Herbicide And Fertility Programs

Rusty Elston
Elston Crop Management, Inc.
Cheneyville, La.


Something inside always excited me about agriculture. I worked for Dr. Grady Coburn, who has a consulting business in Cheneyville, for 21 years. I am extremely thankful for the training that I received. He really taught me a lot. In 2003, I opened my own consulting business – Elston Crop Management, Inc. Being an independent crop consultant allows me to work hard and see the benefits.

In 2013, at the beginning of the season, we planted much of our crop on time or a little early. Then the weather cooled off, and we applied extra nitrogen to try to get the rice kicked off, which didn’t work in some cases. When the weather warmed up, the crop responded, and we were able to produce, in some cases, recordbreaking yields – 45- to 50-barrel averages. I attribute this outcome to good timing of inputs such as herbicides, fungicides and fertilizer. In addition, nighttime temperatures were favorable during the flowering and pollination period, promoting grain fill.

As far as herbicides, we are using more residuals and overlapping residuals. We apply Command either just before or just after planting. When that begins to play out, we come back, usually 14 to 21 days after the first application, with either Command or Prowl or Command and Prowl. As soon as we see barnyardgrass or sprangletop begin to emerge, we apply that second shot. This program is primarily for grass management, but we do see some benefits on other weeds.

Sprangletop is our most troublesome pest. Propanil and Command or propanil and Prowl are doing a good job of controlling it but has to be timed extremely well. We also have a lot of crawfish production, which sets up broadleaf issues. Grasp has been an excellent tool, especially in a water-seeded environment in rotation with crawfish. Good water management is essential for rice production. Don’t let the plant stress. Flush, if needed, to keep your herbicide program active and working properly. Get a flood on the field as soon as it will take it.

We do a lot of grid sampling and variable rate application of fertilizers, especially phosphorous and potassium where they are needed. We present the results of the soil sampling to our farmers, along with a prescription for what needs to be applied where. This has helped us even out some of these fields.

For the 2014 season, fields need to be prepared and fertility programs lined out in order to get everything done early to on time. We don’t want to have late-planted fields. I think we will see more rice acres in our area next year, possibly a 10 to 15 percent increase.

Looking forward to 2014, I believe we are going into the year with a real positive attitude. And that’s good! It’s nice to see my farmers smile and honk when they pass by. That smile, wave or handshake means everything to me.

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Rusty Elston

• B.S. in Agronomy (Soil Science), B.S. in Wildlife Management, Louisiana Tech University

• Worked for Dr. Grady Coburn for 21 years

• Started consulting full time in 1981 after college graduation

• Established Elston Crop Management, Inc. in 2003

• Member and past president of Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association

• Married to wife, Karen. Two children: son, Daniel, and daughter, Laura

• Enjoys hunting, fishing, friends and church activities

Recap: Herbicide And Fertility Programs

1. In 2013, in some cases, we produced record-breaking yields – 45- to 50-barrel averages. I attribute this outcome to good timing of inputs such as herbicides, fungicides and fertilizer.

2. As far as herbicides, we are using more residuals and overlapping residuals. We apply Command either just before or just after planting. When that begins to play out, we come back, usually 14 to 21 days after the first application, with either Command or Prowl or Command and Prowl.

3. Sprangletop is our most troublesome pest. Propanil and Command or propanil and Prowl are doing a good job of controlling it but has to be timed extremely well.

4. Grasp has been an excellent tool, especially in a water-seeded environment in rotation with crawfish.

5. Flush, if needed, to keep your herbicide program active and working properly.

6. We do a lot of grid sampling and variable rate application of fertilizers, especially phosphorous and potassium where they are needed.

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