Farm Progress

Mid-South farmers used to be able to control weeds in rice on the cheap (relatively speaking). Most cannot anymore. They have to spend whatever it takes early in the season or wind up throwing $100 an acre at it and still have barnyardgrass going to seed. The most expensive part of the weed control program will be the weeds not killed.

Ford Baldwin

April 27, 2011

3 Min Read

Boy this seems like an every-year broken record, but how would we even recognize a “normal” year anymore? In a lot of areas, this year is starting off like 2009. It was too wet in some parts of north Arkansas for a while and too dry in others.

Many of the dry areas got rain recently, but a lot of other areas have been inundated. If the wet weather continues, it is going to bring about some difficult weed control situations in all crops.

I recently asked a rice consultant, who had called about a difficult situation, what percent planted his farmers were. His response was, “I am 100 percent planted and 80 percent snookered.” (He actually used another term!)

In rice, a lot of residual herbicides were not applied due to wind, rain and the scramble to get planted. The barnyardgrass has responded with vengeance. In these situations, you have to drop the big hammer postemergence and also get some residual activity going.

A lot of Ricestar at 24 ounces with a half pound of Facet or generic is going out. There is also a lot of Ricestar plus Command going out. I prefer the Facet on three- to four-leaf grass, but on the smaller grass Command has more postemergence activity than you might think.

As the rice gets three- to four-leaf, be ready with Regiment if you still have grass.

In Clearfield rice, a lot of consultants are using Clearpath for the first application to drop the big hammer. Some are also using Newpath mixed with propanil, Ricestar or Clincher to heat it up.

A grower who calls a lot asked me if my philosophy of weed control had changed since I went into the private sector. “Why are you pushing chemicals so hard in rice?” he asked.

My philosophy has always been you have to kill the grass before you can make a rice crop. It is just taking a lot more herbicide to do that in most situations now. I realize I am recommending a lot of expensive herbicide programs, and it goes against my nature to do that.

While we used to be able to do weed control in rice on the cheap (relatively speaking), most just can not do it anymore. You have to spend whatever it takes early in the season or you will wind up throwing $100 an acre at it and still have barnyardgrass going to seed. The most expensive part of the weed control program will be the weeds you do not kill.

If it continues wet, another problem will be aquatics and also earlier emergence of sprangletop. Continued saturated soils and overflow will trigger these species big time. I recommended more Londax for aquatics in dry-seeded rice in 2009 than in my entire career combined. Fortunately they are easier to handle in Clearfield rice with Newpath and especially Beyond.

Where they are severe, adding Londax, Grasp or Permit Plus will bring a lot of firepower.

In conventional rice, Londax and Grasp mixed with propanil are options on aquatics along with Regiment and mixtures with Storm. The book has already been thrown out and every situation is different. Call if I can help.

In soybeans, the prolonged wet weather along with difficulty getting burn-down herbicides applied will also create some unique situations. In a lot of fields pigweeds are going to be emerged big time at planting.

If you have a glyphosate resistant pigweed problem you simply can not plant into a mess of emerged pigweeds. You can burn down small ones with Ignite or Gramoxone with some Sencor in it. However, if there is any doubt whether or not you can kill them, there is no choice but to work the ground. You have to give the soybeans an even start.

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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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