Unified by a commitment to help southern rice farmers manage and steward the Provisia® Rice System, a group of university specialists and industry retailers, BASF and Horizon Ag formed the Provisia Working Group in 2022 to develop Best Management Practices (BMP) to minimize the threat of weedy rice outcrosses developing to the ACCase-inhibiting herbicide technology.
Recently, the Provisia Working Group met to review the 2023 season to continuing refining management practices with the goal of helping farmers maximize productivity with Provisia rice and keep this important weed control technology available for seasons to come.
By and large, in the opinion of most Louisiana farmers, the 2023 growing season was a success for the Provisia Rice System and variety PVL03.
Despite PVL03 acreage increasing to almost 30% of the state’s rice plantings, the weedy rice outcrossing issues identified the previous season were significantly reduced, as many farmers adopted BMPs recommended by the Provisia Working Group.
Key BMPs for 2023 that had an impact included starting with a clean seed bed, spraying when weeds are small and actively growing, and using recommended residual herbicides.
As a result, the sentiment across much of the state was that rice fields throughout the region were significantly cleaner, overall, than had been seen in many years, with farmers effectively managing the threat of weedy rice and resistant red rice. In addition, average yields were consistently good and milling quality with PVL03 was superior to most other rice varieties and hybrids throughout harvest.
“When the Provisia Working Group came together last year, it was for the sake of stewardship and continuing to provide farmers with the support and information they need to be successful,” said Dr. Tim Walker, Horizon Ag General Manager. “We saw tremendous benefits from that effort as farmers did an outstanding job preventing outcrossing from spreading. Now, after learning even more this year, we need to keep that momentum moving forward.”
Dr. Walker noted that the 2023 season came with its own set of new challenges early on, when an almost perfect early planting period was followed by an extended spell of very cool, cloudy weather. The result was that plant growth slowed significantly, making the crop much more susceptible to injury from early herbicide applications.
Although reports of adverse crop response were relatively widespread, less than 1% of the approximately 116,000 acres of PVL03 planted in South Louisiana and Texas actually was replanted due to severe early season herbicide response, he said.
“Still, it’s important we look at what happened and see what we can do better,” he said. “The Provisia Rice System is all we are going to have for the next few years to control the weedy rice and resistant red rice issues that are costing farmers significant production and profit potential year after year. We have good Provisia varieties that perform consistently, and Provisia herbicide is extremely effective. There’s no doubt the Provisia Rice System is the best performing ACCase-inhibiting herbicide technology available.”
The Provisia Working Group will finalize its revised BMPs in the coming weeks and share those recommendations with farmers and the industry in winter meetings ahead of the 2024 season. Looking ahead, and based on results this season, participants predicted another jump in Provisia rice acres in 2024, especially with PVL03 being joined by new PVL04 as a variety option.
Key management areas that were the focus on the group’s recent discussion included:
- Taking steps in the fall to control weeds and limit early competition in the coming season, like applying a residual burndown grass herbicide or using tillage.
- Using appropriate seed treatments and recommended fertility to keep plants healthy and growing from the start.
- Following seeding rate recommendations.
- Holding off on making the first application of Provisia herbicide until the temperature is 65 degrees or above for three consecutive days.
- Letting the size and population of weedy rice dictate follow-up applications, with an emphasis on spraying actively growing grasses, red rice, and volunteer rice.
- Making three applications of Provisia herbicide at 10.5, 10.5 and then 10 oz. per acre versus two applications at the higher labeled rate of 15.5 oz. each.
- Using proper carrier volumes for ground and aerial applications.
- Practicing “zero tolerance” for weedy rice and red rice escapes.
“I want to thank the LSU AgCenter and Extension Service team for their leadership and ongoing contributions to this effort,” said Dr. Walker. “In addition, we appreciate the commitment of the other members of the Provisia Working Group, many of whom are competitors putting aside their own interests and working together to help farmers maximize production. The support we have for one another, and our farmers, is part of the culture of the rice industry that sets it apart. Horizon Ag is proud to be a part of it.”
More information about the Provisia Rice System and PVL03 is available at www.HorizonSeed.com.