Greetings from Louisiana rice country! This year, the blog will concentrate research conducted at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station, in addition to showing the progress of a 6-acre field of rice planted March 19 to produce foundation seed. We encourage your comments and thoughts to help improve this online tool. If you would like a photograph of a particular piece of equipment or a better explanation of a process, let us know.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rice crop in transition

The rice crop in the blog field has entered a critical stage, according to Dr. Richard Dunand, LSU AgCenter plant physiologist at the Rice Research Station.
After dissecting a plant, in the photo at left, he concluded that the crop has probably grown beyond the vegetative stage and entered the early phase of the reproductive stage. Dunand said the plants within the next week should reach panicle differentiation when the developing panicle, where the rice kernels will develop, can be found inside the plant with the unaided eye.
The initial stage of the reproductive phase is green ring, distinguished by a distinct green ring around the first white node of the plant just above the root structure, but Dunand concluded that the crop has moved beyond that stage.
Determining the reproductive stage is important for three reasons.
First, Dunand explained, it’s around this point that nitrogen fertilizer has its last chance to be effective. (The field received a top-dressing of fertilizer, as detailed in the previous entry.)\
Second, by this time, fields that were drained to control rice water weevils, and to reduce straighthead, a condition that results in panicles developing with little or no grain, should be reflooded.
And third, as the reproductive stage progresses, the window starts closing on the opportunity to spray 2,4-D herbicide.
As a plant enters the reproductive stage, it tends to curtail tillering, Dunand said.
And a field that has been seeded at a low rate as this one has at 42 pounds an acre, tends to compensate for the low plant population by remaining in the vegetative stage longer and tillering more than a field planted at a higher seeding rate.
Shown to the right is a dissected plant. The tip of the knife is pointing at the area where the panicle will develop.

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