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AGvice Crop Consulting
I got involved with agriculture in high school working in the summers for a local farmer. After that, I wanted to be a farmer myself and was always on the lookout for land while attending college. A couple years later, some ground became available, so I started farming in 1978 and farmed for 27 years. In 2006, I began working for my brother, Tim Roberts, who is a consultant in Dyersburg, Tennessee. In 2009, I came back to McGehee, Arkansas, and started my own crop consulting business.
The most intense thing about rice farming today is scouting for weeds and applying the right herbicides to prevent them from coming up or take them out if they emerge. Last year, we had several rains early in the season to help activate our pre-emerge herbicides. But in June, the weather turned hot and dry — even at nighttime — which caused our yields to be down.
Start Clean, Stay Clean
On heavy buckshot, we run Roundup and FirstShot herbicides to get rid of any weeds already out there. My pre-emerge program consists of Command, Sharpen and Facet herbicides. I like a three-shot, three-herbicide application behind the drill.
I have both levee rice and row rice, and the weed spectrum can be different on each one of them. I almost always make one more herbicide application on row rice. Barnyardgrass is our biggest challenge. If we don’t get the pre-emerge herbicides activated in a timely manner and the grass gets up, the race is on. At that time, we begin applying Grasp® SC herbicide and Regiment to get the weeds under control. Then before I go to flood, I apply Grasp. If we have pigweed, I apply Loyant® herbicide with a ground rig on the next trip right behind the Grasp application.
Kyle Colwell with Corteva Agriscience™ and I talk to each other almost every day that time of year to stay on top of the weeds. On row rice, we go after pigweed with Loyant, and it helps with coffeebean and a lot of the broadleaf weeds, too. Depending on the soil type, I also use Loyant in levee rice. For example, the soil type may be a little different at the upper end of the field. It may not be puredee buckshot, so I am going after pigweed and broadleaves.
Farmers and consultants have to get out and look for weeds early in the season. Start clean, stay clean, overlap pre-emerge herbicides and hope the Good Lord blesses us with a rain to activate them. Controlling weeds is the No. 1 goal to strive for.