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, June 27, 2007

Panicles are emerging

As you can see from the above photo, the blog field shows a wide variety of maturity. Some plants are fully headed, while the panicles on other plants are just starting to emerge from the boot, the sheath of the flag leaf, the tallest and last leaf to form on a plant. Still others are in the boot split phase, which means the panicle’s growth has caused the boot to split apart, and a few plants are starting to pollinate. It appears the field is reaching 50 percent heading which is a good time to decide about a fungicide application for sheath blight and rotten neck blast.
Four stages of maturity area shown, with boot splitting on the left and a fully headed plant at far right.

Dr. Richard Dunand, LSU AgCenter plant physiologist at the Rice Research Station, estimates the field is 5 weeks from harvest.

Dunand said the rice plants that experience less fertilizer enters the heading stage earlier. That often happens on the edges of a field, which happened at the blog field, where pilots have to negotiate around power lines or where the field elevation is higher, causing a shallower flood that makes for less efficient nitrogen availability. The edges of drill-seeded fields are sometime ‘dressed up’ with an extra drill pass or two around the perimeter of the field. When this occurs as it has in the blog field, stand (plant population) is high. The stand may have a higher plant population on the edges of a field, and with a dense plant population, competition between plants can lead to slightly earlier maturity. Dunand said he suspects each of the situations above contributed to why the borders of this field are showing earlier maturity.

Below is a photo of plants taken from the field that shows the varying growth stages. The plant on the left has the panicle splitting the boot, while the plant second from the left shows the panicle emerging from the boot. Far right is a fully headed panicle with florets starting to appear on the top of the plant for pollination.

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