Rice: Coastal Harvest Disrupted, Hints Of Draining In Midsouth – 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.


    Hurricane Hannah put harvest on hold in coastal Texas and southwest Louisiana. Some rice went down and growers may have to rut up fields in places. But damage and disruptions were rather slight compared to the major toll the storm took on the cotton crop farther south along the Texas coast. For more information on that, connect to our Southwest Cotton newsletter in the Also of Note section.

    Where harvest has restarted in the coastal belt, yields continue to be strong.

    Draining has started in Arkansas on a very localized basis in rice flown on early in the planting season. A few more fields will likely be drained next week.

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    Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Arkansas

    “About 50% of our rice is heading, and the rest should start within the next 10 days (from 7/28). Maybe 3 or 4 fields are 100% headed. All the fertilizer is out on the rice, but we are still applying fungicides on the later fields. Sheath blight is showing up in a few spots.

    “The biggest issue for us this year has been trying to kill resistant grass in rice and control pigweed in everything else. In rice, we don’t have a silver bullet for resistant grass, and we’ve pretty much used the same materials for a long time. For one reason or another, plenty of farmers are choosing to grow rice continuously, which contributes to the resistance pressure.

    “Corn is in the dough stage, and we only have a couple of waterings left on it. 

    “We have started picking up a good many green cloverworms in the soybeans. If the numbers continue to rise, we’ll have to treat them. I have never treated green cloverworms, so that will be a first for me. I think we’re on the front end of a bollworm flight in soybeans because we picked up a few worms, plus plenty of moths are out there this week. I think we will be fighting worms in beans in 7 to 10 days.”


    Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana

    “Every other day it seems to rain somewhere, and more scattered showers fell yesterday (7/26). We have an 80% chance forecasted for tomorrow (7/29). Most of the crops are not in need of a rain at this point.

    “We are making some stink bug applications in the oldest rice. We may be able to quit watering or drain some fields late this week or early next week. A lot of rice is heading now, so we are really watching for stink bugs and making applications where needed. 

    “Fungicide and fertilizer work are underway in the later-planted rice, and herbicides still may be going out in the absolute youngest rice, although that’s a very small part of our crop. The majority of our rice acres have headed or are close to it, and it’s all moving along fairly quickly. We’re probably 5 to 7 days away from draining the first field of paddy rice.

    “We’re spraying some of the younger soybeans for bollworms, and we’re starting to treat more fields for redbanded stink bugs (RBSB). Redbanded numbers aren’t terribly high, but we’re dealing with them as they show up. We did do a lot of fungicide applications last week in the beans.

    “One of my clients has started cutting corn, and a few more farmers in the area are cutting, too.”


    Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas

    “Our rice is 60% headed, and the rest is not far behind. One client told me he is planning to start draining a few zero-grade fields on heavy ground in 10 days (from 7/28). Stink bugs are few and far between, and the rice has been very quiet overall.

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    “If we catch any rain at all, 80% of the corn won’t need another irrigation. If it rains this week and dries out next week, farmers will flush through the rest and that corn will be done, as well.

    “Beans are totally quiet. We did spray two early-planted fields for stink bugs today (7/28). Moths are showing up in some of the younger beans but no worms yet. A few loopers are around.”


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

    “Harvest was progressing well until Hurricane Hannah struck. Our rice production area hit as hard as the folks farther south around Corpus Christi, but the rain definitely affected current harvesting operations.

    “Up until Hannah, some yields ran as high as 60 barrels/acre, which is almost 10,000 lbs/acre. Now, those remaining fields are soggy, so farmers will rut out a lot of that rice. That, in turn, will affect how much of a ratoon crop people will grow. Also, some rice went down due to wind and rain, so that complicates harvest.

    “Very little disease pressure has developed, just a little kernel smut. No reports of planthoppers, and rice stink bug populations are highly variable.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “Rice stink bugs (RSB) simply aren’t there. I can’t find enough to treat. Honestly, everything pointed to this being a huge RSB year. They were thick on wild hosts just before rice started heading, but they’re gone now, and I can’t explain what happened.

    “Consultants who’ve worked rice for 20 years are asking if I’m finding any because they aren’t. When insects don’t show up as expected, it can be a bit unnerving. You look and look but don’t find any, then you look even harder because you’re afraid you’re missing them. At least right now, RSB aren’t present across a wide stretch of the crop.”


    Pam West, General Manager, Brookshire Drying Co., Inc., Brookshire, Texas

    “We were able to start harvesting again today (7/29) but the farmers were rained out yet again. In total, it has probably rained 4 inches in my area since Hurricane Hannah developed.

    “Overall, this is an outstanding crop, with yields that are historically high for us. In my area specifically, I am seeing whole-field averages ranging from 9,500 to 11,000 dry lbs/acre.  At this point, we need mother nature to cooperate with lots of sunshine so harvest can progress. Because most storage facilities started harvest empty, Texas should not have a storage issue, even with strong yields. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would see yields this strong.

    “Based on the forecast, the rainy weather is supposed to move out, possibly beginning tomorrow (7/30). Growers are praying for a dry spell. If that is the case, farmers should be able to make significant progress on harvesting rice.”


    Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist

    “Our rice looks pretty good. We were in that extremely hot pattern where the weather was great for rice but not for people. Now, we’re into conditions that are good for both – upper 80s to low 90s for highs. We’ve had rain, which no one particularly wants to see when rice is heading and flowering, but I don’t think that it will affect yields much. We’ll see.

    “This cooler weather pattern will somewhat slow crop development. Ideal highs for rice would be in the upper 90s.

    “The very first draining has started, and that’s a hair on the early side. But this was rice flown on super early, which would be a tiny sliver of our acreage. So, it’s not like draining is really getting underway, but it will likely start in a few more fields in the first part of next week.

    “Late-season grass pressure is popping through. You can’t really do anything about it now. If you did, it would be a revenge killing, not something that would add to yield. Where grass is thicker, I’m concerned that it will make rice go down if enough wind comes along. I’m encouraging people with that kind of grass pressure to prioritize those fields – harvest them before they do go down.

    “That will likely mean drying costs, but it’s a relatively known expense. If you let that rice fall over, you’ll probably take a yield hit and could run into quality problems, depending on how the weather plays out.

    “I think we would be inclined to put off those weedy fields to the last. But if that rice goes flat, you’ll end up with plenty of regret. Right now, start mentally preparing yourself to move the combine to those fields first. At the very least, don’t do those fields last.

    “Always remember that once rice has headed and approaches harvest, only bad things can happen to it the longer is stays in the field. Again, drying rice is a somewhat known cost. What you don’t know is how much worse rice can turn out if you leave it in the field after it goes down.

    “People are reporting lower-than-expected rice stinkbug (RSB) numbers. This falloff probably means the insects cycled down as rice started heading. These populations don’t constantly build numbers but rather rise and fall in waves. Much of the crop was planted late, and the earliest rice probably started heading on the downside of the RSB cycle. Maybe by the time populations started rebuilding, more rice was heading, so RSB populations spread out rather than concentrated in the earliest fields as they tend to do. Essentially, the rice and RSB were out of sync.”


    Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist

    “More heads are poking out in the rice every day, and scattered fields are fully headed. We’re probably pushing 35% to 40% headed across the state, and we’ll be about 60% headed by this time next week, I think.

    “There’s been concern about the rainy forecast this week and the effect it will have on pollination now that more flowering is underway. It’s sunny and dry today (7/29), but I suspect that it will rain in some areas for sure.

    “At the earliest, we’re probably three weeks from draining the first fields.

    “Very few people have called about stinkbugs, but I’ve seen a couple of photos of stink bugs in fields. In places, growers are still making late fungicide applications.

    “We looked at a field today with some Grandstand injury. With these temperatures, I hate to have to tell the farmer that he’ll have to pull the water off the field and dry it up. But that’s the only way to move forward on that.”


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

    “The weather in southwest Louisiana has slowed down harvest a good bit. Over the last five days, we’ve been trying to cut rice between showers. But after today (7/29), the weather is supposed to clear up a little, and harvest should pick up again.

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    “We’ve harvested what we can, and yields have been very good this year. I’m still very impressed with how well some of our newer lines are doing, like the PVL02 and the CLL 17. The FullPage hybrids are performing nicely, too.

    “We held our virtual row rice field day on Monday (7/27) and presentations are available online for viewing. The videos cover a wide range of topics related to production, including fertility, irrigation, weed control and pest management.”


    Tyler Fitzgerald, AgriLife Agricultural Agent, Jefferson County, Texas

    “The hurricane (Hannah) didn’t affect us too badly in Jefferson County and in the surrounding area. We did receive quite a bit of rain that was indirectly associated with the storm, which tracked south and ended up on the other side of the coast.

    “The rain was somewhat scattered out over a few days. About 4 inches fell in the first wave, then another 2.5 to 3 inches came in a second wave. All that rain probably created more problems for farmers closer to the coast where water doesn’t drain off quickly.

    “Overall, I don’t think the weather significantly affected the rice. Some was headed and flowering, but the storm didn’t lay over anything that was ready for harvest.

    “Only a small amount of rice has been harvested in this area, so far – less than 10%, I think. We should see some harvested this week as fields dry up and combines can begin running again. Before the hurricane, one or two farmers cut a little rice, but that was about it.

    “Even though rice planting was spread out this year, a big part of the crop has come together in terms of development, and a good deal of harvest will be underway at about the same time. We have a couple of mills and a dryer in the area, and I expect some pretty substantial lines and long waits over the next couple of weeks.

    “One local mill shut down due to COVID-19, but it’s supposed to reopen next week. Some farmers might have held up on harvest because of that, but with all the rain, that would have been held up anyway. If the mill reopens as expected, we should be okay.”


    Scott Holder, Helena Chemical Co., Cleveland, Mississippi

    “Pretty much all of our rice is headed or nearly to that point. We might drain about 200 acres at the end of next week. A two- or three-day window opened in early April, and the farmer jumped in and planted that much before it rained again.

    “We’re spraying a few rice stink bugs (RSB). I had been sweeping soybeans but then stepped into a rice field and made 25 sweeps. I found 13 to 14 RSB in the net, so we went ahead and sprayed.

    “In soybeans, we’re pretty much finished with fungicides and have done a fair number of applications in the last 10 days for bollworms. The treatments are picking up loopers, too. A pretty good number of loopers are in soybeans, although not enough to justify a treatment just for them.

    “We’re watering some corn for the last time and in two weeks we’ll probably be done with corn as far as management goes. With the way this season went, a lot of our corn harvest will start two weeks later than normal.”

    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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