By Jarrod Hardke, Extension Rice Agronomist
Due to incoming wind and possibly rain from Hurricane Irma, many are questioning potential harvest aid applications before rice potentially lodges. There are many risks associated with this tactic.
Harvest aids (sodium chlorate / salt) are beneficial at facilitating harvest without issue when rice is between 18-25% moisture at application and rice can be harvested within 4-5 days after application. When storm systems are approaching we can’t be certain how much rain will fall or how much lodging they will cause. If heavy rain or lodging occur, it may be extremely difficult to harvest in a timely manner after harvest aid application.
This can result in grain yield and milling yield losses which become greater the longer it takes to harvest. Also – removing moisture from the plant can potentially reduce standability as moisture helps the plant stay erect.
If you choose to gamble and go this route, be right! Being wrong can hurt.