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, 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.