Rice Advice: BD Fontenot

BD Fontenot Crop Production Services Eunice, La.

B.D. Fontenot, Crop Production Services

B.D. Fontenot
Crop Production Services
Eunice, La.

• B.S., Agronomy, University of Southwestern Louisiana
• Certified Crop Consultant
• Consults on rice and soybeans
• Has consulted for 25 years
• Very active in the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants
Association (LACA)
• Married to wife, Laurie. One son: Jacques (wife, Shelley).
Two grandchildren: Rose, 5; and Finn, 4
• Enjoys colt starting and deer hunting

After graduating from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, I worked for Louisiana Farm Bureau for several years. Since I wanted to have more hands-on involvement in agriculture, I joined what is now Crop Production Services in 1980, and eight years later, became a Certified Crop Consultant.

This past rice season was off by about 5 barrels per acre because it was wet and cold for a long period of time. We could not carry out some of our production practices on a timely basis, which resulted in reduced yields and milling quality. Some of the milling problems also were caused by rain at flowering.

The primary weeds in this area are barnyard grass, fall panicum and sprangletop, which is growing exponentially. It’s always important to emphasize grass control because grass is a lot more yield-robbing than broadleaves. I would much rather contend with broadleaves later in the season than I would with grass.

We try to start weed-free at the beginning of the season at what I call “ground zero.” I refer to the “bricks and mortar” of weed control where post-emergent herbicides are the “bricks,” and residual herbicides are the “mortar” that holds the program together. Every time we make a herbicide application, we try to spray young, actively growing weeds to bring us back to ground zero. Then, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we activate the residuals ourselves – start stacking residuals – to extend control.Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 5.16.56 PM

In many instances, we have crawfish production integrated into the rice system. Weeds grow in a crawfish pond, so the seed bank is increasing, too. If we are trying to put a crop in and fighting weeds because the field was in crawfish, I turn to Clincher SF herbicide for grass control or Grasp SC or Grasp Xtra herbicides for broadleaf control. RebelEX herbicide is a very good compound, too. It’s a broad-spectrum premix of Clincher SF and Grasp SC.

We also recommend soil sampling. I don’t want to over simplify fertility, but pulling good soil samples and following the results on a timely basis, can eliminate 80 percent of the fertility problems. We apply sulphur and zinc on about 80 percent of our acres, and those recommendations are all soil-sample driven.

This year, we have seen unprecedented yields in the ratoon crop. Farmers are already making plans for next year to try to capitalize on the ratoon crop because the market is not very good. To increase the chance of having a good ratoon crop, make sure the first crop is clean and well fertilized. After cutting the first crop, manipulate the straw by rolling the stubble or clipping it to about 6 or 8 inches and add fertilizer. Manipulating the straw makes the ratoon crop more uniform when it comes up, so it will head out at the same time and mature at the same time.

Based on the ratoon crop yields that we are seeing this year, it would be a good idea for farmers to include practices that would be conducive to producing a good ratoon crop next year as well.

RebelEX by Dow AgroSciencesGrasp Xtra Herbicide from Dow AgroSciences