Plan Ahead to Protect Your Investment

Gregory Harmon – G&H Seed Company Inc., Field Sales Representative Crowley, La.

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.12.13 PMI grew up in Crowley, La., on a rice, crawfish and soybean farm. Throughout high school and college, I spent a lot of time helping out wherever I could and always had an interest in farming. I have been working in the agriculture industry since 2009 and currently am a Field Sales Representative for G&H Seed in Crowley, La. The beginning of the 2013 crop season started out exceptionally cold. We were able to get rice planted in early March, but it struggled with growth due to the early, cool temperatures. Chemical injury was noticeable on hybrid rice due to the slow growing conditions and its inability to quickly break down Newpath. However, this was resolved once warmer weather set in, and the plants were able to outgrow the injury. Also, there was a problem with blackbirds and ducks in the fields unless bird control agent AV-1011 was applied. Despite these challenges, there was no noticeable deficit in the hybrid rice yield, and the quality of the rice was excellent at harvest. A contributing factor to the rice yield was low disease pressure in 2013 (compared to the 2012 blast issues on certain varieties). Early on, weed pressure was down, overall, due to the cool start of the growing season. The main key to inhibiting weed growth is having a good burndown and pre-emergence chemical program when the rice is young. If you can stay clean from the start, it makes life easier on the plant and yourself. By doing so, weeds are kept out through the growth process, allowing the rice to grow adequately and preventing it from having to compete with other weeds for the valuable nutrition it needs to establish itself. One disease our area does have a continuing battle with is sheath blight resistant to strobilurin-based fungicides. As consultants and growers, we need to recognize these problem areas and use the appropriate chemicals to protect our rice from this disease.

Approaching the 2014 season, timely application is essential to growing a quality crop. We can’t control the weather, but we can plan appropriately to make our applications as timely as possible. Also in 2014, growers who intend to water plant rice might take into consideration that AV-1011 received a Sec. 18 label in portions of Louisiana and should look into utilizing this control agent to fight off bird damage early in the planting season. With the high cost of seed, it’s important to protect your investment to prevent having to replant. Looking ahead, we finally have a Farm Bill in place for the 2014-2018 crop years. This should provide stability in the rice market. Something else that we need to keep in mind is doing our best to grow quality rice for the export market to compete with other countries who are exporting rice as well. I wish everyone a successful 2014 season. Care for your crop all the way through harvest so that you will be rewarded with a great yield.

Recap:

  1. In 2013, we were able to get rice planted in early March, but it struggled with growth due to the early, cool temperatures. Chemical injury was noticeable on hybrid rice due to the slow growing conditions and its inability to quickly break down Newpath. However, this was resolved once warmer weather set in, and the plants were able to outgrow the injury.
  2. Also, there was a problem with blackbirds and ducks in the fields unless bird control agent AV-1011 was applied.
  3. A contributing factor to the rice yield was low disease pressure in 2013.
  4. Cooler temperatures early in the season inhibited the growth of weeds, but the main key to inhibiting weed growth is a good burndown and pre-emergence chemical program when the rice is young.
  5. Timely application is an essential part to growing a quality crop.
  6. In 2014, growers who intend to water plant rice should look into utilizing AV-1011 to fight off bird damage early on in the planting season.
  7. We need to do our best to grow quality rice for the export market to compete with other countries who are exporting rice.