand in places and I think one guy replanted a little rice yesterday (6/26), unfortunately.

“Some rice is at green ring now and we’re scouting for disease in it. A big portion of the crop also is moving close to green ring. We’ll be doing midseason applications next week. A little of the late-planted rice still isn’t going to flood yet but the majority of our fields are either at flood or quickly heading that way.

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“My rice acres are down 15% this year, maybe 20%. It’s been a tough year all around. In one instance, ground was watered 3 times in order to plant soybeans and I still don’t know if they’ve been planted.”

Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Arkansas:

“I have fields going to midseason this week. But I also have fields that were planted just two weeks ago. In rice planted in late May and early June, we’re fighting grass like never before. We’ve been laying down Command and Roundup after planting and then coming back about 10 days later with Clearpath mixed with Prowl in our Clearfield rice. We’ve definitely got a fight on our hands.”

Andy Tonos, Delta Ag Consulting, Greenville, Mississippi:

“Pretty much the bulk of my rice has had its second midseason shot. At this point, we’re just spraying levees and edges. Most of our rice looks pretty good. One late field was just flooded up and that grower has other rice that he’s still trying to bring to a flood.

“Overall, weed control has been pretty good this year. Like in any year, it’s always more difficult to gain control when rice is planted late. Our internode elongation is running 2 to 4 inches on the older rice and we may see a few flag leaves next week, depending on how conditions go and how fast rice progresses.”

Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

“I continue to be impressed with the number of rice stink bugs (RSB) staging on field edges. I received a photo today (6/27) of a head of barnyard grass with 9 RSB crowding on it. I know those earliest fields will be covered up with them and we could see this channel all the way through. I think this will be a rice stink bug year, particularly with the late crop.

“Gear up now if you have that earliest heading rice and plan on making multiple applications. Things might change, but that’s how the trend looks right now.”

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

“More rice is heading in southwest Louisiana. We’re now seeing the effects of uneven stands that developed after planting. Plenty of rice had germination issues or emerged very slowly, and in places it came through much later.

“Now, we’re seeing rice that’s heading but other nearby plants only have 2- to 3-inch panicles in the boot. In those fields, maturity will be a spread-out process. Once those first plants are mature and ready for harvest, they may have to wait in the field a little longer for the rest of the rice to catch up. That may be a factor in terms of milling.

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“The weather forecast calls for a high probability of rain tomorrow (6/28), with about 10 days of rain chances after that. So, we need to closely check for diseases. Also, the rain could affect pollination, depending on when it falls. The prime period for pollination is between about 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Rainfall or even high winds at that time can blank grain that is primed for pollination on that day.”

M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont:

“I was asked last week about a small red worm that was being found at about the water line and was in or on the sheath of the plants. It turned out to be the larva of a particular seed midge. If you see these, you probably don’t have to worry. It’s only a problem in water-seeded rice.”

Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“A large portion of our rice is into midseason, and we’re now trying to fine tune that midseason nitrogen application on the varieties. This requires a good deal of patience because there’s perhaps a temptation to go too early. If you go too soon, you’ll put nitrogen on the field before plants have fully utilized that preflood application.

“On the other hand, if you go too late you may not generate as big a yield kick as the fertilizer can provide.

“Overall, you probably don’t need to make the application before half-inch joint movement. That’s the sweet spot as long as it’s been 4 weeks since the flood went on. If you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, research supports that timing.

“Now, let me add a disclaimer. If plants show a clear deficiency – turning yellow – you have a problem, so go earlier. Also, make sure that you actually made that preflood application – no kidding. About once a year, someone calls to say that his rice is definitely turning yellow or doesn’t look right. It’s just happening in one field, too.

“What we find is that there was some oversight and the fertilizer was never applied. The farmer knew it had to have been applied but the aerial applicator had been told the ground applicator was putting it out and the ground guy thought the plane was doing it.

“This year, the grower caught the problem soon enough that he can compensate with multiple applications. He won’t take a big yield hit, although the average will likely be off some. But he will have to pay for extra nitrogen to bring it along.

“Shifting topics to hybrids, we’re looking ahead to that late book timing for nitrogen. Timing is based on the flag leaf being all the way out and you can see the flag leaf collar. From that point, you can make the application up until the first heads pop out.

“The danger in going earlier is that you risk adding more height, which could increase the chances of lodging, especially in some of the older hybrids. But once the flag leaf is out, that’s as tall as the plant will grow. It’s the terminal leaf and we don’t see further stretching after that, even with more nitrogen.

“With the right timing, you also increase milling and gain a slight yield increase. Typically, all that adds up to a $40 payback over the cost of application.

“In our very earliest fields – those planted in late March – we should see a few heads emerging in about a week (from 6/27). We always have a small percentage of the rice planted then, although it was an even smaller percentage this year.

“We’re in a prime disease window. Rice is growing well and sheath blight is on the move. Be prepared to treat if necessary but avoid automatic applications. We have all the humidity and dew that sheath blight needs, plus temperatures are in a conducive range to hold humidity within the canopy – highs in the upper 80s and bumping 90.

“Calls continue about various deficiencies, mainly potash deficiency. All the rain earlier would have pushed a lot of potash out of the plant’s reach, so this hasn’t been surprising. You still have time to correct this all the way out to late boot, but pull tissue samples and confirm that it’s potash deficiency before you spend money to correct it.”

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