Researchers try to stay ahead of weeds problems

Frances Gould, Schultz, Bruce  |  10/10/2013 10:39:28 PM

Researchers are trying to stay a step ahead of weed problems that could drastically reduce rice yields.

LSU AgCenter weed scientist Dr. Eric Webster has his eyes on a new potential problem that surfaced at the Rice Research Station’s South Farm near Crowley.

Webster said the weed has been identified as bull crown grass and is closely related to Brooks paspalum.

"The population has been growing steadily," Brooks said, explaining he first noticed the plant in a plot three years ago.

The LSU AgCenter researcher will be conducting tests on the weed in 2012 to see if it can be controlled, but nothing has appeared to have an effect in limited tests so far.

Other paspalum plants include Dallis grass, Bahia grass and water paspalum. The plant is an annual, which means it starts every year from a seed and then dies.

Webster said LSU AgCenter soybean specialist Dr. Ron Levy also found a sample of the bull crown grass in Iberia Parish.

"I don’t want people to panic, but it’s something we need to watch," Webster said.

On another topic, Webster said the number of calls he received this year for possible outcrossing of red rice has fallen. "I think people are learning to manage it and rotate out of rice for a minimum of two years," he said.

Webster also said a new broadleaf herbicide, Facet L, is expected to be released by BASF in 2012. It is a liquid form of Facet that will replace the current DF formulation. Because it is a liquid, it will be easier to mix. It also appears to be slightly more active more quickly after an application, Webster said. It will target barnyard grass, broadleaf signal grass, hemp sesbania, joint vetch and morning glory.

He said several experimental products will be tested in 2012. "There are still a number of companies willing to invest in new compounds for rice, and that’s a good thing," Webster said.

LSU AgCenter weed scientist Dr. Bill Williams, a weed management specialist stationed at the AgCenter’s Scott Research, Extension and Education Center at Winnsboro, said the new Valent product, League, worked well in testing for control of sesbania, joint vetch and Texas weed. Only one application of League was necessary for broadleaf weeds where grasses also were present, he said.

Williams also said a graduate student’s work has shown the benefits of an early flood for herbicide effectiveness.

"Getting a flood on early has improved herbicide performance incredibly well," he said.

Because farmers make a hefty investment in herbicides, getting the most cost-effective control is essential, Williams stressed.

Checkoff funds for these
projects in 2011: $161,130

(This article was published in the 2012 Louisiana Rice Research Board Annual Report.)

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Please click on the links above to go to the Rice Research Board Reports home page, to go to the 2013 report, and to go to the PDF version of the 2012 report.

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