Much needed rain for eastern Arkansas finally arrived this week (Fig. 1). This event brought tremendous help to most of our rice areas. Help it was; a solution it was not. It didn’t catch us up, which was evident by some pumps still not being turned off and others only turned off 24-48 hrs before resuming irrigation. However, most importantly it bought us time – time to get to the next rainfall event which will hopefully arrive in the next week.
Continued heat, both day and night, is expected to continue until this time next week. At that time there are some rain chances and both daytime and nighttime temps are expected to drop some.
The highs aren’t quite as high this week as originally forecast, but overnight lows are remaining high so we’re not out of the woods yet. Probably around 25% of rice is heading in the state at this point, but the rest is coming is coming on fast with the crop racing as we accumulate maximum heat units every day. Keep the fingers and toes crossed that small break toward the end of next week brings the rice crop the relief it needs at just the right time.
Overall, the rice crop is really looking good at this stage. Grassy, but good. While there are exceptionally clean fields out there, they’re the exception. I joked to some this week there are two types of rice fields out there – those that have grass blown through and those that will soon have grass blown through.
It’s not truly that bad, large tillered barnyardgrass always looks denser than it really is and much of what I’ve seen isn’t directly yield limiting but could still result in some rice lodging at harvest.
As mentioned last week, humidity and dew set have ticked up and so disease pressure seems on the rise a little more. Calls about sheath blight and blast have increased (no dramatic crazy calls, just getting more of them). Stink bugs have their hot spots, but most are still reporting numbers relatively low for this point in the season.
While we need to scout for disease and insects and respond accordingly, avoid unnecessary applications. Just “throwing in” foliar products or fungicides because we’re making a trip across the field isn’t spending money wisely.
Fungicide applications alone do not improve milling unless they’re controlling something (i.e. smuts). Foliar fertilizers may flash some green-up but do not contribute significant units of nutrients to appreciably change anything. Also, if making a justifiable fungicide application prior to heading, don’t throw in an insecticide as this can lead to worse problems with stink bugs later.
There will be no Rice Update next week.
Let us know if we can help.