Choose Herbicides & Apply Correctly

Eric Benzel – Pest Control Adviser, Big Valley Ag Services, Gridley, CA

benzelWhile attending California State University-Chico, I worked for the
University of California Cooperative Extension office in Butte County
conducting rice research. After graduation, I obtained my license and
became a rice PCA.

Last year, right out of the gate, we had cooperative spring weather.
It was dry, so we started our ground work and planted some fields
early. Then came the north wind at 40 to 50 mph, which wreaked
havoc on us. It blew for days and days. We had a lot of water movement
and buried seed. Water blew completely off portions of the
fields, drying out seed and resulting in thin stands. Eventually, the
wind laid down, stands filled in, and we had robust tillering. In the
end, we actually came out with some very good yields and pretty
good quality rice as well.

The main challenge that we face is herbicide-resistant weeds –
sprangletop, watergrass and smallflower. Where the weeds are susceptible
to Cerano, I apply it in the water around the day of sowing to
control sprangletop and suppress watergrass. I usually follow up with
either Granite or Regiment. For late clean-up of sedges and redberry,
we apply a propanil/Grandstand tankmix. Where we are starting to see
sprangletop resistance to Cerano, have alkali ground or know that
really high heat is coming, I like to go in with a Clincher/Granite SC
tankmix after 20 days or so to control sprangletop and watergrass.
Then I come back later with a propanil/Grandstand tankmix to clean
up the sedges.

Using the right herbicide at the right time and applying it correctly,
especially when it comes to the propanil clean-up, is very important.
We usually apply propanil with steel wheel ground rigs. The water has
to be lowered correctly to where we are getting as much of the weed
out of the water as we possibly can for contact. Getting that coverage
and penetrating the canopy with a late clean-up is key.

Typically, our insect pressure is light, and, as for disease, we’ve
been seeing some blast show up in parts of the Valley. This means
that monitoring has become a season-long task all the way through
harvest. We also look for aggregate sheath spot in which field monitoring
and field history come into play and dictate the use of fungicides.
We take care of bakanae in the seed soak.

Going into 2014, the topic of discussion in our area is dry, dry, dry.
Currently, we are at about 15 percent of our average precipitation. The
availability of water and the acres to be planted this year are not determined
yet. I would say to the rice growers who have wells to make
sure that they are out there right now servicing and testing those
wells in preparation for a potential surface water reduction. It’s hard
to play catch-up once the season begins.

Recap:

  1. Last year, we had cooperative spring weather. Then came the
    north wind at 40 to 50 mph. Eventually, the wind laid down,
    stands filled in, and we had robust tillering, resulting in some
    very good yields and pretty good quality rice as well.
  2. The main challenge that we face is herbicide-resistant weeds –
    sprangletop, watergrass and smallflower. Where the weeds are
    susceptible to Cerano, I apply it in the water around the day of
    sowing to control sprangletop and suppress watergrass.
    I usually follow up with either Granite or Regiment. For late
    clean-up of sedges and redberry, we apply a tankmix of
    propanil and Grandstand.
  3. Where we are starting to see sprangletop resistance to Cerano,
    have alkali ground or know that really high heat is coming, I like
    to go in with a Clincher/Granite SC tankmix after 20 days or so
    to control sprangletop and watergrass. Then I come back later
    with a propanil/Grandstand tankmix to clean up the sedges.
  4. Using the right herbicide at the right time and applying it
    correctly is very important. Getting that coverage and
    penetrating the canopy with a late clean-up is key

More about Eric Benzel

  • B.S. degree in Plant Sciences – California State
    University-Chico
  • Holds a PCA license
  • Has consulted for six years
  • Consults on rice, walnuts, almonds, peaches and prunes
  • Member of Certified Crop Advisers (CCA)
  • Member of California Association of Pest Control Advisers
    (CAPCA)
  • Married to wife, Rebecca. One daughter: Kimber, 2
  • Enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with family