Rice farmers hear advice from LSU AgCenter experts

John K. Saichuk, Williams, Billy James, Schultz, Bruce, Harrell, Dustin L.  |  2/3/2009 2:20:27 AM

News Release Distributed 02/02/09

North Louisiana farmers got advice from LSU AgCenter experts at two different producer meetings Jan. 29.

At both sessions, rice farmers heard recommendations for fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and variety selection.

At the meeting in Rayville in Richland Parish, farmers also voiced concern about getting enough Clearfield rice seed.

Farmer John Owen of Richland Parish said he had seed under contract, but now he’s hearing his amount may be reduced.

Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, said Louisiana farmers planted just under half their rice acreage in Clearfield last year, and that could increase to as much as 60 percent this year.

Saichuk urged farmers to be mindful of guidelines for growing Clearfield and to follow the stewardship guidelines.

In addition, red rice plants should be picked from a field, and fields should not be allowed to dry excessively between herbicide applications, Saichuk said, adding that farmers should avoid delaying a flood as a way of treating for rice water weevils.

A delayed flood also delays the maturing of a crop, Saichuk said.

At the Monterey meeting in Concordia Parish, Dr. Bill Williams, an LSU AgCenter weed scientist, said farmers should attack weeds early in the growing season to maintain yields.

“The earlier you remove the weeds, the more money you’re going to make,” he said.

Williams said problems of off-target drift of the Ignite herbicide, which is used with the new Liberty Link soybeans, will not be as significant on rice as the herbicide glyphosate has been with Roundup Ready crops.

Dr. Dustin Harrell, an LSU AgCenter agronomist, told rice farmers at both meetings nitrogen fertilizer is cheaper this year, but he cautioned they should maintain their fertilizer applications even if the price jumps like it did last year.

Harrell said farmers also should not assume all clay or silt loam soils have the same fertilizer needs.

Two-thirds of a rice crop’s nitrogen should be applied before permanent flood, with the remaining third at midseason, he said.

The use of the fertilizer stabilizer Agrotain can reduce nitrogen loss, he said.

Harrell also told farmers rice plants sometimes can suffer from zinc deficiency even when a soil test indicates adequate levels in the soil. This is most often the case where the soil also has a high pH level, which tends to make the zinc unavailable for uptake by the rice plants. Lack of availability of zinc can result in what has become known as localized decline, which sets back a crop, he said.

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Contacts: Johnny Saichuk at (337) 788-7547 or jsaichuk@agcenter.lsu.edu
Bill Williams at (318) 435-2908 or bwilliams@agcenter.lsu.edu
Dustin Harrell at (337) 788-7531 or dharrell@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Bruce Schultz at (337) 788-8821 or bschultz@agcenter.lsu.edu

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