I hope that by now many of you have already planted a lot of your rice. One of the first fields that you should have planted if you are growing it is your Clearfield rice. The non-hybrid Clearfield varieties, such as CL 161, should be planted early because its yield potential is lower than that of varieties like Wells or Francis.
Chuck Wilson, University of Arkansas Extension rice agronomist, has put together our recommendations for Clearfield rice production. They are available on our Website (www.aragriculture.org) and at Arkansas county Extension offices. I am pleased that BASF and Horizon Ag have included their varieties in our university trials over the last two to three years, giving us multiple years of data upon which to base recommendations.
We also have had multiple years to look at weed control. Last year was the first year of commercial use of Newpath in Clearfield rice for red rice control. It was a very successful year in terms of weed control and rice yield.
I believe the main reason for success last year was the weather we had. Early-season rain and cool temperatures were good for the varieties and excellent for Newpath activity.
Some growers applied their first shot of Newpath preplant incorporated. The incorporated treatments have always performed more consistently than the pre-emerge treatments. The second application of Newpath was often tank-mixed with a low rate of Facet herbicide. A little Facet in the tank can go a long way.
These things and the diligence of the farmers, consultants and others watching the fields resulted in a good year.
If the weather does not cooperate this year, success this year probably will depend on a farmer's ability to flush the soil-applied Newpath or in the sequential post program, the first post Newpath application if it does not rain with seven days or so. Getting the first application activated is critical to success with red rice, aquatics, sprangletop and barnyardgrass. No one likes to flush, but you will have spent too much money on the Clearfield program to have it not work or to have to spend more money to clean it up.
In the case of Command, I have heard folks say, “It is cheap, we will use it and if it rains, fine; if not, we have not lost that much.” I do not agree, but I understand the point about the cost of Command. With Clearfield, the variety and the herbicide program cost too much and have too much potential to not flush.
Another key to a successful program this year will be to scout before the second Newpath application. Do you need to tank-mix for hemp sesbania or northern jointvetch? Did you get good initial yellowing of grass weeds? If there is still green and growing barnyardgrass that might warrant a little Facet or propanil?
If you are using the sequential post program, watch for sprangletop escapes. There is a provision on the label for a tank-mix with RiceStar if you have escapes after the first Newpath application. We have seen some weakness of RiceStar on Amazon or tighthead sprangletop — consider using Clincher instead.
The jury is still out on the potential antagonism of this tank-mix. We will be looking at it some more this year. For now, a separate application may be necessary.
If you know you are in a bad sprangletop field, consider sticking with the soil followed by post program or using some Command up front or using the Prowl program, rather than waiting to try and control it post.
I look forward to seeing how the technology performs this year. Every year is different.
Bob Scott is the University of Arkansas Extension weed specialist. email@example.com.