Rice Season Races Along With Some Hurdles to Jump

Buehring, Former Extension Rice Specialist
By Buehring, Former Extension Rice Specialist April 20, 2012 11:31 Updated

Rice Acreage:  On March 30th USDA estimated that Mississippi will plant 135,000 acres of rice.  That is down 16% from 2011 and the lowest acreage since the mid 1970’s.  Talking with producers and seed retailers, I would estimate that Mississippi acres will be closer 100,000 acres.  There are a lot of farmers across the delta that will not be planting any rice and it has been over 40 years since they have done that.  Stagnant rice prices and high urea prices have not encouraged any additional plantings.  The recent upswing in urea prices will not have a significant impact on rice acres.

Planting Progress:  USDA reported on Tuesday (April 17, 2012) that Mississippi had planted 60% of the rice crop.  That is well ahead of the five year average (22% planted).  Other states in the Midsouth also have a good jump on planting.  Planting progress for other rice states are as follows: Arkansas at 75%, Louisiana at 68%, Missouri at 71%, and Texas at 65%.  With dry and warm weather at the end of March, rice producers have been racing through the planting season.  The fewer acres have shortened up the planting season as well.  Weather in the lower delta ( South of Highway 8 ) has been wetter with showers being more frequent.  The upper delta region has been drier with showers being further in between.

Rice Emergence:  Rice planted at the end of March emerged from the ground within 7 to 10 days with the warm weather.  Rice typically planted at this time period can take 14 to 21 days to emerge.  With the cooler weather over the last couple week’s, emergence of rice planted in early to mid-April has been good but somewhat slower.

Weed Control:  Pigweeds, as with all crops, have been a problem this year.  The warm spring allowed for rapid pigweed emergence and growth.  At planting options are either Aim (if less than 3”), Gramoxone or Ignite.  Postemergence options include Aim, Blazer, Propanil or Grandstand.  None of these products are home runs on large pigweed.  The flood will help control them later in the season.  However, due to the excessive amount of pigweeds emerging from the ground, control will be needed to prevent any yield loss associated with competition prior to flooding.

Grasses have also been prevalent in the warm weather.  A good amount of preemergence herbicides were applied at planting and rainfall has kept them active.  Fields that have had a historical problem with sprangletop, we have been utilizing Command at planting and following that with Prowl, Bolero, or RiceBeaux in an early postemergence window to get the residuals to overlap.

Barnyardgrass resistance issues in Clearfield rice will continue to be an issue.  Dr. Jason Bond has already documented 3 populations of barnyardgrass that are resistance to ALS herbicides such as Newpath and Beyond.  So far, I have not had any calls on escaped barnyardgrass following Newpath applications this year.  However, those calls typically do not come in until there is a severe problem noticed.  Alternate herbicides for barnyardgrass control in rice and use preemergence herbicides for grass control in rotational crops.

Fertility:  The continued increases in urea prices have subsided some this week.  The question remains, where do we go from here?  Most believe that urea prices will come down, but from what price level is unknown.  Rice that was planted at the end of March will be ready for urea and a flood by the first of May, which is a few weeks away.  Rice producers that have not pre-purchased urea at lower prices will have probably have to pay top dollar for Urea.

Recently, I have had questions on spoon feeding urea nitrogen on rice in the hopes of getting a better price later in the season.  Spoon feeding nitrogen can be done without significantly impacting rice yields.  However, it can be a failure if not done properly.  When spoon feeding nitrogen, apply no more than 100 lb/A of Urea at a time.  The preflood urea needs to be treated with a urease inhibitor such as Agrotain and applied on dry soil.  Another 100 lb/A urea application will need to be made after flood establishment and another 100 lb/A urea application at 7 to 10 days after the second application.  The last nitrogen application will need to be made from green ring to ½â€ internode elongation.  The main thing is to keep the rice actively growing and not lacking from nitrogen because vegetative growth (ie. number of tillers) is major yield component.

With urea prices still over $700 per ton, questions have surfaced about reducing urea rates.  Below is chart that shows the Economical Optimum Nitrogen Rate (EONR) for CL 151, CL 111, CL 162, and Rex.  These figures were calculated based on $750/ton urea and $6.00/bu rice.  This data shows the most economical rate for CL 151, CL 111, and Rex to be around 160 lb N/A.  CL 162 has EONR of 140 lb N/A.  We have also had some questions about lowering the nitrogen rates on hybrids.  The current recommendation on hybrids is 150 lb N/A.  Based off of historical data with hybrids, yields can be reduced with lowering the nitrogen rate.  Applying 150 lb N/A will result in a good balance between high yields and reduced lodging.


Maximum N Rate

95% N Rate

Economic Optimum N Rate

pounds of nitrogen   per acre


















With these high urea prices, questions continue to surface about using UAN in replace of urea.  Please read the article posted by Dr. Tim Walker on this issue: https://www.mississippi-crops.com/2012/04/06/can-uan-32-be-used-as-an-n-source-in-rice/.

Insects:  Armyworms in rice continue to be reported in Arkansas.  I have not heard of any issue in Mississippi so far with armyworms.  However, I would continue to scout and monitor the situation.  If considerable damage is occurring, an insecticide application will be necessary.



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Buehring, Former Extension Rice Specialist
By Buehring, Former Extension Rice Specialist April 20, 2012 11:31 Updated
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