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Bump Up Rice Plant’s Energy Level

Increased chlorophyll may improve milling quality and yield

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Even after making 45 crops, Arkansas rice producer Hubert Ragsdale still finds something new under the sun. This past season, he applied a new product on his rice that helped boost the plants’ energy level at mid-season.

He used HeadSet, a foliar-applied nutritional from Helena Chemical Co., which can increase yield potential and milling quality. It accomplishes this by increasing chlorophyll production for higher plant metabolism and photosynthesis.

“I first used HeadSet in 2010,” says Ragsdale, who farms near Wheatley. “I applied it with my fungicide on all of my rice: Clearfield XL745 and CL151. Last season was unusually hot and dry; some of the nighttime temperatures hit 80 degrees and even higher. Despite those conditions, I still realized a five-bushel yield increase.

“Additionally, everything that we have shipped has been phenomenal this year. We shipped some of our rice to a mill, and they said it’s the best rice they’ve seen all year. I had 11 full bins and all of them milled above grade except two. And we hope those two will also mill higher because everything that we have shipped has milled higher than the samples that we sent in earlier. We had some millings of 65 and 72 this year. I absolutely will use HeadSet again in 2011.”

Healthier Plants Handle Stress

This product’s wide window of application offers timing flexibility. One pint per acre can be applied anytime from panicle initiation to early heading in conventional and hybrid rice. HeadSet can be tankmixed with other inputs, including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and foliar fertilizer.

Dr. Jason Alford, Helena Technical Service Manager for Helena’s Southern Business Unit, ran chlorophyll content readings on HeadSet-treated rice this past season and 10 of his 12 tests showed noticeable increases in chlorophyll content.

“In some fields, you can visually see the difference in color; they’re greener, which means the plants are healthier, carrying on more photosynthesis, utilizing nitrogen better and resulting in higher yield potential and milling quality,” he says.

“Additionally, if a plant is healthier, it will fight off diseases better and overcome stress issues, such as extreme heat during the day or night that can be detrimental to rice. When the weather is really hot and dry, rice can shut down. In a year like 2010 when we experience a week to two-week periods of extremely high temperatures both day and night, the rice plant doesn’t have time to recuperate. A healthier plant helps offset some of the stress caused by environmental extremes.”

Three Years Of Replicated Trials

A healthier plant also normally results in higher yield potential. Positive yield results have been seen from independent research in all rice-producing states. The results of three years of Alford’s replicated trials show an average yield increase of 5-10 bushels per acre on HeadSet-treated rice compared to untreated plots.

“The value of HeadSet to growers is improving your rice’s health, and in return better yield potential,” Alford says. “Additionally, several of our trials have shown an increase in milling quality, both in head and total rice.”

Information for this article was provided by Helena Chemical Co.

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