Be Prapared on All Production Fronts

Greg Mooney – Pest Control Adviser, Simplot Grower Solutions Colusa, Calif.

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nlike many of my peers in the ag business community, I attended California State University at Sacramento – not known as an agricultural-based university – where I was able to obtain a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences. Today, I am a Pest Control Adviser for Simplot Grower Solutions in Colusa.

Last year, the rice season started early with unusually dry weather, which allowed growers to put in extra time on their pre-plant ground preparation. We flooded, seeded and all looked well until the winds hit. High winds can cause multiple problems including silting in of the seed, movement of seed, unequal distribution of water and delayed applications of herbicides to name a few. We fought through that dilemma and ultimately had good yields across the board. One of my preferred herbicide programs that historically does a good job on sprangletop involves applying clomazone the day of seeding or as close to the day of seeding as we can get, if the winds cooperate. I follow that with an application of Granite GR at the thirdleaf stage of rice. Ridding the field of weeds early allows you to establish a good stand of rice, which is one of the best forms of weed control. A typical foliar treatment for any escape weeds would be an application of propanil combined with Grandstand or propanil combined with Granite SC/Regiment. This second treatment usually wraps up the herbicide applications for the year with the exception of the weeds that are tolerant to these herbicides. One of the biggest challenges facing California rice growers is the issue of resistant weeds to the herbicides that we have available to use. Another challenge I had in 2013 was, and has been in years past, the invasive broadleaf weed populations in some of our rice fields. This problem appears to be getting worse every year.

Besides weed issues, armyworm populations were especially bad in some of my fields, resulting in multiple insecticide applications. As for diseases, I prefer to apply some type of fungicide to help lessen the severity of stem rot and aggregate sheath spot. Sometimes I apply a fungicide with a foliar herbicide spray or make a fungicide application at panicle initiation up to boot split. I have had good results both ways. Proper fertility also is important in producing high-yielding rice crops. One of the most overlooked fertilizers, in my opinion, is the addition of potassium to a rice grower’s fertility program. On the subject of water – how much we have or don’t have – is still up in the air in early March. If you are firing up your pumps for supplemental water, I recommend having your PCA sample the well water to get in front of any issues that may arise.

On a positive note, the price of rice has been increasing, and, hopefully, that trend will continue. I wish good luck to all of our rice growers; the world depends on you guys and gals.

Recap:

  1. Last year, the rice season started early with unusually dry weather, which allowed growers to put in extra time on their pre-plant ground preparation. Ultimately, we had good yields across the board.
  2. I like to apply clomazone, which historially does a good job on sprangletop, the day of seeding or as close to the day of seeding as we can get. I follow that with an application of Granite GR at the third-leaf stage of rice.
  3. A typical foliar treatment for any escape weeds would be an application of propanil combined with Grandstand or propanil combined with Granite SC/Regiment.
  4. Resistant weeds are a big challenge for California rice growers. Another challenge is the invasive broadleaf weed populations in some of our rice fields.
  5. Applying a fungicide lessens the severity of stem rot and aggregate sheath spot. Sometimes I apply a fungicide with a foliar herbicide spray or make a fungicide application at panicle initiation up to boot split. I have had good results both ways.