More fields are moving to flood in the Louisiana and Texas coastal rice belt. At the end of last week, an estimated 3% of the Texas crop had gone to flood.


Hotter weather has helped the rice crop on a wide basis. Along with prompting growth in established stands, these extra heat units have perked up younger rice that struggled through slow emergence and cold temperatures, among other stress factors.


Planting continues in the Midsouth, and these drier conditions are giving growers an extended opportunity to run drills.


Rain or flushing will be necessary to bring up portions of the Midsouth crop where rice is trapped under a hard seal. Rain is in the forecast for the region late this week. Whether it rains enough to help remains a question. Some flushing has been recommended in parts of the region where germinated rice has been caught by crusting soils for two or three weeks.


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

“As of our last crop survey report on April 27, 3% of our rice had gone to flood and 77% had been planted. It has started to warm up, so rice is looking better and growing faster. No rain is in the forecast for the remainder of this week and temperatures are more ‘normal’ than we’ve seen much of this year.


“I’m receiving some reports of chinch bug damage to levee rice. Rice water weevil adult feeding scars are turning up on rice foliage. This means the adults are looking for flooded plants to oviposit in. They lay their eggs underwater in young rice culms. So, adults begin actively laying eggs when the flood is applied. Also, be on the lookout for fall armyworms.


“I received one report of Command damage due to cold temperatures. That’s not unexpected. When temperatures are cold like they’ve been, rice doesn’t metabolize herbicides as quickly as when conditions are warmer, which leads to injury.”


Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Arkansas:

“We planted our first rice on March 27 and then rain and cold conditions held us back from planting any more until April 5 when we had a pretty good run for several days. That rice planted on March 27 is no further along than what we planted on April 10.


“With both planting periods, rice is still emerging. I think it will come up, but we definitely need a rain at the end of this week to soften the crust for emergence. If it doesn’t rain by Monday, we’ll have to put up levees and begin flushing.


“Overall, my growers are 100% planted but don’t have a single rice field where it’s up to a stand from end to end. I still think it’s okay and that we’ll get a stand, but we need that rain. It’s 83 or 84 today (5/1), the wind is blowing, the soil is drying up and the ground is getting hard.”


Andy Tonos, Delta Ag Consulting, Greenville, Mississippi:

“Rice ranges from not planted to the oldest at 3 to 4 leaves where we started planting on March 23. Most of that rice is in pretty fair shape. Most all of the early rice has been sprayed and has received one shot of ammonium nitrate. No drift issues. As always, I’ll notice some speckles but nothing that looks bad.


“We’re planning to apply the first shot of urea in maybe 7 to 10 days. If rice is still too small, we’ll flush through it and maybe try to go with a shallow flood.”


Hugh Whitby, KC Consulting, Wynne, Arkansas:

“We’re probably 80% planted. A little rice is up, but it’s not very pretty. In a few places I’d call it up to a stand, but that’s it right now (5/1). Quite a few beans have been planted. A few are up but struggling just like everything else.


“I’ve never seen a year like this. In one day, we had rain, snow, sleet and below-freezing temperatures – and that was in the second week of April. This is the coldest crop I’ve tried to fit into, and the spring has been brutal. I tend to wear short pants as much as possible, and some people joke that it’s time to start planting when they see I’ve switched from long pants to short pants. But I was able to wear shorts more in the winter this year than in the spring.”


Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana:

“We’ve still got some rice left to plant. A lot is coming up right now (5/1). Some growers started pulling levees and putting in gates. We’re maybe 2 weeks from getting a flood on the oldest rice.


“Rice planting stretched out, probably because corn planting stretched out and now those guys with some combination of cotton, soybeans and rice are trying to do it all at once. Some can do that, but others are trying to finish one crop before they start on the next one. It’s rained pretty much every week, which isn’t bad unless you are trying to plant.”


Wendell Minson, Bootheel Crop Consultants, Dexter, Missouri:

“Up until yesterday (4/30), maybe 15% of the bootheel crop had been planted. As of today, it’s probably up to 40%, maybe even 45%. People have made that much progress.


“It’s still wet in spots. Growers have been dragging disks or harrows to air out and dry the soil, at least enough to get a drill in those fields. But it’s 84 today, with good sunshine and wind, and that will help dry things up, too. If rain holds off until Thursday night, we could be 65% planted, maybe more.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“The crop is steadily moving along now. It’s dry enough to build levees and a lot went up in the last couple of days (from 5/1). It is dry enough, plus the wind is blowing, so we could be in one of those periods where things go from too wet to too dry too fast.



“Most of the early rice has emerged now and we’re checking stands. Rice is coming up slowly and you can tell it endured some pretty cool weather. But after a couple of days of sunshine, some of that skinny rice is beginning to jump and its color is improving.


“So far, we haven’t found too many replant situations. Growers are trying to finish planting and have been contending with wind where they’re trying to spray. We may be as much as 40% planted statewide, but parts of the Delta are pretty close to being through.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“We’ve come a long, long way this week as far as the rice crop goes. The last USDA estimate said we were about 60% planted as of Monday (4/30), and we should be at 80%-plus by the end of this week.


“It’s dried off enough to actually be problematic. Dry soils are great for running grain drills. But in places, rice has germinated and it can’t break through the crust. Some of it has been sitting there for a while. Rain would help soften up the crust but relatively little rain is in the forecast. The amounts they’re predicting would be insufficient to break some of the hard crusts I’m finding.


“Nobody wants to hear you use the word ‘flush,’ but I’ve been in multiple fields today where I recommended people start flushing. The situations were critical enough that those growers can’t wait until Friday to see what happens with the rain. Waiting for rain in these cases could set them up to either accept marginal stands or force the growers to replant.


“We always expect to hit this kind of period when we go from cooler and wetter spring weather to conditions that are hot, dry and windy. But this year, the dry and warmer weather happened surprisingly fast. The biggest concern may be rice planted in early April. A good deal of rain fell after that round of planting and smoothed over the soil. That covered the grain drill opening and formed a hard seal. That rice is trapped and has been for a while.


“People will keep planting until they finish or they run out of moisture or rain moves in. The forecast at one point called for more rain but that’s mostly been reduced to a little on Friday. As dry as things are now, a quarter- to half-inch of rain would only keep growers out of the field for a day or even less.”


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

“The crop has been moving along quite well in southwest Louisiana and we’re actually in a mini drought, but that’s not a bad thing. We sure won’t have any trouble applying pre-flood fertilizer on dry ground this year, as things look right now.


“The crop has made a big recovery. We went through cold weather and wind damage, then had some stress from the first herbicide application. But with this warmer weather now, the rice is responding. Some producers and consultants were a little gun shy with that second herbicide application because they did see some stand thinning in places from the first application.


“A lot of that final herbicide application and pre-flood fertilizer is going out now in southwest Louisiana. Overall, things are lining up well with that part of the crop and quite a bit of the southwest crop is going to flood this week.


“In north Louisiana, it’s finally gotten dry and people are making real progress on planting. Stray, popup showers caught a few people off guard but growers are mostly pushing ahead in that part of the state.”




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