Rice – Texas Harvest Starts, S. Louisiana Ramps Up Draining – AgFax Rice

    Rice harvest. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    Owen Taylor, Editor

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


    Draining is starting on a wide basis in southwest Louisiana where a small amount of mid-February rice already has been cut.

    Texas rice harvest has cranked up on a limited basis. The Texas Crop Survey reported that less than 1% of the state’s rice acreage had been cut as of last Friday (7/19), with all of that in Jackson County.

    Rice stink bugs have prompted more treatments in the Midsouth since our last report. With this year’s wide spread of planting dates, this could turn into an extended fight.

    Grass remains a big issue through much of the Midsouth.

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    Hugh Whitby, KC Consulting, Wynne, Arkansas:

    “Draining will maybe start in a few fields at the end of this week or early next week. One farmer wants to drain this week for sure, but I’ve been trying to hold him off. My thinking is that we need to get through July first. After August 1, he can go from there. The rice he wants to drain was planted early, emerged early and is my oldest field this year.

    “On the other extreme, we’re still trying to move late-planted fields to flood. One grower said he would be pulling gates at the same time he’s putting them in, which shows how spread out this crop is. We always have a certain amount of late-planted rice but nothing like the amount this year.

    “Rice stink bug (RSB) treatments went out in a little of the first rice that headed. But once other fields began heading, the populations dispersed and thinned out. We can find RSB but not in any concentration, although we may not have stink bugs behind us yet. Plenty of rice is nowhere near heading, so we could be dealing with RSB for another 2 months.

    “The only issue around here has been grass control. We have years with that but it’s never been this spread out. I’ve compared notes with farmers and other people in the field, and we pretty much agree that this grass pressure gets back to all the rain that forced people to plant in a hurry.

    “We’d catch 2 or 3 days of dry weather, work the ground as best we could, scratch it and then plant. After that, growers came back with a residual herbicide and maybe Roundup where possible, then we’d get another rain the next morning.

    “With all that hurried field work, a lot of grass was still just below the surface and was never actually killed. In a normal year, we would have worked up the grass and let it sit there for 7 to 10 days until it died, but we didn’t have that opportunity in 2019.

    “In these fields, rain came right behind the drill and brought the grass back. So, we’re dealing with a lot of grass that already was ahead of us from the beginning.

    “Corn is pretty much done. We’ll probably irrigate 2 more weeks and that will wrap it up. I don’t have much corn this year but it looks good and I wish I had more. Soybeans look good, too, and we’re finding very few worms and very little disease. Our earliest-planted fields are at R4.”

    Wendell Minson, Bootheel Crop Consultants, Dexter, Missouri:

    “We’re now running downhill pretty quickly with this rice crop. Heading has started but I don’t have a whole field that’s completely headed out yet (as of 7/24).

    “So far, rice stink bug (RSB) pressure has been low and I haven’t treated any fields. I have heard of applications being made in the area, but in most years we don’t need to spray RSB at all. I remember one year when we had a good many RSB and everyone treated, but that’s not the case right now.

    “The part of the crop planted in a normal window is right on schedule. This is generally the week when rice starts heading.

    “One interesting thing is that I haven’t found any rice where plants were set back by cold water entering the field. Normally, you’ll have a paddy where the cold water really limits yield potential, but this year the rice has a uniformly green color.

    “I can’t say for sure what the difference is. We had heat but it also rained so much that we didn’t have to pump to the extent we would in a typical season, so we weren’t continually putting cold water on the field. After harvest, it will be interesting to check the flow meters and compare this year’s pumping with past seasons. This year, it probably has rained 48 inches in our area as of this week, which is more than it typically rains in a whole year.

    “We have a good crop, I think. The forecast indicates that temperatures could run below normal for 1 to 2 weeks, and that would slow crop progress to an extent. But as things look now, I expect the first harvest to start before September 1.

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    “Corn is at early dent to 75% milk line. It rained again yesterday – 4 to 6 inches in places and 1 to 2 inches in others. With that rain, growers will irrigate corn one more time and then stop. Corn is right on schedule.

    “Our early soybeans look really good, too. With the rain, a little more disease developed than normal. Insect pressure is low and no worms have developed yet. I do expect a moth flight, probably next week as they move from corn into these latest beans.

    “Late soybeans continue to struggle with all the rain. I saw fields today that were planted last week and then went under water before seedlings could emerge. Plenty of small plants are out there that don’t have much yield potential. Everything else should do okay, but beans will be the short crop. One supplier said he thinks all of his customers will pay out this year but there won’t be much gravy.”

    Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

    “A good deal more rice is heading. With more heading, rice stink bugs also have blown up in portions of the state this week, and they were pretty fierce in places. Treatments have been going out, mostly pyrethroids, and the applications have been taking care of them.

    “Jeff Gore (Extension Entomologist) received his first call this year about billbugs in row rice. People found them in places last year, and he’s checking out this latest report.

    “The last bit of rice probably went to flood this week – our ultra-late-planted fields. In spots, sheath blight is moving up the plants.

    A quick reminder: our rice field day here at Stoneville will be on August 8 and will start at 3:30 p.m. The event will include a field tour, industry reports and overviews on research projects. A reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres will follow at the Delta Council building.

    “On a side note, an educational poster is available that emphasizes the amount of damage headed rice sustains due to paraquat drift. This happens too frequently when growers desiccate soybeans ahead of harvest and paraquat drifts into headed rice. The poster was jointly developed by groups in industry, ag retailing and Extension, among others.

    “This seems to be a problem largely unique to Mississippi. Many people don’t realize that this drift can still injure rice after fields are drained, and yield losses can be substantial.”

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

    “A good deal of rice will be drained this weekend, probably the majority of the crop in southwest Louisiana.

    “While Hurricane Barry didn’t cause widespread flooding, we’re seeing more wind damage than I expected, particularly in later planted fields that were flowering when the storm came through. The rain and wind disrupted pollination where flowers were ready and also bruised kernels.

    “Overall, more blanking occurred than people might realize. It’s not a complete wipeout by any means, but rice sustained some degree of hidden damage. In our more southern parishes, it didn’t rain as much. But between the rain that did fall and the storm’s wind, we can expect partial blanking. However, you won’t see it unless you’re in the field and closely checking heads.

    “Damage will vary, depending on the field and where plants were in the reproductive stage. In spots, rice sustained significant yield losses, but less so in other areas.

    “Flooding also took a toll. According to one estimate, St. Landry Parish lost 750 acres to flooding in the hardest-hit area and yields were hurt on another 1,250 acres there.

    “I mentioned last week that a small amount of rice had been harvested where growers planted a handful of acres in mid-February. Yields, I’m told, were in the mid-40s (barrels/acre). Again, that’s a small part of the crop. The bulk of harvest in this part of the state will begin in the next couple of weeks (from 7/25).

    “When growers decide when to start harvest, they will have to adjust to variable stands across a wide part of the crop down here. Uneven emergence left us with a range of plant sizes, and that’s carried through to maturity and harvest planning.

    “People are asking when they should drain those fields. We’re advising them to drain when the bulk of the rice is ready. Don’t hold off until that later-emerged rice has fully matured. If you wait for it to finish, you jeopardize milling and quality with the more mature rice.”

    Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

    “Heading continues full swing. Major concerns include rice stink bugs (RSB) and disease development. RSB pressure is mixed, with high numbers in places and very low counts in others. So, scouting remains critical.

    “On the disease side, sheath blight remains our big concern. Once we’re past 50% heading and the upper three leaves are still clean, we’ve outrun any yield loss. However, if sheath blight is widespread and seems aggressive, an application may be warranted around that time to protect stalk integrity.

    “This round of cool weather is great, and we should remain warm enough to avoid any serious issues. These lower temperatures will likely slow disease development. Unfortunately, cooler weather also will slow crop development, although the net effect may only be a day’s delay.

    “Take note, though, that rice sometimes requires a bit of time to rebound after an unusually cool spell. So, we can’t know exactly how it will respond once things warm up again. The last 2 weeks of July are supposed to be our hottest period, but 2019 pitches us one curveball after another. It’s now starting to feel like knuckleballs are dancing all over the place.”

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

    “A significant part of our rice is heading or beyond heading. The last estimate was about 80%, although that number will likely be higher when the next report is posted on the Texas Rice Crop Survey website.

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    “At least a few farmers are preparing for harvest, which is a little late this year due to wet and cold weather in early spring. Kernel smut and panicle blight are showing up in places.

    “Crop development wasn’t uniform in fields with erratic, uneven emergence in the spring.

    “Rice stink bug (RSB) populations have been high where rice was heading, but Tenchu 20SG has done a good job reducing pressure. In some cases, farmers are getting by with a single application.”

    Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Arkansas:

    “We’re at 20% to 25% heading. Rice stink bugs are around. I treated an early field last week, and control was very good.

    “The grass won’t quit this year. It started early in the season after growers struggled to apply herbicides between the rains. At times, we were 3 weeks late making those treatments. That’s taken a toll. Now, every week it seems like we’re fighting grass in other fields, and after 3 or 4 applications in places, we’ll have to go with what we’ve got.

    “Fungicides are going out for sheath blight. Nothing has been treated for blast but we are making preventive smut applications.”

    Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana:

    “Our oldest fields have been heading for 2 weeks and our latest rice was planted in mid-July, so the crop has a wide maturity gap. Most of the rice is fine, although we’re fighting grass and are starting to see blast. We’re applying fungicides and top-dressing some of the later fields.

    “Rice stink bugs have been showing up. In the earliest crop, we had to spray and will likely treat certain fields again.”

    Andy Tonos, Delta Ag Consulting, Greenville, Mississippi:

    “Rice stink bugs (RSB) have been thick, and we’re spraying today (July 22). When the rice begins to head out, stink bugs can appear worse than they are because they’re so concentrated. But I’ve also seen pictures shared by other consultants that show fully headed rice covered up by RSB.”

    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

    “Rice stink bugs (RSB) are hitting 10 to 15 per 10 sweeps, which is 2X to 3X threshold. In extreme cases, counts are reaching 40 to 60 per 10 sweeps. With those high numbers, 90% control still means a field is at threshold. As more rice heads, RSB will begin dispersing but that’s yet to happen.”

    As they say on the high seas, steady as she goes.
    Export sales numbers for the week were significantly better than that of the past two reports and that is in keeping with the cycles over the past several months.
    AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell said row rice is becoming more widespread. Louisiana farmers three years ago used the practice on about 800 acres. That amount grew to about 4,000 acres last year, and it’s probably doubled for this year, he said.
    With all the rain from the tropical system known as Barry, rice diseases are a potential threat.

    AgFax Rice: Midsouth/Texas is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director.
    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the cotton production season. It is available to United States residents engaged in cotton farming, field scouting and other qualifying ag professions. Mailing address: 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047. Office: 601-992-9488.
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