Owen Taylor, Editor (601-992-9488)

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Rice is heading in Arkansas and Mississippi. Percentages remain low, but its unusual to have heading in June in either state at all. Six weeks of intense heat have pushed the crop head of schedule on a wide basis. Rain has fallen more frequently in parts of the Midsouth since the weekend, dropping daytime highs a bit. Farmers are still having a tough time establishing floods in parts of Arkansas.

Hurricane Alex moved ashore just south of the U.S.-Mexican border, but the storm had been pushing rain into coastal rice country all the way to Louisiana before it made landfall Wednesday. With late crops in both Texas and south Louisiana, less rice is headed now than usual.

June hurricanes are rare, pointed out Bob Rose, chief meteorologist with the Lower Colorado River Authority, which operates reservoirs in the Texas hill country and also supplies water to irrigation districts west of Houston. "Putting Alex into historical context, it is the first June hurricane since Hurricane Allison of 1995," he noted on his blog Wednesday. Alex is also the strongest June hurricane since 1986. Based on readings earlier in the day, Rose said it was likely the strongest June hurricane since 1966. "There have only been 10 May or June hurricanes on record since 1945," he added.


AFB Rice Close: Sharply Lower 6-30

Arkansas: Dry Skies Prompt Producers to Keep Pumping as Fuel Prices Rise 6-28

Obit: Eldon Lundberg, California Organic Rice Pioneer 6-30

Louisiana Rice Field Notes: Cercospora And Control Options 6-28. From Johnny Saichuk, Extension Rice Specialis

Texas: Impact of Enhance 250 on Cocodrie Production, p. 17; A New Disease Present in Texas Rice, p. 18; Integrated Management of Rice Sheath Blight, p. 24 6-28. Texas Rice Special Section - Highlighting Research in 2010; Texas A&M


Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, La.: "Rice is moving along fast. Some was almost at green ring last week, so it should be at or past that when we check again this week. We have one place with bad grass problems where there was some miscommunication about land grading, and straight levees were run where they should have been contoured. Were giving Regiment a few more days to see if it will work. This has been a nightmare, with a lot of barnyardgrass, and well probably have to sacrifice some weed control. Disease scouting is starting this week on our older fields."

David Hydrick, Hydricks Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Ark.: "We treated our first 2 fields Sunday (6/27) for sheath blight. We do have some heads trying to poke out on a hybrid field planted early. The rest of the early hybrid rice is getting its boot application of nitrogen. Most of our rice got midseason a week ago, and were finishing the rest of the midseason applications now. This crop is early."

Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: "Were getting a lot of calls about fall armyworms on rice, particularly on field edges, and growers and consultants are getting a little nervous. Im mostly telling folks to watch worms closely and, at least right now, let them ride. If they get real bad, go ahead and treat. And in one case where there was late rice, just 5 or 6 inches tall, the worms were eating it to the ground, and I told the guy to spray. Mostly, though, the rice is big, and I dont think theyll hurt it enough to justify treating. Where we sampled rice water weevils early in the week, numbers were high, with averages of 25 to 30 on 3, 4-inch-diameter cores. But in places, numbers ran up to 40 on individual cores. Thats a lot of weevils."

John Raymond Bassie, Ind. Consultant, Bassies Agri Service, Cleveland, Miss.: "A bunch of rice is heading, and Im fearful about what this hot weather will do to it. All of our midseason is out. Nothing in the way of disease is turning up yet. Im not seeing any stink bugs around the rice and havent been catching any in soybeans, but I can smell them in the corn."

Rudy Randleman, Rudys Field Service, Paragould, Ark.: "You always hear that every year is different, which seems to hold true this year. In 2009 we were late with our rice, and this year is turning out to be the earliest that Ive experienced with the crop. We are 95% through with midseason nitrogen. I was scheduling midseason for the following weeks visit, only to find and when I return to the field that the joint was already at 1-inch-plus movement. I have 65% hybrid Clearfield, 18% Wells, 10% CL151, 5% CL171, 2% Francis. I haven't found any blast at this time and only a few positive stops with sheath blight. We received needed rainfall last week that is allowing my customers to finish soybean planting.

Johnny Saichuk, Louisiana Extension Rice Specialist, Crowley, La.: "One thing thats kind of surprising is that we havent found any disease to speak of in our verification fields. Im hearing about fungicides going out and, in fact, saw severe sheath blight in a field a couple of weeks ago. But its not turning up in these fields, which are pretty thoroughly monitored. Don Groth (Plant Pathologist, LSU Rice Research Center) said that one thing we may be seeing is an overall reduction in inoculum due to all the fungicides that are going out not just on rice, but on soybeans, too.

"Im still concerned about the chance for panicle blight. Intensely hot weather like weve been having can promote panicle blight, and its bacterial, so fungicides wont help. All this rain being pushed out of the Gulf of Mexico by Hurricane Alex also is a concern because rain is never a good thing when rice is flowering. Its raining right now (afternoon, 6/30), and its unclear whether this is just going to be a couple of days of showers or something extended. However, this is a late crop, and we still dont have a lot of headed rice, maybe 20%. Im still not hearing about heavy stink bug pressure, but the indicators point to a lot of stink bugs being out there."

Chuck Wilson, Arkansas Extension Rice Agronomist, Stuttgart, Ark.: "This season continues to be ahead of schedule. According to the USDA toda (6/30), were 1% headed, and rice doesnt normally head in Arkansas in June. Its been a challenge just to write something for our newsletter. Normally, the goal is to get midseason fertilizer out just after July 4, but that was pretty much done this year before we got out of June. Some fields were ready for midseason, in fact, in the first week of June. Were at least 2 weeks ahead of schedule, maybe more, and if this hot weather pattern keeps up, we could see a little rice cut in the first week of August.

"Who knows what the weather will do? USDA said we had 6 straight weeks with temperatures averaging 5 degrees above normal, but now its a little cooler, down to about 90, anyway. The forecast does talk about the next 10 days being cooler, too. That sounds similar to last year when we had intense heat and dry conditions early in the summer, then slipped into a cooler, wetter pattern after the Fourth of July.

"Im still getting calls from southeast Arkansas about salt problems. And were still getting calls about herbicide injury, and a lot of these little soybeans are being sprayed with Roundup, which also makes me nervous. But the biggest concern right now is water or the lack of it. Weve got hot spots and low ends of fields all over the place that may not ever see water this season, much less a flood. Weve got the biggest planted acreage in the states history, USDA reported today, so everyone is looking for a big crop. But if you dont have water, you dont make as much rice, and we have plenty of fields that will not yield well, based on what Im seeing now. Plus, when you end up with this many acres, more of that rice was planted on marginal rice ground.

"Lack of water further complicates the disease situation. If we found leaf blast 2 to 3 weeks ago, one of the preventive measures for neck blast later is to hold a good flood on the fields, which will be impossible in places. All that, plus what the weather does in July, is going to weigh into whether you spray once, twice or not at all. But a good, deep flood at least gives you a little more insurance. If it remains hot and dry over the next 3 weeks, neck blast may not be an issue. If it does turn cloudy and cool, then it gains potential. But the big disease may end up being bacterial panicle blight, which we could face if more rice matures in this heat. Panicle blight loves hot, dry conditions, and the only defense for that is planting a variety with resistance."

Garry N. McCauley, Extension Rice Production Specialist, Eagle Lake, Texas: "Were hoping most of the wind from Hurricane Alex stays below us, but its pretty much a given that well get more rain. The storm continues to push moisture up from the gulf, and areas around Bay City got 3.5 inches of rain yesterday (6/29). Rain is scattered this afternoon but will get more general before its over. Only about 10% of our rice is headed. Normally, wed be around 40%. Weve also got 50% to 60% past PD, so weve got to focus on disease and fungicides, plus give some thought to stink bugs where rice is heading.

"Grasshoppers remain a problem around the Garwood Prairie area. One farmer said hed sprayed 1 of his fields 3 times now, just for grasshoppers. The treatments seemed to knock them down, he said, but they kept coming back. Most of the crop in that area still looks pretty good. But weve got to be concerned about damage they could do when rice starts heading and they begin chewing into the side of those heads. Im not hearing any disease reports. But if it stays wet for the next few days, that could change rapidly. Right now, just a slow rain could mess up flowering, extend the dew period and increase disease potential."

Nathan Buehring, Mississippi Extension Rice Specialist: "Were monitoring the sheath blight, but a lot of treatments already were planned when it was still dry and hot. And now were actually getting rain. Over the last 3 days its been raining somewhere. We have pockets that didnt get any, but in isolated spots Ive heard that it rained as much as 5 inches. If the weather had stayed hot and dry, some people might have gotten by with just a single application on susceptible varieties, but now they might need 2 treatments. Im seeing a lot more fungicide sitting at the airstrips, and some applications are going out where they anticipate rice heading pretty quickly.

"Certainly, less than 5% is headed right now, but its fairly uncommon for any rice to be headed in Mississippi in June at all. Were seeing heads mostly in the south Delta in Washington County, a little in Sunflower County and probably just a little in Bolivar County. How quickly that progresses depends on the weather. Its suppose to cool off to the low 90s, which could slow things down. I still think were 2 weeks away from a good bit of this rice headed, though."


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Owen Taylor, Editor. owen@agfax.com

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