Rice – Coastal Crop Dodges A Bullet | Midsouth Flooding Gains Momentum – AgFax

    Rice irrigated with poly pipe. ©Debra L Ferguson

    Owen Taylor, Editor

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


    As tropical storms go, Cristobal had a minimal effect on the 2020 rice crop. Enough rain fell to blow out levees in parts of the Midsouth. But the storm’s path put the coastal crop on the western side of its track, which would be the “good” side in terms of wind and rain. Rice that was heading in Texas and southwest Louisiana missed a calamity, although rainfall will blank some kernels.

    More rice is going to flood in the Midsouth. Where growers were set to flood fields, Cristobal delivered plenty of free water.

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    DeWayne Dopslauf, Crop Production Services, Wharton, Texas

    “The tropical storm (Cristobal) didn’t really affect us. We’ve been having a few typical summer showers, but nothing too bad. Some of our older rice is just starting to head. We’re applying fungicides now, and a few rice fields just need to be cleaned up a bit more, and that’s about it.

    “I don’t want to jinx anything by saying this but it’s been kind of an easy year so far. We had a cool period for a while, and that slowed the growing a bit. But compared to 2019, it hasn’t been bad. Last year, persistent rains delayed planting and then we found ourselves fighting herbicide issues. Compared to that, this year has moved along okay.

    “I’m thinking that some of our older rice will probably be drained around the middle of July, so we could start harvest before August.”


    Andy Tonos, Delta Ag Consulting, Greenville, Mississippi

    “We got a lot of rain from the tropical storm (Cristobal), and it’s pretty muddy. Totals ranged from 1.5 inches to 3 inches. Most all of my rice is flooded up. A lot has had a permanent flood for a week or so. There’s some younger rice that we’re just now starting to flood up and a bit that’s maybe a week away. After that, we’ll be pretty much done.

    “Soybeans are in different stages, and I’ve got some that haven’t been planted yet. The oldest are probably at R2. Most of our corn is either tasseling or close to it.”


    Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana

    “We’re just passing midseason in the rice, and the crop looks pretty good overall. Our paddy rice has been in flood for probably three weeks.

    “About 90% of my rice this year is row rice. We’re dealing with a few weed issues in that part of the crop. But other than that, our row rice looks good, as well.

    “When I got up this morning (6/8) there was seven tenths of an inch of rain in my gauge, but several rain bands came through after that. When I checked this afternoon, we had an inch and three tenths. We’re hoping to get 2 inches of rain out of this storm (Chrisobal) because things were getting pretty dry. The way our luck usually runs with tropical systems, it’ll rain 6 inches or nothing. We have been irrigating soybeans and corn like crazy.

    “A lot of our soybeans are between R3 and R4 stages, and fungicides were applied on them. We started planting beans around March 18, and those are moving quickly now. I’d say 80% of the beans were planted by April 10.

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    “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.

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    “Rice is going to flood on a full-blown basis. Probably 40% of our crop is flooded now. Plenty of growers put themselves in a postion to catch free rain from Cristobal to start their floods. They spent most of last week applying herbicides and fertilizer.

    “A few calls are coming in about herbicide injury. After Cristobal, people also asked about whether they could apply their fertilizer right away on wet soil. With the rice that hasn’t gone to flood yet, I don’t think any of it is big enough that we should rush it to flood. Mostly, those farmers had time to hold off on fertilizer and let the ground crust before making that application.”


    Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist

    “Cristobal came through early in the week, but we didn’t receive as much rain in eastern Arkansas as predicted. On the southern half of the eastern side, it rained two to three inches, but that extended over 24 hours, so it wasn’t a torrential event. Less rain fell as you went north from Interstate 40.

    “The rain blew out levees here and there. But things could have been much worse if the rain had been as heavy as you might expect with a tropical system.

    “The heavier rains also didn’t settle over the north and north-central counties where all those lakes feed into our river systems. With enough rain through there, we could have been into major flooding. As it was, the lake managers released some water, but the White River crested much lower than anticipated. Water backed into some acres, but we missed major flooding.

    “In the next couple of days, farmers should be rolling again. Dry, sunny and warm conditions are in the forecast for the next 10 days, and it’s coming right on cue for the rice. Farmers also will be able to push ahead with field work and soybean planting.

    “Rice planting is done. That’s not to say someone won’t be planting out to July 1 for one reason or another, but any more planting now would be an insignificant part of the crop.

    “I’m chasing various herbicide injury and drift calls. One thing turning up is delayed phytotoxicity syndrome (DPS). With mild conditions and extremely wet soils this spring, rice plants ended up with shallow root systems that might be in concentrations of various herbicides still in the soil profile. So, plants are pulling in cumulative amounts of those materials. When rice goes to flood, DPS symptoms develop, and those might be mistaken for carryover injury.

    “Easing down the flood helps alleviate the DPS effects. Unless it’s a severe situation, you don’t have to pull down the flood all the way. But in extreme cases, you’ll need to dry out the ground so more oxygen can reach the roots. Drying down the field like that will cost you some nitrogen in the process.

    “Nearly half the crop is at flood. Usually by now, the majority of our rice is hitting midseason. Much of it would have been flooded for a couple of weeks. This year, flooding has been possible mostly in pockets, nothing widespread. In places, you won’t see anything at flood, but in another county, every field you drive by has a flood. Some areas are mostly on schedule, while others are weeks behind.”

    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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