Weed Control- Hot Topic in Rice

Wayne Dulaney -Lead Agronomist, Dulaney Seed, Inc., Clarksdale, Miss.

waynedulaneyAfter graduating from Mississippi State in 1996, I went to work for an ag retailer, where I made myself the “rice expert” in what was predominately cotton country at that time. I grew up on a rice farm, interned with a crop protection company during the summers making rice herbicide recommendations, plus I learned a lot in college. Today, I am involved with our family business, Dulaney Seed, Inc. in Clarksdale. In addition to selling seed, I assist our customers with choosing the right seeding rates, keeping their fields clean, adjusting fertilizer rates – whatever they need to run a profitable operation. I also farm 1,000 acres of rice with my brother, J.D., on Gen 4 Farms. He’s the day-to-day guy. I do the agronomy work, marketing and seed segregation since our farm is 80 percent rice seed production. In our area, one of the hot topics in rice is weed control. For example, we have some ALS-resistant pigweed. If you plant Clearfield rice and have the potential for resistant broadleaves, plan to apply propanil or a phenoxy herbicide such as Grandstand or Aim. On our farm, we have smartweed. In the Delta, smartweed can either be a huge problem or practically non-existent even on the same Sharkey clay soils. In the future, we’re expecting Sharpen herbicide to give us some smartweed control.

We’re doing a lot of preflood herbicide work with ground rigs. I’m applying Rice Beaux and Facet and putting out high volumes of water to get better grass control. About 10 days after flooding, products like RebelEX and Clincher can be applied almost as a standard to clean up escapes. Don’t wait until the field looks like it needs a salvage treatment. Also, more farmers in our area are using water conservation practices like intermittent flooding or side-inlet irrigation with polypipe to save on diesel and conserve water for our aquifer. However, when you’re using these methods and get busy in-season, a field or two can become less moist than is optimal, causing weed breakthroughs that may require spot treatments.

In our business, we are always trying to help our customers raise yields. We’ve accomplished this with corn and are working on wheat by broadening the fungicide base on wheat seed and treating it with micronutrients. Along with tissue testing, I am trying the same approach with rice this year. We’ve seen a positive response in wheat and are hoping to see the same response in rice. For example, zinc helps with nitrogen uptake, but until recent improvements in zinc technology, it was difficult to work with as a seed treatment. Looking forward, I always tell customers and other farmers that if you keep doing the same thing over and over and are not satisfied with something in your operation, start looking outside and asking for advice. I think that is really important because we all have a lot on us. Don’t try to be Superman and do it all yourself.

Recap:

  1. In our area, we have some ALS-resistant pigweed. If you plant Clearfield rice and have the potential for resistant broadleaves, plan to apply propanil or a phenoxy herbicide such as Grandstand or Aim.
  2. In the Delta, smartweed can either be a huge problem or practically non-existent even on the same Sharkey clay soils. In the future, we’re expecting Sharpen herbicide to give us some smartweed control.
  3. We’re doing a lot of preflood herbicide work with ground rigs. I’m applying Rice Beaux and Facet and putting out high volumes of water to get better grass control.
  4. About 10 days after flooding, products like RebelEX and Clincher herbicides can be applied almost as a standard to clean up escapes. Don’t wait until the field looks like it needs a salvage treatment.
  5. When you’re using intermittent flooding or side-inlet irrigation and get busy, a field or two can lose optimal moisture, causing weed breakthroughs that may require spot treatments.