Here is this week's issue of AgFax Rice.
Our thanks to the Southern and Texas field staffs of Dow AgroSciences for exclusively sponsoring this year’s reports.
Rice harvest has started in the coastal belt of Louisiana and Texas. As of last Friday, less than 1% of the Texas crop had been harvested, according to the state’s latest weekly rice crop survey report. Only a handful of fields have been cut in Louisiana.
Some draining is at hand in the very earliest fields in the Midsouth.
Intense heat remains a concern in the Delta states. Conditions for disease development are in place across much of the region.
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M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont:
“Rain is delaying harvest in some areas. The fields have been drained but growers can’t begin running until soil dries out. They intend to have a ratoon crop and don’t want to rut fields.
“Leafhoppers have been observed in places but they aren’t a big deal. Farmers may think they are finding damage caused by rice delphacids, but that’s not the case. What I’ve seen have been the common blackfaced leafhopper. People are reporting spider mite activity in some fields. That’s also not a big deal. They’re usually associated with high temperatures.”
Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“We’re in the short rows with rice. This has been a hard year. Grass has been a big issue and now we’re having to deal with stink bugs coming out of the grass in the rice. We have heads out. Most fungicides have gone out with the exception of some sheath blight applications that will be made this week.
“All this cloudy weather and heat at heading creates concerns about disease development and issues with pollination. We really need these nighttime temperatures to cool down.
“We’re probably 3 to 4 weeks from letting go of the first rice fields. With stink bugs, nothing has reached threshold yet. Probably 90% of our fields are heading now or are trying to start. Just a handful of fields are at 100% headed right now (7/17).”
Wayne Dulaney, Agronomist, Local Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi:
“We’ll probably drain some rice next week. It’s coming along pretty well. I am scared of this heat and how it might affect the crop. We sure would like some cooler nights. Overall, the rice looks good. My earliest is a field of Diamond and it’s got nice potential.
“Rice stink bugs (RSB) and armyworms popped up this week. We’re trying to get them sprayed but our aerial applicator is backed up with cotton spraying. The pilot asked me yesterday (7/18) if it would be okay if he got to me on Friday morning, which I said would be fine. We’re barely finding threshold numbers, nothing alarming, so we can wait a couple of days.
“A lot of immatures are in there now, too. RSB came on very quickly. A week ago, we weren’t finding any, and now we’ve got RSB and armyworms. I used to never come across armyworms in rice but we’ve had to spray them in the last few years. At least when you have RSB and armyworms, you can take out both with a pyrethroid.
“On our own farm, rice is 100% headed and the same goes for the rice I’m checking in this area. In Tunica County to the north, the rice I check there is 25% to 30% headed. Some of my rice is now going into the third week with 100% headed.
“In soybeans, we’re picking up bollworms. On Monday, they were running 1 to 3 per 25 sweeps in places. Stink bugs are around in beans, too, but scattered. We’ve been in beans a good deal today and I counted 6 stink bugs in one spot in some MGIVs that are approaching R6. But I kept checking and couldn’t find another stink bug for a while.
“That tells me we’ll sure have to sweep every soybean field and not make any assumptions this year about what’s out there. Aerial applicators tell me they’re seeing the same thing. They’re treating specific fields but aren’t making a lot of blanket sprays.
“Some corn is just on the verge of black layer and we’ll probably water the rest of it one more time. Soybeans look pretty good, but all this heat also scares me as far as soybeans go. In 2011, we had a very promising soybean crop but temperatures went up and stayed that way. That took off pretty much the upper third of the crop. You’d find one good bean in a pod and then a couple of BB’s.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:
“We’ve been watching rice stink bugs (RSB) all through the spring and summer and kept finding plenty of them in wild grasses. As rice has transitioned into heading, they’re hitting thresholds in a lot of fields. The threshold is 5 per 10 sweeps in the first 2 weeks of heading.
“But despite the way populations built earlier, the numbers in rice aren’t bad, certainly nothing like we’ve run up against in extreme years. Where people are finding treatment levels now (7/18), they’re maybe 2X to 3X threshold in a lot of fields. No one is reporting crazy counts like 50 or 100 or 200, which we’ve dealt with in some recent years.
“They’re consistent and in just about any rice field that’s heading but they’re very manageable and control is good. In fields where we didn’t find many in the first week or so of heading, immatures are present now and they are hitting thresholds in much of that rice.
“So, everyone needs to be checking. If you did not have to treat early on in heading rice, don’t assume that you’re free and clear.”
Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:
“More heads are poking out every day and things are moving rapidly. Probably 50% of the state’s rice is starting to head and perhaps 15% is close to 100% headed.
“Draining probably could start before the end of the month on some of the earliest varieties that were planted early. One grower said on Monday (7/16) that he thought he was 10 to 14 days out on some of his. That’s the first projection I’ve heard about when any draining might start.
“A couple of stink bug applications have gone out. I’ve seen a few fields with some pretty heavy blast problems. I’m not hearing much about sheath blight, but weather conditions are in a pattern that would promote disease development. In the last several days, we’ve observed long periods of leaf wetness and prolonged dew. Plus, we certainly have plenty of heat.”
Gary Bradshaw, Independent Agronomist, Bradshaw Agricultural Consulting, Richmond, Texas:
“One client or maybe a couple of them might start harvesting rice tomorrow (7/20). I haven’t heard of any harvest starting yet, though.
“We’re draining more fields now. This year’s planting was staggered out and some rice may not be ready for harvest until around August 10, and we’re still pumping water in places.
“It’s 99 today and we haven’t had any rain lately, but people are keeping up with pumping. It had been dry and growers were running short on water. But then we caught 8 inches of rain early in the month and another couple of inches fell after that. Before that rain, farmers’ tailwater recovery and reservoirs ran dry. But everything is full again, so we’re in good shape for water.
“Rice stink bug numbers have been about average, nothing hot and heavy, and some fields have not needed an insecticide application.
“Things are setting up nicely for the ratoon crop. Draining started 8 or 9 days ago and harvest should begin on firm ground. Most of my clients started planting within a window that’s generally favorable for second-crop production. But even where rice was planted somewhat later, we still should be okay.”
Curtis Fox, Consultant, Gillett, Arkansas:
“Our rice is all headed or is in the process. Right now (7/19), I would say that 75% of our crop is 100% headed.
“We’re having to spray for treatment levels of stink bugs, nothing out of the ordinary as far as numbers go. Overall, the crop looks really good, although we do have some grass and weeds, which seems to be the case pretty widely.
“Most of our corn is at the 50% starch line, so this should be the last irrigation. No rust at all, which is the good news. In soybeans, we’re starting to pick up a lot of corn earworms in several of the later fields, anything that doesn’t have a good canopy.”
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley:
“Northeast Louisiana has received rain this week, with 3 inches in places. The bulk of that part of the crop is in late boot to early heading.
“The thing that’s concerning is the amount of heat that’s developed as those fields begin to head and flower. Typically, we like to see nighttime lows drop below 75. If it’s much higher than that for any period, you risk a lot of blanking due to missed pollination and more broken and chalky grain.
“The weather forecast doesn’t look good. In places in northeast Louisiana, the forecast going into the weekend puts highs into the triple digits and nighttime lows at 75 to 80. We didn’t have that problem in southwest Louisiana – no extremes along those lines during heading and flowering.
“So far, I’ve only heard of two fields being harvested – one hybrid, the other a variety – and both went over 50 barrels/acre. Those are probably the very earliest fields. The bulk of the crop down here is being drained and it probably will be 2 weeks before cutting starts on a wide basis.”
Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:
“Current conditions favor disease development – high humidity and high dew points. We’ve even had fog in places. That’s prolonging leaf wetness, which can promote disease. Plus, we’ve had intense heat during the day and low temperatures at night that are above 75, which also is not good for pollination.
“Today (7/19), I saw flowering in a rice field at 6:45 a.m., which shouldn’t happen. Typically, rice flowers between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. When you see it flowering that early, it’s the plant’s physiological response to prolonged heat. With all that stress, it’s trying to avoid some of the heat and is flowering through the day.
“That’s not good because the physical water from the dew is still on the plant and it can be problematic for pollen. But when it’s already 80 degrees and moving toward 95 to 100, that’s how the plant responds.
“Leaf blast has been with us but a couple of pictures came in today showing blast-infected flag leaf collars and nodes on plants. The infected tissue was already rotten. That rice wasn’t heading yet. I’m not trying to raise an alarm. These were in large fields. It’s hot and no rain, so it’s hard to maintain a flood to suppress the blast. The fields might have been near tree lines, too.
“But the fact is, we’re beginning to see some infections up the plant. Anyone with blast-susceptible fields needs to be making educated decisions about whether to treat.
“Sheath blight concerns certainly still exist. So far, bad spots have popped up in some fields. It may not warrant a field-wide treatment but it’s enough that you need to keep your eye on it. The rule of thumb is that once rice reaches 50% heading and beyond, you can potentially outrun it if the sheath blight has not moved to the upper leaves. That’s in terms of yield loss.
“However, if it’s getting really bad, there could be some justification for a low rate of a fungicide to put a stop to it, mainly focused on maintaining stalk strength and stalk integrity until harvest. Left unchecked, it could shut down stems and cause them to collapse early. If sheath blight blows through pretty late, that has to be considered. But – and this is important – keep in mind the pre-harvest interval, which I believe is 28 days.
“People are asking about timing for smut applications (connect to more info in our Links section). Once rice plants reach boot split or beyond, there’s no gain for applying a material for smut. If you’re too late, save your money.
“The forecast calls for somewhat lower temperatures as we move into the weekend, maybe into the low 90s during the day and the low 70s at night. We will be in better shape if that holds true.
“In intense heat like we’re having, there’s some justification for keeping water moving through the field. As dry and as hot as it’s been, plenty of growers aren’t turning off their pumps, anyway. But there may be cases where moving cooler water through the field could help with yield.
“With all the heat in 2016, several yield maps showed higher yields near where the cold water was coming into the field from the well. Typically, yields are lower near the entry point and higher as you move into the warmer water in the middle of the field. But in those fields that year, the averages fell off as you moved deeper into the field where the water was decidedly hot.
“With this heat, some rice started heading 3 weeks ago. Someone may try to sneak some rice out of the field while we’re still in July. I’d fight that temptation to drain too early. If you have the water to maintain the flood, wait a little longer on draining. Once you do stop pumping, these fields could dry up much faster than they would in a normal year.”
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Arkansas Rice: Too Much Heat, Too Little Water – Disease Questions 7-17
Mississippi: Rice Field Day, Stoneville, Aug. 2 7-16
Arkansas Rice: Blast Disease – 10 Common Questions 7-17
Arkansas Rice Field Day, Stuttgart, Aug. 3
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