Harvest has nearly wrapped up in the coastal belt of Texas and southwest Louisiana. A shortage of storage capacity is still dragging out some harvest in Texas, and that's especially the case west of Houston where growers tend to have less on-farm storage.


Midsouth harvest has gained momentum. Heavy rains a couple of weeks ago shut down combining just about the time many people started running. But dry conditions returned and equipment began moving again. However, strong storms developed in the upper Midsouth as we finished our calls Thursday night.


Rice stink bugs continue to harass late rice fields in parts of the Midsouth. Billbug damage has been severe in some row rice. See comments by Gus Lorenz.


Paraquat drift remains a concern in Mississippi as more growers begin desiccating soybeans while later rice might still be vulnerable.



This is our last regular issue for the year. This marks the end of our 20th season covering rice in the Midsouth and the coastal rice belt of Louisiana and Texas.


A couple of big “thank-yous” to the people who make this possible:


     - Owen Taylor, Editor



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

“We’re just really getting into rice harvest and started cutting a little last week. Most growers haven’t moved into rice yet. Where any has been cut, the test weight and yields sound really good. That’s a positive sign, although storms are moving in (late afternoon, 8/30) with a lot of wind.


“Early yields are running mostly over 200 bu/acre dry, which is average to a little above average.


“We’ve treated some fields a time or two for rice stink bugs (RSB). In places, RSB have been running 100% to 200% threshold.


“Rains last week varied widely by location, from 2 inches to 10 inches. Where 10 inches fell, I think that hurt rice and soybeans more than cotton. Some whole fields of rice and soybeans in the area went completely under water. My growers weren’t affected much by that but the flooding probably ruined a lot of beans and triggered sprouting in some rice.”


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

“Our row rice is turning out phenomenally well. I don’t know of any yet that has averaged below 200 bu/acre and I’ve heard reports of up to 232.


“Getting into row rice has been an enjoyable experience for me and for a number of my growers. With close management, it’s an easy and efficient way to grow rice. Going forward, I expect more row rice on graded land.


“People who you wouldn’t call rice farmers are getting into this. One farming operation only started raising rice 3 years ago and decided to plant 350 acres of row rice this year. Next year, they say they might plant nearly 2,000 acres of it.”


Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

“Rice stink bugs (RSB) are still giving people fits in the late rice. A guy told me this week that he had sprayed 3 weeks in a row on several late rice fields and RSB numbers weren’t going down. This is very predictable. With the bulk of the rice maturing, RSB are migrating into whatever green rice is left.


“I’m recommending that people increase their thresholds a little and let the numbers get up a bit before they do spray.


“It’s necessary to stay on top of RSB. We have large blocks of untreated rice and are finding at least a little peck in some of that. There’s definitely a difference in peck between treated and untreated blocks, so it looks like our thresholds are holding up okay.


“In row rice, billbug damage is clearly increasing this year and we’re trying to find a solution. However, none of the seed treatments in our tests this year appear to be giving adequate control. We’re seeing no significant differences in the number of dead tillers across any of the materials. We’ll know more about that at harvest. This is a problem that will have to be solved. The damage is pretty stark in places.”


DeWayne Dopslauf, Crop Production Services, Wharton, Texas:

“We’re just about done with harvest. Less than 25% of our main crop is probably left to go – if we can just find storage. Dryers are filling up.


“We saw this same thing a couple of years ago but for some reason it seems to be a little worse this year. Normally, this just happens with a few dryers in a few areas, but this year most dryers are affected. This week may be better but it’s been a pretty tough situation and it held people back from cutting rice that was ready.


“Most dryers have been limiting growers to 2 or 3 trucks a day. Rice moisture is dropping to 13% to 14%, so we need to get that rice out of the field before it rains. That’s not the case everywhere this week, just in certain areas.


“Yields are all over the board, from 46 barrels/acre all the way up to 70. Variations depend on what was planted and other factors. Where growers cut early, their ratoon crop looks pretty good, but the storage shortage held up some fields to the point that I think it’s too late for a second crop.”


Charles Denver, Denver Crop Consulting, Watson, Arkansas:

“We’re just getting ready to start rice harvest but most of that won’t begin for another 7 to 8 days (from 8/30). Quite a bit of rice is being cut around us but most of our crop was planted later.


“We are draining a good deal of our rice. After this week, I’ll have 3 fields that haven’t been drained yet. A lot of rice stink bugs are still in the late rice. So far, we haven’t treated any fields twice.


“We should finish most of our corn this week if it doesn’t rain, although there’s a pretty good chance of rain tonight (8/30). This isn’t nearly the corn crop we had last year. Across the board, it’s probably 20 bu/acre off of our 2017 yields.


“In soybeans, I’ve treated 4 or 5 fields for stink bugs where beans were next to woods, but I haven’t found any treatment situations out in the open. In those cases, I’ll sweep for stink bugs and may get 1 or 2 greens and 4 or 5 of those brown colored predatory stink bugs.


“A lot of people seem to be mistaking those predatory stink bugs for the actual brown stink bug. I leave those alone, myself, but I figure that plenty of soybeans are being sprayed because people didn’t properly identify them. With stink bugs in soybeans, I seldom treat until I find immatures. When immatures become obvious, the natural predation isn’t keeping up, and that’s when I trigger an application. At most this year, I’ve sprayed 10% of our soybeans for stink bugs.”


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

“All of my rice has been drained and probably 40% has been harvested. This is all moving fast. When enough growers are running two combines each, that can change the world in a hurry.


“We had rain last week and people were out of the field. But it dried up quickly and farmers ran all weekend. Some growers with 650 to 800 acres have finished or are nearly to that point. One farmer with 2,600 acres said he’s right at the halfway point (as of 8/30).


“I don’t have many firm yield numbers. But where I’ve been riding combines, the yield monitors are showing a lot of rice over 200 bu/acre. No one seems to be griping about how things are turning out, so this must be a pretty fair crop.


“With corn, we’re probably 60% to 70% finished with harvest and some folks will wrap that up this week. Any soybeans cut so far are mostly dryland. A lot more are being desiccated this week, so we’ll see a big start in the irrigated beans next week and people won’t stop until they’re through. If the weather holds, there won’t be much of anything left in the field by October 1.


“I checked some beans today and we’ll have to spray stink bugs. Those aren’t late, late soybeans but they are later than some of the surrounding fields. We’ll water those beans next week if it doesn’t rain in the next day or so.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“We’re chipping away at the rice crop. It finally got dry enough that we could make good progress. The last USDA estimate – which would have been based on reports gathered last Friday (8/24) – put Arkansas at 5% harvested. But people ran hard over the weekend and into this week, so a good deal more rice has been cut.


“Showers moved through Wednesday and today (8/30), and it’s soggy and damp in places, which is holding some people back. Overall, though, harvest is underway pretty much top to bottom through Arkansas.


“The majority of yield reports have been pretty good so far. Some lower averages are scattered in, but with a lot of those it means that the yields are 20 bu/acre below growers’ expectations. We’ll see if that becomes a trend. At least right now, most people are tickled with how this crop is turning out.


“Rain is in the forecast and parts of the state are already getting some, but the long-term forecast after that looks a lot better, with highs into the low 90s. Humidity may not be perfect, so that might delay when combines can start running in the mornings.


“We won’t break any records with the crop but it should be a very good year, barring any weather systems moving up from the gulf.



“Potash deficiency is appearing in some fields now. That’s not a shock. Just driving around, I’ve noticed it in rice and also in cotton and soybeans. I’ve actually been surprised about the lack of calls about this until just now. You see these reddish leaf tips and leaves get kind of reddish bronze.


“In spots, it’s been due to land leveling and in places enough plants are showing symptoms that yields probably will be affected. Also, we had plenty of rain in April, which can cause some loss. But increasing nitrogen levels can be a factor, too. If extra nitrogen was applied – either to push yields or compensate for weaker stands – that could have thrown the nitrogen-potassium ratio out of balance, which would lead to deficiency symptoms.”


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

“Rice harvest has mostly wrapped up in southwest Louisiana and we have a pretty good ratoon crop started. I don’t expect this to turn into a record yield but it should be one of the higher averages we’ve had in Louisiana.


“In northeast Louisiana, harvest continues where growers can work between rains. That’s stalling harvest a little. But yields up there have reportedly been good, which bodes well for our final statewide average.


“A lot still depends on how weather conditions work out with the ratoon crop this fall. Where anyone still plans to ratoon fields, this definitely is when you want to decrease nitrogen rates and definitely want to skip any stubble management. It’s late enough now (8/30) that you don’t want to do anything that would push maturity later and risk the crop being hit by frost.”


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

“We’re just getting into harvest good but aren’t quite into full-blown cutting yet. Moisture is finally dropping into the 18% to 20% range. Next week, combines will be running in earnest.


“What little rice any of my growers have cut so far has been hybrid and it’s running 180 to 200 bu/acre. This is going to be a pretty good crop.


“A lot of corn has been cut where growers have batch driers. With field drying, the lowest moisture I’ve heard is 16.5%. At best, this is an average corn crop. Better producers are in that 190 to 210 bu/acre range.


“Some early soybeans are about to be harvested. I heard about some March-planted beans that averaged in the upper 70s. Overall, this is an excellent bean crop, I think, and I feel like it’s a better crop that we had last year.”


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

“People are still running into problems finding storage space for rice, and that has delayed harvest in places.


“Despite treating for rice stink bugs, some rice still has had high peck. Some lodging is evident. That could be due to wind or over-fertilization or both. Variety might be involved, as well.


“Bobby Little with Rice Farmers Co-op passed along yield estimates. These are in dry hundredweight per acre. Hybrids are running 72 to 105 and CL153 has run from nearly 56 to 91. In conventionals, he’s reporting 57.7 to 80.8.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“Harvest is progressing pretty well and a lot more combines are running this week from the north Delta to the south Delta – from Tunica to below U.S. 82. We’ve had a good stretch of activity this week, and we’re at least 20% finished with harvest, maybe as much as 25%. Hopefully, we’ll be done shortly. Popup showers have shut down work in places but only temporarily.


“No yield numbers yet but people are very positive about how this crop has performed so far. I’ve only had a couple of calls about bad spots in the field that we’ll have to check out.


“Over the last 2 days (from 8/30), several people called about paraquat drift on rice. A lot of soybeans have been sprayed with paraquat over the last 3 or 4 days, so I expect those calls to pick up.”




Rice Harvest: How Are Things Progressing in the Upper Midsouth? – Podcast   8-29


Dicamba: States Request to EPA – Early Season Cutoff, Year-to-Year Label – DTN   8-31


Farming Future? On-Farm Modular Processing Plants – DTN   8-30


Enlist E3 Soybeans Moving Toward Large-Scale Commercialization   8-28


Texas Field Reports: Rice Farmers Experiencing Bumper 2018 8-28



 More Rice News And Analysis



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