I have listened in on a couple of recent conference calls where Rick Cartwright, University of Arkansas plant pathologist, and Ronnie Helms, G and H Associates, have given an excellent overview of the Arkansas rice crop in the field.

While the growth stages vary widely, the general consensus is the overall crop looks good and still has excellent potential if we can get some heat units and keep the diseases and stink bugs under control.

Those guys are spending a lot more time out in the field than I am right now because of the current disease situation. As a weed scientist, my intense time in the field is over unless we have a lot of late-season glyphosate drift problems due to the late soybean crop. I hope we dodge the drift bullet, but I will not be surprised because many weedy soybean fields that need to be sprayed are next to rice fields.

It was nice on the conference calls to hear Rick Cartwright comment on how clean the overall rice crop is from a weed control standpoint. Normally, years with adverse weather conditions produce weedier crops.

A lot of weed scientists, county Extension agents, consultants, dealer field reps and farmers are to be commended on their weed control efforts. While it may not have been easy, folks just refused to quit fighting until the fields were clean. Of course, you can pick certain fields as exceptions, but overall I am pleased.

Apparently the disease situation is a different story. The diseases are enjoying the adverse weather conditions and there are some very high infestations of sheath blight, blast and the smuts.

Apparently there are also some high stink bug numbers in a lot of fields. My purpose here is not to make control recommendations on diseases and stink bugs but rather to help get the word out. This will be a year to not cut corners on disease and stink bug inputs.

A lot of folks in both the public and private sectors are much more qualified to help you with these problems than I am. If you have any questions or concerns about your disease or stink bug situation and do not know who to call, call me and I will gladly get you in contact with someone to help you. My number is (501) 681-3413.

I do not believe I have ever seen a summer like this. We have already had over 6 inches of rain in August and we lost trees and a hay barn last night. The weather is wearing me out and I do not have my livelihood invested in a crop. Hang in there!

Now, back to the Palmer pigweed situation. I recently traveled Highway 67 from Little Rock up into Missouri and then across into the Bootheel. I saw far more soybean fields with pigweeds in them than I did clean fields.

With the wet year, perhaps some of them have not been sprayed. Judging by the patterns of the pigweeds in the fields and also fields I have looked at that I know have been sprayed twice with glyphosate, my guess is most of the escaped pigweeds are glyphosate-resistant.

When this crop of pigweed goes to seed, we are going to be back into the overpowering plant populations we faced before Roundup Ready, except now they are glyphosate-resistant. While the Roundup Ready technology will continue to be a useful weed control tool, glyphosate is no longer a Palmer pigweed herbicide.

Without being critical of anyone, there are a lot of folks who think they have a pigweed herbicide or pigweed program that have not been through the fire.

After this crop of pigweed goes to seed we will have a lot of fields where 95 percent control will be inadequate simply due to high plant populations. It is then when you find out whether or not you have a pigweed herbicide or control program.

In upcoming articles, I will discuss control in conventional soybeans, Roundup Ready soybeans and LibertyLink soybeans.

e-mail: ford@weedconsultants.com