LSU AgCenter experts give advice on insects, diseases at three rice field days

Steven Linscombe, Schultz, Bruce

News Release Distributed 07/14/08

LSU AgCenter experts traveled across the rice-growing area of southwest Louisiana to meet with farmers and offer advice on improving their crop at two field days on July 8 and one on July 11.

At the Southwest Rice Tour on July 8, Dr. Natalie Hummel, LSU AgCenter entomologist, said the use of Dermacor seed treatment appears to be effective against rice water weevils.

“Overall, it looked like the product worked very well,” she said, when speaking on the farm of Marc Pousson of Welsh. “Fields with treated seed had six times fewer weevils compared to untreated fields.”

Unlike pyrethroids, Dermacor kills weevil larvae, the stage of the insect that does the most damage to rice plants by eating the roots.

Eddie Eskew, LSU AgCenter county agent in Jefferson Davis Parish, said weevils can move into a field within a few days after it is flooded.

At test plots on the Jimmy Hoppe farm near Fenton, Dr. Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said tests are showing that the new rice variety Catahoula is exceeding the variety Cocodrie’s yields. Catahoula has good blast resistance, but it is sheath-blight susceptible, he said. The variety is being grown throughout Louisiana this year from foundation seed produced at the Rice Research Station in 2007. It should be available on a somewhat limited scale in 2009 and readily available in 2010.

Linscombe said testing is under way on three Clearfield experimental lines, and one will likely be chosen this year for a seed increase at the winter nursery in Puerto Rico. He also said a new Clearfield variety, CL151, should be readily available next year also.

Dr. Brooks Blanche, also an LSU AgCenter rice breeder, discussed his work with blending varieties. He mixed Cocodrie and Cheniere varieties and found that yields were more consistent across fields than in fields where Cocodrie and Cheniere were planted separately.

Heavy rain forced the Vermilion Parish Field Day on July 8 indoors at the Kent Lounsberry farm near Lake Arthur. The farm is one of 11 in the state designated by the LSU AgCenter Master Farmer Program as a Model Farm.

Donna Morgan, assistant LSU AgCenter area agent for the Master Farmer Program, said the southwest Louisiana participation in the Master Farmer program is the highest statewide.

Dr. Ernest Girouard, LSU AgCenter area agent for the Master Farmer Program, said certification under the program means that a producer is presumed to be in compliance with environmental practices.

Dr. Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter agronomist, described new products being tested to slow the release of nitrogen fertilizer.

At the Acadia Parish Rice and Soybean Field Day on July 11, Barrett Courville, LSU AgCenter county agent in Acadia Parish, said some soybean fields have received adequate rainfall while others need moisture. He said the parish should have an average crop this year.

Dr. Don Groth, LSU AgCenter pathologist, warned that blast disease often hits rice that is flooded later than usual. The disease seems to be worse in light, sandy soils, he said. “Draining a field is like lighting a match for blast.”

Dr. Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, said he is encouraged by the use of the combination of Ricestar and Permit herbicides with ammonium sulfate to control grasses and broadleaf weeds.

Webster said his research is showing that Clearfield varieties should be treated for weeds first with Newpath. “Don’t substitute Beyond for the first treatment of Newpath.”

Dr. Roger Leonard, LSU AgCenter entomologist, said farmers who want high yields from soybeans should expect to apply insecticides for red-banded stinkbugs more than once.

He said farmers chose not to harvest 15,000 acres of soybeans in central Louisiana a few years ago because the crop was lost to stinkbugs after spraying only once. The threshold for spraying is 36 insects per 100 sweeps, he said.

A group of four Brazilian farmers and two researchers attended the Acadia Parish event. Dr. Candido Bastos, a rice breeder from Sao Paulo, Brazil, said the group also went to a field day July 10 in Texas, and they visited the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station on July 11.

He said he has toured rice-growing regions across the United States.

“I considered Louisiana the best crop that I saw,” Bastos said.

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Contact: Steve Linscombe at (337) 788-7531, or

Writer: Bruce Schultz at (337) 788-8821, or

7/15/2008 1:34:08 AM
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