“But only about an inch of rain fell, then things were kind of ‘dryish’ on Monday. It rained a little on Tuesday and last night, and it’s sprinkling now. It’s hard this spring to figure out what the weather will do.
“Soybean planting is maybe half to two-thirds finished, and the wheat beans are still a couple of weeks out.”
Wendell Minson, Bootheel Crop Consultants, Dexter, Missouri
“Growers made amazing progress with planting. Last Friday (5/22), the forecast said it would rain through the weekend and into the next week, and that brought on a bunch of gloom and doom. All of a sudden, we missed a few rains, and people started planting rice again on Sunday. By Monday, it was like a jailbreak – people were running everywhere. If you weren’t careful, someone might run over you. People were planting rice and cotton, plus fertilizing corn.
“We still have pockets where the weather wasn’t as favorable. One place I work is still too wet to do anything right now. They haven’t planted a soybean yet and haven’t finished their rice.
“This general area missed two rains today (5/27). If we can miss a little more rain, several growers can wrap up their rice planting. It’s still a struggle, considering how wet things have been. Two or three of my farmers haven’t planted all the rice they need. Two of my biggest clients are planting like crazy. One will finish, but the other guy may not.
“At least in my territory, rice acres will be up. People are switching varieties now, going with a shorter-season variety if the seed is available, which seems likely. For the first time in years, companies are carrying an adequate rice seed inventory.
“Weed control has been good. All the moisture kept herbicides activated, and I think Command helped more than I can ever remember. I did see a couple of train wrecks yesterday in terms of escapes, but we will jump on those with both feet.
“I have some row rice and paddy rice that could go to flood if I pulled the trigger. But with the row rice, we applied a herbicide last week and maybe will do one more. I rode through some paddy rice today. It was the first time I could get across that field all year. It was so clean, it was scary.
“Overall, grass isn’t showing much. Nutsedge is more apparent, and that’s due to the wet weather. But with a few exceptions, weed control has been okay.
“Everyone has beans to plant, so they’re wondering whether to concentrate on the beans or move rice to flood. Some could go to flood this week if growers could spray herbicides, apply fertilizer, and put up levees. But in places, it’s still too wet to pull levees. I think that next week we will see more growers push towards the flood. Compared to average, that’s maybe a week later than when we typically start flooding rice. Any delays trace back to that stretch of cold weather when rice struggled and took so long to emerge.”
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley
“This week, we went through a significant hail storm in part of southwest Louisiana, and it was the first major weather event that potentially will cause some yield loss this year. The hail fell early this week in an area roughly between Fenton and Mowata. That area is basically along the Highway 190 corridor.
“It beat up the rice pretty badly in places. The effect on yield mostly depends on the stage of the crop in a given field.
“The hail knocked off all the leaves on some very young rice, but the crown is still alive, and those plants will recover pretty quickly. With rice at green ring to P.D., the hail mostly hit the leaves but didn’t break the growing point to any extent. In that case, the damage will set back the plants a bit, but they should be okay, and we’ll manage them as usual.
“But where rice was in boot, we can expect yield loss if hail broke that panicle or the growing point.
“Most of our rice this week is at PD, and I’m receiving the first reports of rice heading. With that, we need to concentrate on disease prevention. Sheath blight has shown up in places, which isn’t surprising now that rice is in the reproductive stage and with all the wet weather in recent weeks.
“If the forecast holds, a drier weather trend is coming, which should help with potential disease development. I’m seeing some zinc deficiency. Also, stress due to herbicide damage has kept some fields from responding to nitrogen applications. But the bulk of this week’s calls, as you might imagine, have been about hail damage.
“With a portion of this early-planted rice, harvest could start in mid-July or maybe earlier. I thought that the earlier stretch of cold weather would have slowed plant development. But people are reporting rice heading now, and that’s pretty early.”
Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist
“We’re probably 90% planted and would be 100% if it weren’t for lingering wet areas in the north Delta. Popup showers keep pounding those locations. It’s to the point that some of those fields might not be planted, at least not in rice. A couple of growers might stretch rice planting into June, but I don’t know how far into the month people are willing to go now.
“Calls are still centered around going to flood, mostly saying that their ground is still a little damp and can they apply preflood fertilizer? I’m also still taking paraquat-drift calls. One instance probably happened last week. It’s bad enough that the farmer may end up replanting, based on a conversation with one of his consultants.
“Our earliest-planted rice is probably going to flood this week, and some might have gone to flood late last week. The second round of planting isn’t far behind. With good temperatures over the last week, it caught up.
“People are still trying to farm around popup showers, but the weather remains sporadic. People are catching rain where they don’t need it or remain dry where they desperately want rain. Or, way too much rain falls at the worst possible time. A grower in Humphreys County was ready to flush or flood several fields and had built his levees. Just before he started, four inches of rain fell. The rain didn’t blow out any levees, but it came close.”
Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist
“The crop looks so much better now that we have consistently warm temperatures and sunshine popping in and out. This does put us in that period when early-season problems turn up, including drift complaints.
“Growers are trying to take care of things and are dodging rains in the process. We’re mostly planted. NASS on Tuesday estimated that Arkansas was at 85%, and I think that’s pretty accurate. Planting will continue for another week or so.