New herbicides show promise for rice production

Frances Gould  |  5/31/2016 3:02:53 PM

Steel rings are placed in a field at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station South Farm to study an experimental herbicide. The rings were used to prevent dilution of the chemical. Photo by Bruce Schultz


Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, tested nine experimental herbicides in 2015.

Because the materials are proprietary, he can’t discuss details, but he said many of them have considerable potential.

“We are working on two new modes of action that we don’t have now in rice.”

He said one product could be a significant tool against a wide variety of grasses and broadleaf weeds. “It offers as much broad spectrum coverage as any material I’ve ever seen.”

Work continued on the Gowan product, benzobicyclon, for aquatic weed management.

He said much of his work concentrates on aquatic weeds fostered by maintaining fields flooded for crawfish production in the off-season.

Webster continued looking at ways to control Nealley’s sprangletop, and he said it continues to become more of a problem in Louisiana. “Still the best way to control it is with RiceStar HT at 24 ounces per acre applied post-emergence.”

Webster said the low rice prices in 2015 resulted in farmers reluctant to pay the additional costs for Clearfield rice seed, resulting in many fields with outbreaks of red rice and weedy rice as the result of hybrid dormancy or outcrossing. The upcoming Provisia technology will help control red rice and weedy rice that isn’t controlled by Newpath herbicide now, he said.

Webster said he has had a demonstration project using a rotation of soybeans-fallow-rice to clean up fields with infestations of outcrossings and other weedy rice.

Webster said chemical companies ask the LSU AgCenter to test their products because Louisiana is unique.

“Our weed spectrum is so different because of crawfish production and the warmer climate,” he said.

Water-seeding also is peculiar to Louisiana, and it provides an additional factor for testing a new product, he said.

In order for the LSU AgCenter to recommend a product, it has to be tested by academic researchers.

“We’re the ones who are going to have the answers for the initial questions.”

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