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.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Weather turning warmer, plant growth improving

The Zaunbrecher rice field near Lake Arthur is progressing slowly, like many rice fields in South Louisiana. But Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, is pleased with how the crop appears. With warmer temperatures the crop should begin to grow quickly.

Saichuk determined that some of the plants have a half-inch of internode elongation, shown on in the plant on the right of the picture of two dissected plants. Green ring in both plants is circled in black, and the black line shows the elongation.

Saichuk said the half-inch node is significant. “That’s when you no longer want to make 2,4-D applications.”
Saichuk said the plants will start using more and more water, and he advised Ronnie “Blue” Zaunbrecher to pump up the level.
“This is when rice can use as much as an inch of water a day,” he said.
Saichuk estimates that the rice plants will reach boot stage on June 10, and harvest will be the last week in July.
He said weekly visits to the Zaunbrecher field will focus on scouting for diseases and stinkbugs.
The Rice Research Station field of Catahoula variety is progressing nicely. Thin spots are slowly beginning to disappear as this is the growth stage where maximum tillering (stooling) occurs. The plants are nearing the panicle initiation growth stage which is when the plants begin to shift from vegetative to reproductive growth stages.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lots of rain

Rice fields across South Louisiana are draining excess water after Thursday morning’s heavy downpour. Young rice plants in the blog field at the Rice Research Station were underwater after getting 4.25 inches of rainfall. Larry White, manager of the Rice Research Station’s foundation seed program, had to make levee repairs and drain off excess water.
Meanwhile, at the blog field grown by Ronnie “Blue” Zaunbrecher of Lake Arthur, a little more than 3 inches fell. Zaunbrecher said he will have 2,4-D sprayed on the field to combat alligator weed.
Cool temperatures are expected tonight and Saturday, with a steady warm-up expected and no forecast of rain possibilities until late next week.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Four herbicides were sprayed Wednesday morning onto the rice crop on the blog field at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station.
Dr. Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, said the compounds mixed together included Arrosolo for grasses including sprangletop, Prowl for its residual action on grasses, Londax for broadleaf weeds and sedges, and Permit to fight sedges and residual effects on broadleaf weeds. The yellow coloring from the plume of spray is from Prowl.
Larry White, manager of the Rice Research Station’s seed program said that urea fertilizer will be applied by airplane Thursday morning at the rate of 200 pounds per acre (this will be 92 lb of actual nitrogen per acre) then the permanent flood will be pumped onto the field.
Meanwhile at the Zaunbrecher field near Lake Arthur, Dr. John Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, said the crop looks good, but it is growing slowly because of recent cool temperatures.
“It looks good, but it’s just moving slowly.”
Saichuk said green ring stage had been predicted for May 18-20, but now he thinks that will be pushed back by a few days because of the slow growth rate.
Saichuk said farmer Ronnie “Blue” Zaunbrecher will pump some water onto the field to bring up the water level. The week’s rainfall total was a quarter inch, or .7 of a centimeter.