Rice: Considering Water Seeding? Tips, Tradeoffs

From Horizon Ag: Press Release

Rice farmers in the Upper Delta (Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri) are getting anxious because of the extremely wet conditions this season, especially with 2019 having wreaked havoc on rice planting.

With 2019 still nearby in the rear-view mirror and current saturated soil conditions, many farmers may be more likely to consider water seeding. If you’re one of those, consider the following as you finalize your planting decisions.

Water seeding rice requires more seed than drill seeding in order to establish an optimum stand. The increased seeding rate is used to overcome reduced germination and seedling survival as compared to the more efficient drill seeding system recommended for Clearfield and Provisia varieties.

Another potential stand establishment hazard of water-seeded rice is the potential for rice seed to move in the water prior to germination and pegging due to high winds and wave action. This seed movement can cause areas of high- and low-plant populations.

Water-seeded rice will mature approximately 10 days faster than drill-seeded rice. There is nothing wrong with planning for water seeding, but consider holding off until we get later in the optimum drill-seeded window. In other words, if wet weather persists after April 15, then you can make a firm decision on water seeding rather than drill seeding.

Water Seeding and Seeding Rates

There are many ways to water-seed rice. For the Clearfield Production System and the Provisia Rice System, we recommend the water-seeded, delayed-flood cultural practice.

In this system, rice is flown into a shallow flood and allowed to germinate. The water is then drained to allow for the rice to peg into the soil. After draining, rice is managed similarly to drill-seeded, delayed-flood rice.

Water seeding with pregerminated seed is rarely practiced since most rice is treated with insecticide and fungicide seed treatments, which are not labeled for pregermination.

Regardless of the method, water seeding typically requires at least 30% more seed per acre. Higher seeding rates are used when unfavorable planting conditions exist.

The targeted plant population of an established stand is still approximately 15 plants per square foot. Reduced seeding rates may be possible to achieve this target plant population.

But due to the stand establishment issues for water seeding mentioned above, higher seeding rates are often used to make sure the optimum plant population is reached.

The reduced prices in 2020 for proven Horizon Ag Clearfield varieties – like CL111, CL151 and CL153 – may make it more appealing to water-seed.

CL111 and CL153 have industry-leading blast tolerance and produce high yields with excellent milling quality. CL151 has been counted on for years to produce excellent yields and milling quality.

The reduction in price allows for a water-seeded rate that is comfortable while also allowing the use of Clearfield Production System herbicides for grass and red rice control.

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