Rice Harvest Starts In South Louisiana – AgFax

    Rice harvest. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    Owen Taylor, Editor

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


    Rice harvest has started in southwest Louisiana, and more rice is being drained there and in Texas. See comments by Dustin Harrell and M.O. Way.

    Heading has begun in a few more fields in Arkansas and Mississippi, and more heads should be coming out next week.

    Disease remains mostly in the background in the Delta crop. But persistent rains in parts of the region have created the kind of steam-bath atmosphere that promotes disease development.

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    Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana

    “Our rice is moving along very well. I have the most uniform, earliest rice crop I’ve ever checked, with 90% of it being row rice. I don’t have any late rice, which is very unusual. We typically have rice planted all the way into June, but this was all planted fairly early.

    “Pretty much all my crops are running early this year. Around September 1, I’ll be completely done except for a few acres planted behind seep water along the river.

    “About 80% of our bean crop is early, and most are at R5.5. Some of the earliest beans are starting to turn and desiccation should begin in 2 weeks on them. Stinkbugs are building quickly as beans approach R6. It’s mostly a mix of red banded and green with a few browns. Treatments are going out on a lot of fields. That’s really the only issue with insects in the beans. So far, corn earworms are fairly light.

    “Our corn is beginning to dry down and we should begin harvest in early August.”


    Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas

    “Our rice is moving along very well, and it ranges from some that just went to flood to fields in early boot.

    “We have a lot of rice this year, and 70% of my acres are in row rice. We’ve been trying to stay on top of the weeds and such, but we’re pretty much past the herbicide application period. We are concentrating now on applying fertilizer.

    “We haven’t had many disease issues in this year’s rice.

    “Soybeans range from R3 to full bloom and pods beginning to form. Some later beans are just now at V2. Although we have a very wide range of ages, the majority of our soybeans are in full bloom.

    “Insects in the soybeans have been really quiet. We are picking up a few stink bugs – green and southern green – but nothing worth treating.

    “Most of our corn is in the blister stage. A lot of fungicides went out on corn last week, but very few diseases have turned up in corn. This year’s corn crop looks excellent. Until now, rains have been fairly regular, with limited need to irrigate.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “We drove up around Walnut Ridge looking at rice stem borers in a farmer’s fields. I pulled up a couple of plants, and they were covered with rice water weevils (RWW). In plots at our Pine Tree research station, our untreated checks are averaging 30 weevils per 4-inch core, which is considerably higher than the 3-per-core threshold established by M.O. Way (Extension Entomologist, Texas A&M).

    “Based on what we’re seeing and hearing, RWW numbers seem to be high across the state. Our seed treatment combinations – particularly with Fortenza or Dermacor – are providing a significantly better level of RWW control compared to the neonics like Cruiser or NipsIt.

    “We have locked in a few locations for RWW plots next year and will strip some fields with different treatments to show growers what they could gain by utilizing a seed treatment. Based on data over the past 12 years, using a seed treatment increases average yields by 8 bushels an acre over all fields with or without weevils present. That’s compared to plots with only a fungicide seed treatment. The treatments cost the equivalent of 2 bushels of rice per acre, so your gaining 8 extra bushels for the price of 2.

    “Where RWW have built, farmers will pretty much have to live with them at this point. Draining the field is the only control measure now, and that’s not too practical this late. Draining will throw off the farmer’s fertilizer and weed management programs. Plus, he’ll spend money to run the pumps and reestablish the flood. So, anyone with RWW will just take a hit on yields.

    “Over the next two weeks, we should see how rice stink bugs (RSB) will trend this year. Based on what we’re finding on field borders, we think RSB will be pretty bad.”

    “In soybeans, we are still picking up a few redbanded stink bugs (RBSB), but a lot of fields at R2 and R3 are at treatment level for green and brown stink bugs. Even though we don’t have the high RBSB levels, keep scouting beans as they go into podding at R3 or R4. In places, those native stink bug species are at treatment levels, which is 9 per 25 sweeps.”


    DeWayne Dopslauf, Crop Production Services, Wharton, Texas

    “I’m applying fungicides and insecticides this week on the majority of my rice, and that’s about it. We’re seeing some stink bugs and also grasshopper damage in certain areas. I’m mixing an insecticide with a fungicide, depending on what I’m seeing and how much damage I’m finding. In places, I’m just going with an insecticide because we applied a fungicide earlier.

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    “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.

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    “Rain is moving across the state right now (mid-afternoon, 7/9), with severe thunderstorms in places, and this weather pattern and high humidity will likely continue through the week. So, scout diligently. Remember, too, that a positive sheath blight find doesn’t automatically mean you need to treat. If sheath blight isn’t moving up the plant and threatening the canopy, hold off. Eventually, it will move up the plant. But waiting to treat means you can get by with lower fungicide rates because you won’t have to suppress it as long. And you might outrun it, so you won’t have to spray at all.

    “A few more reports of leaf blast have turned up this week. We very rarely treat for leaf blast, and we don’t have a treatment threshold for it. Once we find leaf blast, the objective is to raise the water level, which slows down its development. Try to raise the flood to 4 inches or greater.

    “Remember, too, that finding leaf blast is no guarantee that neck or panicle blast will appear later. On the flip side, you might find neck or panicle blast later but leaf blast was never in the field. With row rice acres increasing, leaf blast is becoming more of a factor, especially when growers plant cultivars that are more susceptible to it. The main way to suppress leaf blast is by raising the flood, which you can’t do in row rice.

    “A good deal about blast depends on varieties. Roy J, which we hardly grow now, rarely develops leaf blast but it’s prone to neck blast. Jupiter, on the other hand, is fairly prone to leaf blast, but it’s somewhat rare to find neck blast in Jupiter fields.

    “People continue calling about hydrogen sulfide toxicity (HST), and folks are finding more of it than we can remember. All the winter flooding and rain since then reduced soil oxygen levels, which has triggered more of it this season. The only step you can take is to drop the water enough to reoxygenate the soil. If this were earlier in the season, you’d still have a chance to fully dry out the soil. But this late in the crop, the best we can do is lower the water to a muddy state.

    “Fortunately, HST tends to be worse the closer you are to the water inlet. Simply shutting down the pump should be enough. Between this hot weather and plant water use, you can pull down the flood enough in those upper paddies to put more oxygen in the soil. Essentially, you’re giving those roots a breath of fresh air.

    “With a lot of fields at this point, we’ll probably be able to get away with not draining. Roots are blackening due to HST, but we’re so close to the end that it would be counterproductive to drop the water now. If it’s a severe case and HST could prematurely shut down plants, draining may be necessary.”


    M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont

    “Our rice looks good, and some draining has started, so we should see a few combines running in mid-July. No big issues are surfacing. I made a call on one farm near the Beaumont Center to check out a population of South American rice miners (SARM). It didn’t look like a big problem. It’s an exotic species that I have observed before. The field was infested but the damage wasn’t significant.

    “SARM is kind of an unusual, occasional pest. However, on that same farm, turtles had done some significant damage in low areas of the field.”


    Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley

    “Our first harvest report came in this week — 45 barrels green in a field of CL 111 in Vermilion Parish. We would have had several more reports from the early rice, but rain kept fields too wet for combines to run. Hopefully, we’re at the start of some really good yields in south Louisiana.

    “We’re still getting calls about disease management in northeast Louisiana. The most important thing to remember right now about smut control is application timing. The treatment must be made while rice is still in the boot stage and the panicle is at 2 inches. Go with propiconazole or difenoconazole. Once rice begins to head and that boot splits, the fungicide won’t provide any smut protection.

    “In our crawfish rice and our late-planted rice, people are finding a lot of South American rice miners (SARM). It’s very prolific this year.

    “Unfortunately, you really can’t manage this insect. Once you realize they are present, SARM are protected inside the leaf sheath, so insecticides can’t reach them. We just have to push through and hope they don’t come back next year. It’s cyclical, depending on maybe the weather or other conditions. SARM may be around for a couple of years, then not turn up for a couple of years, then show up again.”

    AgFax Rice: Midsouth/Texas is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director.
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