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Delta Farm Press
by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - April 30, 2021
“Blame it on the rain…”
Following a week of tremendous progress, we’ve had a week of mostly standing still.
Monday’s planting progress report came in at 44% (Fig. 1) which was a nice jump but nowhere near the 65% I expected to see reported. I’ll
expect the upcoming report to show a further increase to better reflect last week’s
progress as little has been done that would move the needle this week. Progress for
all rice producing states is in Table 1.
More rain is in the immediate forecast (Fig. 2). Following Thursday’s rainfall event which was significant in many areas of eastern
AR, more rain is expected on Sunday and Tuesday. Even the most well-drained fields
won’t be in a position to make progress until next weekend should all these events
happen. Suddenly we’re talking about a lot of May planted rice.
In looking for the upside to planting delays, in recent years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2019,
2020) we’ve planted the majority of our rice after the first of May and have had very
high state average yields. At the moment, our planting progress appears most similar
to 2018, which about the time we got into May turned very hot and dry all the way
through July. If you don’t recall, it started to feel like July at the beginning
of May and didn’t change throughout the summer.
Fig. 1. AR Rice Planting Progress, 2010-2021.
Table 1. U.S. Rice Planting Progress, 2021.
Fig. 2. NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.
This week the most frequent calls have been about rice that is slow to get out of
the ground (Fig. 3). In particular, the new DG263L has been slow but to be clear other cultivars have
had problems as well. We hadn’t observed this in testing with DG263L the past couple
of years, but this phenomenon does occur each year with different cultivars and can
vary by seed lot.
Ultimately, what I’ve seen I describe as delayed germination or prolonged dormancy.
Meaning that the correct number of seed seems to be germinating, some just seems to
remain dormant a little longer before germinating. So, you may have some rice emerged,
but when you start digging you find other seed that has germinated, but it’s not as
far along. It may be aggravating, but it should be short-lived and a full stand achieved.
Fig. 3. Uneven rice emergence.
Depending on your location and situation, you may have a little or a lot of rice left
to plant as we move into May. The upcoming week looks like another rain-filled one,
so it’s time to think about planting date trends for rice.
Table 2 shows the relative grain yield potential (and actual trial grain yields in parentheses)
for selected cultivars across a range of planting dates in 2019-2020 at Stuttgart.
We also have planting date studies at Pine Tree, but last year the weather didn’t
allow us to plant before April 21 so it’s not included here. The yields are high,
as they can be for small-plot research, so I like to look at relative yield potential
which paints a better picture than just bushels per acre from the plots.
There are other cultivars you may be interested in that we may have only tested in
2020 that aren’t included here due to the single year of data. If you have questions
about any others, please give me a call to discuss.
The later we get with planting date, the more critical timely management becomes.
This is largely due to more rapid accumulation of DD50 units (heat) to drive plant
growth, which will provide you with fewer days to accomplish management tasks.
Table 2. Percent relative grain yield (bu/acre in parentheses) for selected rice
cultivars by planting date, 2019-2020 Stuttgart.
Poultry litter is an excellent nutrient source that not only provides a cost-effective
source of plant-available nutrients for our rice crop, it often comes at a cost that
is lower than commercial fertilizer. In addition to nutrient content, poultry litter
is a great source of organic matter and microbes, which can help restore field productivity
especially cut or graded soils.
Recently there have been several questions regarding poultry litter quality and nutrient
availability. Poultry litter quality is directly related to the ratio of manure or
feces to bedding material. Typically, the longer poultry is grown on the bedding
material (i.e., number of flocks or type of poultry production) plays a significant
role in this and can help predict how good the litter will be.
Clean out approach is another contributing factor that can influence the quality of
the litter. Whole house cleanout typically means that all the litter (manure and
bedding material) is removed from the house and replaced with new bedding material.
De-caking is another method where the top 1-2 inches of the litter (where the manure
is typically concentrated) is removed and the cleaner bedding material underneath
is exposed. The depth of de-caking impacts the amount of this cleaner bedding material
that gets mixed with manure and can impact the ratio of manure to bedding material
and ultimately the nutrient value of the poultry litter.
Provided in Fig. 4 is an example of a typical nutrient analysis of common poultry litter sources in
Arkansas and the associated value of the nutrients they contain. As you can see the
value of nutrients contained in poultry litter can be highly competitive with commercial
fertilizer depending on the cost of acquiring and spreading the litter. Rather than
relying on these values or the appearance of the litter to gauge the nutrient quality
or concentration we strongly encourage you to have your litter analyzed to take the
guesswork out of what nutrients it may contain. Poultry litter analysis can be conducted
by the Agricultural Diagnostic Lab in Fayetteville (https://aaes.uark.edu/technical-services/fayetteville-agricultural-diagnostic-analytical-laboratory/) or an accredited commercial lab. Litter or manure analysis at the Fayetteville
Diagnostic Lab is $27.00/ sample for a basic package that includes moisture, pH, EC,
N, P, K, and Ca.
Fig. 4. Local poultry litter value as a P & K fertilizer source.
Another important component of poultry litter or manure use is the timing of nutrient
availability. As a note: nutrient availability from poultry litter is typically more
rapid than what is often considered for other manures such as beef, dairy, sheep,
swine, etc. We consider the N, P, and K in poultry litter to be immediately plant
A lot of questions have been asked concerning the timing of N availability in poultry
litter and how much can be credited towards a rice crop. As a general rule of thumb,
the majority of N found in poultry litter is going to be similar to urea and is rapidly
available, but there is a small portion that requires mineralization, but the N is
typically 100% plant available within 3-4 weeks.
Since much of the N found in poultry litter exists in a form similar to urea there
is the potential for a significant amount of N to be lost via ammonia volatilization
if the N in the litter is not incorporated via tillage or rainfall. Although the
N in poultry litter is readily plant available, we typically only count 25% of the
N towards the rice crop’s season total N requirement. The reasoning behind only counting
25% of N in the poultry litter lies in the fact that the N is readily plant available
and is often converted to nitrate before flooding and then lost due to denitrification
following flooding. For upland crops such as corn, cotton, and grain sorghum we can
count as much as 50% of the N in poultry litter since the risk of N loss is lower
than in rice.
Not much to say this week, but what is driving the rice market? Well…
Check out these podcast episodes by following the link or by listening to them on
Arkansas Row Crops Radio wherever you listen to podcasts.
Weeds AR Wild, Ep. 09: Loyant Injury to Rice and Yellow Nutsedge Control Options
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.
Arkansas Rice Updates are published periodically to provide timely information and
recommendations for rice production in Arkansas. If you would like to be added to
this email list, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information will also be posted to the Arkansas Row Crops blog (http://www.arkansas-crops.com/) where additional information from Extension specialists can be found.
More information on rice production, including access to all publications and reports,
can be found at http://www.uaex.uada.edu/rice.
We sincerely appreciate the support for this publication provided by the rice farmers
of Arkansas and administered by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board.
The authors greatly appreciate the feedback and contributions of all growers, county
agents, consultants, and rice industry stakeholders.