Use Inputs Wisely To Boost Return On Investment

I began scouting cotton in 1994 while attending Arkansas State University. In 1996-97, I worked for Don Benson, an independent consultant, in Marinna, Ark., who also checks rice. After starting my own business — Southern Heritage Cotton Co. — in 2002, I have checked rice ever since.

RebelEX by Dow AgroSciencesToday, I consult on rice, cotton, soybeans, corn, milo and peanuts, mostly in Lee County. For rice farmers in my area, 2015 was a challenging year but not as bad as things were to the west of us where rice yields were adversely affected by heat. Most of my rice was on heavy ground, which forced us to plant a little later due to the wet spring. The University of Arkansas attributed our lower yields primarily to the high nighttime temperatures we experienced.

Weed And Insect Control
Sprangletop is the most troublesome weed in my area. We apply Bolero with propanil in many situations, trying to overlap the Command and Sharpen tankmix that we put out at planting to control grass and resistant pigweed. We sometimes include Command in our post treatment for extra residual against grass.

Grasp Xtra Herbicide from Dow AgroSciencesRebelEX has been a good fit pre-flood. As long as we have adequate moisture, RebelEX has provided excellent control of sprangletop as well as barnyardgrass and coffeebean. A post-flood application of RebelEX also helps to clean up any escapes that we get. Grasp has been a good post-flood weed management option where we have had corn in adjoining fields because it doesn’t cause injury to corn.

We don’t seem to have a lot of insect pressure in rice fields in our area. Although stinkbugs can be an issue at times, we can easily control them with pyrethroids.

Don’t Skimp On Inputs
At the end of March, we had begun planting a few rice fields. Right now, farmers need to be paying attention to what crops will be planted around the fields where they will grow rice. When a rice field is surrounded by another crop, it’s important to make sure the wind is perfect before making herbicide applications.

While rice farmers in our area face challenges going into the 2016 season, we might as well make the most of what we have to work with. We can’t cut inputs that provide the most return. On the bright side, fertilizer prices have come down, and chemical prices seem to be easing down as well. We don’t need to try to save a nickel that will cost us a dollar.

blakefoustBlake Foust
Southern Heritage Cotton Co.
Forrest City, Ark.

  • B.S., Agricultural Business, Arkansas State University
  • M.S., Agriculture, Arkansas State University
  • Certified Crop Adviser – American Society of Agronomy, Arkansas board member and past chair
  • Certified Professional Agronomist – American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America
  • Past president of Arkansas Agricultural Consultants Association
  • Member of the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC)
  • Married to wife, Jamie, for 18 years. Two daughters: Halle and Annalee
  • Enjoys spending time with family and turkey hunting