Arkansas Rice: Humidity Stretching Out Maturity; Pre-Harvest Weed Cleanup

    Early harvest progress is still extremely limited even as draining progress has really picked up over the last two weeks.  Good yield reports continue from those finding rice dry enough to cut.  No signs of big home runs, but so far comments have been plenty positive.

    Unfortunately, moderate temperatures and cloudy conditions are leading to extremely high humidity (~95% in the mornings) and letting heavy dew hang around longer in the day.  This seems to be dragging out rice maturity and refusing to let grain moisture drop down.

    By this time next week, after some small rain chances, humidity is supposed to drop out and may finally point us toward better grain maturity as we head into Labor Day.  Heavy dew set once grain is mature typically isn’t good for milling yields.  However, it’s most negative when we get extreme wetting followed by extreme drying.  That hasn’t really been the case lately, so hopefully the wetting of kernels right now isn’t too much to be concerned with.

    There are talks of potential gulf weather activity on the horizon, but that’s still a ways out and anyone’s guess where it may end up headed if it does happen.

    Let us know if we can help.

    NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast

    Fig. 1.  NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.

    Pre-Harvest Weed Cleanup

    Extended hot and dry conditions for most of this summer, especially around flooding, led to less effective herbicide weed control for most of the season.  This excessive heat and drought also made water management more difficult and allowed for weeds to emerge later into the season in areas where we thought we were clear.

    Rice News on AgFax

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    We’re now seeing a fair amount of late weeds that broke through the canopy around heading, and as harvest nears, there are questions about what, if anything, we can do about them.  Unfortunately, the answer is not much.

    If we’re talking grasses, there is nothing to be done.  Any application will be a waste (ineffective and uneconomical), and off-label.

    Weedy rice has seemingly exploded across the state this year.  It tends to always be a scourge in drought years, and it reappeared in fields this year where it had seemingly been eradicated from long ago (weed seed dormancy and viability are killers).

    When it comes to weed rice control this time of year, a harvest aid application of sodium chlorate (salt) might slightly help more of it shatter so it doesn’t end up in the combine, but that’s no guarantee; in fact, it is likely a low probability.  Also, since we recommend beginning harvest within a few days after a salt application, there isn’t much time for it to work.

    Hemp sesbania and jointvetch (indigo) clearly liked the wetting and drying conditions experienced in many fields.  A pre-harvest application of Aim (carfentrazone) or salt may help to desiccate the plants and possibly* pop seed, but results will be questionable and more often than not, a failure.

    The more mature the plants are, the more likely these applications could provide some benefit; however, this will likely only occur with our later harvested rice fields.

    The safest and most economical bet is to probably roll with what’s there.  If areas are extreme to the extent you’re worried about dockage, consider separating those areas into their own lot at harvest so only that lot is docked rather than possibly contaminating a larger lot and receiving a greater reduction in grade.

    Unfortunately, this is essentially all of the options that exist out there, and none are great or even good.  We’ve spent plenty of money this year, so we probably shouldn’t chase after some of these problems.  Sometimes the fastest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

    Coffeebean post-flood

    Fig. 2.  Coffeebean post-flood.

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