“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.