More rice is going to flood on a wide basis. Even more pumps would be running if fields dried up enough for pre-flood fertilizer applications. That's particularly true in south Louisiana and parts of the Midsouth.
Spoon-feeding nitrogen will be necessary in at least part of south Louisiana's crop where some farmers finally threw up their hands and began flying nitrogen into mucky soils or standing water. Frequent rains and even flooding held back normal fertilizer applications to the point the unflooded plants were well into tillering. See comments by Dustin Harrell.
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley: "Most of our rice in south Louisiana is either at green ring or very near to it, and plant development is moving along. A number of growers weren't able to wait for soils to dry up before they applied pre-flood nitrogen and had to begin spoon feeding the crop. That's never an ideal situation but those plants were already pretty far along and were losing yield potential because they didn't have the nitrogen. Also, it's been too windy over the last 3 to 4 days (from 5/12) to make many herbicide applications.
"In north Louisiana farmers are finally able to make progress with rice planting. Everybody is going strong where they can, although a few areas with clay soils are still too damp.
"I received several calls last week about drift but the phone has been quiet this week.
"For folks who attend our northeast Louisiana rice field day every year, the event this summer will be held at Oak Ridge instead of Monroe. We've put together a list of rice events, dates and times for this season but wanted to emphasize the change in venue for the northeast field day to avoid any confusion later."
Johnny Saichuk, Consulting Agronomist, Ducks Unlimited, South Louisiana: "The crop in south Louisiana is off to a really good start. Warm weather in the first couple of weeks of March allowed people to go early. That doesn't happen every year. You expect it to turn cold later, of course, but once rice comes up, it's fine. A lot of people followed that reasoning, based on how advanced a big part of this crop is.
"Heavy cloud cover did develop through long periods after planting, even on days without rain. Then all the rain 2 to 3 weeks ago put a good deal of rice under water. I was at one field this week where they had just moved all the extra water off the rice. We had a cloud cover like this last year, too. The critical month, though, is June. If skies open up and we have abundant sunshine, plants will thrive.
"A lot of topdressing is going out now, although some people were caught by surprise about how fast rice moved. One concern with the earlier rain and flooding would be where mud accumulated on leaves when they were submerged. That's a good way for sheath blight to develop."