Heading has started in more areas in the Midsouth.


The big challenge in many Delta fields is maintaining an adequate flood. High temperatures and lack of rain have taxed pumping capacity as growers try to keep a decent flood depth on rice fields. In many cases, soybeans are having to fend for themselves.


More draining has started in parts of the coastal rice belt.


This is shaping up to be a grassy year across a wide area in the Midsouth. No one is particularly happy with how much grass is still in their fields. Lack of rain early in the season led to poor herbicide activation, plus various factors kept growers from always applying herbicides on time or going with the preferred product.


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

“Some of my rice is probably 50% headed now (7/3). Stink bugs are pretty bad in rice. Where heads are poking up around here, you’d better be checking.


“With these bright, sunny days, the rice is moving fast. Just like everyone else, we’re dealing with grass issues. Herbicides couldn’t always go out on time and dry conditions worked against adequate activation.”


David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:

“Most of our early rice is just now (7/2) moving into boot and we’re starting into our boot applications for kernel smut. We still have some grass escapes and are trying to clean up that rice where we’re not at boot. Most of the rest of the crop is 7 to 14 days from moving into boot.


“Most everything has already had its midseason shot of fertilizer. If not, those fields should receive it this week or next week.”


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

“A few acres started heading on Tuesday (7/3) and a lot of our fields are right at heading. Over the last 4 to 5 days, we’ve put out a lot of fungicide.


“It sounds like everyone else has these little spots of grass that we’re also dealing with. Weed control last year was relatively easy. All of our preemerge herbicides worked. Last year we maybe had a little more rain earlier and the activity also lasted longer.


“This year, it was dry when we needed rain to activate materials, plus a lot of beans were planted around rice and we couldn’t always spray the herbicide we wanted to use or make applications when they needed to go out. The wind forced delays, too.


“With corn, I feel like we’re 2 to 3 more weeks to black layer on the majority of it. In beans, we’re making a good many R3 fungicide applications, and beans are moving along well.”


Charles Denver, Denver Crop Consulting, Watson, Arkansas:

“On a lot of rice, the internode is probably 1 to 1.5 inches and we’re getting ready to apply fertilizer on the non-hybrid fields. This rice is growing very fast. The heat really pushed it over the last month.


“Weeds are growing with it, too, particularly grass. Every field has grass. We had a dry spring and preemerge herbicides didn’t work well. On top of that, we couldn’t spray when the herbicides needed to go out.


“Quite a bit of our corn will be at black layer around July 15-20 and we should cut the water off by July 20. Just like with the rice, the heat really pushed the corn. Soybeans range from just planted to R3 or R4. Beans look fantastic.


“I don’t know what accounts for it, but I can’t remember a crop of soybeans having such a dark green color as I’m seeing now. Those early beans – planted around March 1 – are 3 to 4 feet tall. Some went through 3 pretty good frosts, too, and now (7/5) they’re podded all the way to the top.”


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

“Some early-planted rice is being drained. Rice stink bug populations are highly variable across Texas. It’s been hot, dry and hazy. According to news reports, dust from the Sahara Desert is creating the haze. But the weather forecast (as of 7/3) says things could turn wet. Weirdly enough for us, a storm system from the east is coming our way. Loyant injury can still be observable but less so now.


“A quick reminder – our Beaumont Center Field Day is July 12.”


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

“Some of our rice is just starting to head – just scattered patches across the field. More of it will really be heading next week. Hybrids that went in during the mid-part of our planting period are just getting their boot shot and we finally finished the last midseason on our non-hybrids.


“A very small amount of blast is just starting to show up in some Provisia rice. We finally finished cleaning up some of the messes with grass that were caused by hot and dry conditions earlier.


“Rice is very calm this week. We’re mostly just waiting for the boot shot on the later planted fields. Nearly all of my rice this year is in hybrids, and I’m glad that’s the case. It’s been a tough year and hybrids tend to hold up better in these kinds of conditions.


“We had a little rash of fall armyworms last week in rice. It was spotty. We’ll see this week if anything has changed or whether we need to spray.


“The biggest challenge with rice through this part of the season has been establishing a flood. A good rain would really help the beans where we haven’t been able to water where pumping capacity was being used in rice.


“All of our early corn is hitting dent, and we’re hoping that we can stop irrigating in a couple of weeks. Irrigation in the later corn will probably go into mid-August. In beans, I think we’re in the calm before the storm with worms. We’re seeing a lot of fresh moths and a few little worms. Based on what I’m finding, I feel like we will be treating worms by the end of next week or into the early part of the week after that.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“This crop is creeping into heading. We’re starting to see a few poking out here and there. Some of the earlier rice – especially where early varieties were planted – is probably in the range of 5% to 8% headed. By next week, I feel like a lot more heads will be out.


“Fungicides are going out on most of the rice that’s in the mid to late boot stage. Everything planted in the first week or so of April is on schedule for fungicide shots now (7/5).


“In some of the late rice, we’re still trying to clean up grass. The big effort right now is simply keeping fields pumped up in this heat. We’re still receiving popup showers but they’re not enough to relax the pumps in our main rice growing areas.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“Serious concerns continue over water availability and getting floods across fields. This isn’t a localized situation here in early July. People are dealing with this challenge from the Louisiana line to the Missouri line.


“Rain is needed and we do seem to have a legitimate chance for it in the forecast when a front moves down. If that works out, it should rain and the system also will bring highs into maybe the 80s. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but this does look more promising than anything we’ve seen in the forecasts lately.




“However, rain at this point could be a double-edged sword in terms of timing. Rice is beginning to head and reduced heat is a good thing for heading. But rain also could complicate the disease picture. We already have high dew points and the crop is holding moisture longer into the day. Sheath blight also is becoming a little more active.


“If you add rainfall over several days, sheath blight could gain a bigger opening. In fields beginning to head with blast-susceptible varieties, chances of neck or panicle blast do increase. In those cases, give serious consideration to applying a product with preventive activity.


“High winds aren’t expected with this front but some wind is a given, with temperatures still in the upper 80s, so that spells disease weather in general. It’s not uncommon to already find blast in places. Conditions are right for at least promoting some leaf infection.


“That said, leaf blast doesn’t necessarily mean that neck or panicle blast will follow. On the flip side of that, neck and panicle blast can develop without any earlier sign of leaf blast. Whether either or both develops depends on the timing of an infection and whether conditions at that point favor blast development.


“The upper Midsouth has what I can best describe as an inconsistent environment for blast infections and development. Sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t. That’s the issue people struggle with the most when trying to decide whether to go with a preventive fungicide application.


“You can’t really know if there’s a payback, but this is a form of insurance. Remember, it’s a preventive application. We do know that things are lining up in ways that could favor blast. Based on that, at least consider a conservative approach, which means putting protection in place.”




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