UACES Facebook Arkansas Rice Update 4-16-21
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Arkansas Rice Update 4-16-21

by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - April 16, 2021

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Arkansas Rice Update 2021-05, April 15, 2021

Jarrod Hardke, Yeshi Wamishe, and Scott Stiles


“You can’t roller-skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you’ve a mind to.”


Noonan!  Miss It!

Jarrod Hardke

Fingers are crossed as today’s rain chances and amounts seem to be dwindling.  Monday’s planting progress report had us at 13% planted.  A nice jump that’s behind the 5-year average (23%) but still much further along than we were in 2020.  Considering the progress that was made the early part of this week before Wednesday’s rain, and the potential to start getting back in the field this weekend, we should be around 20-25% planted by the next report.

The temperature forecast for next week is below average with highs in the 60s and some lows touching into the 30s.  However, with north winds blowing we may finally get several dry days in a row to get a move on things.  The goal remains to “finish” fields in the dry windows, meaning to get planted, levees up, and herbicides sprayed before the next round of rain.  This will help prevent early season management problems that can arise when we get out of sync.

Fig. 1.  NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), seven day precipitation forecast for April 17-24, 2021

Fig. 2.  AR Rice Planting Progress, 2010-2021.

2010-2021 Arkansas Rice Planting Progress

Fig. 3.  Emerging rice seedling.

Rice seedling emerging from the soil in an Arkansas rice field


Fungicide Seed Treatment: To Apply or Not Apply

Yeshi Wamishe and Jarrod Hardke

It is often important to ask why and when it is required to use a fungicide seed treatment for rice.  Your field history is a big factor in your decision.  If your field had a history of seedling death caused by water molds such as Pythium spp. (Fig. 1), or seedling blight caused by Rhizoctonia spp., it is worth it to use fungicides.

Sometimes you may not be sure if your field had a history of seedling diseases.  Start observing carefully.  If the seedling density is not as expected and you see mold-looking structures around dead seedlings or blight at the soil line, you need to be suspicious of seedling diseases.  Seedling disease identification is complex during the early rice season when the temperatures are often lower than needed for timely seedling emergence while at the same time stressed by herbicide effect or insect damage.

For several years to date, we have been evaluating different fungicide seed treatments with artificial inoculation at the Rice Research and Extension Center (RREC) in Stuttgart using different industrial products.  For the artificial inoculation, we used mostly Rhizoctonia solani AG-11 and recently R. solani AG-9 which is more aggressive than AG-11.  Our planting dates were consistently between the 2nd to early 3rd week of April.  Often, it took nearly two weeks before more than ~50% seedling emergence.  

Most of our tests have shown the importance of seed treatment fungicides in the presence of the pathogen inoculated.  There were statistically significant differences among the fungicide-treated and untreated plots regardless of differences among the products.  Please refer to rice seedling diseases in MP154  for previous and newer products.  Vibrance RST is a recent product that contains four different modes of action (mefenoxam, fludioxonil, azoxystrobin, and sedaxane).  In our test, it had shown significantly higher seedling count compared to mefenoxam + fludioxonil (Apron XL and Maxim 4 FS) and metalaxyl + fludioxonil (Allegiance FL and Maxim 4 FS).  Recently a new seed treatment fungicide Zeltera (not included in MP154, 2020) has been labeled for rice.  It also has shown excellent protection to rice from seedling diseases specifically to Rhizoctonia.  Both of these newer products were tested using Rhizoctonia solani AG-11 and AG-9 separately or in combination.

Generally, seed treatment fungicides are relatively cheap and important tools for managing rice seedling diseases caused by particularly Rhizoctonia seedling blight.  However, there is no proven evidence so far, on our part that showed seedling protection lasts indefinitely.  Up to three weeks of protection is estimated from seed treatment fungicides. 

If we do plant under favorable temperatures and adequate soil moisture for faster seedling emergence, we may not need to use fungicides for seed treatment. Note that cold and wet environmental conditions are favorable for seedling diseases.  In some cases, seedlings die from seed-borne or soilborne fungi and molds even after emergence under warm and humid conditions depending on the inoculum density and soil type.  Fields cultivated with rice after rice or in relatively heavy rice residue or under minimum or reduced tillage can be prone to seedling disease complex.  Also, water-seeded fields can have more seedling diseases than dry-seeded fields.  However, seed treatment fungicides are not recommended for seeds to be used for water seeding.  Planting depth also plays some role in the severity of seedling diseases.  In the past, higher rates of seed treatment containing mefenoxam, fludioxonil, metalaxyl, trifloxystrobin in a combination of one or two were used for early planting in fields with a history of severe disease situations.  Remember salty fields may have seedling stand problems as well. Seed treatment fungicides do not solve salt problems.  The federal label requires that fungicide seed treatment be applied only using commercial seed treatment equipment. Read product labels for safety guides. Labels are the rule. 

Fig 1.  Disease affecting rice seedling caused by Pythium spp.

Rice seedlings affected by Pythium spp disease in a rice field


Projected 2020 Price Loss Coverage Benefits – April 2021

Scott Stiles

USDA’s Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program is a commodity support program that makes deficiency payments when the marketing year average price for a covered commodity falls below a statutory reference price.  PLC payments are made on a farm’s historic average yields and 85% of commodity-specific base acres.

USDA’s most recent Projected 2020 PLC Payment Rates indicate that 13 of 23 covered commodities are projected to receive PLC support.  However, USDA will continue to update these projections over the course of each commodities’ marketing year.  Final marketing year average prices and PLC payment rates will be determined later this year for most of Arkansas’ major row crops. 

The far-right column in the table below provides current projections for 2020 PLC payment rates.  Past year payment rates going back to 2014 are also included.  Increasing commodity prices for the 2020 crop are expected to reduce PLC payments for all the major row crops.  In the case of corn, grain sorghum, and soybeans no PLC payments for the 2020 crop are projected.  Lower payment rates for the 2020 crop are expected for wheat, rice, seed cotton and peanuts.

Price Loss Coverage Payment History 2014 through 2019, with 2020 projected


Diesel Turns Higher This Week

Scott Stiles

After trading in a 10-cent range for the past month, diesel prices surged higher mid-week.  A number of agency reports released this week provided hard data that demand is improving.  The Energy Department (EIA) and OPEC both provided optimistic outlooks for 2021 energy demand.  Inventory reports were bullish too.  With planting underway in various states, farm demand for diesel is ramping up.  Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.1 million barrels last week. Overall petroleum inventories decreased by 9.1 million barrels last week.  That was a key driver behind Wednesday’s breakout moves in crude oil and diesel.

Daily Nearby NYMEX Diesel Futures.

Diesel Futures from The New York Mercantile Exchange

An improving demand outlook has energy markets on a strong trajectory.  Average distillate demand for the past 4 weeks is up 8.6% compared to last year.  The next chart objective for diesel is $1.98-$1.99; the March highs. 

Overall fuel demand is outpacing production at present.  Some in industry expect it will be sometime in the second half of the year before production and consumption come into balance.  For most, if not all, of this growing season there will be a bias toward higher fuel prices as more of the population is vaccinated and economic activity continues to pick up. Manage fuel price risk accordingly.


DD50 Rice Management Program is Live

Jarrod Hardke

Rice planting progress is still in the early stages, but we do have rice emerged in the state.  With that in mind, the DD50 Rice Management Program is live and ready for fields to be enrolled for the 2021 season.  All log-in and producer information has been retained from the 2020 season, so if you used the program last year you can log in just as you did last year.  Only field data from 2020 has been removed.  Log in and enroll fields here:

Here's an article from last year on the DD50 program:  Use the DD50 Rice Management Program to Stay Ahead.


Use the Arkansas Rice Advisor Internet App!

Jarrod Hardke

The Arkansas Rice Advisor site functions like an app on your mobile device.  There you can readily access the DD50 program, rice seeding rate calculator, drill calibration, fertilizer and N rate calculators, publications, and more.


Row Crops Radio Podcasts

Check out these podcast episodes by following the link or by listening to them on Arkansas Row Crops Radio wherever you listen to podcasts.

Rice & Advice, Ep. 02:  Rice Preplant and Early Season Fertility (4/15/21)


Contact Information for Specialists | University of Arkansas System | Division of Agriculture | Research and Extension


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