Frances Gould | 10/2/2013 9:25:21 PM
LSU AgCenter weed scientist Dr. Eric Webster said the 2012 rice-growing season had fewer weed problems than usual.
"As a whole, the weed control in rice in 2012 was the best I’ve ever seen," Webster said.
He said more growers are realizing the benefits of early application of herbicides and are figuring out how niche products can work in their unique situations.
"I’ve said it a thousand times, a 3-inch weed is easier to kill than a 3-foot weed," Webster said.
As for the weeds that did exist this year, Webster said aquatic weeds were particularly bad, possibly because the winter was so mild. "I saw more alligatorweed than I’ve ever seen," he said.
The LSU AgCenter weed scientist said he found a few pockets of herbicide-resistant weeds in rice but, so far, nothing was alarming. Clincher-resistant sprangletop has been found in the Bunkie area, he said, and Newpath-resistant barnyardgrass was found in North Louisiana.
In addition, Webster said he found scattered out-crossings of Newpath-resistant red rice. "That can be traced back to no rotation out of the Clearfield system," he said.
In 2012, Webster assumed duties for weed extension and research statewide. He said the heavier soil in north Louisiana requires increased rates for effective pre-emergence applications.
Several manufacturers are starting to package combinations of herbicides, and Webster said much of his work involves testing those products. The combinations are offered as a convenience, and they are cheaper than buying the products individually, Webster said.
He also said another new product he tested in 2012 was Sharpen, with activity against grasses and broadleaf weeds. He said some injury to young rice has been encountered, so the rate probably will be reduced.
Webster said he tried a new experimental product with the best effectiveness on ducksalad he’s ever seen. It also works on barnyardgrass, sprangletop and nutsedge, and it has potential to control late-season vegetation.
In another project, Webster started research last season to deter mine more about the competitiveness of sesbania with rice.
Rice was hand-harvested in areas surrounding sesbania plants that had been allowed to grow on the Rice Research Station’s South Farm. Webster said the study will look at how far from the base of the plant the weed is still competitive with rice.
(This article was published in the 2013 Louisiana Rice Research Board Annual Report.)
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