Rice Harvest Gains Momentum In Coastal Belt, More Midsouth Heading – 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.


    Harvest is gaining a bit of momentum in southwest Louisiana, and a few combines may be running in Texas rice by now.

    Midsouth rice has started heading on a wider basis, and scattered fields in Arkansas and Mississippi are now fully headed.

    Extreme heat is pushing the Delta crop along. Temperatures have been solidly in the 90s for a week or more and that weather pattern will hold well into the month across much of the region. Concerns are being raised about high nighttime temperatures and their disruptive effect on pollination in flowering rice.

    Rice stink bugs will be the next issue as more rice heads in the Midsouth. It’s too early to say how they will trend.

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    Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas

    “In rice, we’re starting to see heads in a few of our earliest fields. All the early-planted rice is in early to mid-boot, and our rice ranges from green ring to heading. It’s an interesting year for sure.

    “Fungicides are going out for kernel smut. A few cases of sheath blight have been spotted in various places but it’s not overwhelming yet.

    “Depending on the location and planting date, most of the soybeans I look at are at R3. Over in Mississippi County, beans are probably closer to R3 to R4. Fungicides are starting to go out on some of the beans.

    “Most of the corn is at brown silk. We’ve applied a fungicide on most of it, which we do at white silk. Disease isn’t really a huge problem yet in the corn, but I have seen some diplodia leaf streak in places.”


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

    “Overall, the crop looks good, and I expect that some harvesting will start this week. It’s been hot and dry in southeast Texas, so rice is maturing quickly.

    “I’m hearing reports about heavy rice stink bug populations in Colorado County in organic rice. Also, I observed fields in Jefferson County that had been attacked by the South American rice miner. It’s an exotic species. The larvae ‘mine’ the leaves and cause rice to look ragged. Where I’ve been, damage wasn’t significant but was widespread through the affected fields.”


    Hank Jones, RHJ Ag Services, Winnsboro, Louisiana

    “Most of my rice is either in the boot stage or very close to entering it, and a third of my rice has started to head. We’ve made fungicide applications on about a third of the crop, as well.

    “Row rice is more erratic as it heads. Plants in the water are starting to head, but heading is a little delayed in drier parts of fields.

    “We’re not seeing a lot of disease issues yet. The biggest obstacle we faced this year was moving water across fields in row rice production. Water moved down the field fine, but it was a hard task to get it to migrate across the fields. We had to supplement a bunch of streaks where fertilizer wasn’t activated. We worked out some of the kinks, and rains really benefited the row rice in those cases.

    “In soybeans, growers are starting to spray a lot of redbanded stink bugs (RBSB). We’re at about 75% threshold (7/13) in places, and we’ve been riding a bunch of sub-threshold RBSB populations for 14 to 17 days. It’s time to clean them up because we are starting to see a few immatures. Small numbers of southern green and a couple of brown stink bugs are in the mix, but we’re mainly spraying RBSB.

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    “We are picking up some target spot in beans. With all the rain over the last two weeks, I’m not surprised. Plants developed some dense canopies, so things are staying wet underneath. We will be looking to spray those beans soon. Target spot isn’t a disease to take lightly.

    “This might be one of the best corn crops I have ever checked. I found some early-March corn in black layer over the past few days, and we’re probably done watering 75% of our corn acres. Some April-planted corn will require another watering.”  


    Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Ventress, Louisiana

    “Most of the oldest rice is headed out, and it ranges from pollination to late-pollen or early milk. Some of those acres have been treated for stink bugs. The numbers aren’t tremendous like we’ve seen in the past, but we are finding enough to spray.

    “We do have a lot of late rice that was planted after crawfish harvest, and I expect to have stink bugs fairly consistently in those fields.

    “Corn is pretty much done. A lot of my corn is at black layer, and the rest is close behind.

    “The oldest soybeans are at R6. Several of those fields have been treated for stink bugs twice now, and the majority have been treated at least once, which is normal. Redbanded stink bugs have been late showing up, which I think validated how well we handled them near the end of last season. We had no winter kill at all. When combined with counts of other species, we were over threshold in a lot of fields.

    “Aerial blight has only been an issue in a few fields that have a history of it. So far, defoliating caterpillars are staying really light.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “Plenty of rice is starting to head. Rice stink bugs (RSB) are out there, but I’m not receiving many calls about them yet. We just don’t have enough rice that is heading out to really see RSB move in and increase to any extent. We will be reaching that point quickly, though, and I think we will know by next week what the future looks like for RSB.

    “We’re on the tail end of looking at rice water weevils (RWW). Overall, RWW numbers have been moderate to high, depending on your location and situation. The RWW activity has really been pretty high in areas this year. We’re seeing the value of our seed treatments – especially the combo treatments where we are mixing a neonic and a diamide.

    “In soybeans, I’m hearing about ‘trash’ insects like dectes stem borers and threecornered alfalfa hoppers. Overall, worm activity hasn’t caught up to the soybeans yet.

    “Native stink bug species are pretty high throughout the state right now. A lot of R2 to R3 fields are hitting treatment level. Southeast Arkansas is the only area where I know of anyone treating redbanded stink bugs. They’re finding quite a few in the Texarkana area. With so much of this soybean crop planted late, we’re bound to have stink bug issues.”


    Wayne Dulaney, Agronomist, Local Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi

    “Rice looks pretty good. You’ll see a little grass here and there, but I haven’t had to recommend a salvage treatment yet.

    “Some of my very first rice was planted on our own farm, and we’re starting to see heads in it really good this week. We planted that part of the crop around April 10 when we caught one little window. The rest is still moving along.

    “A good bit of Clearfield 163 was planted in the Delta this year because of a specialty contract offered by The Rice Company for the South American market, which really likes the milling quality of that variety. But as expected, sheath blight hit it, and we treated it.

    “It’s nothing bad, but we just came off the worst two weeks you could have for sheath blight in north Mississippi. Skies were overcast showers fell every other day. Now, it looks like we’re settling into a dry pattern.

    “Again, the rice looks really good, but levees were just pulled in some late fields 10 days ago.

    “Beans are really advancing quickly. It seems like we went from R1 to R3 overnight, and we’re already starting to see pods. We’re about to put out fungicides but really don’t have any insect pressure. 

    “We had some corn planted during really favorable conditions this spring, and it looks really good. We’re just watering it now.”


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

    “Some of our first rice has been harvested, and that began over the weekend and then into this week. Just a few yield reports have filtered in. Some CL111 ranged from 44 to 46 barrels/acre. A bit of PVL02 averaged 42 barrels and some Clearfield Jasmine went 43. These are just the very earliest fields, and we expect the majority of our harvest to really get going in about a week.

    “We’re definitely in a heat wave, with temperatures in the mid-90s most days and nighttime temperatures at or above 75 degrees.

    “Those high nighttime lows are bad for rice that’s flowering. These excessive nighttime temperatures can cause fissuring, which would lead to a lower milling yield. Also, the heat causes plants to pack starch too quickly in the grain, which can lead to chalkiness. A portion of the crop is in that space. It went in during the latter part of the recommended planting window.

    “However, a big part of our southwest Louisiana crop is out of harm’s way in that regard. The largest share of our rice was planted in early to mid-March, and most of that has been drained and should be fine.

    “In northeast Louisiana, growers planted a good bit of medium-grain rice, with a lot of that in row rice production. And in this medium grain, we’re seeing leaf blast. Jupiter, a medium grain variety, is very susceptible to leaf blast. Often, you’ll find leaf blast, but it may not turn into rotten neck blast later. At least, that’s what we see in flooded rice.

    “You’ll want to go with a two-fungicide program where you’ve planted a susceptible variety and it’s in row rice production. With leaf blast in paddy rice, you can manage it by raising the water level. In row rice, you don’t have that option.

    “The South American rice miner (SARM) seems to be everywhere. It’s also known as the whorl maggot, and in places it’s making rice look ragged and ugly. I’m finding SARM in every late field I walk in southwest Louisiana, with some in central Louisiana, too.

    “Now that harvest has begun, it’s time to think about ratoon rice. One of the management practices that has been most successful in increasing yields is stubble management. You want to run a flail or rotary mower and lower stubble height to about eight inches. Or, you can roll the stubble. Either approach forces the ratoon crop to originate from the crown node, not one of the upper nodes.

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    “That results in more grains per panicle, more filled grains per panicle, and reduces disease pressure. We’ve seen this increase ratoon yields by as much as five barrels per acre. On one hand, it delays maturity by about two weeks. On the other hand, stubble management evens out maturity, which helps with harvest timing.

    “Also related to ratoon cropping, apply nitrogen immediately after you manage stubble and then reestablish a shallow flood as soon as the nitrogen goes out. We find that a nitrogen rate of 90 lbs/acre is optimal for most seasons. That was the outcome in 90% of our studies. In the other 10% of this research, 120 lbs/acre was the better rate when the first crop showed high potential. That seems to be the case this year.”


    Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist

    “We’re finally into heading on the earliest rice, with some whole fields heading. I’ve been surprised at how uniformly those heads jumped out there. That creates a positive feeling when you look across those fields. This heat is pushing them along. A few fields started heading right before the Fourth of July, and more will begin through the weekend.

    “With the earliest heading fields, we’re worried about having a huge influx of rice stink bugs (RSB), although not many people have mentioned RSB yet. We’ll see how numbers look through the end of this week and hopefully gain an idea about potential pressure. In places, they do look pretty thick, and I expect at least some treatments in earlier fields.

    “Folks are scouting for sheath blight and finding aggressive situations in certain places. But with most of it, sheath blight is there but hasn’t reached a treatment threshold. With most fields right now, avoid overreacting. Hold back a little and see if you can delay applications or even outrun it.

    “Plenty of people are asking about preventive treatments for kernel and false smut. Preventive is a key word because you can’t go back in time once you miss the treatment window. I suspect that people take a conservative approach and spray a little more often than might be necessary since we’re dealing with certain unknowns about how much pressure to expect.

    “We did plant a good deal of rice on the late side, and that somewhat predisposes those fields to the smuts. But to make a treatment decision, a couple of other factors need to be considered. Does the field have a history of smut? Did you apply excessive nitrogen rates? How susceptible is the variety? With false smut, that boils down to two classifications – susceptible or very susceptible.

    “All that forms a list of check boxes. The more boxes you check, the higher the risk that false smut will develop.

    “With kernel smut, some varieties and hybrids are less susceptible. They’re rated moderately susceptible. Again, you also look at those other check boxes – late planting dates and heavy nitrogen rates.

    “How much effect either smut has on the bottom line will differ. False smut is showy because it’s often on the outside of the kernel, but it doesn’t really affect milling. Kernel smut, on the other hand, forms inside the kernel, and can be way worse in terms of the hit you take on milling.

    “In 2015, heavy rains fell during late grain fill, which caused heavy amounts of sooty mold. People mistook that for kernel smut, and I’m still coming across farmers who make a smut application based on those observations. Faulty diagnosis might still be costing you. Check the field history in recent years to make an educated fungicide-application decision.

    “This daytime heat is good, and it’s rice-growing weather, for certain. But the overnight temperatures haven’t been quite as low as we would like. I hope they decline as more rice moves into heading, flowering and grain fill. It’s a real negative when the nightly low remains at or above 75. Up until now, that hasn’t affected us much, but it could become a factor if that nighttime temperature trend stays in place.”


    Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist

    “The crop looks pretty good right now (7/15), and we’re full-0n with flooding, with just a minute amount of acreage where pumps aren’t running. The bulk of our rice ranges from midseason to early heading.

    “Two days ago, I received the first picture of a fully headed field. Are we 35% headed like USDA estimates? Probably not, but maybe 15%.

    “A few interesting things have been brought to our attention this week, with at least one that we’ve never seen before. In one field, the leaves were completely broken over at a 90-degree angle. No cause seemed apparent, and that’s something new for us. It didn’t happen to the flag leaf, so this shouldn’t be a concern for yields right now. But the cause is a mystery.

    “Calls about sheath blight are picking up, and this is about the time when it comes on. However, we’re still not hearing about any blast.

    “One of the biggest topics this week has been about crop quality and how USDA rated Mississippi’s rice very low. A number of people asked what accounts for that. The crop looks pretty good and is just into heading, so that was as big a surprise to me as it was to anyone else. A big part of our crop was planted late, so maybe that enters into USDA’s rating.

    “It’s odd, too, that we haven’t had nearly the call volume this season as we typically expect. Again, much of the crop was planted late, so everything – including questions – has maybe running behind, too. Where we’ve seen drift this year, it’s also mainly been on edges, not across whole fields. Lower amounts of drift damage also may have cut down on people contacting us.”

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