Each Furrow-Irrigated Rice Field May Require Different Handling

Dustin Harrell talks about rice fertility at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station Field Day.

Dustin Harrell talks about rice fertility at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station Field Day.

by Forrest Laws, Delta Farm Press

Rice Farmers should be prepared to fertilizer their furrow-irrigated or row rice acres on a field-by-field basis, LSU AgCenter Extension rice specialist says.

Don’t think you can use a “cookie-cutter” approach to fertilizing or managing your fields in a furrow-irrigated or row rice situation, says Dustin Harrell, Extension rice specialist with the LSU AgCenter.

“Every furrow-irrigated rice field is not the same,” Dr. Harrell said during a presentation at a Row Rice Production meeting in Rayville, La. “We may have fields that are close to being level; we may have some with a pretty good slope on there and we’ll get water down them quickly.

“And, depending on what your field is like, that’s going to change the nitrogen rate recommendations. The nitrogen recommendations will not be the same across all these different fields. You may have a field with a tenth or less slope; you may collect the water at the end of the furrow; you may have tailwater recovery or a small levee at the end.”

The number of practices can vary, and growers need to have a plan for dealing with them before they get into irrigating their rice, Dr. Harrell noted in a presentation to about 60 growers from northeast Louisiana.

The meeting was organized by the Northeast Louisiana Rice Growers Association with the assistance of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service’s Richland Parish office in Rayville, La.