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.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Romaine field is harvested

Because of rain, two days of harvesting were required for Durel Romaine’s 40-acre field near Kaplan. He started Friday, but rain late in the afternoon forced him to stop with just a few acres remaining. Saturday provided enough dry weather to finish.
According to Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, Romaine’s field of the CL151 variety yielded 56.5 barrels, which is 91.5 hundredweight or 203.4 bushels. Drying the rice to 12 percent moisture will decrease the total to 53.8 barrels, 87 cwt. or 193.5 bushels.
To kick off his second crop, Romaine is flooding the field today and having urea applied at the rate of 200 pounds per acre.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jazzman Field Harvested

The field of Jazzman at the Rice Research Station was harvested yesterday afternoon.
Larry White, manager of the station's foundation seed program, said the yield came out to 50.2 barrels per acre. That also works out to 180.7 bushels per acre, or 8,132 pounds.
It took about 4 hours for the small combine to cut the 6 acres, and it was completed as storm clouds moved over the area. Bill Leonards, farm manager at the station, is at the helm of the combine in the photo above.
The other field featured in this blog on the farm of Durel Romaine is expected to be harvested Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Time to drain the fields

Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, told farmer Durel Romaine that it’s time to turn the water loose on the blog field in preparation for harvest.
“With the weather pattern you’ve got right now, you definitely need to drain,” he said.
Rainfall is possible for several days now, so that could add to the time needed to get the water off the field.
Saichuk is holding a panicle in the picture above. He said the rice on the panicles are showing two-thirds to three-fourths maturity, so that tells him harvest is only 2-3 weeks away.
He will make a return visit to the field in 2 weeks to gauge the amount of grain moisture, indicating when harvest could be done.
In the meantime, Romaine said a nearby field will be ready in 2-3 days to harvest, but the weather could interfere.
Back at the Rice Research Station, the field of Jazzman will be drained Friday. Larry White, the station’s foundation seed manager, said draining will only require removal of one pipe. He expects harvest could be 3 weeks away.
“It looks good,” White said. “I don’t see much disease.”

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rice doing well after heavy rain

Rainfall varied across south Louisiana this week. Some areas received several inches, while some got less than an inch.
The rain gauge at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station showed 4.46 inches from Tuesday until Thursday, with most of that on Tuesday.
The field of Jazzman rice is growing well. With little wind this morning, the pleasant aroma of the variety was quite strong.
In the picture to the left, a frog clings to a leaf on a rice plant.

Some of the rice plants in the field, such as the one photographed on the left, have just finished flowering.

Larry White, the station’s foundation seed director, said harvest could occur by mid-August.
Durel Romaine said his field near Kaplan, also featured in the blog, got less than an inch, which means his pumping cost will be reduced by that amount.
Romaine said the water in canals that he uses for irrigation have 50 to 60 grains of salt but the runoff from the rain didn’t appear to fill ditches that feed the canal.
Romaine said he’s not worried about salt in the water at this point because at most he is 3 weeks away from harvest.
Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, said Romaine is probably 10 days to 2 weeks from draining the field in preparation for harvest.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fungicide applied on Durel Romaine's field

Durel Romaine’s field featured in this blog was sprayed Thursday with Stratego fungicide upon the recommendation of Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist.

Saichuk said this week’s visit to the field turned up more disease than the previous week, including blast, sheath blight and cercospera.

He said the heads were just starting to emerge from the boot. Although fungicide was optional, Saichuk said, “this field is too good not to protect it.”

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fungicide application

The blog field at the Rice Research Station received a preventive dose of fungicide this morning. The photo above, taken by Dr. Steve Linscombe, shows the application by airplane.
Dr. Don Groth, LSU AgCenter pathologist, said Stratego was applied to prevent problems with blast, cercospera and sheath blight.“Stratego is a good broad spectrum fungicide,” Groth said. Disease is present at the water line of the rice plants, he said, but it is being suppressed by hot, dry weather. If frequent rains began, he said, a disease outbreak would be likely and rice plants in the heading stage are more susceptible to disease.
The rice plant heads are just starting to emerg. Groth said it’s possible that the field could do without fungicide, but Groth said the material was used to insure that the foundation seed produced in this field is of the highest quality possible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Disease pressure light so far

Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, shown in the photo above, was pleased Wednesday morning to find that blast disease was not widespread in Durel Romaine’s verification field. Saichuk found blast in the field last week but he said the dry weather has probably suppressed the disease’s increase.
The photo of Saichuk shows him with a tool made of PVC pipe that can be used to push rice plants aside to check for disease on the lower portions of the plants. He found a few instances of blast Wednesday, such as the one photographed below.

“We know disease is here in this field and all we’re doing is watching the progression to time the fungicide application,” he said.
He plans to recommend the fungicide Gem, if it’s available or Quadris in the alternative.
Saichuk said most of the rice plants have half-inch panicles.
Another field of CL151, near Romaine’s, is heavily infested with sheath blight, he said. Saichuk said that disease problem has probably been worsened by the dense plant population. In that case, he said, a higher percentage of emergence is not desirable because the disease prefers moist, damp environments that are more hospitable for fungal diseases.
Meanwhile, the blog field at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station continues to progress well with panicles almost 3 inches long.
Larry White, director of the station’s foundation seed program, said disease pressure is light but the fungicide Stratego will probably be applied early next week.
White said he is pumping water onto the field every 3 or 4 days because of the dry weather. No rain has been recorded at the station since May 25.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The field of Jazzman at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station is growing quickly. Larry White, director of the station’s Foundation Seed program, said a fertilizer application will be made next week, followed a week or so later by fungicide.
Early in the morning the aroma of the Jazzman is quite prominent, similar to Thai Jasmine rice being cooked.
Shown above is a damselfly that has landed on a leaf of the rice plant.

Meanwhile, Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, is pleased with the progress of the other blog field, planted in Clearfield 151, at Romaine Durel’s farm near Kaplan. He said fertilizer will be applied as soon as possible.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Warmer weather boosts rice crop growth

Saturday will mark 2 weeks that Durel Romaine’s 40-acre field has been under a permanent flood. Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, said the rice is looking good. He said the weeds appear to be under control, and he is satisfied that the field will not have a rice water weevil problem.
Adult weevils were found everywhere in the field last week, but Saichuk said the use of Dermacor seed treatment will take care of the larvae and prevent them from eating the rice plant roots.
He said the crop is probably 2.5 weeks from green ring. For an explanation of this critical stage of a rice plant’s growth, go here:

The blog field at the Rice Research Station is doing well, according to Larry White, director of the station’s Foundation Seed program. He said the crop is greening up and growing with warm temperatures. The station received a quarter inch of rain Tuesday afternoon.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Time for the permanent flood

Flooding the field at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station

The permanent flood has been pumped onto Durel Romaine’s field featured in this blog, and the pump was turned on Thursday afternoon for the field at the Rice Research Station.
Urea fertilizer at the rate of 200 pounds per acre was applied on the field at the station Thursday morning.
Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, said Romaine’s field looks good, but it has a heavy infestation of adult rice water weevils. Fortunately, the seed was treated with Dermacor which will provide protection against root pruning by the weevil larvae.
A series of tests on rice water weevil control is being done by Dr. Natalie Hummel, LSU AgCenter entomologist, and she recently had a tour of the test plots throughout the rice growing area of Louisiana.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Durel Romaine's field almost ready for flood

Farmer Durel Romaine, at left, and Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, walk the blog field Wednesday.

Durel Romaine is almost ready to turn loose the permanent flood on his 40-acre field featured in this blog.
On Wednesday, Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, and his assistant Kim Landry both came to that conclusion after walking the field.
“It looks excellent,” Saichuk concluded.
Most of the young rice plants have turned a rich green color after bouncing back from the application of Command herbicide.
He was impressed that herbicides had done their job well, but the field shows a few lingering weeds such as sedges, dayflower and alligatorweed. Saichuk was most concerned about the sedges. “They’re bad because they will hold back the rice.”
He recommended spraying the field of CL151 with Newpath and Permit herbicides, applying urea fertilizer, then flooding. “You want to spray one day and fertilize the next day.”
Saichuk said the flood should be on the field before next Wednesday’s visit.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Field tour at station blog field

Dr. Natalie Hummel, LSU AgCenter entomologist, discussed her ongoing project involving the seed treatment Dermacor to protect rice plants against the No. 1 insect pest in Louisiana: the rice water weevil.
In a tour Tuesday morning, Hummel showed county agents and crop consultants the tests being done on the blog field at the Rice Research Station, and several locations on farms in southwest and north Louisiana.
Dr. Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter agronomist, is conducting a test at the station to determine the effectiveness of 1.75 fluid ounces of Dermacor per acre at different seeding rates.
Larry White, director of the Rice Research Station foundation seed program, pumped water onto the blog field Monday night. As luck would have it, rain moved through the area before dawn Tuesday, dropping more than an inch of rain. Showers are predicted off-an-on until the weekend.
White said he will have the field sprayed for weeds next week, and he will turn on the water for the blog field’s permanent flood.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Flying fertilizer

Here’s a photo of Thursday morning’s aerial application of fertilizer on the blog field. The rice should really start to grow now, with a boost from the fertilizer and warm temperatures this weekend.
Larry White, Rice Research Station foundation seed director, said the field will probably get an application of herbicide, followed by flooding next week.
Harvest should occur in late July or early August.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Herbicide doing its job

Many of the rice plants in Farmer Romaine Durel’s 40-acre rice crop have white splotches, shown above. Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, said that tells him the herbicide Command was applied at the correct rate 12 ounces per acre. He said the rice will grow out of that slight injury, and the herbicide is having its effects on the primary weeds, sedge and dayflower. The crop of Clearfield 151 is now ready for an application of Newpath, and Durel hopes to have that sprayed no later than the weekend.
Meanwhile, Durel is getting ready to plant an additional 200 acres, also CL151 on a field that he had planned to leave fallow this year. He said he decided to plant more rice after last weekend’s rain, more than 5 inches at his farm near Kaplan. He said the rain resupplied the irrigation canals with abundant water that has flushed away salt. Durel and many other farmers in his area were reluctant to plant fields irrigated by surface water because of saltwater remaining in the canals left from Hurricane Ike.
Despite the heavy rain, it was possible to walk on the field without getting muddy feet. Saichuk said quick drainage is another advantage of no-till farming.
The Rice Research Station recorded the weekend rainfall at 7.5 inches. Most of that has drained, and the crop in the blog field is showing some growth.
Larry White, Rice Research Station foundation seed director, said fertilizer, 250 pounds per acre of 8-24-24, will be applied by airplane Thursday morning.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Blog fields doing well

The 6-acre field at the Rice Research Station just needs warm weather to boost its growth, according to Larry White, director of the station’s foundation seed program. In the above photo, it shows some growth, but White said warm temperatures are needed.
Night temperatures have been hovering in the 50s. The weekend is predicted to bring warmer temperatures and rain, followed by cooler temperatures.
Meanwhile at the Durel Romaine farm, the 40-acre field of rice has yet to emerge. Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, said the rice is only a couple of days from emergence, however.
Romaine is currently draining the field after flushing it. He said Wednesday afternoon he had started planting the last field of 170 acres, and that would complete his planting for the year. He had hoped to plant almost 1,000 acres but figures he will end up with roughly 550. Saltwater from Hurricane Ike was the biggest reason for cutting back.
Romaine said he welcomes the rain this weekend because it would flush the fields he is currently drill seeding.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jazzman is up!

The flush has done its job, and rows of drilled Jazzman rice seed are obvious. Young rice plants poked through the ground since Larry White flushed the field with a minimal flood. He expects harvest in late July or early August. In the background of the picture above is the lab of Dr. Don Groth, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist.
The picture below shows moisture that accumulated on the plants overnight. While the layman would be likely to assume this is dew, Dr. Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said this is a guttation, moisture that is forced out of a plant as the result of root pressure.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Romaine plants his field while field of Jazzman gets flooded

This morning, Durel Romaine started planting a 40-acre field at his farm near Kaplan, drill-seeding the variety CL151 at the rate of 60 pounds per acre. He had to make some adjustments on the drill for the damp soil.

Notice in the photo above how straight the drill is running as it is guided by an automatic steering system controlled by GPS.

Upon the suggestion of Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, Romaine will follow up with an application of Command and Roundup tomorrow to control grasses, then flush the field before applying Newpath herbicide.
This field is in Saichuk’s verification program, and it will be followed on this blog.

Saichuk said the cold weather that blew through Louisiana Sunday night could injure young rice plants, especially young seedlings that have emerged from the ground. But he said the plants are likely to survive the cold, just as the crop did 2 years ago when a sudden cold wave came through Louisiana.

Meanwhile at the Rice Research Station, Larry White flushed the blog field of Jazzman rice to get the seedlings to break through a hard layer of crust that formed on the surface of the soil. Dr. Steve Linscombe, station director, said the field was getting dry and that was making it difficult for the seedlings to get through the soil.
A chance of rain has been predicted for late in the week, but Linscombe said it was prudent to wet the field now, rather than waiting on rainfall.

Friday, April 3, 2009

More rain, good and not so good

Weather seldom pleases everyone, and that was true Thursday.
Larry White, director of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station foundation seed program, wanted rain Thursday for the blog field and he got it. A line of thunderstorms blew through the area around noon, dumping .6 of an inch (1.5 centimeters) of rain in just a few minutes.
“Now we just need it to warm up,” White said.
Sunday will be warm, but after then, low temperatures are expected to be in the 40s until rain returns Thursday.
In the meantime, in Vermilion Parish, farmer Durel Romaine of Kaplan was hoping not to get any rain so he could plant a 40-acre field that will be featured in the blog. The field is in the LSU AgCenter rice verification program, directed by Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist.
Romaine, shown here in the field, had planned on drill-seeding the field Monday but now the field is too wet and he expects it will be the end of next week before he can get into the field.
He doesn’t want to change plans and water seed because he is concerned that the thick layer of vegetation will prevent the seed from anchoring roots into the soil.
The clouds that brought Thursday’s rain had a silver lining for Romaine, however. The additional moisture will mean even more freshwater in the canals that he uses for irrigation. The salt level in the canals had become excessive to be used for rice, but the recent rainfall has lowered the concentration of salt.
He took samples of water Wednesday in a canal that showed acceptable levels of salt for rice, but he said a neighbor took samples Thursday that showed a higher level.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rainfall at the Station

Storms blasted through Louisiana Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. A total of 1.77 inches (4.5 centimeters) was recorded Thursday morning for the previous 24 hours at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station, according to station director Dr. Steve Linscombe.
He said rain will help germination of the drill-seeded rice in the blog field. The soil already held sufficient moisture for the seed to begin germination, but he said the rain will mean the field will not have to be flushed with a flood.
The rains will help farmers who have already drill-seeded their fields, but those hoping to plant this week will have to wait a few days for fields to dry. Of course, the weather won’t interfere with water-seeding by airplane, and the rains could help reduce pumping costs.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Planting underway for 2009

This is the year’s first installment of the LSU AgCenter rice web log that will follow the growing season from planting to harvest.
In the above photo, Larry White uses a drill seed to plant a 6-acre field at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station on Monday, March 23. He used the new variety, Jazzman, at the rate of 37 pounds per acre. The seed was treated with Dermacor, for protection against rice water weevils; gibberillic acid, to promote growth; and Dithane, a fungicide for seedlings.
Jazzman is an aromatic variety released by the LSU AgCenter late last year after its development by Dr. Xueyan Sha, LSU AgCenter rice breeder. More than a decade of work went into the variety, aimed at competing with Jasmine rice imported into the U.S. from Thailand.
Visible in the background is traffic on Interstate 10.