“We are finding billbugs in the row rice, but I haven’t seen any harm. They can be a problem farther south, and billbugs can kill tillers, not just chew on them a bit. In this area, though, 95% of the time they don’t harm our crop.
“We’ll begin cutting test strips in two weeks. With one field, we shut off water last week and are waiting for the moisture to come down.”
M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont:
“Reports from the field continue to suggest yields are down this year, but we still have no solid yield figures. A few reports about kernel smut are turning up.
“It’s been dry over the past week, which is great for harvest and quality. The weather models indicate that dry conditions will remain in place this week. That’s great news, and I hope it holds. Mid-September is kind of the peak for hurricane season along the Texas coast, so we become nervous about any systems developing in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:
“Growers are pulling boards this week in plenty of rice fields. For whatever reason, numerous stink bugs are making a return appearance in places as rice dries down. Numbers are exceeding 1 per sweep. In the last 2 weeks of heading, the threshold is 10 per 10 sweeps.
“We terminate applications at 60% hard dough. While many folks might hesitate to treat, don’t take a chance with pecky rice. If you’re close to 60% hard dough but find threshold numbers, treat the stink bugs.”
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley:
“Harvest has moved along, albeit on a stop-and-go basis due to rains. Fortunately, it’s been dry through southwest Louisiana for the first couple of days this week. However, the forecast calls for a high probability of rain today (8/14), which will slow up things a bit.
“Yield reports continue to be a little disappointing and are down pretty much across the board for reasons stated in last week’s newsletter. High grain moisture also has been holding up harvest in places in both the varieties and hybrids.
“One reason rice seems to be drying slowly is the high variability in the maturity of the rice. That gets back to the uneven emergence early in the year. Current conditions are also playing a part in that. For example, over the past several weeks the relative humidity has run well above 50% most of the time, which significantly slows the drying process.
“If relative humidity had been lower, rice would be drying down faster and more likely would have been harvested by now.
“We’re seeing more smut, both false and black kernel, and also are finding sooty mold. Historically, smuts had not been prolific in southwest Louisiana, but frequency and severity have picked up in recent seasons.
“As rice comes off, growers are setting up for the ratoon crop. Typically, our best ratoon yields are from rice harvested before August 15, and we’re at that point this week. Obviously, we’d like to be further along with harvest and have more of that ratoon crop set up by now.
“Stubble management is recommended to increase second-crop yields. That can be done by either rolling or by mowing the stubble down to eight inches. Stubble management forces the tillers to develop from the base of the plant. Those resulting panicles tend to be larger and generate more filled grains per panicle.
“Another advantage with stubble management is that less disease tends to follow, especially cercospora. Plus, it evens out maturity.
“However, stubble management can delay maturity by about two weeks. Once you’re past August 15, we don’t officially recommend stubble management because it does delay maturity.
“Also, we generally recommend 90 lbs/acre of nitrogen applied pre-flood, preferably on dry ground. Start pumping up those fields as soon as possible. In most years, that 90 lb/acre rate gives you the optimal return.”
Gary Bradshaw, Independent Agronomist, Bradshaw Agricultural Consulting, Richmond, Texas:
“We’re wrapping up harvest. A number of my clients had already finished or were cutting the last of their rice today (8/14). Several clients still have another four or five days to go.