I hate to start my first field report of the year saying, “Man, what a year,” but — “Man, what a year!” The entire Southern rice farming region was wet from September 2018 to March 2019. This left farmers with a lot of field work to do before they could even plant a rice crop. In south Louisiana, the bulk of the field work and planting happened in about a two-week period. West of Houston, most of the farmers were in the same predicament as those in south Louisiana. The major difference is that by the time farmers got their fields ready to plant, they were out of moisture. Some of the farmers who have deep wells planted regardless and flushed to get a stand. Others who have to pay for water from LCRA or other water suppliers cannot afford to flush, so they just had to sit back and wait for a rain. The east side of Houston is drastically different than the west side as only a handful of farmers have been able to get in the field to do anything. As the calendar changed to April, farmers in south Louisiana received between 5 and 12 inches of rain in two events (April 4 and April 7). In rice country west of Houston, rainfall was much less, ranging from 0.5 inches to 2 inches. This amount was almost ideal for their conditions.
Rice that has been planted is coming, but some of it is taking a little longer to emerge than you would have expected. I do not have an explanation as to why there are some fields that have taken this long to emerge, and some things you just cannot ever explain. Our temperatures over the next 7-plus days look very favorable for rice growth. I think within the next week to 10 days we will see a lot of postemergence herbicides going out, if it dries up. Just as a reminder, start clean and stay clean, so as soon as you have the opportunity to apply your herbicides, take advantage of that opportunity to keep your fields clean. Early-season weed competition does negatively impact yield. Furthermore, weeds are easier to control the smaller they are.
This is year two for the commercial launch of the Provisia Rice System. I will continue to say that I really like 10 gallons to 15 gallons per acre for the spray volume. This allows much better coverage which will, in turn, give you better control of your “weedy rice.” If you have any questions about Clearfield® or Provisia rice, please give me a call. Since this is my first report of the year, I would like to close by saying good luck to all the farmers out there. I hope you all have a successful and safe year.
Mississippi, N. Louisiana and S. Arkansas
Planting in my territory has been sporadic over the last two weeks. In some areas, although I’ve seen lots of progress being made, quite a bit of field work still has yet to be done. However, where there wasn’t substantial field work to be done, we were able to get a lot of acres planted where conditions allowed. The rain on Thursday (April 4) and Sunday (April 7) is going to keep us out for a while now.
As a whole, my territory is approximately 30% planted. That ranges from guys who are totally finished planting to those who haven’t even been able to get in the field yet. Despite all the rain we’ve had, the temperatures in the 10-day forecast appear favorable. There are some chances of rain looming, but hopefully we can miss those and be back in the field.