The feedback I am getting from most of the rice consultants who call me regularly is good news on weed control. A lot of folks are reporting that they are in the best shape for weed control at this stage that they have ever been in.
Weed control can be easy when you take advantage of timely rains with residual herbicides.
One thing that is really helping is thinking beyond just a single application of a residual treatment such as Command or Facet.
It is important to get an initial pre-emergence or early postemergence residual treatment out and get it activated. However, supplementing that initial treatment with additional residual applications, even at reduced rates, has really made weed control easy.
My telephone didn't really go crazy last season until the Newpath injury started occurring on the Clearfield hybrids.
I then rolled from that right into the glyphosate drift situation. I hope we avoid both this year. I don't mind the telephone calls. I just don't like for the farmer to have the problems.
I have had several calls from folks asking if they were messing up by delaying the first Newpath application in some of the hybrid fields where stands are thin.
Farmers kept some awfully thin stands of hybrids that went through the freeze. Because of this, they cannot afford to lose any more plants for any reason.
A lot of folks are gun shy about injury, especially under cool conditions, after last year.
My recommendation in those situations has been to delay the first application until the rice is growing well and at least three- to four-leaf.
I do not worry too much about the red rice getting too large. However, delaying the first application may make necessary a separate treatment for grass control before the first Newpath application.
Keep the grass under control just like it was conventional rice. With good conditions you can kill some pretty big red rice with two applications of Newpath. While you can get some Newpath injury on larger rice, the larger rice is much less likely to go into reverse to the point of stand loss like we had last year with some of the early postemergence Newpath applications.
One source of a lot of phone calls to me, several of my university colleagues and Plant Board members has been night spraying of glyphosate with ground equipment. Some wording in the initial set of glyphosate regulations that the Plant Board passed by emergency rule stated that glyphosate cannot be applied under conditions where a temperature inversion may exist.
One condition that may trigger an inversion is a 5-degree temperature drop from the afternoon high. Since there are few nights where a 5-degree temperature drop will not occur, this essentially ruled out night spraying — which was never our intent.
When the protests came from the hinterlands, everyone involved got together and realized we had implemented an unnecessary restriction. The Plant Board has modified the temperature inversion wording so that it does not restrict night spraying and it will go into effect by emergency rule.
This exercise illustrates several points.
First, you can have an impact with your telephone calls.
Second, in spite of what you may think, neither the Glyphosate Task Force nor the Plant Board wants to fix anything that isn't broken or cause an undue burden on anyone.
Third, the actions of a few who spray when it is too windy or have a blatant disregard for their neighbors cause additional regulations for everyone.
Fourth, industry continues to bury its head in the sand and blame all problems that occur on the farmer or applicator when it could be much more proactive through education and development of more user friendly herbicide formulations.