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.
Editor: Owen Taylor, 601-992-9488.
Harvest has started across a wider part of the Midsouth, although rains in parts of the Delta put things on hold.
In the coastal belt of Texas and southwest Louisiana, harvest is at or past the halfway point on a wide basis.
Stink bugs remain a nagging issue in later rice in parts of Arkansas.
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Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:
“We have some late rice, with a lot of it just beginning to head, and rice stink bugs are building. These counts are the highest we’ve had all year, in fact. It’s not uncommon to count 50 to 75 on 10 sweeps. People are kind of shocked when they confront these numbers and I’m getting calls from folks who want to know if anyone else is seeing this kind of pressure.
“In a lot of cases, growers sprayed a week ago. On the next check, the numbers were back at extremely high levels. Where farmers have already started draining rice, the stink bugs that people are finding now came out of those fields. They went as quick as they could to that late, green rice.
“We do expect that to happen in a lot of years, although some of the counts this month are excessive. It’s one thing to tell people this can happen but quite another to actually experience it.”
Wayne Dulaney, Agronomist, Local Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi:
“Everyone is itching to start cutting rice, although no one to my knowledge has made a successful start in this area. Some samples on Monday (8/13) were still running 24%.
“We did apply some sodium chlorate on 100 acres on our own farm this morning (8/16) and hope to get into that rice next Monday (8/20).
“Overall, the crop looks good. By next week, people will start gnawing away at some acres where the moisture is right, provided we have good weather. The forecast does call for an 80% chance of rain tomorrow, with a half-inch accumulation and then another chance on Saturday that tapers off into early next week. Whether that happens, who knows? We’ve had 80% chances lately and got nothing.
“A little corn has come out and I think a good bit more corn harvest will start next week. The yields I’m hearing are all over the board, from 150 to 250 bu/acre. With some of these lower yields, corn was under pivots and the fields never received enough rain to supplement what the pivots could deliver. In certain cases, maybe pivots were turned off too early.
“But, again, I’m hearing about a good deal of variability. One farmer may be disappointed while the next grower has cut some pretty good corn. This won’t be a record crop but it should be average.
“A few acres of soybeans around Shelby have been cut. I heard one report of 600 acres being harvested near Tchula and it was about half irrigated and half dryland. Yields averaged in the mid-70s (bu/acre).
“This has been a low-stress soybean crop in terms of insects where I’m working. On our own farm, we’ve maybe sprayed 5% of the acres with an insecticide. Of the fields I check, I’ve recommended treatments on maybe 1,000 acres. Where we were sweeping this week, we might find 2 to 4 stink bugs in a field or 1 or 2 loopers.
“One thing that’s helped, I think, has been the way Extension entomologists have discouraged people from making automatic insecticide applications when they apply soybean fungicides. Angus Catchot here in Mississippi and Gus Lorenz in Arkansas have been emphasizing that for a while and I think it’s having an effect.
“One grower said he wondered why he was finding so many spiders in his beans this year. I suspect that’s the reason. Beneficial insects have been plentiful in places.”
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley:
“This week, we’re moving past the midway point on main-crop rice harvest in southwest Louisiana. The weather has been much nicer this week compared to last week when it rained pretty much every afternoon.
“Yields continue to look good, although we’re seeing just a very small decline. (Editor’s Note: Connect to more yield data in Links section.) I still think this will be a really nice crop and we may approach that record yield set in 2013, which was 45 barrels an acre. That’s 7,300 pounds or 162 bushels an acre. I don’t know that we’ll hit that but the trend looks like we could come really close.
“I have no reports of rice being harvested in northeast Louisiana but I suspect that a limited amount might have started.”
Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“We’re draining a lot of fields this week, and next week we will probably drain most of the rest of our rice.
“One of my farmers may actually cut a field on Thursday (8/16), but it was planted pretty early with a really early variety, so that’s the exception. He’ll probably be the first grower in the area to begin harvesting rice but it may be 2 weeks after that before much more rice is cut.
“As hard as this year started and as much as we’ve had to fight grass and weeds, we’re blessed to have the crop we have. In places, it seems like nothing short of a miracle how good the rice looks.”
Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:
“Some harvest started last Thursday or Friday in the earliest fields. No yield numbers have surfaced yet but people generally say they’re pleased.
“Questions this week have mainly been about sodium chlorate – when to apply it in terms of moisture and how much to apply. When those are the main questions, you know the crop is winding down. This one wound down fast, too, and we’re about a week away from seeing combines running on a wide basis.
“We’ll still need to watch some of the late rice for stink bugs. With all the other rice finished and being cut, they’ll start concentrating in the only rice that’s left.”
Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas:
“We’re draining 60% to 70% of our fields right now (8/14). Most all of our rice is at hard dough. We’ll probably drain another 25% of the crop next week and only be down to a few late fields still at flood.
“Rice stink bugs (RSB) have been pretty erratic. Early on, we didn’t spray much, but this past week we had to treat some of the later rice for RSB. With a handful of fields, we’ve had to spray twice.”
Gary Bradshaw, Independent Agronomist, Bradshaw Agricultural Consulting, Richmond, Texas:
“We’re probably 65% to 75% through with our main-crop harvest. This has been a good week, with favorable weather compared to last week. Afternoon showers last week kept us from accomplishing very much during the week or into the weekend, but people are making progress now.
“Rainfall didn’t amount to much in most areas, but a couple of my farms did get 2 to 4 inches. That made a mess of harvest, especially since growers want to have that second crop. Mostly, though, only a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch fell. We drained early enough that the ground had firmed up and the rain soaked in. We’ve hardly had any showers this week.
“Hybrids are yielding really well, from about 65 to 72 barrels/acre, with a lot of fields at 69 to 72. We’ve had fields in the past that made 70 but never much more than that. We did sustain some yield loss with one particular variety due to bacterial panicle blight. That was kind of disheartening because there’s nothing you can do about it. It still yielded better than I thought it would.
“For my growers, that was just about the only downside this year. There were some herbicide issues through the area but that didn’t affect us.”
Curtis Fox, Consultant, Gillett, Arkansas:
“A couple of rice fields in the area have been cut but rain moved in. So, things are on hold. Everyone is waiting (as of 8/16) for this little weather event to move out of the way so they can salt it and cut it.
“I don’t know that I treated every field for rice stink bugs (RSB) this season but the majority of our fields were sprayed at some point. Planting was spread out, so rice headed through a wide window. We never hit a point where one big portion of the crop was headed at the same time. So, we seemed to be treating a field or two for RSB in different areas every week. The treatments did seem to work.
“Where people are cutting corn, it’s at pretty high moisture. The lowest I’ve heard right around here was about 20%, and this corn is going into bins for drying. But corn harvest will break wide open next week, just like rice harvest probably will.
“The majority of our soybeans – maybe 90% -- are at R6 or R6.5. If it rains this weekend, that will pretty much finish up everything. We’ve swept them for the last time and have walked away. We did have a little battle with worms and scattered stink bugs here and there.”
M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont:
“I’m hearing some reports of 8,000 lb/acre wet yields. We are having problems controlling rice stink bugs with pyrethroids. An exacerbating factor may be where organic rice is being grown near conventional rice. The insects build into big numbers in organic fields and then cause problems in nearby conventional rice. Let me add, that’s my supposition.”
Amy Beth Dowdy, ABD Crop Consulting, Dexter, Missouri:
“Big rains fell last night (8/15). In the south end of where I work in Pemiscot and Dunklin Counties. We got 5 inches of rain and upwards of 7 inches in places. Up on the north end of where I work, I think they only got 2 inches. The forecast does call for more rain tonight.
“We will still have to decide how much longer to keep pumping and will have to take care of any rice stink bugs (RSB). So far, I’ve maybe sprayed 6 or 8 fields for RSB. They seem to be worse in the grassier fields, of course. But right now, they’re below threshold in most fields and in places I can barely find any.
“We do have some late rice that’s just heading, so we’ll see how RSB trend there. We’ll probably be checking that rice for 3 or maybe 4 more weeks.
“I’ve told some growers to drain certain fields this week. That rice might be ready for harvest in the last week of August. But if there’s no hurricane coming, they’ll probably wait until after Labor Day.”
Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:
“Harvest is off to a slower-than-expected start. Weather conditions remain unsettled to the point that we can’t make up our minds if it’s hot and sunny or overcast and rainy.
“On the Grand Prairie and farther south, combines are rolling but with an eye on the radar. Yields sound very good, though it’s still early. As I have reminded a few growers this week, it may be too early to speak for the whole crop, but great yields early suggest there’s a chance for great yields later. If the early yields are bad, then the whole thing is usually bad.
“At the least, we’re off to a promising start on what looks to be a very strong crop.
“I am observing a little more false smut as well as some kernel smut. Nothing to be alarmed about, but it’s surprising to find it in some of our early-planted fields because that rice typically escapes the smuts.
“Given the unsettled weather pattern, I’m recommending caution when considering the use of sodium chlorate as a harvest aid. We want to get rice out within 4 to 5 days after a salt application and avoid rainfall events between application and harvest.
“In that scenario, drying and re-wetting can have major negative effects on milling yields. Also, if you take 7 days or more to harvest rice that’s been salted, that risk increases a great deal -- plus, potential for shattering goes up, with further yield loss.
“If we can escape heavy rains through this weekend, we may have some real yields to report next week. Unfortunately, a fair amount of rice across very northern Arkansas was ready to be cut this week and they received 5-plus inches of rain this morning (8/16). The 2018 rollercoaster ride isn’t over yet.”
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