This year’s rice crop continues to run behind on a wide basis in both the Midsouth and the coastal rice belt of Louisiana and Texas.


Rain and cold weather have delayed emergence where rice has been planted in the Delta. Somewhat warmer weather seeped into the region over the last couple of days, which has helped plant growth in places. But our contacts continue to say that more heat and drier conditions will be needed to gain momentum.


Further planting in the Midsouth stalled due to heavy rains early in the week. As we closed this issue on Wednesday night, rain was moving through portions of the Midsouth, so further delays are expected. Rains also developed in parts of coastal Louisiana and Texas.


More rice should have already moved to flood in the coastal belt but many of those tillering plants still remain too small to risk cranking up the pumps. Plants also are noticeably stressed from cold conditions, so some growers and crop advisors are holding back on pre-flood herbicide applications until the crop perks up.


How much longer seed treatments will hold has become a concern now. Where rice was slow to emerge, both fungicide and insecticide activity will likely play out before fields go to flood. That raises concerns about seedling disease pressure and damage from grape colaspis in areas where it’s commonly found. By the time many fields go to flood, activity on rice water weevils will have faded away as well.


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

“The last crop progress survey put us at 75% planted and 62% emerged, but the rice crop is off to a miserable start because of unseasonably low temperatures and intermittent rains.


“Some farmers have benefitted from the rain where it eliminated the need to flush fields. But this weather continues to delay things where anyone is still planting or trying to apply pre-flood fertilizer and herbicides. Stands are not good, in general. The weeds are growing but the rice isn’t.”


Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas:

“Over the last 14 to 30 days we planted about 80% of the crop. We have rice emerging but nothing is at a complete stand (as of 4/25). With that last weather system, it rained 3.5 to 4 inches in places, so we’re still wet. We really need to miss this next chance of rain and maybe even the one after that.


“Everything is moving at a snail’s pace. Corn and soybeans, like rice, are just coming up.”


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

“After several weeks of cool weather and a significant amount of rain, plenty of our rice is pretty banged up. The weather is in a gradual warming trend, and rice is recovering and looking better, but it’s moving slowly.


“We have herbicides that need to go out this week but growers are contending with strong winds, so it’s problematic when and where anyone can make applications. Some rice is going to permanent flood but it will probably be next week before we see that on a wide basis.


“A good deal of this rice remains on the short side due to cold conditions. Even though it’s tillering, plants need to add a little more height before the pumps begin running. These warmer conditions should at least help bring the rice along.


“In northeast Louisiana, growers have made limited progress with planting and need dry conditions before they can get in the field again. In that part of the state a big portion of the rice goes on heavier clay soils, and those fields are the last to dry up. Barring any more big rain events, we hope producers can push ahead with planting next week.


“People are asking whether to apply herbicides on rice that’s been clearly affected by the cold, wet weather. We don’t want to lose any stands by spraying rice that’s already stressed.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“We made pretty good progress last week with planting before rains started up again. I think we’re at least 60% planted but that might be approaching 70%. This week, though, we made no real progress. The rains on Sunday extended into Monday (4/23), so things pretty much shut down.


“It’s trying to rain today (4/25), so it’s uncertain when we’ll be planting again. If we do miss this rain, we might see a little planting start tomorrow on higher ground or maybe Friday. After that, there’s not another serious chance for rain for another week.


“With these somewhat warmer temperatures, we definitely see a little more emergence now. The daily highs aren’t increasing dramatically, but conditions are better than they have been. Rice is emerging now in north Arkansas. Some late-March plantings are coming up and rice is beginning to come up in fields planted in early April. Where we have stands, they mostly look good, even though seed was in the ground for 25-plus days.


“The concern in those situations is that many of the seed treatments – both insecticide and fungicide components – have played out or are approaching that point. That may not be a big deal with the fungicide treatments if it consistently warms into the 70s and growth picks up. But if cooler days and rain linger, then plants won’t grow much and seedling disease becomes a factor.


“Not all the insecticide seed treatments have faded away but we are reaching the tail end of efficacy with neonic materials. That could leave this young, early rice vulnerable to grape colaspis. Those situations could begin showing up soon. By the time we get rice to flood with these conditions, we’re also not likely to have much protection against rice water weevils.



“People are asking about potential yield decline between now and the next 7 to 10 days, which may be the first opportunity for many people to get in the field and plant again. After early May, we begin to see some degree of yield decline.


“How much fall off occurs can be highly variable, depending a lot on how the weather conditions go later in the season. With rice planted in early May, you might see a slight yield decline. On the other hand, excessive heat later in the summer can take a toll on rice yields. We’ve recorded yields down by 10% to 15% with later planted rice in those kinds of seasons.


“We’re at least entering that window when growers begin to think about how much longer they can stay with rice before shifting unplanted fields to soybeans. I doubt if anyone is planning to do that yet but growers are at least considering their options.”


Gary Bradshaw, Independent Agronomist, Bradshaw Agricultural Consulting, Richmond, Texas:

“All of our rice has been planted. By the end of this week it should be 100% emerged. This has been a drawn-out planting period. We started in the first week of March and finally planted the last rice seven weeks later.


“The weather created a series of delays. Early on, it was too wet to plant. When the rain did stop, we quickly reached a point that it was too dry. We needed a rain but then we got a flood, so that delayed us again. With all that, the bulk of our rice wasn’t planted until about two weeks ago. It’s been an unusual year.


“We’re just starting our pre-flood herbicide and fertilizer work. Based on when rice emerged, we’re probably running 7 to 10 days behind normal on that. Where rice is moving to flood, it’s barely big enough. The cool weather really held it back in terms of gaining height.


“We have a lot of fields with rice that’s tillering but it’s still too small to go to flood, and that’s delayed things, especially where growers have conventional levees. Clients with zero-grade fields are able to go ahead and flood.”


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

“I suspect that I was the first person in Mississippi to recommend that anyone start planting rice this year. In that case, the grower began on March 20. We started planting on our own farm two or three days later.


“That rice went through two frosts and a freeze but it looks pretty good today (4/24). It took about two weeks to come up. I applied ammonium sulfate on it last week to give plants a little pep. It’s got two leaves on it and looks relatively good.


“At times, it seems like we can’t get enough sulfur in these grass crops, and I’ve been doing at least some sulfur applications for several years. One long-time Midwestern agronomist goes with the idea that the Clean Air Act reduced the amount of atmospheric sulfur coming from coal-fired electrical generation.”



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Farm Policy News: Perdue Discusses Ag Trade, RFS at Senate Hearing   4-25


Rice Consumption Spikes During Ramadan Holy Month Traditions   4-24


Arkansas Field Reports: Planting Makes Good Progress Where Not Stalled by Rain   4-23


Mississippi Field Reports: Weather Continues to Slow Planting   4-23


 More Rice News And Analysis




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