More rain and more delays. That's the summary for a large portion of our coverage area. Planting in north Louisiana remains stalled out. In other areas the rain has kept soils too wet for normal pre-flood nitrogen applications.
Heavy rains have put an unintended flood on many newly planted fields in parts of Arkansas, which raises concerns about whether those seed will remain viable.
One striking difference in planting progress this year has been the big head start farmers made in the upper Delta, especially northeast Arkansas and the Missouri Bootheel. That part of the region missed some of the heavier rains to the south. In the last several years those growers felt the brunt of bad weather, and plenty of seed went in late. This season much of that crop was planted before the end of April.
More herbicide drift injury has become apparent in the Midsouth as soybean planting gets underway on a wider basis and burndown applications move off target.
Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana: "One of my growers has 40 acres of rice planted, and that's it. We're still waiting for water to recede from all the rain. After that we'll need a stretch of dry weather before we can get serious about planting rice again.
"None of our cotton has been planted yet, either, although some may go in tomorrow (5/6) or over the weekend. I thought we would catch a break next week with the weather, but the last forecast I saw said that out of 5 days next week, 4 of them had a 50% chance of rain."
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley: "We got a lot of rain last week in southwest Louisiana and we're still draining water off numerous fields to get them back to normal flood levels.
"With some of this rice that hadn't gone to flood, we don't have enough time to drain off the water and wait for the ground to dry up to the point we can make a normal fertilizer application. So, we'll drop the water level and start spoon feeding the rice. It's tillering enough that we need to go with that plan, even though it's not the most efficient way to apply nitrogen. If those fields were at pre-tillering or were just at the first tiller then we'd have a chance to wait for dry soil.
"We began seeing a lot of herbicide injury this past week, but with better sunlight and growing conditions the plant's metabolism should increase and the rice can rebound some."