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 13, 2007

Panicles continue growth

The rice crop in the blog field is growing well, and it is approaching the stage that signals the window for spraying a preventive application of fungicide to protect the field against cercospora.
Last year, the fungal disease wreaked havoc on rice across Southwest Louisiana in the weeks just before harvest, so farmers are on guard against it this year.
Dr. Richard Dunand, LSU AgCenter plant physiologist at the Rice Research Station, dissected several plants in the field Wednesday and found the developing panicles ranging from 2 to 4 inches. Dunand said the consensus is that fungicides intended to fight cercospora should be applied when the average panicle reaches 4 inches. He said that means several plants should be examined to get a good overall survey of a field because plants mature at a different rate, perhaps by as much as a week to 10 days depending on the field.
Larry White, manager of the seed program at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station, said Dr. Don Groth, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist at the Rice Research Station, will make a recommendation on what day to apply a fungicide and which chemical to use. But the application by airplane could occur within the week.
Below is a panicle that has grown to 2.5 inches long (almost 6.5 centimeters). The individual florets are developing which will become the reproductive parts of the plant, with each floret, after pollination, becoming a grain of rice.

Meanwhile, Larry is pumping water on the rice field, since it hasn’t rained at the station since Saturday night’s 1-inch downpour.

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