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Arkansas Rice Update 4-10-13
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

April 10, 2013                               No. 2013-3

Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Dr. Bob Scott, and Dr. Yeshi Wamishe

Planting Forecast

Another round of rain and wind appears to be next up for a spring that has certainly made a 180 degree turn from 2012.  Current estimates released on Monday say that 4% of rice acreage has been planted around the state, compared to around 50% at this time last year.  The northern portion of the state missed the last round of rain and has been busy making up for lost time.  I expect to see a considerable increase in the percent planted rice acreage estimates next week.

Rice Planting

Rain chances for this week are now lower than previously predicted, but severe storms look likely throughout the state this afternoon into tonight followed by a few cool nights (low to mid-40s).  However, into the weekend and next week it looks like mostly sunny days with temperatures well into the 70s with no rain expected until Wednesday.  Sounds like great weather for planting rice or playing golf.  My professional opinion is to plant rice until the weather stops you, and save the golf for later.

Remember with showers on the way you may need to flush your rice in order to soften the crust and get an adequate stand.  Get the rice in while you can, but remember to “finish the field”.  By that I mean have levees up and gates in the field before rain events occur to ensure you’ll be able to get a stand if your soil crusts.  I’m much more comfortable with a single “complete” rice field than two fields that just have a lot of expensive seed in the ground and nothing else.

Early Planted Rice is for the Birds

I have received a number of calls about birds doing a lot of damage to early-planted rice fields.  In most cases the damage seems to be limited to hotspots as we might expect, but in some instances birds have managed to wipe out entire fields like the one pictured below.

Bird damage to rice 4-8-13

The birds seem to have a grudge against certain farmers in particular, as some growers are getting hit pretty hard while their neighbors don’t have much damage to report.  There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, unfortunately.  The birds just pick out a drill line and start working their way down the row.  The worst reports are in those fields where levees are already up and replanting hard hit areas will be extremely difficult.  Hopefully for next season we will have the use of a seed treatment that will deter severe bird damage.

New Herbicide Premix

“Obey” is a new herbicide premix from FMC that contains Facet and Command.  Obey is a 2.5 lb/gallon liquid formulation and contains equal parts clomazone and quinclorac (1.25 lbs/gallon of each).  The rate range is 26-52 oz of product per acre depending on soil type.  This premix is at a good ratio to provide excellent broadleaf and grass control with applications from pre-emergence through early post-emergence.  If you read the label carefully you can increase the yearly amount of clomazone allowed per acre and still apply full rates on medium soil types.  This premix should make managing herbicide-resistant barnyardgrass more convenient, especially if applied early.  In addition, the slightly higher annual allowance for clomazone will help with mid-post residual applications for sprangletop.  However, reduced rates of clomazone should be avoided to help prevent the buildup or further development of clomazone-resistant barnyardgrass.  There have also been some slight changes in requirements for aerial application of these products – contact the Arkansas State Plant Board or FMC for more information.

Changes for 2,4-D Restrictions

The Arkansas State Plant Board has also announced their intention to ease restrictions on 2,4-D applications in the 10 counties in northeast Arkansas where it is currently banned after April 15th.  This easement will allow small sprayers to apply 2,4-D to levees only for the control of Palmer pigweed.  This will greatly improve the effectiveness of a rice rotation to fight resistant pigweed and improve levee weed control in these counties in general.  Check the state plant board regulations before you make applications this summer.  All other 2,4-D restrictions will still apply.

Check out the new MP44 at for more herbicide recommendations for rice.

The Nighttime is the Right Time

No, that’s not an alien landing.  With high daytime winds getting the best of herbicide applicators these days, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see late-night applications like this one I saw around Stuttgart last night.  Getting these applications out ahead of the rain to ensure activation can save a lot of grief and expense later in the season.  I hope this guy has time for a nap at some point, he’s earned it.

Nighttime Rice Herbicide Application 4-9-13

Fungicide Seed Treatments Protect Against Seed Rot and Seedling Diseases

Cold and wet conditions following rice planting are not favorable for rice seed germination and seedling growth.  Seed rotting can be severe when cool temperatures occur at planting or shortly after.  This occurrence is more severe in water-seeded rice.

In addition to seedling diseases that can affect rice early in the season, cold temperatures can also greatly impact emerging rice.  The image below shows a rice seedling with a white band that formed during a cold snap.  This occurred when that portion of the leaf was on the soil line and is sometimes referred to as “white ring disease”.

Rice with White Ring

It is always important to start with high quality rice seed that has a high germination rate (80% or more).  When planting with the possibility of cool and wet weather conditions to follow, a fungicide seed treatment is recommended.  If a fungicide seed treatment is not used, then an increased seeding rate may be needed to ensure an adequate stand is formed.  This higher seeding rate could help to compensate for any plants lost to seed rot, soil crusting, or seedling diseases.  However, we encourage the use of fungicide seed treatments to provide protection against seed rot and seedling diseases.  Fungicide seed treatments are the easiest and cheapest chemical means for seed and seedling disease control.  Unfortunately, we can’t do much about the weather.

DD50 Program

Please remember to enroll your rice fields in the DD50 program this year.  Enrollment not only helps you keep track of crop progress and timing of growth-dependent management practices, it also provides our researchers with valuable information about rice production in the state.

I realize that it can sometimes seem easier to enter a single field and use it to represent several fields you have planted.  Please do us a favor and take an extra few minutes to enroll those fields individually.  If the program truly is too cumbersome or gives you trouble, please contact your local county agent or myself and we will be happy to enter your field information into the program for you.  Your participation will be greatly appreciated and will allow us to tailor our programs to changes in production habits.

The link to access the program is

Additional Information

Arkansas Rice Updates are published periodically to provide timely information and recommendations for rice production in Arkansas.  If you would like to be added to this email list, please send your request to

This information will also be posted to the Arkansas Row Crops where additional information from Extension specialists can found.  Please visit the blog at


We sincerely appreciate the support provided by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board for this publication.

The authors greatly appreciate the feedback and contributions of all growers, county agents, consultants, and rice industry stakeholders.

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