by AgFax Media LLC
Rain continues to complicate preflood work on a wide basis, both in the Midsouth and in coastal rice areas in Louisiana and Texas. More growers either have or will fly nitrogen onto wet soils or even puddling water.
A couple of factors are pushing them into taking drastic measures. In places, the rice is well into tillering and needs nitrogen to maintain development. Also, waiting any longer to establish floods will force some farmers into apply yet another round of herbicides and/or risk dealing with more escapes once the flood has been established.
A bit more heading has started in south Louisiana. In contrast, a small amount of rice will still be planted in northeast Louisiana into June.
More talk of herbicide drift injury, with reports now of damage inflicted on some Midsouth rice after it went to flood.
Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana: "Rice is all over the board, from still waiting to plant to some drill-seeded rice that may go to flood next week. We're also trying to apply herbicides and fertilizer on some water-seeded acreage.
"Since tomorrow will be June 1, people have been wondering how late you can plant rice in June. Some of that happens every year. Growers who are strongly committed to rice will maybe do it up to mid June. Others will probably shift to something else on remaining acres. Part of this also depends on the landlord-tenant agreement on what will be planted.
"One farmer started planting rice last week. I told him that if he goes strictly by the calendar, he's late. But if he goes by his neighbors' progress, he's not late because they're still planting too."
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley: "We're still getting periodic rains in southwest Louisiana, with varying amounts. Last Friday (5/27) it rained 0.9 of an inch, then it turned dry again and today (6/1) we got more rain in the morning and most of Louisiana is expecting rain on Thursday or Friday and into Sunday.
"Most rice in southwest Louisiana is at about mid boot, with maybe 5% or more of it heading or beginning to head. Diseases have been really quiet, with just one recent incidence of leaf blast. I've heard nothing about sheath blight. Some consultants and producers say that the crop doesn't seem to be as 'full' as it normally would appear and it's also a little shorter. If, in fact, the crop is a bit thinner and more open, that might explain the lack of sheath blight so far. Of course, we still have a ways to go.
"I'm getting calls about nitrogen playing out early. These calls are about yellowing rice that's past PD and into boot, and people are saying they've already applied the normal number of units. But in a lot of cases the preflood nitrogen went out on muddy ground or maybe growers were spoon feeding some fields earlier and had to apply nitrogen in less than ideal conditions. In those cases with muddy soil, nitrogen efficiency was less than we would expect if it had been applied in a textbook manner on dry soil. So, you might have to supplement nitrogen to compensate for that.
"In north Louisiana where rains and cool weather delayed planting, most of the crop is around the 3-leaf stage and seems to be developing well. I've looked at a couple of fields there with phosphorous deficiencies and also some flushes of algae."