The University of Arkansas has hired a weed scientist — Bob Scott — for the position I filled for several years. He will start April 22.

Scott, a native of Oklahoma, received degrees from Oklahoma State University and his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University.

Since graduating, he has worked as a tech service representative for American Cyanamid and BASF in Arkansas.

I always thought he was one of the very best company reps that I worked with. He has excellent training and experience and a personality that, I believe, Arkansas farmers and agribusiness clientele will like.

He is an excellent choice to take the program forward. I hope that farmers will give him the support that you always gave me. I realize that has to be earned, but I predict that he will earn it in a hurry.

Continue to think about having a cheap weed control program in rice by getting things done right the first time. As wet as it has been so far this spring, it is hard to imagine having to flush anything.

However, we all are aware that weather patterns in Arkansas change very quickly. Believe me, I hope that nobody needs to flush a single field to activate a soil-applied herbicide or to provide moisture for a postemergence treatment. However, that likely won't be the case.

The keys to making the soil-applied herbicides — Command, Facet and Newpath (Clearfield rice) — work are uniform application and soil moisture for activation.

It does not take saturated soil to activate Command, but it does take a decent rain. It also does not take as much moisture over time to keep it active, but it does take moisture.

With Facet, you need saturated soil for activation and more soil moisture to keep it active. With Facet (even though you may have had some “get-by rain” to get a stand of rice) it is good to give it a good flushing after the rice is up. Facet loves saturated soil.

Our experience with Newpath is somewhat in between Command and Facet. However, with Newpath on red rice, you can't afford a failure with the soil-applied treatment. Therefore, if in doubt about moisture for activation, flush it.

I have already had some growers tell me, “I will use a postemergence herbicide before I flush.” That can be a good management decision.

Last year, however, it got a lot of growers in trouble. They would have been fine if a flush of grass has come through, then it rained to provide activation, and then the postemergence herbicide was applied to get that first flush of grass. However, it didn't rain and many fields had drought-stressed grass before the postemergence treatment was applied.

One lesson I have learned the hard way over the years is not to try to out-guess Mother Nature. I think you have to make management decisions on whatever the weather and field conditions are that day.

I have received several lectures on flushing hillside fields, etc. I know that sounds much easier from my recliner. I will simply leave you with the thought that your weed control season will go much easier and cheaper if your soil-applied herbicide gives you maximum performance. It takes moisture to make that happen.

With your soil application of Newpath on Clearfield rice, do not miss any areas, even if it means overspraying some to get them. Incorporate it shallow but thoroughly and flush if needed.


Ford Baldwin is with Practical Weed Consultants, LLC, in Arkansas.