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Wet spring and high water force compression of crop season

The weather looks a lot different today than it did when I was writing a week ago — the sun is shining. I am starting to get calls from folks who are in the field working. If we can catch another couple of weeks of relatively dry weather, the landscape across the state will look a lot different.

One cannot help but share the frustration of farmers affected by the flooding. I spent around 10 years of my life at Des Arc and have not lived very far away most of my adult life. I cannot remember the water being as high as it is now. On the bright side, prices are good and we still have a month of good rice planting time and two months of good soybean planting time.

While back-to-back record or near-record high water marks in March and April have caused a lot of grief, most folks on the rivers go back several generations and know how to survive.

The wet spring is going to cause the crop season to be very compressed and a lot of things are going to happen at once. The old saying I have heard agronomists use (which I never thought farmers paid any attention to) of “do not plant more in a week than you can harvest in a week” is out the window. The priority now is to get the crop in.

I have had a couple of calls from folks, working ground a tad wet, wanting to get their Command out in front of the drill instead of behind. When Command first came into the market, I led the charge saying “drill it, roll it and spray it.”

When we began getting questioned by farmers wanting to vary from that, we did a 2-year study putting Command out every way we could think of relative to broadcast seeding, drilling, and rolling or not rolling.

At the end of it all, it really did not make a lot of difference, in grass control or crop injury, how we did things. We always got more bleaching if we incorporated the Command and especially if we sprayed the Command on broadcast seed and incorporated them together.

Beyond that, whether we sprayed in front of the drill or behind it, or whether we rolled or didn't roll didn't really make much difference. Rolling behind the drill and then spraying sure makes for a nice seedbed, and makes a nice surface to put the Command on. I am hardheaded enough to still like that method the best.

However, the data I have seen demonstrates that whatever you have to do to get the crop planted and the Command out in the most efficient manner should work out just fine. The most important factor, regardless of the application method you choose to use, is getting moisture for activation.

I have a feeling that once farmers get busy getting the crop in, a lot of rice may be planted without the Command being applied right at planting. The earlier you can get it applied and activated, the better I like it.

However, it is a very flexible herbicide. If the Command is not applied at planting, or at least before levee formation, you have the option of waiting for a good rain forecast.

You can apply Command alone up until the time the grass reaches emergence. When you suspect some grass is beginning to emerge, adding a pint of crop oil concentrate will add activity on emerging grass.

However, if you know grass has emerged then you need to tank mix it with a postemergence herbicide. There are a great deal of options for mixing Command with Facet or Quinstar, Ricestar or a propanil product such as Super Wham or Stam — depending on the situation you have.

Hopefully, what I have tried to get at here makes a little sense to readers. I spend quite a lot of time throughout the year emphasizing the importance of residual herbicides, and I stress getting them out and activated before grass emergence. I am not throwing that out the window.

Hopefully you will be able to keep your herbicide applications pretty well coordinated with planting this year as well. I also know we are behind and a lot of folks are going to start planting and not look back.

Get the crop in the ground. Get the herbicides out the best you can, and we will clean up what is left.

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