Flushing widely. Hot, dry weather has forced growers into flushing significant acreage in the Midsouth. Temperatures have edged into the 90s now and windy conditions have further pulled out soil moisture.


More flooding starts. Growers are moving more acres to flood in the Louisiana and Texas coastal belt. A small amount of early-planted rice in the lower Delta is either going to flood or will be next week.


Planting winds down. Midsouth rice planting has moved along at a fast clip. Our contacts this week estimated that 90%-plus of their intended rice acreage has now been seeded.


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

“The last estimate put us at 84% planted. Of that that remaining 16%, most will be in organic production, which tends to be planted later.


“It’s been warm and dry over the last week, so rice is growing fast. But, we’re also having plenty of wind, which has played havoc with trying to do any aerial application work. Also, on sandier soils we’re seeing that ‘sand blasting’ effect on newly emerged rice. With enough wind, we could see the blowing sand actually cut off seedlings at the ground level in these courser soils.”


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

“We’re flushing a little more rice every day. It rained in areas toward the bootheel and in areas closer to Memphis. But all we received in my area was a sprinkle here and there, and things are pretty dry now (5/8).


“We have planted 90% to 95% of our intended rice acreage. Where rice was planted on time, stands look alright. But where they were planted later and things dried up, the ground began cracking and we’re trying to get water across it now. It’s a mess.”


Scott Holder, Helena Chemical Co., Cleveland, Mississippi:

“We’re at least 90% finished with rice planting but that number may be more 95%. With this warmer weather and sunshine, we can see a big difference in our earliest rice, which went in the ground in late March. It didn’t emerge for 3 weeks and went through 2 frosts.


“Cold weather clearly held it back and that rice just kind of sat there. But this week we could tell a big difference. With this heat, it just seemed to wake up.


“We’ll be doing some herbicide applications and flushing some rice this week, too. Once we get a little water to this rice, it’s going to shout. We should be taking some of that first rice to flood next week or maybe early in the week after that. Our rice acres are about flat this year, maybe up just a few acres. We’re 85% finished with soybean planting.”


Charles Denver, Denver Crop Consulting, Watson, Arkansas:

“We’re flushing rice and just about everyone in the area is flushing, too. That has really picked up in the last day or so (from 5/9). After all the rain earlier, things dried up fast and soils dried up as hard as a brick. Rice has had a hard time getting up to a stand.


“People were hoping for a rain over the weekend (5/5-6) but it didn’t happen, so the pumps are running.


“In soybeans, we’re about to get done with planting for the first time but are having to replant in places. We had that period of cold temperatures, plus rain and wind, and that baked the surface and kept beans from emerging. Corn is doing really well since temperatures increased. Everyone is applying fertilizer and herbicides and plowing if that’s in their plan, plus they’re getting ready to lay pipe.”


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

“The rice in southwest Louisiana looks really good now, thanks to this warm weather. A lot of rice has gone to flood and it’s really taking off – almost like you can see it growing.


“In this part of the state we seem to be in kind of a mini-drought situation. Crowley hasn’t had a measurable rain in 23 days (as of 5/9). With rice, that’s been perfect timing because we can apply pre-flood fertilizer on dry ground. In recent years, too much rain kept us from doing that on time in many fields or we had to apply fertilizer in less-than-ideal conditions.


“The only negative with this is that we’ll be running pumps more. The ground is so dry that it will take more pumping now to establish a flood. And without rainfall events, we’ll need to pump more to maintain the flood.


“From an agronomic standpoint, that’s a good thing. Producers always say that rice yields better in years when they have to pump more water.


“In northeast Louisiana, a lot of rice is going in the ground and that part of the crop is responding to better growing conditions. I planted experimental plots up there last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (5/1-3). That rice isn’t just up, it’s already a couple of inches tall. That’s how fast the rice is growing. When it was cold and windy, plenty of rice needed 3 weeks just to make a stand.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“We’re closing in on the end of this year’s rice planting. A few fields are left but for the most part we’re finished. By the first to middle part of next week, we’ll essentially wrap it up.


“Growers are starting to flush a lot of rice. With some of the recently planted rice, things are now too dry. Some of our earliest rice will probably go to flood next week.


“The first drift calls are coming in. We figured they would ramp up as more soybean planting started and I expect the call volume to increase next week. So far, the symptoms we’ve observed have been due to paraquat.


“In a few isolated areas, seedling disease is apparent. Most of these cases are where water stood against levees or the wind blew enough that farmers couldn’t get water off fields fast enough. Where we’ve been asked to look at this, enough plants made it through to keep the stand, provided nothing else happens. In one case, though, replanting might be necessary.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“We’ve desperately needed rain to help bring up a lot of rice and move along rice that’s already up. Rain did fall over the last week but it was scattered. Parts of the state received showers and others got nothing. Even where it did rain, amounts varied from a couple of tenths of an inch – which wouldn’t do any good – to maybe 2 inches in isolated locations.



“But the biggest part of our production area got little or nothing and plenty of fields need to be flushed. Essentially, I’ve been pleading with people to crank up the pumps and move water across their fields.


“Temperatures have only gotten hotter in the last week and, combined with winds, things dried up fast. Rice can’t emerge due to hard crusting and rice that’s already up needs moisture to move it on a more direct route towards a flood.


“Growers are trying to take some of the first fields to flood now, mainly flatter ground. Rice isn’t as big as we might like it at flood but it’s big enough to go ahead with at least a shallow flood. Over the next week (from 5/9), I expect a bunch of rice in south Arkansas to go to flood. Those fields came up early and got some heat compared to north Arkansas where it’s been cooler and wetter and rice has moved more slowly.


“We’ve had several years with too much rain in the spring when people needed to apply fertilizer on dry ground. At least this year, the forecast doesn’t look like we’ll have big problems like that, but flushing will be the key.


“I’m seeing plenty of fields where people could apply herbicides, flush and then in another week apply urea and go to flood. Flushing costs money and it’s a hard job, I’ll admit. But some of this rice is baking and could progress much faster with a shot of water.”


Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana:

“This year, I’m scouting about 1,000 acres of row rice and we’ve just taken 300 acres of that to the rough equivalent of going to flood. Urea went out and we’re running water.


“With my levee rice, most is at the 3- to 4-leaf stage. We’re flushing and applying ammonium sulfate. It’s getting hotter and soils are fairly dry, so a good deal of flushing is underway now (5/10). Rice is moving along pretty well and we don’t have any real weed issues. We’re 95% planted. The only acreage left has had backwater flooding on it.”


Jack Haney, South Arkansas Crop Consulting, Pine Bluff, Arkansas:

“With my earliest rice, we’re just trying to put on a flood. It’s been a tough week so far. With a lot of fields, we’re just trying to get ready to flush. It got dry here very quickly – from too wet to bone dry in just a matter of days. At the same time, everyone was trying to finish planting.


“Where we planted the first rice, it was so wet that we couldn’t even pull levees. We’ve now pulled the levees and have been putting in gates, then we’ll apply herbicides before we start flushing. As of right now (5/10), we’ve planted 90% to 95% of the rice and have made a good deal of progress in the last several days.”




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