By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Complications continue to mount up from the early May floods in Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri. Over the last two weeks several of our contacts have said that this has been the most difficult start to a season that they can remember.
More rice is heading in south Louisiana.
On a wide basis, rains and windy conditions continue to prevent growers from applying herbicides and fertilizer ahead of flooding.
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley:
"As I reported last week, some of our mid-February rice is heading. NASS has us at 7% headed, although that's maybe a little higher than I might estimate. If we had had ample sunshine over the last week, that 7% would certainly have been possible.
"It's been raining off and on all day (6/1). It's been cloudy and rainy for the past several days and the forecast says that will continue for several more days. We're also not short for humidity.
"With all that, we're expecting disease pressure to pick up. We've already been seeing sheath blight, and it could really blow up in these conditions. Scout closely. It may not be apparent at the moment, but don't let it jump up and surprise you.
"We're still dealing with the after effects of all the high water early in May. A big part of that rice is stressed and exhibiting those bronzing symptoms that would make you think it's zinc deficiency. Or, it might be mistaken for cercospora. Don't react too quickly if you see this and rush in with zinc or a fungicide when plants may not need either.
"The best cure for that bronzing will be about 2 weeks of warm and sunny growing conditions. But right now we don't have those conditions, so rice is standing still and not getting any better. Just wait.
"This has been a tough season. The crop started early but then we shifted into cloudy, wet weather and plant development slowed down. We are still running ahead of normal with that earliest rice. Normally, the first harvest starts in mid-July, but in 2017 it could kick off in early July. It should really be moving widely in the first week of August when that mid-March rice is ready."