Harvest has gained momentum in the coastal rice belt of Louisiana and Texas. See Dustin Harrell’s early yield reports from southwest Louisiana.


With so much heat and sunlight, people assumed that the coastal crop would finish early, but that’s not how it seems to be working out, says Michael Fruge, Horizon Ag's district field rep in the coastal belt. “We are slightly later than we were last year,” Fruge reported in the company’s newsletter on Thursday. “On our farm, we started harvesting 10 days later in 2018 compared to 2017." He added that early yield reports he's heard were favorable "and I think we have some of the better rice still in the field.”


A bit more draining has started in the Midsouth.


The Midsouth crop still seems to be running ahead of schedule. That could mean harvest will crank up in the Missouri Bootheel in August, which doesn’t happen often.


Rice stink bug numbers are declining in Arkansas where later fields are now heading. Stink bugs are still around but aren’t at threshold in most cases.


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Andy Tonos, Delta Ag Consulting, Greenville, Mississippi:

“We’re actually draining a little rice this week and will probably drain some more next week. These are fields planted in the latter part of March and into the first part of April.


“We sprayed for stink bugs a week or so back (from 7/24) in rice from our second wave of planting. We’ve lined up a few more stink bug treatments and some later rice is about to get a fungicide. One field that was planted late behind land forming is just going to flood. Hopefully, that one will finish in time.


“Overall, we’re seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve turned loose the bulk of our corn and some harvest will start in a week or two where the farmer can dry grain. We’re finding stink bugs and bollworms in soybeans, plus small numbers of bean leaf beetles.”


Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana:

“The majority of the rice I work is headed or is heading and some is starting to turn. We might begin draining next week in the very earliest rice, maybe in 10 days (from 7/24).


“We applied a fungicide for smut on most everything and are keeping stink bugs out. They haven’t been too bad, except in pockets, but then you can go to other places and barely find them.”


Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

“We had an uptick on rice stink bugs (RSB) for a couple of weeks. But a pretty good number of fields are headed out now (7/25) and the dynamics have changed. Where fields are heading this week, RSB aren’t starting at treatment levels.


“The numbers have fallen on the Grand Prairie, in our Delta counties and in the White River Valley. The exception to this is in the Arkansas River Valley. RSB are a chronic problem there, and people are still reporting 50 per 10 sweeps, which is considerably above threshold.


“We’re getting calls about billbugs in row rice fields, mainly in the top end of fields. As row rice acreage began to expand, we suspected that billbugs might be a problem in the production system. In most cases where we’re finding them, growers didn’t go with a seed treatment.”


Wendell Minson, Bootheel Crop Consultants, Dexter, Missouri:

“I would say that 50% of our rice is starting to head and some fields are in the early dough stage. We’ll be drying down the first fields in 3 weeks for sure. That depends on the weather, of course. We’re in the 80s for the next 3 or 4 days (as of 7/26), which seems cool compared to what it has been. That will slow down rice a little.


“Disease pressure is low. It’s been hot and dry, so spraying for sheath blight has been at a minimum. A little blast turned up in susceptible areas and varieties, and we had to spray in those cases, plus we treated all the Roy J and Diamond for smut protection. We’ve treated stink bugs on a limited basis, and pressure has been low so far.


“The crop looks good and we couldn’t ask for better weather for pollination. Rice is coming along and it’s on track to finish early. I think we’ll start cutting in August, which we haven’t done in several years.”


Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Arkansas:

“Probably 50% of my rice is 50% headed and about 20% is 100% headed. At most, only 3 of my fields don’t have a head coming out yet (as of 7/25).


“I think this crop is running a week ahead of what we consider normal. We’ll see harvest starting on August 20, barring some big cool-off. It’s not uncommon to find combines running around here on August 20 but only in a few fields. This year, quite a few acres will be ready on August 20.”


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

“It’s been really hot and dry. Farmers are draining and some rice already has been cut. Kernel smut is showing up in Jackson County. Rice stink bug populations seem to be decreasing compared to earlier in the season.”


Hugh Whitby, KC Consulting, Wynne, Arkansas:

“We’ve pretty much made two-thirds of our fungicide applications and all of the midseason except for some remaining boot shots on hybrids, but that’s a very small percentage of what’s left to do.


“Around 80% of our rice is all headed now. We’re at least 2 weeks away from any draining (as of 7/26), although that may be closer to 3 weeks.


“Both rice and soybeans went through that really hot weather in the last half of May and pretty much through all of June, and it was kind of like they outgrew themselves. I was concerned. Development didn’t seem to be quite normal, whatever normal is anymore. But temperatures moved into more of a seasonal range in the last 2 weeks and rice seems to have slowed down in the last 10 to 14 days.


“In soybeans, quite a bit of fungicide has gone out and we treated a few bollworms here and there. Numbers weren’t huge, but enough turned up to justify an application. All of our corn was irrigated during this past week and it’s supposed to rain this weekend. We’ll see how that goes. I know that we’ll have to irrigate one more time, possible twice, depending on the weather. Certainly, one more good irrigation in 10 days could finish out the corn.”


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

“Yield reports for southwest Louisiana rice have started coming in and they look very encouraging. Across both hybrids and varieties, the field average is around 47 barrels/acre for these early returns. They probably range from 36 to 58, with the bulk somewhere in the mid-40s.



“A lot of growers still haven’t harvested their first fields (as of 7/26), but I expect harvest to be in full swing by this time next week.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“We’re in a stretch of cooler weather, with highs in the upper 80s and low 90s, plus nighttime lows in the upper 60s to lower 70s. This is great weather for people, considering how hot it’s been, and it’s a great for the rice, too.


“We’ve had this long period with highs at 95 or above but the forecast calls for a string of days with highs in the upper 80s. These conditions are pretty much what rice needs for maximum daily development.


“As a bonus, we’ve received some rain across the Arkansas Delta in the last 7 to 10 days. These have mostly been scattered rains but plenty of areas received 1 to 2 inches. If a soybean field receives an inch of rain, that eliminates one irrigation. For rice, that inch of rain is one less inch of water that the farmer will have to pump onto his crop. And it runs off his field, fills his ditches and moves into his tailwater recovery and reservoir.


“Those rains couldn’t have come at a better time and they will change the fortunes of any number of people this year. That’s especially true where farmers had run short on water but were trying to irrigate beans and maintain a flood on their rice. They still may not be able to water beans as much as they’d like but they’re in so much better shape than they had been.


“Anyone who got this rain is likely seeing an uptick in sheath blight, so more questions are being asked about fungicides – products, timing and rates. Our general recommendations get back to how much longer you need to protect the crop from sheath blight. If the field is 50% headed and sheath blight hasn’t made it to the flag leaf and a couple of leaves below it, you’ve outrun the disease in terms of direct yield loss.


“You still have to take into account how susceptible the variety is and how prone it might be to lodging. If those aren’t factors, you’re probably okay. The decision with any of this still gets back to how long do you need to protect the rice until it’s into that safety zone. If you’re applying Quadris or an equivalent, a 12-ounce rate gives you 28 days of control, roughly speaking. A 10- or 8-ounce application provides 21 and 14 days of protection, respectively.


“Where growers missed this rain, sheath blight remains low. And if growers planted varieties with good sheath blight resistance, I’m encouraging them to hold back on spraying and let the variety do its work.


“We still have concerns about blast and the risk of late blow-outs. With this window of rain and lingering moisture, you have to take that into account, particularly where you have a blast-prone field, a blast-susceptible variety or both.


“You may not find leaf blast in those situations, but that doesn’t mean that neck or panicle blast won’t turn up later. We see situations where one field was planted in a susceptible variety in a blast-prone area and it’s loaded up with blast. Across the turnrow, the next field was planted with a variety that is at least moderately susceptible – but, it looks clean. You may think you can get by without a blast spray and are tempted to skip it. Fight that temptation.


“If you don’t spray that field, you’re gambling and the odds may be stacked against you since a heavy presence of inoculum is already there. It wouldn’t take much to flip that switch and fire up blast in that field, too. You should at least treat it once for blast since the likelihood exists.


“A few questions have filtered in about bacterial panicle blight, but we have had no confirmed reports. Where people thought it had developed, the problem was that something else was still in the tank. When the fungicide went out, that caused the burn.”




Louisiana Rice: Early Harvest – Ratoon N Fertilization   7-26


Mississippi Rice: Late Season Weather, Weed Issues – Podcast   7-26


Ag Trade: Trump’s Aid Plan Called ‘Gold Crutches’ – DTN   7-26


Rice Research: Engineered Variety – 60% Less Water, More Drought Tolerant   7-25


Arkansas Rice: Crop 50% Heading; Conditions Ripe for Disease Development   7-24


Rice: U.S.- China Trade Dispute Heats Up on Rice Imports   7-24


Arkansas Rice: New Stink Bug Scouting Method Saves Money, Energy   7-24


Arkansas: Horizon Ag Field Day, Jonesboro, Aug. 2


Mississippi: Rice Field Day, Stoneville, Aug. 2


Arkansas Rice Field Day, Stuttgart, Aug. 3


 More Rice News And Analysis



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