“Our rice is in much better shape now. Last week, it looked rough. I don’t know that I’ve ever been more disappointed in how a rice crop looked. All that cold weather didn’t treat it well. But with warmer conditions, it has visibly turned around. Fields with a sick appearance last week look much healthier now.
“Soybeans are in a similar situation. Some guys have planted all their intended acres but others have none planted at all. Non-GMO growers don’t have any soybeans planted yet. But Mississippi County growers have planted a big part of their crop and most of that is up to a good stand.
“I don’t think we’ve had any major issues with soybeans. Maybe a few low ends flooded out, but cold weather hasn’t really affected them.”
Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist
“It’s hard to say where we are with planting progress because people continue to plant more rice. About 80% of what would have been our intended acreage has been planted. But then out of the blue, a farmer will tell me he’s planted another 400 acres.
“A portion of all the newer acres is in row rice. Growers who haven’t farmed rice in the last 7 or 8 years – or certainly since 2011 – have some semblance of normal paddy production and/or row rice. Those farmers who’ve never raised rice are primarily going with row rice.
“Fields are still too wet in places to plant, particularly in the north Delta. But wet conditions also have held up planting on a localized basis in the mid-Delta.
“Plenty of levees are going up and a lot of people are flushing. But the main rice with water on it is where growers water-seeded acres, but that is a very minor part of the crop. I did just receive my first 2020 report of anyone flooding a rice field this year. At best, though, we’re 7 to 10 days out from seeing a flood on the bulk of our regular crop.
“Where rice is up, it looks good, other than paraquat drift issues in specific locations. Until the last few days (from 5/20), we haven’t had the kind of warm and sunny weather needed to bring rice out of the ground and keep it growing. Before that, the crop looked sick.
“We’re approaching the deadline for prevented planting, and a couple of people said they might take that route but hadn’t decided. Then in a couple of days, I would find out that they had planted more rice.
“Just two days of sunshine really perked things up and probably helped everyone’s outlook, too. That’s true for rice but probably for any other crop in the Delta this week.”
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley
“Most rice has been planted. Where anything is left to plant in south Louisiana, it’s crawfish rice. The bulk of our crop in southwest Louisiana is at green ring, and some early water-seeded rice is in early boot.
“Temperatures were very hot in March, and we got a quick jump on rice growth and development. But April was a little cooler than normal, and the same goes for May so far. Colder conditions slowed crop growth enough that we’ll be about on track for our normal harvest timing.
“Now, temperatures appear to be creeping into the high 80s and low 90s, so we should see a noticeable difference in how the crop looks this week. Rain chances have increased for late this week and into next week, so we’ll also have to see how that plays into things.
“Most calls this week have been about how slowly rice is responding to midseason nitrogen applications. That delay is kind of expected with cooler weather and recent rainfall patterns, but hotter weather will bring us out of that.
“With most rice at midseason and some into early boot. start thinking about disease management. It’s time to gear up for smut control, which means applying propiconazole while rice is still in the boot. This is a prophylactic application. Keep in mind, too, that spraying after boot split has no effect on smut.
“We went through extreme smut problems last year in south Louisiana, so it’s imperative to act now if you had smut pressure in 2019. The spores are still very much with us. We didn’t worry much about smut in the past, but its presence has increased each year to the point that smut reached epidemic levels in 2019.”
M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont
“Rice looks good. Chinch bugs are about the only problem people are dealing with this week. They’ve turned into an issue on both the east and west sides of Houston on heavier soils. Most folks go with a Dermacor seed treatment, but it doesn’t control chinch bugs. Farmers are coming in with a pyrethroid to control the insect.
“Warmer weather has settled over the crop, so rice is progressing fast now.”
Wayne Dulaney, Agronomist, Local Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi
“Things are moving along pretty smoothly. I have farmers who are still putting a little rice in the ground. They’re about to back away from planting any more conventional varieties, but hybrid planting could linger for another week or two.
“On our own farm, we have rice planted on May 5 that came up quickly in that warm spell early this month. We’ll take some of that to a shallow flood tomorrow (5/22) as things look now. When we applied Command and Roundup, it was dry that week and we didn’t get a rain to activate it. But things warmed up enough for barnyardgrass to emerge, and we ended up with a bunch of two-leaf barnyardgrass that we had to spray.
“We decided to come in with fertilizer and bring that rice up to a very shallow flood. I hate flushing and will avoid it unless I need to gain a stand. At this point, it made more sense to come in with a pinpoint flood.