Row rice fungicide research continues

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Row rice test plots are grown at the LSU AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station. Photo by Trey Price.

Farmers in southwest Louisiana have been growing rice for a long time, but in row crop-dominated northeast Louisiana, rice remains a relative newcomer to the agricultural scene. A practice called row rice is catching on in the area, and LSU AgCenter scientists and farmers are still learning about its unique needs.

Rice is typically grown in levee-bound fields that are flooded. While most northeast Louisiana acreage is flooded as well, row rice appeals to some farmers because it is irrigated via furrows, much like other crops grown in the region.

Because it can be grown similarly to other crops, row rice offers flexibility; those fields can be rotated with options such as corn, cotton, grain sorghum and soybeans. The practice has steadily been gaining popularity in northeast Louisiana in recent years, though market conditions ultimately determine acreage from year to year.

Row rice brings its own set of challenges when it comes to managing disease pressures and other issues.

“With the increase in row rice production in the state, it is important to evaluate products in commonly used varieties grown in an upland situation,” said Trey Price, a plant pathologist at the AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station in Winnsboro.

He is conducting fungicide trials to make recommendations for row rice growers and to monitor changes in product efficacy that may develop as pathogens adapt.

“Up-to-date fungicide recommendations help rice farmers make the right input decisions as well as preserve yield and quality,” Price said.

He is growing rice that is susceptible to sheath blight and blast — two common disease concerns — under both upland and flooded conditions to compare disease development and efficacy of a variety of fungicide treatments.

“Blast is a major concern with row rice,” Price said. “Fortunately, it has been several years since we have seen a major outbreak. Also, most of the varieties or hybrids planted in row rice have some degree of resistance to blast. As for sheath blight, we generally see similar severity in both row and flood systems unless it is a dry year.”

The rice plots at Macon Ridge serve more than one purpose. They provide an additional testing location to help AgCenter rice breeder Adam Famoso generate data on potential new rice varieties. Research fields are also used to evaluate commercial and experimental seed treatment and foliar fungicides. They have the potential to provide valuable information regarding salt tolerance, as well.

The Macon Ridge area is known for very salty well water, and the problem can be found in many other parts of Louisiana. Prasanta Subudhi, a researcher in the AgCenter School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences, is studying the issue and testing salt-tolerant rice lines.

Data on yield, moisture, test weight, lodging and naturally occurring diseases also are being collected at the Macon Ridge trials.

11/21/2022 5:37:29 PM
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