“Corn looks excellent, and this rain was perfectly timed for it. We are just past pollination.
“I don’t want to sound too optimistic, but we’re in great shape. We have been very fortunate this year. We missed rains this spring that held up field work and planting to the north of us. I can’t think of another year when we planted so much this early.”
Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas
“It’s raining now (6/8). We could use a small shower in a few fields, but the forecast predicts 3 to 4 inches of rain from this storm (Cristobal). Some of the late-planted soybean and cotton fields could use up to an inch, but we’re still on the east side of this storm with large rains expected. We’ll see.
“A lot of our rice is going to flood right now. In the past couple of weeks, we have made a good deal of herbicide recommendations to try to clean up grassy fields and then apply fertilizer. A big percentage of our rice is ready to go to permanent flood right away.
“Going to flood has been a long time coming. I think we’re more ready for the rice to be in flood than the rice is. We’ve been pushing it hard towards a flood. And with all the rain and excessive weed pressure, that hasn’t come easily.
“Everyone switched gears in the rice fields from past years and planted more row rice. We’re probably 80% row rice this year. This is my fourth year with row rice, and I’m still learning about it. This year, we’ve had a terrible time trying to keep it clean.
“Some of the biggest problems in rice are in the prevented planting fields where we’re fighting the seed bank deposits from last year. The grass headed out and went to seed in those fields last year, which greatly increased the grass pressure this year.
“With prevented planting acres, you’ve got to stay on top of weeds when there’s no crop on the land. If the grass goes to seed, you’re facing a tough situation the next year when you come in with rice. If the field isn’t prepped until August, the grass has already headed. Disking simply sows more mature seed into the ground three or more inches thick.
“Italian ryegrass has been a huge problem this year, too. We have issues with it every year in northeast Arkansas, and it’s tended to be on field edges. This year, though, patches of it are way out in the fields, not just along the borders.
“It’s resistant to Roundup, so we’re going with Select Max to combat it. Due to the plant-back restrictions, you have to kill any of it 30 days prior to planting corn or rice. Once you have a corn crop or a rice crop planted into it, you just have to live with it.
“Most of our corn is at V9 or V10. It won’t be long before we start a pre-tassel nitrogen application. All of our corn has been laid by.
“Our soybeans are anywhere from just planted to full bloom. There’s a big difference in the ages of our soybeans, and we don’t have a lot of early planted beans this year. The majority are probably at V2 to V4.”
Amy Beth Dowdy, ABD Crop Consulting, Dexter, Missouri
“Some of my rice is up and some is just emerging and a little went to flood last week – a minute amount, probably less than 5%. The rain last weekend (5/30-31) kept people from doing much-needed spraying in rice.
“That kept me running all this last weekend to come up with new recommendations. Everyone thought the tropical storm (Cristobal) wouldn’t be here until today (6/9), so we could make applications ahead of it. But the storm reached us yesterday instead of today, so all my work was for naught.
“And even then, it only rained a half-inch where I work. The area had gotten dry, and some growers stopped planting soybeans because they ran out of moisture. But that small amount of rain won’t allow them to plant beans for very long after they start up again. Once the storm passed, the wind picked up and has been steadily blowing. We’ve had gusts at 30 mph and up to 40 mph at times, and it’s been hard to walk through fields or keep a vehicle between the lines.
“With all the wind, that small amount of moisture will be gone pretty quickly.
“Also, I’m not sure enough rain fell to activate preemerge chemicals. Even where farmers planted rice last week, I doubt if they had enough moisture to activate herbicides unless they flushed fields. In rice today, I saw possible evidence that chemicals hadn’t been activated. One-leaf grass was everywhere. Either the initial preemergence ran out last week or that last one was never activated.
“This won’t be a cheap year and it won’t be a pleasant year for anyone. It’s going to take hotter herbicide combinations to regain control. Soybeans already are up, so we’re set up for a difficult situation.”
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley
“All eyes were on tropical storm Cristobal, but it didn’t have much effect on us. In southwest Louisiana, we luckily were on the west side of the storm – where you’ll see less wind and rain – and the rice crop here fared pretty well. Rice didn’t sustain much, if any, direct damage. High winds came along in places but weren’t excessive.
“That said, some early planted rice was into pollination and did receive enough rain and wind to disrupt that process. That will cause sections of the panicle to abort, so we can expect a degree of yield reduction due to that.
“Northeast Louisiana has been pretty dry and received much-needed rain from the storm.
“A big portion of the rice in southwest Louisiana was in late boot and very near to heading when the storm came through. Probably 5% was in boot split or actually heading.
“We’ll likely start a limited amount of harvest before mid-July. In northeast Louisiana, everything that isn’t at flood is heading that way.”
M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont
“A big portion of our rice is heading now, and the crop still looks good. We dodged Cristobal, which is great news for Texas rice farmers.
“Rice stink bugs are in the heading fields now, but populations are not abnormally high or low, for that matter. No big problems with disease so far, but we are concerned about kernel smut in the near future.”
Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist
“We received rain, partly from tropical storm Cristobal, and totals ranged from 2 to 5 inches across much of the Delta. But those higher amounts also included rains that fell in places last Friday (6/5). That storm came out of the north and had nothing to do with Cristobal.