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.