In my area, rice farmers use different methods to plant rice — dry planting and water seeding. Starting clean is rule No. 1 in any rice planting system. An early spring burndown on winter vegetation is usually easy to accomplish but be sure to follow labeled plant-back restrictions for the products you apply.
In a water-seeded pinpoint flood system, you work the ground, flood up, level the field, plant rice seed into the muddy water and allow it to sit for a couple days to germinate. Then remove the water to let in sunlight and oxygen so the seed can finish germinating and peg down its roots into the soil. This step allows the seed to resist buoyancy and wave action, so it won’t drift off.
While the soil is still very wet, impregnate fertilizer with Command herbicide and drop it onto the wet soil surface. The fertilizer melts and the Command attaches to the soil, so you have a residual grass herbicide in the system. Once the seed pegs, bring the water back and leave the flood on. If you started clean prior to planting, not many weeds will be present, and Command will take care of the grasses for a while.
In about two weeks when you put on the permanent flood, here come the aquatic weeds, such as redstem and ducksalad. Sometimes small grass may be present below the water.
Because water is the ultimate herbicide, we don’t remove the permanent flood because it suppresses “undesirable rice.” This suppression takes precedence over everything. Today, all kinds of crossed-up rice is in the field, so I call it undesirable rice instead of red rice.
Impregnate Loyant® Herbicide On Fertilizer
At about 4- or 5-leaf rice, it’s time for the first nitrogen application, and the nitrogen will go into the water. Early on, I considered spraying Loyant to clean up most of the aquatic weeds but wondered how I would take out the small grass if it is underwater. It occurred to me to impregnate Loyant onto the fertilizer. This method would take out most of the aquatic weeds that have germinated since we brought the flood back. If some small grass is emerging, Loyant will probably take it out, too.
Another benefit of this impregnation technique is that it is safer for the rice. If sedge is present, also impregnate Permit herbicide on the fertilizer to help with sedge control. To me, this approach is a natural fit in a water-seeded pinpoint flood system.
More about BD Fontenot
- B.S., agronomy, University of Southwestern Louisiana.
- Certified Crop Consultant.
- Consults on rice and soybeans.
- Has consulted for 40 years.
- Active in Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association.
- Wife: Laurie. Son: Jacques (wife Shelly). Two grandchildren: Rose (10) and Finn (10).
- Enjoys colt starting and deer hunting.