We have been fortunate to see new products on the market for rice over the past few years. These products have put more tools in the toolbox for us to use to manage our rice crop.
In 2018, we saw three new herbicides (Loyant, Gambit and Provisia), one new herbicide premix (RiceOne), one fungicide (AmistarTop) and of course, the new Provisia variety PVL01. We will be fortunate again in 2019 and will see several new products released that will be extremely useful in rice production.
Koch Agrisciences announced in January it will release its new urease inhibitor product, Anvol, for the 2019 growing season. The active ingredient in Anvol is duromide. This, like Agrotain and other NBPT-containing products, can be applied to urea fertilizer and will temporarily reduce ammonia volatilization.
Ammonia volatilization losses of nitrogen can be significant for preflood fertilizer applications in rice. I have had the opportunity to test this product for several years now. And my studies found that duromide has shown statistically equivalent protection from ammonia volatilization as other NBPT-containing urease inhibitors like Agrotain.
However, duromide has shown improved protection over NBPT alone in some studies on low pH (acidic) soils. If you farm on acidic soils, you may want to consider giving Anvol a try in 2019.
Another big release for 2019 is the new IMI herbicide-resistant hybrid rice system called FullPage. RiceTec will be releasing four new FullPage hybrid varieties. RiceTec has partnered with Adama, which will provide the IMI herbicide for FullPage.
The FullPage system will be similar to the Clearfield system; however, instead of Newpath and Beyond, Preface and Postscript herbicides will be used. I have had the opportunity to test the nitrogen response for a couple of FullPage hybrids in 2018.
My trials showed that the yield potential of the FullPage hybrids are similar to RiceTec’s other hybrid offerings, and they will need a similar nitrogen fertilization rate. Little herbicide testing of the system at LSU has been conducted so far. However, I was told that the tolerance of the new FullPage hybrids is higher than the Clearfield hybrids. This will bode well for our early season IMI applications on young hybrids, especially if we are cold again like we were in 2018.
Syngenta recently received U.S. EPA registration for the Fortenza seed treatment in rice. State registration for Fortenza is expected soon barring unforeseen issues. If that happens, Fortenza should be available for the 2019 season. The Fortenza seed treatment has been tested by Dr. Blake Wilson with the LSU AgCenter, and his data has shown that Fortenza paired with CruiserMaxx Rice provided rice water weevil control comparable to Dermacor X100.
Fortenza will be sold as a standalone seed treatment product; however, it can be combined with other seed treatments like CruiserMaxx Rice or Vibrance.
Start the season off right with proper soil fertility
Low commodity prices and increasing input costs have us looking for places to cut every year it seems. Unfortunately, soil fertility is one of the first places people look to find some savings.
Generally speaking, most growers don’t attempt to cut seeding rates much because you can see the results of low seeding rates. Likewise, most don’t cut nitrogen rates because they can see the benefits in the field.
With general soil fertility, it is much harder to see the benefits. Phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and zinc (Zn) are just as critical for high yields as stand establishment and nitrogen. They’re all parts of the big puzzle.
Deficiencies of these nutrients are our typical concern because we get visual symptoms to tell us the plant isn’t healthy. Sometimes we only get the visual response when the deficiency is truly severe. Low P and you get short, dark plants with few tillers. Low K and you get brown spot and yellow/red firing of leaves. Low Zn and you get general yellowing and bronzing of leaves.
Unfortunately, correcting deficiencies alone does not fix underlying issues or return yield potential. We can have fertility issues without being visibly deficient. Part of this is related to various nutrients being present in the plant in the proper proportion to one another.
The 2018 season provided clear examples of this. Early in the season, more fields than usual displayed K deficiency (and not just in rice). By harvest it became clear that fields supplied with adequate K and not showing K deficiency, but that were over-fertilized with N, had stem rot and extremely low yields.
The N:K ratio was off and production suffered. So too much of a good thing — in this case N — can be a bad thing, especially if we don’t provide enough of the other good things the rice plant needs in balance.
The take-home message is to soil sample and apply the recommended rates. Applications made all the way up to planting will be beneficial. Remember that pounds of fertilizer are what count, so foliar products with only a few pounds of a nutrient cannot effectively replace granular fertilizers applied with much higher pounds of a nutrient.
Let’s start the 2019 season off right and avoid yield loss and salvage situations for deficiencies.
Variety selection is one of the most important decisions
In California, most farmers grow medium-grain varieties. The commercially available medium Calrose rice varieties have been selected to meet the high quality and yield standards for California.
Varietal selection is one of the first and most important decisions a rice grower will need to make each year. In making a decision, first consider the maturity class that fits into your farming operations and climatic zone.
There are three maturity classes: very early (e.g. M-104, M-105), early (e.g. M-205, M-206, M-209 and M-210) and late maturing (e.g. M-401, M-402 – both premium medium grains). Thinking about your climatic zone. Both M-105 and M-206 are considered broadly adapted varieties that will do well in most California rice growing areas.
However, a closer look at our two variety trials in the coolest areas of the region (Davis and near the Sacramento airport) show that in the past five years, M-105 always yielded higher than M-206. Averaged across years, the M-105 yield advantage was more than 5 hundredweights.
So in these cooler areas, consider experimenting with M-105, if you have not already. The longer duration varieties, such as M-205, M-209, M-401 and M-402, should be grown in warmer regions, which are generally considered to be north of Highway 20. These varieties should not be planted late in the season.
In 2018, foundation seed of M-210 was released to seed growers. It is a Calrose medium-grain variety with improved resistance to the rice blast races found in California. It was developed from a DNA marker-assisted backcrossing program and is essentially “M-206 with additional blast resistance.” It is designed for those areas in California that have had issues with rice blast and replaces M-208.
In 2018, we saw higher-than-normal levels of kernel smut. In most cases, the levels did not reduce yields, but it may have significantly reduced grain quality at the higher infestation levels. We found that long grains were more susceptible to kernel smut than other varieties.
Due to weedy rice concerns, in 2016 the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation Board of Directors passed a policy that only classes of certified seed (foundation, registered and certified) or foundation rice varieties may be planted.
Beginning in 2019, growers will be required to plant only certified seed classes or seed from an approved seed production system of any rice variety in California. While this policy will take effect in 2019, the rice industry strongly urged growers to plant certified seed in 2018 to limit the spread of weedy rice.
Effective in 2019, the California Rice Certification Act requires that all rice produced in the state come from seed enrolled in an approved certified seed program or a quality assurance program.
These steps were taken to ensure that fields are planted with seed screened for the presence of weedy rice types. Handlers will be requiring proof that rice delivered to the mills has been grown with seed that met these requirements.
Fertility management begins with soil sampling
This month, Vicky wants me to talk about fertility management. First, make sure you take soil samples now to determine the need for NPK and micro-nutrients.
Sample your fields as prescribed by your land-grant university and the laboratory where samples are sent. Follow these instructions to the letter. If you plan on doing some land grading, take your samples afterward.
Second, tailor your fertility program based on the results of soil samples, variety selection, plans to ratoon the crop and projected planting date.
Third, use your experience and seed company and university recommendations to determine amounts and timings of fertilizer applications.
Fourth, carefully observe your crop throughout the growing season to determine if you need additional nutrients at specific times. For instance, it has been my experience that when a rice crop begins to yellow or becomes somewhat non-uniform in height, application of N is very important to avoid yield loss. This means you need to watch your crop daily, especially when your crop is approaching panicle differentiation or PD.
The vast majority of our farmers apply a urease inhibitor to urea if it is projected to take four or more days to get water across a field following urea application.
This has proved to be a useful and efficient practice. By decreasing the loss of N to the atmosphere, not only is the farmer getting more bang for the buck but he or she is also helping to decrease air pollution. Urea is now selling for about $410 per ton. Agrotain is selling for about $70 per gallon and is applied at 2 quarts per ton of urea (thanks to Toni Spencer with M&J Fertilizer in Winnie, Texas).
On another topic, I recently received notification from Kevin Haack with the Texas Department of Agriculture that a Specific Exemption for Endigo ZCX to control rice delphacid was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
I hope to hear from TDA and EPA in the near future (at least before the beginning of the 2019 field season). Many thanks to Kevin for promptly and professionally performing a lot of work on behalf of our Texas rice farmers!
Lastly, I want to mention a great activity recently conducted in Wharton County, Texas. The state of Texas sponsored and paid for a “Pesticide Amnesty Day” where farmers brought unwanted pesticides for legal disposal. The Beaumont center also took advantage of this program. I hauled about 100 gallons and 50 pounds of unwanted pesticides to the Wharton County Fairgrounds, Nov. 28. I hope this activity continues in the future — good for the environment and good for our industry!
Don’t worry if you didn’t apply fall P and K
As I write this article, I’m sitting in California at the Rice Outlook Conference with sunshine and 60-degree temps, but am reminded that is not the case back home in Mississippi.
Overall, most rice was harvested in good conditions, but many soybean fields were rutted out on many acres that will go into rice this year. Most field prep will be done when conditions improve, thus not many applications of fall fertilizer have been conducted.
Don’t fret just because we’re later than normal — Mississippi State University data show that early spring or in-season applications of phosphorus and potassium will still provide the needed nutrition for the rice crop and in some cases be more available.
Research conducted in the rice agronomy program between 2003-2016 suggests spring and in-season applications of P provide the same yield level as fall applications when applied prior to the two-leaf stage of rice growth and development on most Delta soils.
This data also suggested when you segment the soils based on pH (>7.5), it is more beneficial to apply P in the spring rather than the fall on soils with pH greater than 7.5. Therefore, let’s not worry that fall field prep and fertilization has not yet been finished, there is still ample time available to apply mixed goods fertilizer with no yield penalty.
As for new fertility products coming onto the market, there are a couple new N stabilizer products y’all will hear about this year. The first is a new NBPT product from Corteva agriscience called PinnitMax. PinnitMax is suggested to protect N from volatilization for 14 days, contains 50 percent NBPT in an easy-to-use formulation and carries a use rate of 1.5 quarts per ton of urea.
A similar product from the Koch Agronomic Services (makers of Agrotain) is called Anvol. It is a second-generation ammonia volatilization inhibitor that contains Duromide technology, which is a new mode of action.
Anvol received Environmental Protection Agency registration in late 2018 and will be available during the 2019 growing season. Field trials and laboratory testing with both these new N inhibitor products have shown promising results.
As I conclude this column, I just got a text that tractors are running in some spots of the Delta, which bodes well for repairing harvest ruts and field prep for 2019. Let’s close the book on 2018 and look forward to a new rice-growing year.