Dry weather topic at LSU AgCenter rice field day

Bruce Schultz, Levy, Jr., Ronald J., Blanche, Sterling, Sha, Xueyan, Linscombe, Steven D., Webster, Eric P., Groth, Donald E., McClain, W. Ray, Harrell, Dustin L.  |  6/20/2009 12:35:59 AM

News Release Distributed 06/19/09

CROWLEY, La. – The current hot, dry weather could reduce the amount of fungicides needed for this year’s rice crop, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist said at the Acadia Parish rice field day Thursday (June 18).

About 100 people attended the event at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station South Farm.

Light disease pressure also could mean farmers could delay fungicide applications, according to Dr. Don Groth. He said the heading stage would be a good time to spray rice plants this year.

“Fungicides should be applied as soon as the first heads are visible emerging from the boot sheath,” Groth advised.

Groth said some light leaf blast has been found on rice varieties CL151 and Jupiter, but that is not unusual for fields with thick stands.

LSU AgCenter rice breeder Dr. Steve Linscombe said development of a Clearfield line will probably result in a new variety release this year. The potential variety matures a week earlier than the varieties CL131 or CL151, he said.

“I think this will be another good tool, especially to spread out the harvest,” Linscombe said.

He said 570 acres of the new line are being grown in Texas and 200 acres are in Missouri, so seed should be available next year if the release is made.

In addition, a Clearfield medium-grain line has potential as a variety with good yield and good disease resistance, Linscombe added.

Dr. Xueyan Sha, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said exploratory work of hybrid rice has begun on the station. He said the LSU AgCenter has acquired 63 lines of Chinese rice, and a scientist from China has been hired for the project.

Dr. Ron Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist, said dry conditions across the state are hurting this year’s soybean crop. He said recent crop report showed 70 percent of the crop in good to excellent condition.

“I think that’s probably an overstatement,” Levy said.

Dry weather also has affected the growth of sweet sorghum test plots, said Dr. Dustin Harrell, an LSU AgCenter agronomist. At this time last year, the sorghum stalks were 9-10 feet tall, but they are only 3-4 feet tall now, he said.

Harrell said studies last year showed that a second crop could be harvested from sweet sorghum, but in dry years like this, that may not be possible.

LSU AgCenter researchers are conducting a study to see what rice varieties work best in rotation with crawfish production, said Dr. Brooks Blanche, an LSU AgCenter rice breeder. The test will examine rice yield potential as well as which variety provides the most biomass for crawfish.

Dr. Ray McClain, LSU AgCenter crawfish researcher, said this year’s crawfish production was off by as much as 30 percent. He said several factors could be blamed for the reduction, including late flooding last year and low survival rate of brood stock.

Dr. Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, showed farmers a number of experiments using different herbicides. He said Grasp works best on ducksalad and also is effective on water plantain and pickerelweed.

He told farmers that the herbicide Arrosolo cannot be legally used after Aug. 1, and it is no longer available to purchase.

Webster said he has tried several products to lower pH to make herbicides more effective, but he said it appears that dry ammonium sulfate works best.

LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Natalie Hummel reported on a test of different chemicals as seed treatments for the rice water weevil in drill-seeded rice. She said Dermacor appeared to be the most effective seed treatment, but pyrethroids worked best in Vermilion Parish.

Hummel said the test will include an analysis of yield, and she hopes to expand the work with water-seeded rice in the future.

Bruce Schultz

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