Rice Seeding Dates

Barrett A. Courville  |  2/24/2011 2:54:57 AM

As we head into March of 2011 most rice producers are getting anxious to start planting. The last couple of weeks have been very warm and field activities have increased. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and planting will begin very soon. With the Clearfield technology that we have today more and more producers are dry planting. Just a few years ago almost all of the rice planted in Southwest Louisiana was water planted, but with the ability to control red rice with the Clearfield technology, producers are switching to dry planting.

Because environmental conditions are variable in different locations and years, the optimum seeding time is typically presented as a range of dates. Rice yields may be reduced by planting too early or too late outside of the recommended range. Average daily temperature at seeding, calculated by adding the daily high and low temperatures and dividing by two, is crucial in stand estab­lishment.

Remember: At or below 50 degrees F, rice seed germi­nation is negligible. From 50 to 55 degrees F germination increases, but not to any great extent until temperature is above 60 degrees F. Seedling survival is not satisfactory until the average daily temperature is above 65 degrees F.

Based on information from seeding date research trials, the optimum planting dates for rice are:

Southwest Louisiana – March 15 to April 20, 2011

North Louisiana – April 5 to May 10, 2011

Extremely early seeding can lead to a number of problems including: (1) slow emergence and poor growth under colder conditions because of the inherent lack of seedling vigor and cold tolerance in many varieties; (2) increased damage from seedling diseases under cool con­ditions; (3) increased damage from birds (blackbirds, ducks and geese), which are more numerous in the early spring; and (4) interactions with herbicides.

Extremely late seeding also can be detrimental to yield. Stand establishment can be equally difficult in hot weather. The yield potential of many varieties will de­crease significantly with later seeding. Bacterial panicle blight is thought to be associated with higher-than-normal day and night temperatures during pollination and grain fill. Late-planted rice is more likely to encounter these conditions. Also, many diseases (especially blast) and insect problems are more severe, and grain quality is often decreased with later-seeded rice. To assure adequate time for a ratoon or second crop to develop prior to the onset of cold weather, the first crop should be harvested before mid-August. Rice planted by or before April 15 in Southwest Louisiana has the most potential for meeting this harvest deadline and producing good grain yields in the ratoon crop.

For more information, come by or call our office at 337-788-8821 or you can visit our website at http://www.lsuagcenter.com.  

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