More rice is going to flood in the Midsouth – by the hardest. Popup showers are keeping ground too wet in places to apply pre-flood nitrogen. Nearly all of our contacts this week noted how disruptive these rains have been and how variable – little or nothing on one field but heavy accumulations down the road.


The coastal crop is progressing. More rice in southwest Louisiana is at or a bit past green ring. Midseason nitrogen has started in Texas.


If forecasts hold, a tropical system in the gulf will bring more rain to parts of our coverage area over the Labor Day weekend. That will further delay standard pre-flood nitrogen applications where ground remains wet. See comments by Jarrod Hardke.


No significant pest issues were reported this week but Extension workers urge people to scout closely for rice water weevils (RWW) – especially in areas where cold weather stalled early plant growth. By now, activity has played out with the more widely used seed treatments. In our Links section, connect to an Arkansas advisory.


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

“Our rice is doing really well. Most is right at the 4-leaf stage and some is starting to tiller. We just got rain this past week, from 1.5 to 4 inches, so we’re wet right now. We may be a week from applying preflood herbicides and getting fertilizer out.”


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

“A small percent of our rice is at panicle differentiation. We’re on the lookout for fall armyworms, which can become problematic in mid-May. The weather is still dry and warm, which is good for the rice. The crop has responded to these better conditions after all the cold weather early in the season. The cold conditions also complicated weed control since rice wasn’t able to outgrow the grasses.


“I am seeing a lot of adult rice water weevils and scarring at the Beaumont Center. This could be a bad year for that critter. I hope farmers treated their seed for this pest.”


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

“Most of the rice in southwest Louisiana is at or a little past green ring and looks pretty good. While showers have been developing, other areas continue missing rain. The biggest problem in southwest Louisiana is keeping up with pumping.


“In northeast Louisiana, a lot of that rice is either moving to flood or has just been flooded. It’s dry up there but every afternoon – as if on schedule – popup showers occur between 4:30 and 5:30. These are really localized and isolated events. I’ve been in that part of the state for the last 3 days (from 5/24) and have seen places where a quarter-inch of rain fell but everything was dry just across the road.


“On the radar, the rain is showing up as little green blips. Where people haven’t fertilized yet but caught some of these rains, they’ll have to wait a while before they can apply nitrogen on dry ground.


“No disease issues or other problems are turning up. Overall, the crop actually looks good across the state.”


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

“Rice is advancing very fast. We had a slug of March-planted rice but then conditions turned against us and we didn’t plant much rice again until late April and the first week of May. Where we planted later, those fields quickly caught up with the early acreage. It’s been a weird year. We went from winter to summer with maybe 4 days of spring plugged in between.


“A lot of rice is going to flood and everyone is trying to get fertilizer and herbicides out. With this year’s dry weather, some of the Command and Sharpen didn’t hold that well. When it did start raining, things broke pretty quickly and some of that early rice is a little weedier than we’d like.


“We had a 20-day stretch without rain and didn’t gain a good kill on grass because it was drought stressed. That’s what we’re seeing now in a lot of rice that started going to flood 10 to 14 days ago. In some later planted rice, we’ve got grass and pigweed pressure in spots and we’ll probably come back with Clincher to clean up crabgrass and signal grass.


“Any rain lately has been in the form of popup showers that are really localized. In places, it might have rained a half-inch in the past week (from 5/24) but a half-mile away the rain has totaled 5 inches.”


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

“With the youngest rice, we’re finishing up fertilizer and getting it to flood before this weekend. In the oldest rice, we’re topdressing the midseason nitrogen. The rice is right at panicle differentiation.


“Getting everything flooded up is a big milestone every year. It moves you into consistent weed control, although we’ll have to do more post-flood herbicide work for sprangletop than we have in the last several years. It came through preemerge Command in places where seedbeds were kind of rough. We’ll do something next week to take care of that.


“We’re dealing with a few situations where barnyardgrass has gained a degree of resistance to Newpath and Regiment. This started showing up in spots about 3 years ago and now it’s appearing in new fields. I found it in a field this week where we’d never had a problem. We sprayed that rice with a ground rig and I know we did a good job, but I found barnyardgrass that was as healthy as it can be.


“Overall, this resistance isn’t a big problem yet but it’s becoming obvious and this kind of thing can creep up on you. It’s good that we’ve got some new chemistry like Loyant. I tried it on resistant barnyardgrass in several places. With one exception, all those treatments were made by ground.



“We’ve had some really warm temperatures over the last 10 days (from 5/24) and have made a real good run at applying herbicides and fertilizer. With this dry ground, we haven’t had a problem getting fertilizer out. Where small showers developed, we had to wait just a little for soils to dry up enough to come in with the fertilizer.


“We have had more rain around the area in the last couple of weeks. Corn and cotton needed it. Still, though, it’s been spotty – 2 inches in places and other fields missed it altogether.”


Curtis Fox, Consultant, Gillette, Arkansas:

“We’ve been cleaning up rice and are just starting to flood some fields. My early rice had worse stands than later rice. It either all came up or it didn’t. With some of the later rice, we had to flush fields to gain a stand. So, our rice ranges from just emerging to about to go to flood.


“In certain fields, it’s at several different stages, from just coming up to plants with 3 or 4 leaves. Some rice came right up where parts of fields had moisture but other seed laid in dry dirt until we flushed. All that variability will complicate flooding.


“Weed control has been fair. It’s nothing remotely close to what we had last year. It was cold but once it started warming up, the weather turned dry, so herbicides weren’t activated. In places, a few showers activated herbicides, and we did spray some fields and then flushed. Overall, it’s been a lot harder this year to get fields clean.


“Rain has been spotty. Showers are keeping people out of the field in places while other areas have hardly received any.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“A few fields went to flood last week but it’s really ratcheted up this week. The big push right now (5/24) is in the central Delta – Bolivar County and along that latitude and also in the south Delta. Tunica County in the north Delta is on the front edge of going to flood.


“People are trying to clean up rice ahead of the flood. These popup showers are keeping ground wet in places where growers need to apply fertilizer. These showers are unpredictable – both in terms of where they’ll show up and how much it will rain. I’m hearing reports of a half-inch to multiple inches. One grower in north Bolivar County caught 5-plus inches and let his gates down so all the water wouldn’t blow out levees. Mostly, though, accumulations have been 1.5 inches or less.


“We’re not in a situation yet where we have to apply nitrogen on wet ground. We have time to wait.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“We’re into a situation that I was afraid would develop. We went from scalding hot and bone dry to enough rain to disrupt moving rice to flood. People are in good shape where they pushed into flooding when it seemed too early to do so. They flushed early, took care of herbicides and fertilizer when it was dry and then counted on the rice growing fast at the same time they eased into pumping. But where people didn’t do that or couldn’t move fast enough, a lot of fertilizer work has been held up by showers.


“Fields aren’t dry enough to apply nitrogen and people are trying to figure out how to play the game. I’m discouraging folks from panicking and jumping into a spoon-fed nitrogen program. Start with logical information. Run the DD50s on those fields and determine the final date to apply preplant nitrogen for maximum yields – based on DD50s. That’s where your game plan begins.


“You may have more time than you think. When the DD50s hit the point you have to act, you might have to apply nitrogen on mud. The worst-case situation will be where water is standing in some paddies but not in others.


“More rain is expected this weekend from that system in the gulf, with slight chances next week, too. We’ll have to see how that shapes up. But first and foremost, run the DD50s. If you can find a dry spot, hurry up and get the nitrogen out. Every field will have to be treated as a separate situation. Try to get it on dry. If not dry, muddy. If you hit that DD50 date and water is standing, then spoon feed – but only if you have no choice.


“These showers have been erratic. One farm may get nothing but then 3 inches falls right down the road. On the whole, this crop looks excellent. We just need to get the timing right.


“Let me add another reminder about rice water weevils (RWW). With a lot of rice going to flood now, the more commonly used seed treatments have likely played out, so you won’t have anything to control RWW larvae. Scout closely for leaf scarring and adult RWW, then treat as needed. You have a small treatment window – from 7 to 10 days after flood – so scout early and line up an application if needed.”




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