Rice: Tropical Storm Barry – Wrong Time, Wrong Place – AgFax

Owen Taylor, Editor

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


Tropical Storm Barry has been termed “a major rainmaker” and it will affect at least some rice acres along the Gulf Coast. Depending on its track through the weekend, the storm also might dump rain in the Midsouth. In our Also of Note section, connect to a related article from the University of Arkansas on projected rainfall amounts.

Based on Thursday’s mid-day projection, Barry will come ashore early Saturday morning somewhere along Louisiana’s central or eastern coast.

With more of the crop heading now in the coastal rice belt, the last thing anyone needs is a tropical storm (or a weak hurricane, depending on how Barry builds). Heavy rain, wind and flooding would add one more layer of complication to a season that has been anything but simple.

More heads are pushing out in the Midsouth in that smallish amount of acres growers were able to plant in the early spring. But with much of the crop going in later, farmers are still pushing to flood fields that were seeded weeks later.

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Lance Honeycutt, Sanders, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:

“I found my first heading rice yesterday (7/8) and pretty much all of our youngest rice went to flood last week. One farmer told me that he had 4 more fields to take to flood today but the plane had mechanical problems.

“We’re still cleaning up grass escapes and I’m finding just a little sheath blight. But rice is starting to get thick, plus this hot and humid weather is conducive for sheath blight if we’re going to have it.

“Normally, we see the first head about this time, maybe just after the Fourth of July, so our earliest rice is about on schedule. But most of my rice is running behind that. By the third week of July – a point I can remember because of an annual family reunion – most of my rice typically is heading, but that won’t be the case this year.

“With the majority of our soybeans, we’re still spraying grass and just reached a good stand on the very latest fields. So, we range from very early vegetative stages to early bloom. We’re also fighting pigweed.

“Everything has been complicated by these frequent rains. Another 1.3 inches fell yesterday in the northern part of my territory. All the rain has kept people from spraying soybeans on time and delayed planting on a wide basis. I could still be checking beans at Thanksgiving the way things have been going.

“Bollworm counts from Craighead and Poinsett Counties fell off, which is good. About this time of the year we normally expect to start spraying bollworms but that hasn’t been necessary yet. But we still have plenty of herbicide spraying ahead of us. Spraying equipment has been parked for long stretches due to the rain but as soon as it dries up, everyone is running wide open until it rains again.

“With corn, growers are mostly wrapping up fungicides and keeping water on it where rain hasn’t fallen lately, although corn hasn’t been watered much compared to what we expect. One guy just rolled out polypipe yesterday.”

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

“A good deal of rice in southwest Louisiana is headed out, and the focus right now (7/9) is on that tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s supposed to move ashore this weekend and the early forecasts call for high rainfall totals, and one model indicates that up to 13 inches could fall around Lake Charles.

“All of that, of course, is subject to change. But when you have headed rice, the last thing you want is a forecast with potential for heavy rain and flooding.

“Enough stink bugs have turned up in places that pyrethroids have gone out and most of the fungicides have been applied. As things look now, it probably will be the last week of July or the first week of August before any harvest starts.

“I’m receiving calls – mainly from northeast Louisiana – about nitrogen timing. Much of the rice up there was planted late because it stayed wet for so long. But with all the hot weather, rice reached tillering very quickly in part of that area, sooner than people may have expected.

“All this has thrown off schedules. Growers there need to pull levees and apply nitrogen as soon as possible, then move rice to flood. All that sure needs to be done ahead of this tropical storm. It’s a late crop, for certain. This is the time of year when growers in those parishes are more accustomed to applying fungicides than putting out pre-flood nitrogen.”

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

“The tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico is the big concern. At least right now (evening, 7/9), it appears that landfall will be somewhere along the Louisiana coast. Things, of course, might change.

“They are talking about the potential for heavy rains in Texas. Storm surges can be an issue for us, too, and the first thing I look at with a storm forecast is the surge prediction.

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“We sure don’t need heavy rains right now. At the start of the week, about 35% of the rice in this county was headed and maybe a little more has headed since then. With this hotter weather pattern, rice is really catching up and a good bit of it will be flowering pretty soon. We’ll see how things look early next week.

“A few samples might be cut around July 25-26. A handful of growers had somewhat marginal planting conditions during a really tight window and planted a limited amount of rice in mid to late March. They went with early maturing varieties. That’s actually about normal for when a big part of our rice is planted. Unfortunately, most growers didn’t have that opportunity and the main part of the crop is much later than that.”

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

“Everyone has been working around pop-up showers. A farmer just said (7/9) that he made what should be my last herbicide application for the year. I hope showers stay away from that field for at least another hour. Then I’ll know we really do have herbicides behind us.

“Just a few heads are showing, although you really have to look for them. I checked closely for heads on the Fourth of July but didn’t find any. On Sunday (7/7), a few were just poking out.

“Today, I actually came across 2 or 3 in a field where I didn’t expect any heads yet. The rest of the plants were 7 to 10 days away from heading, and that’s an example of the uneven emergence this year, with some plants coming up quickly but others lagging by days or weeks.

“That unevenness is going to follow us all the way through harvest and it could be a catastrophe waiting around the corner. The crop is a mixed bag. I’m very proud of certain fields but also have fields that I don’t even like to think about.”

Wayne Dulaney, Agronomist, Local Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi:

“Most of our rice is to flood, I think. I didn’t see any rice in Tunica County this week that wasn’t at flood, and that part of the crop has been the farthest behind.

“Our very first-planted rice went in at the end of March and in the first few days of April and is probably 50% headed now (7/9). It is really advanced and I’m worried about the effect this intense heat will have on it.

“The later planted rice looks pretty decent and is progressing quickly. In places 3 weeks ago, we had plants in the same paddy that were at 1 leaf and others that were at 4 leaves. These irregular stands tend to be where rice was planted in about a 10-day dry spell at the end of May. Growers had to hurriedly work that ground and ended up with dry spots and wet spots, often within 2 feet of each other.

“Rice emerged quickly where it had moisture but in dry spots the seed had to wait for a rain. People are now trying to judge when to make midseason applications in those fields. I’m recommending that they time nitrogen applications based on when the most advanced plants should receive it.

“You don’t want to set back yield potential on those plants just because they’re running ahead of the others. If younger plants are fertilized a little early, that won’t hurt them.

“Soybeans range from seed still being shipped out to plants at R3 and ready for fungicides. Compared to a typical season, more grass pressure seems to be out there. That may partly get back to using dicamba tips when applying a dicamba-glyphosate tankmix. The coverage wasn’t as good, so the glyphosate didn’t work as well on grass.

“Several guys clearly killed pigweed but they are coming back now with glyphosate to take out grass escapes.

“Most of our corn is past tassel and we should see some denting late this week. Corn either looks really good or obviously doesn’t. In certain fields, it also may look good simply because it’s tall enough that you can’t see the weak spots farther into the field. Those were apparent when plants were shorter.

“When you see numbers drop on the yield monitor at harvest, try to remember what those parts of the field actually looked like in May.

“I told a guy today that his corn on one side of the road would probably average 220 bu/acre while it might reach 150 on the other side. Planting dates, emergence and other factors have made huge differences this year.”

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

“It’s been hot, with hot nights, so our farmers are a bit concerned about panicle blight. However, I haven’t received any reports of it so far. No reports of rice planthopper, either, but we did obtain a Section 2ee for Tenchu 20SG for this exotic species. Now we have 2 tools to control this pest –Endigo ZC and Tenchu 20SG. Reports are coming in about heavy rice stink bug populations in places.”

Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“Things are moving along and more heads are popping out. With the weather now, disease is developing. Sheath blight is becoming more obvious and blast has turned up in places on varieties that are very susceptible.

 “Later fields are still going to flood. In certain spots where rice recently went to flood, we’re contending with big grass that people are having trouble killing.

“Overall, I suspect we’re 18% headed. The very last rice planted – to the best of my knowledge – went in on about July 2. It was a case where the grower didn’t want to take the prevented planting option.”

Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“More and more rice is starting to head at least a little. Numerous people have called about fungicide timing for smut. Most of the time, they’re going to spray too late, based on what they tell me. They seem concerned about treating too early, but studies indicate that the best preventive activity comes from spraying pretty early. Going 2 weeks before heading is optimal timing.

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“Where fungicides are going out closer to heading, people are still asking about throwing in an insecticide for rice stink bugs (RSB). They’re seeing RSB around in the grass or might even find a few piled onto the first few rice heads. But spraying RSB that early increases the chances you’ll have to treat again, based on Arkansas research.

“Beyond that, when stink bugs come back, numbers will potentially be higher because you’ve eliminated beneficials. Wait until significant heading has started. If you have some of the first rice heading in an area, you may very well need to treat. But wait until enough rice heads for stink bugs to spread out so that you get a full picture of those populations.

“A couple of quick reminders – our annual Arkansas Rice Field Day is August 2 at the rice research station in Stuttgart. Our Rice College – which requires pre-registration – will be held on August 1.”

Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas: 

“We have rice that’s heading out and I’m very happy with the crop. I’m pretty pleased with weed control, which we struggled with last year. This year, enough rain fell to activate herbicides. I’m really not disappointed with any rice field.

“We have rice that just went to flood last week. We’re trying to get that rice growing, but joint movement in the majority of our fields is at 2 to 3 inches. This year’s rice crop should be good.”

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

“We’re seeing a little blast. I imagine we’ll find a bit more with all the pop-up showers lately. We’ll apply fungicides for smut soon, which should take care of any blast. The rice is doing what it’s supposed to and taking advantage of these hot days.

“The biggest challenge in rice this year has been killing grass. With that extended dry weather, the grass wasn’t growing and herbicides couldn’t do much. So, we have grass in spots and we’ll be moving towards salvage treatments.”

Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: 

“We’re beginning to see more rice heading. Some of the earliest fields have begun to put out panicles and the rice stink bug (RSB) numbers on those panicles are almost ridiculously high. Just based on sheer numbers, I think we could be facing 2 or even 3 treatments in worst-case situations.”

“Barry has the potential to dump inches of rain during flowering and heading – rain, which will disrupt pollination.”
Prices nudge higher across all grain lengths. 
The event will start at the Jason Waller Farm, located 7 miles north of Mer Rouge on U.S. Highway 165. 
Stops will include the Charles Fontenot farm near Palmetto for prsentations on rice and soybeans
The 2019 Horizon Ag Arkansas Field Day will be held at Coleman Farms near Jonesboro, Arkansas.
The event will be held at the company’s Arkansas Business Center AT Harrisburg. 

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