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Management key to new rice technology

Everyone anticipates the registration for the Clearfield/Newpath system will be granted. If it is, we should be able to implement the 24-C registration that we received last year.

For the Clearfield rice technology to be sustainable, we really need for another herbicide-tolerant rice technology to come along. This may happen, but right now we have to go forward with management plans, assuming that this will not be the case.

I hear growers talk about renting or buying a “red rice farm” once this (or any) red rice control technology comes along. That, or simply the fact this may be the only red rice technology we have for years, should be incentive enough for every grower to want to make the Clearfield technology sustainable.

The first factor in making the technology sustainable should be overstating the obvious. That is, if you get 100 percent control of red rice in the field, there is no potential for outcrossing. That should be the goal for every farmer who uses the system.

If one looks at our research over the past four years, you would think 100 percent control should not be a problem. However, we have done this with a preplant incorporated treatment of the Newpath herbicide, followed by a postemergence treatment of Newpath. Soil-applied treatments in general can be inconsistent.

Andy Kendig, my counterpart at the Delta Center in the Missouri Bootheel, has had consistent, complete failures with preplant incorporated treatments on both clay and silt loam soils. There have also been inconsistencies in the field the past two years. Many can be explained by the fact the grower used it or a pre-emergence (not incorporated) treatment, and did not flush.

The label will include both preplant incorporated and pre-emergence options for the soil-applied treatment. This first label will have only the option for a soil application, followed by a postemergence treatment. This is opposed to just two postemergence applications. The feeling is these first varieties (CL121 and CL141) do not have enough postemergence tolerance to use two postemergence applications.

The company message on the soil-applied treatment is going to be flush, flush, flush! That is my message as well. Every farmer will agree in principle to do this because every farmer figures it will rain in April and he won't have to. It did not rain this April and too many growers did not flush Command until it was far too late.

Most who called me for advice simply told me they were not going to flush. My summary message for this first article would simply be: Do not use the technology if you are not committed to flushing at a moment's notice.

Ford Baldwin is an Arkansas Extension weed scientist.

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