“Heading in our rice ranges from 10% to 70%. For the fungicide, I’m going with Amistar Top because it gives me a little more flexibility in how far heading has progressed. In certain cases, I’m pushing the envelope a little just so we can apply the insecticide and fungicide in a single plane trip.
“We will have fields to drain in about 2 weeks.”
Lance Honeycutt, Simplot Grower Solutions, Jonesboro, Arkansas
“Our rice is all over the place. We’re hoping some will be into boot next week. That’s in my oldest rice, and we don’t have many fields to that point. We also have fields of young rice that have only been flooded for 10 days. I’m aiming to start fungicide applications next week for kernel smut and sheath blight. With sheath blight, this is a preventive. I’m looking for it but haven’t seen enough to raise any concerns.
“With my older rice, I’m right in the middle of the midseason fertilizer rounds. In places, we’ve wrapped it up, but in other locations we’ll make applications next week.
“Otherwise, I’m trying to clean up indigo and escaped grasses. With some of this older rice, I’m hoping to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’m generally pleased with the rice this year. It can be a little irritating when you’ve put money into it but still see some grass. But with the resistant grass situation we’re dealing with, it’s impossible to have every acre as clean as I’d like.
“With our beans, I’m mainly concentrating on weeds. With my oldest beans, though, I’m pretty much done with weed control. Other than that, it’s just a waiting game. We’re in the late R2 stage and they’re looking really good and we’re watering in places. With our latest beans, I’m waiting for some replants to come up.
“Our corn is just about at brown silk and we’re trying to keep it watered. As the saying goes, we’re trying to keep the fish alive at the bottom of the field.”
Amy Beth Dowdy, ABD Crop Consulting, Dexter, Missouri
“I think we’ll finally have everything to flood this week. I’m down to five or six fields now. It’s been a frustrating process, one problem after another, with almost all of it due to wet weather.
“In one case, the farmer has been trying to spray a field for 4 weeks. Every time he points his sprayer in the right direction, another afternoon thunderstorm rolls through. He considered filing an insurance claim but then backed away after running the numbers. It’s FullPage rice, so he’s already put plenty of money into it and the field has a nice, thick stand. But it has beans around it, so it would be a challenge to spray that rice by air anyway. He’s looking into bringing in a helicopter. I said to at least spray as much as he could.
“I’m finding the very tiniest beginnings of a head on some of our earliest rice, which went in around the first week of April. A couple of colleagues have rice planted at about the same time that’s a little more advanced. Ours wasn’t growing as fast, so we lagged a bit taking it to flood.
“With this crazy weather, some rice is yellowing, partly due to overcast conditions. But we’ve had so much rain that at least some nitrogen likely leeched away. With that situation, I’m going a little early on the midseason fertilizer. Even with some hybrid fields, I’m going early. This is our very earliest rice and has the best potential. I want to make sure it lacks for nothing. Plenty of rice was planted later and won’t do as well, so we need optimal production out of this earliest rice to bring up growers’ average yields.
“Going back through my records, May 25 stands out as probably the worst day for rice in Missouri this year. Anyone who planted around that date had a terrible time gaining a stand. It rained heavily around that date, which really packed down the soils. Those conditions seemed to affect the way chemicals worked, too. Fields we sprayed around that date seem to have the most grass. Among other things, all the wind probably roughed up the grass, so it was less able to take in enough herbicide.”
Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist
“Every day now, people are sending us photos of rice heads in their fields, so we know we’re moving closer to the end. If you look at USDA’s last report, it says we’re about 17% headed, although I really don’t think we’re that far along. We might be 5% to 10% headed right now. These photos are kind of an indicator. People have only just started sending them, and the heads are on the edges of fields, not shots of full fields heading.
“Somewhere, you might find a whole field headed, but I’m only seeing heads poking out on field edges, and some of that heading may be due to insufficient nitrogen. By the end of this week, we may see a fully headed field somewhere in the state.
“Perhaps 5% of the crop would be considered ‘super early’ in terms of planting dates, and 10% to 15% could generally be classified as ‘early.’ But 70% was planted in a two-week window, which opened in mid-May. Growers planted the remaining rice in late May and kept rolling into early June.
“We need to closely scout this first-heading rice for rice stink bugs (RSB). Only a limited amount of the crop is heading, so stink bugs will concentrate in those fields before more rice heads and dilutes the RSB populations. In this early rice, RSB are more likely to hit threshold.
“We’re starting to ramp up fungicide applications, but diseases aren’t an issue yet. We haven’t received the first call this year about blast, for example, and only a few people have called about sheath blight. Again, the bulk of our rice wasn’t planted until mid to late May. But if this rainy, humid weather continues, people will begin finding disease in the next 7 to 10 days.”
Andy Tonos, Delta Ag Consulting, Greenville, Mississippi
“My youngest rice is getting its first midseason shot, and the oldest has flag leaves just coming out. It’s been raining somewhere every day, and the weather went from one extreme to the other. For a while, we thought the rain was behind us, but then we received a pre-Fourth of July rain, a post-Fourth of July rain and a rain on the Fourth of July, itself.
“With all this rain, about all we can do is try to keep the flood stable so water isn’t rushing through the paddies, then apply fertilizer as we can.
“The rain is keeping us from putting out fungicides in soybeans when we’d like, but those don’t have to go out right this minute, so timing isn’t as urgent as some other things might be. We’re mainly just focusing on weed control in the soybeans. I’m about 90% finished with herbicide work in beans but we’re trying to spray some younger beans now.”
Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist
“The first few heads are starting to pop in our very earliest rice fields. That will pick up more over the weekend and into next week. We typically see a pretty big kickoff for heading around July 15. With this hotter weather, that may push things along a bit more. Keep in mind, though, that a big portion of the crop was planted somewhat later, so a relatively small part of our rice will be heading right away.
“The crop looks better and better, but the number of calls about disease picked up considerably this week. With these temperatures and all the rainfall, that’s expected, and it’s also that time of the year. Sheath blight is on the move. So far, only a limited number of acres require treatments, but sheath blight is definitely picking up.