CROWLEY, La. — Video presentations by the LSU AgCenter for the winter rice meetings are now available to help farmers prepare for the 2021 crop.
The video can be viewed at https://lsuagcenter.com/topics/crops/rice/virtual-presentations.
Ron Levy, AgCenter rice specialist, said he expects Louisiana rice acreage to increase by 10,000 to 15,000 acres this year.
Timing is key to making a good crop, and field preparation prior to planting is essential, Levy said, adding early planting helps a crop avoid heavy insect and disease pressure, as well as high night temperatures.
Applying fertilizer, fungicides and insecticides at the correct time is critical also, he said.
AgCenter Rice Verification Program will work with five farmers this year in north and south Louisiana. This program helps researchers determine what issues should be studied.
Dustin Harrell, AgCenter rice agronomist, said the new variety DG-263L from Nutrien has high yield potential although it has fair milling quality.
Research has shown the optimum seeding rate is 50-70 pounds per acre for drill seeding and 70-90 pounds for aerial seeding. Harrell said the variety appears to perform best with a fertilizer rate of 120-150 pounds per acre.
The new variety developed by the AgCenter, CLL17, will replace CL153, Harrell said. He recommends limiting CLL17 to 90-130 pounds of nitrogen to minimize lodging. He said the variety appears to perform best with a fertilizer rate of 120-150 pounds per acre. Harrell’s research also includes testing products to reduce nitrogen losses.
Eric Webster, AgCenter weed scientist, is studying barnyard grass control with residual herbicides in an upland rice production system. His research showed higher yields when three herbicide applications were made, and each contained a residual herbicide component.
He said using overlapping residuals such as Gambit, Newpath, Facet or Command is an effective strategy.
According to Webster, PVL03 is much more tolerant to the Provisia herbicide than the previous Provisia versions. He also said a third Provisia application may be necessary for controlling weedy rice, and BASF is studying that option.
“It does look like they will have a three-application label,” Webster said.
In a discussion on insects, AgCenter entomologist Blake Wilson said early planting does not appear to be an effective control measure against rice water weevils. A study found high weevil populations even for early-planted rice and late-planted rice will more likely have problems with stem borers, billbugs, armyworms and the South American rice miner.
Wilson said seed treatments with CruiserMaxx, NipsIt and Dermacor are effective against weevils. Dermacor is the most effective, he said, with the added benefit of action against stem borers.
He said apple snails are continuing to spread across south Louisiana. The snails are spread by surface irrigation water. Last year, for the first time, damage to rice caused by the snails was found in a field that had been water seeded, he said.
AgCenter rice breeder Adam Famoso talked about his work to develop new varieties. He said PVL02 was a big improvement over PVL01 because of improved yield and milling but has a shorter grain length and PVL03 is an improvement over PVL02 for yield, grain appearance, and is resistant to blast because it contains the “Pita” blast resistance gene. He said a small amount of seed may be available this year.
The variety CLL17 has shown higher yield than CL153 over the past three years. He said a foundation seed field of CLL17 at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station last year yielded 59 barrels.
Famoso said the hybrid program under Jim Oard has a Provisia hybrid with potential. Hybrid breeder Weike Li has 25 lines crossed with CL161 that appear to have good traits for hybrids.
“We’re hopeful of these 25 lines, there will be something we can start using,” Famosa said.
Don Groth, AgCenter plant pathologist, said a planting date affects when fungicides should be applied.
“The later you go, the earlier you need to put that material out,” he said.
Groth advised selecting disease-resistant varieties, especially for northeast Louisiana where the row rice practice is used.
Excessive nitrogen will increase disease problems, he said.
“If you try to push your rice with nitrogen, you’re going to get more disease and it’s going to be harder to control and you’re not going to get the benefit of that nitrogen,” he said.
Maintaining a flood is the best way to prevent blast, along with avoiding sandy soil and tree-lined fields, Groth said.
“The heavier the soil, the less disease you’ll have.”
Groth is retiring at the end of this month, and he said a new plant pathologist should be on the job this spring.
Rice exports have increased after a drop earlier in the marketing year, according to AgCenter economist Michael Deliberto. He said last year’s sale of rice to China is unlikely to become a regular occurrence, adding the projected long-grain average price this year is estimated at $19.12 a barrel, or $11.80 a hundredweight.
He also said the 2021 Arkansas crop is expected to drop by 90,000 to 100,000 acres for a total of 1.35 million. A big jump in soybean prices is the result of China buying more American beans of more than 1.1 billion bushels, he said.
“There’s a tight supply not only in the U.S. but also globally,” Deliberto said.
But he said even with the increased soybean prices, farmers will continue to find rice profitable. An LSU AgCenter analysis for long-grain Clearfield rice at an input cost of $500 per acre is showing a break-even price of $7.20-8.50 per hundredweight, he said.
Mark Shirley, AgCenter crawfish specialist, said the crawfish catch so far has been off by half.
“That may be partially the effect of some of the storms,” Shirley said.
He also said many of the larger producers are waiting for their labor force to arrive to begin harvesting, and figures from January and February should provide a clearer picture of the catch, he said. “I expect production will increase quite a bit by then.”
He said the live market demand is high, but demand for peeled tail meat is low but it will increase if more restaurants open.
He said it appears that young crawfish production has been about average.
“It’s looking a little better than we thought.”
Davis Moseley, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist, said the Louisiana average yield for the 1-million-acre crop last year was 57 bushels per acre, a 19% increase from 2019, even with the hurricanes that affected the crop with lodging and excess rain.
He said the recommended planting window between mid-April and mid-May is being studied for possible adjustment.
Moseley also said further research is being conducted to determine if adding phosphorous to phosphorous-deficient soil at different times will affect yields.