Rice Harvest in High Gear

Barrett A. Courville  |  8/10/2011 8:04:12 PM

Rice harvest is really in high gear in this August of 2011. The weather has been cooperating and producers are making good progress. If this weather pattern continues, 45-50 percent of the crop should be harvested by the end of the week. Yield reports have still been very positive. Where the yields have been down it has been because of weak stands or where the rice just wasn’t that good. I would expect that we will have an increase in second crop production this year. The crop is a little early and most of the fields have not been rutted. I would expect that we will have 40 percent of the acres go into second crop.

Because of the 2011 summer drought conditions we are seeing here and in Texas, some producers are bailing rice straw or have someone wanting to bale the rice straw. I have received several calls from producers wanting to know how short can they cut the stubble and still not hurt the second crop production. My initial response that if you do not go lower than 6 inches that you should be alright. I then checked with Dr. Saichuk and he visited with Dr. Harrell at the Rice Research Station and they agreed.

Dr. Harrell sent an email stating the following: "Everything I have done was with flail mowing and low harvest height at 6-8 inches. We are looking at using a bush hog this year. In both cases, it may or may not leave the first axial node. This forces the ratoon to develop mostly from the crown node or the first node. This generally produces even maturing and larger panicles than panicles derived from higher nodes. Harvesting lower than 6-8 inches would remove more stored nonstructural carbohydrates, so I am not sure if the results would be the same. Stubble management will delay maturity by approximately two weeks and I would not recommend it after August 15."

Last week I had the opportunity to take a group of Argentineans and a group from Panama out in Jefferson Davis Parish and visit with some farmers in the fields. The group from Argentina were with a company called Adecoagro. They were interested in precision leveling of the rice fields. I want to thank Mark Fruge and the Zaunbrechers for taking the time to visit with the group. The first photo attachment is Mark Fruge and the second photo is Phillip Zaunbrecher visiting with the group. Later in the week I brought a group of farmers from Panama to visits rice producers. They were more interested in second crop production. Todd Zaunbrecher and Charles Reiners took time out to give the group their ideas and practices for second crop production. All four guys took time out from harvesting to visit and answer questions from the visitors. I really do appreciate their help and assistance.

The next two photos are from a soybean field that was mistakenly sprayed with a herbicide. The producer was supposedly applying a fungicide and about five days later started seeing the symptoms in the pictures. I had Dr. Webster come out and look at the field and he suspects that the beans will mostly recover and yields shouldn’t be hurt too bad. The airplane service that applied the chemical has contacted his insurance company. The producer tells me that they think it might have been Atrazine that was mistakenly applied. Time will tell how bad the yield loss will be.

The last photo is Dr. Saichuk taking a soil sample in the verification field in south Jeff Davis. If you remember, the field was flooded using high salt water during the growing season. We are taking soil samples to see how much salt has accumulated in the soil. We harvested the field Saturday. The variety was Jupiter. Yield was 52.3 bbls green or 51.2 dry. Moisture was 13.9 and test weight was 45 pounds per bushel. We will fertilize and flood the field for second crop. The verification field in Allen parish should be harvested next week. I will keep you updated on its yield as well.

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