Heat could pose problems for La. rice crop

Bruce Schultz, Levy, Jr., Ronald J., Linscombe, Steven D., Groth, Donald E.  |  7/9/2009 7:06:41 PM

News Release Distributed 07/09/09

LAKE ARTHUR, La. – Brutal summer heat that lasts into the night could bring bacterial panicle blight to this year’s rice crop, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist warned Tuesday (July 7) at the Vermilion Parish Rice Field Day held at the Lounsberry farm near Lake Arthur.

Dr. Don Groth said the disease is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted through rice seed. He said several consecutive unusually hot summer days will compound the problem.

“Typically, we don’t see much of it unless temperatures are 90 degrees or higher” that last late into the evening, he said.

There is no treatment for bacterial panicle blight. It causes reduced grain filling and can affect yields by as much as 40 percent. Groth said the best measure is selecting a resistant variety, such as Neptune or Jupiter.

The disease caused a major outbreak of panicle blight in the 1990s.

Groth also warned that cercospera is still a possibility on this year’s crop, because it develops after heading.

A new Clearfield long-grain rice line is in its final stages with maturity 5-7 days earlier than CL151 or CL131, said Dr. Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder.

“Unless something unexpected happens, this will probably be released for next year,” he said.

The first medium-grain Clearfield rice could be released this year, with yields comparable to the Neptune variety, Linscombe said.

“If it is a go, it will probably be 2011 before the seed is readily available,” he said.

Dr. Ron Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist, told farmers that a soybean variety with some resistance to Asian soybean rust has been developed, and 500,000 acres of it will be planted in Brazil this year, with the expectation of 15 million acres in 2010.

Levy said the rust has been detected in a sentinel plot in Jefferson Davis Parish.

Levy also showed farmers a test plot of Liberty Link soybeans. Glufosinate, the herbicide that can be used with the variety, works better on broadleaf weeds, he said, compared to the herbicide glyphosate, which has stronger action on grasses.

He said the current Liberty Link soybean varieties were more targeted for Arkansas, where glyphosate-resistant weeds are becoming more of a problem.

Bruce Schultz
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