Farm Progress

A lot of crops in south Arkansas would seem to be in reasonably good shape, but in a lot areas of north Arkansas, the 'crop from hell' continues.

Ford Baldwin

June 17, 2013

3 Min Read

Arkansas is a tale of two states – north of I-40 and south of I-40. A lot of south Arkansas would seem to be in reasonably good shape, but in a lot of north Arkansas areas it continues to be the crop from hell with more rainfall predicted. A lot of soybeans will have to be replanted, and a lot of rice that was clean and ready to fertilize and flood is under water or has levees washed flat.

It is a tough situation, but farmers are tough and crops have a tremendous ability to overcome adversity.

The calls now are those of panic and frustration regarding big grass and often sick rice that has either been under water or pounded by the heavy rains. Answers for a lot of these are not even in the “book we threw out” a month ago. I am often guessing or simply going on the premise doing something beats doing nothing.

Everyone wants a one-shot miracle to clean everything up with zero injury to the rice. Anyone who has that answer certainly knows more than I. Most of the situations I am getting called on now will take at least two applications and all may not be perfect. Sometimes you have to roll the dice on injury, because if you don’t kill the grass, nothing else matters.

Everyone worries about injuring the Clearfield hybrids when they are sick or when mixing things like Newpath or Beyond with Ricestar HT or Regiment. Heck, I am worrying about every recommendation I am making now (hybrid or not) – that it is not going to work or that it may bang up the rice some. Those are the cards we have been dealt. On the hybrids, I have the philosophy that you simply have to treat them like rice and whatever happens just happens.

In a lot of the big grass situations I am recommending 24 ounces of Ricestar HT with a half pound or equivalent rate of Facet or a generic. While I hate to cost a second trip, in a lot of these I am recommending the broadleaf and nutsedge treatment be applied separately. In addition, a postflood treatment of Clincher or Regiment will likely be needed. The key to the post flood treatments is being aware the grass may be there and treat it just as soon as it comes through the flood.

It is unfortunate that a lot of these very expensive programs are going into fields where the residuals had worked great. If they could have been fertilized and flooded on time, none of this would have been necessary. In other situations the big grass has been the result of two weeks of windy conditions where treatments could not be made timely.


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The aquatic weed calls are beginning to come in now as a result of the wet year. In Clearfield rice, Beyond is a better aquatic treatment than Newpath, and Beyond with some Grasp in it is outstanding. In conventional rice, Grasp or Grasp Extra are usually the choice treatments. Regiment can also be a good treatment for big barnyardgrass and aquatics.

A couple of weeks ago the Arkansas State Plant Board lifted the special requirements to spray rice levees with 2,4-D in the 10 affected counties in northeast Arkansas. This was very much needed. A lot of folks went to bat to get this done. There is a concern among some that it will be abused. We need to spray levees with 2,4-D for pigweeds and other broadleaf weeds. This regulation change only applies to levee-type applications which use short booms and not broadcast applications. The regular buffer zone restrictions apply around cotton. Please use this regulation change as intended – levee spraying. If abused, it can be taken away and everyone loses.


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About the Author(s)

Ford Baldwin

Practical Weed Consultants

Ford Baldwin served as a weed scientist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service from 1974 to 2001. During that time he conducted extensive applied research trials in rice, soybeans, cotton and wheat, and developed weed management recommendations and educational programs for farmers. Since January 2002, Baldwin has been a partner in Practical Weed Consultants with his wife, Tomilea.

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