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Delta Farm Press
by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - April 16, 2021
“You can’t roller-skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you’ve a mind to.”
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.
Fig. 2. AR Rice Planting Progress, 2010-2021.
Fig. 3. Emerging rice seedling.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: https://dd50.uada.edu.
Here's an article from last year on the DD50 program: Use the DD50 Rice Management Program to Stay Ahead.
The Arkansas Rice Advisor site https://riceadvisor.uada.edu 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.
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)