Dr. Jarrod Hardke
September 7, 2018 No. 2018-28 www.uaex.edu/rice
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit next to me.” Hopefully you got a laugh out of that because the rest of the update isn’t very funny. Who is a fan of this rain right now? Not me, I’m hoping you know so we can ask them to stop rain dancing.
Thankfully rainfall amounts have mostly been much less than expected. However, we still have more rain in the forecast through the weekend. The silver lining has been the lack of wind so far.
Despite the lack of wind, fields that are ready for harvest and heavy with grain are starting to sag in places (Fig. 1). This type of lodging is generally not severe and may not lead to the major harvest issues that lodging due to wind can cause – where the rice lays down completely flat.
My greater concerns are turning toward the extended number of days with rainy, overcast conditions with moderate temperatures. What happens you take rice near harvest maturity and add lots of moisture and warm temperatures? Sprouting on the panicle. Now you’re all mad, and I hope I’m wrong, but there it is.
Other than that, yield reports have very good so far. Most reports received have been hybrid and they’re definitely showing out. Some medium-grain fields of Jupiter and Titan have also been very good. Very few variety reports and those results have definitely been mixed.
Fig. 1. Rice awaiting harvest heavy with rain and showing signs of “melting”.
Preliminary Results from Small-Plot Planting Date Trials
The first four planting dates have been harvested at the Rice Research & Extension Center near Stuttgart (Table 1). These are results from small-plot field trials. It is preliminary data and subject to change before final reporting. Results are not intended to be a strict predictor of in-field performance, but rather a reflection of relative differences in cultivar performance at various planting dates.
Table 1. Preliminary data for planting date studies at RREC, Stuttgart, 2018.
Harvest Aids in Rice
After the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon find their way out the state, we’ll need to make some quick assessments and get back to harvest. Hopefully the amount of downed rice is minimal but it will be out there. Based on the drier air that should be present after this weekend, grain moisture may fall quickly and lessen the need for harvest aids.
For those with downed rice, it is generally advised to avoid applying sodium chlorate as a harvest aid. Ultimately what happens is the salt only dries the rice it makes contact with – meaning just the upper layer of rice in a lodging situation. All the rice underneath this layer will remain very green and wet.
So, you end up with super dry plants and grain on top, and super wet plants and grain underneath. This is a bad combination. Shattering will likely increase in the super dry portions, and the wet portions underneath will re-wet the dry grains causing additional milling problems.
The general recommendation is to apply sodium chlorate to rice only between 25 and 18% grain moisture and harvest in 3-4 days. However, current research ongoing this fall on hybrid rice suggests we may need to be more restrictive with them compared to varieties. Read this additional info on hybrids here: http://www.arkansas-crops.com/2018/09/06/harvest-aids-hybrid/.
Fig. 2. Lodged rice in 2017 that received a sodium chlorate application.
Fig. 3. Lodged rice in 2017 that received a sodium chlorate application with green rice underneath (left) and dry rice on top (right).
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We sincerely appreciate the support for this publication provided by the rice farmers of Arkansas and administered by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board.
The authors greatly appreciate the feedback and contributions of all growers, county agents, consultants, and rice industry stakeholders.