More draining is underway in the Louisiana-Texas coastal belt. No reports of any harvest starting.


Heading is moving along on a wider basis in the Midsouth. Our contacts in the Delta continue to talk about how fast the crop has progressed.


Grassy rice remains this year’s reality in a big portion of the Midsouth. Conditions earlier in the crop hindered good herbicide activation. Rice broke through and the effect will cascade all the way to harvest. The rice crop in 2018 will be remembered for grass if nothing else.


Rice stink bugs are either in Midsouth rice or poised on field edges. Some treatments have started. Armyworms remain active in places, too.


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Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana:

“My little dab of rice this year is behind crawfish and it’s gone to permanent flood. It’s all hybrid, so we haven’t made any topdress applications yet. Nothing is going on in the rice, otherwise.


“Up until a week ago (from 7/9), the rain was kind of spotty and we still had a few dry pockets. Since then, everyone has gotten rain and we’re generally to the point that we don’t want any more right away. The rain has at least helped us maintain the flood.”


Amy Beth Dowdy, ABD Crop Consulting, Dexter, Missouri:

“We’re dealing with some grassy, grassy messes. In places, I don’t know if we’ll need combines or hay balers when harvest starts. It’s a horrible situation.


“A lot is going on besides that. Heads are coming out and I’m finding sheath blight, including some on Gemini, which is a hybrid. That was a real blip on the screen this week.


“Armyworms are in the rice but are feeding more on the grass than the rice, thank goodness. Rice stink bugs (RSB) are feeding on the grass in the rice that will probably head in the next 10 days. In another week (from 7/12), that part of the crop should be 80% headed.


“I don’t like the way all that’s shaping up. As things look now, we’ll probably have to make multiple RSB treatments this year unless something changes. At the least, we’ll begin treating as soon as enough of the rice is headed. My very earliest field right now is about 25% headed.


“I’m dealing with heavy infestations of Japanese millet, which was planted on ground that laid out last year. Some pearl millet was planted, too. Those fields had been graded years ago and needed to be regraded. They took it out of production last year and the millet was planted. It grew quite well and went to seed last year and then reseeded this year.


“If that had been a cattleman’s pasture, he would have been quite proud of it. But Japanese millet is closely related to barnyard grass, and we’ve been dealing with this in a year when it hasn’t been simple to control the grass we commonly have. I’ve got 500 or 600 acres of that, although there were more fields where it also was planted, maybe a couple of thousand acres.


“Water tends to back up on some of that ground, too. So when the water went down, it carried that seed to more fields. After seeing this, I would never plant millet in a rice field unless I never intended to plant rice in it again.


“We’re running way ahead on when rice starts heading, maybe by a month. Usually, it’s cooler when that begins. Depending on how August weather goes, we could be cutting our first rice in August. I recall one year when that happened, either 2010 or 2011.


“I was afraid to drain too early that year because I was concerned that we wouldn’t have enough moisture to finish out the crop. As it is, we’re running pumps non-stop now. The situation here isn’t as dire as in parts of Arkansas where they’re having to choose between rice or soybeans. But when you’ve only got one well for 160 acres and it’s this hot, you’re still not turning off the pumps much, if any.


“If there’s any positive thing to say about how fast the season is progressing, at least it will be over quicker.”


Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:

“Rice is getting into boot. None of mine is headed yet. We had a time controlling weeds this year, especially grass. I blame the hot, dry weather in June, which made it difficult to kill anything.


“We certainly have some grassy rice, and it looks like everyone else is in that same situation. Nothing worked pre-flood and there were no magic bullets when we tried to catch up later. The results were all bad, and then a shortage developed for a couple of the main grass herbicides. With everyone spraying, I guess demand outstripped supply. We’re in a predicament. This is a grown-up rice crop and we’ll have to live with it.


“On the other hand, disease pressure has been very low, so far. The crop is rapidly progressing. We’re starting to topdress the hybrids now that they’re far enough into the boot stage. It’s hard to say what kind of rice crop we have, given that some of it is so grassy.”


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

“A lot of farmers are now draining fields ahead of harvest, but the rains keep coming. At the Beaumont Center, another 2.5 inches fell over the weekend (7/7-8). That adds to the risk for disease, such as sheath blight, aside from the fact that rains can interfere with pollination.”


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

“Rice is in a hurry. We have fields that are starting to head and some rice planted a little later is coming on right behind it. I’m not sure how this heat will affect us in the long run. Last week the highs were in the upper 90s and lows were still around 75.


“Any rain lately has been spotty. A cell comes through and anything directly under it might get 2 inches but totals will fall off to a couple of tenths or nothing as you move away from that spot. We kind of missed our Fourth of July rain.”


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

“We’ve received a good deal of rain over the last week. More draining has started. At this point, I don’t think the rain will affect us. In terms of disease, a big portion of the crop in southwest Louisiana is past the point for it to matter.


“Draining started last week and more water began coming off rice this week. By late next week we’ll probably have some yield reports. As we move closer to harvest, lodging and quality issues related to that are always a concern.


A quick reminder: we will have a row rice field day on Wednesday at Rayville. It will start on the Colvin Farm at 632 Scales Road, Rayville, and then move to the Rayville Civic Center, which is about 4 miles away. That’s on July 18. It starts at 9 a.m. Other topics are on the agenda. For more information, contact Keith Collins at 318-355-0703.”


Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

“Rice is starting to head in a lot of fields and rice stink bugs (RSB) are out there. Some are on barnyard grass on field edges but we also have plenty of barnyardgrass in rice this year, so they’re poised within the field, itself.


“In rice that’s 50% headed, our threshold is 5 per 10 sweeps. But that allows for a bit of leeway in timing your sprays. Even at 8 to 10 per 10 sweeps, you can hold off a little. When you hit 50 to 150, that’s a different situation, and you’d better treat.


“On lower counts, like 5 to 7 per 10, you can hold off for logistical reasons. If you’re at a minimum threshold in one field but an adjoining field is maybe at 2 per 10 sweeps, you can delay treating and see how those numbers develop, then spray both fields at the same time.


“Some treatments are being made, but I’m not hearing about any scary numbers that are running multiple times over threshold.”


DeWayne Dopslauf, Crop Production Services, Wharton, Texas:

“My first field will probably be drained next week. The farmer and I talked Tuesday about it and he will probably start turning off the water this weekend. As far as more draining goes, everything else is still a little ways off. At this rate, our first cutting could be in a July 23-24 window. We’re still applying fungicides on some rice and have started spraying a few stink bugs. Otherwise, things are quiet.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“It’s still hot. Heading continues and has started in a good portion of the crop. Probably 30% of the state’s rice is headed now (7/12). The pace on that will pick up over the next 14 days and the majority of the crop should be headed by then.


“The main concern with the heat now is the high nighttime low temperatures. We’re into that window of 76 to 78 for lows, which is a bad sign when plants move into flowering. That can reduce pollination if you have enough consecutive nights like that, and if it happens later in grain fill you can end up with chalky grain.



“With this heat and high humidity, plants are staying pretty wet into mid-day, too. That water is scattered around, including on and in blooms, which can hinder pollination. Water vapor is a plus for pollination but physical water isn’t.


“Leaf blast reports are still coming in but are in areas where we expect it under the right conditions. But canopies are staying wet enough that susceptible varieties are at risk in general. Blast-prone fields need to be treated with a fungicide to prevent neck and panicle blast. Fields planted to a susceptible variety that may not be in a blast-prone field may still need a fungicide application. We never know if enough of the right conditions will come together to trigger bad blast. But with conditions now, we don’t want to gamble too much with something that can be so devastating.


“Calls about sheath blight have picked up, as well. People are certainly finding a good deal of it. With the majority of these calls, it’s not progressing up the plant much. The threshold has 2 parts. First, you have to find it in a minimum number of stops in the field depending on cultivar susceptibility. Second, it must be moving up the canopy and threatening the upper leaves. Our goal is to protect the upper leaves because they’re the ones that give us our yields. They’re the pumps, you might say, that finish out the crop.


“If a field doesn’t meet those criteria, you might outrun it. If rice is at 50% heading and sheath blight hasn’t made it into the upper 2 or 3 leaves, no yield will be directly lost. However, if it’s a cultivar prone to lodging, sheath blight can weaken stems, so take that into account.


“Again, though, most fields people have called about would not benefit from a fungicide right now. Where possible, we certainly need to save those applications – and the money. We’ve already spent plenty trying to control weeds, so let’s save some money where possible.


“We are moving into a very serious water situation. Many growers, I’m afraid, are running very tight on their water supplies. We need water on most of these fields for another 30 days, and it’s been very tough to maintain the flood and also water other crops.


“One more recommendation this week: avoid the temptation to throw in a cheap insecticide when applying a fungicide prior to heading. That’s wrong on so many levels. Until rice is heading, you won’t find many rice stink bugs (RSB) or their eggs in the field, not like you may later. So, you’ll hit a minimal number of RSB with a spray that will play out in 3 days, anyway. Plus, you’ll wipe out beneficials. This simply isn’t a sound strategy from the standpoint of IPM or your wallet. Wait until heading begins to see if you have a valid reason to treat.”




WASDE Rice: Increased Production, Higher Stocks   7-12


World Rough Rice Prices Up Slightly   7-11


Arkansas Rice: DD50 Rice Program Optimized for Smart Phones, Tablets 7-10


Louisiana Field Reports: Beneficial Rains; Rice Fields Being Drained 7-10


Mississippi Rice: Managing Armyworms, Blast Disease – Podcast 7-11


Arkansas Rice Field Day, Stuttgart, Aug. 3


 More Rice News And Analysis



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