The reports from Arkansas rice fields now are a mixed bag. I have been pleased with how many comments I have received along the lines of “I have been surprised that I have been able to clean things up as well as I have.” Because this has been one of the most challenging rice weed control years I can remember, that general comment is encouraging.

On the other hand, I am also receiving calls about weeds “blowing through the rice canopy.” There will simply be more late-season escapes in a difficult weed control year. The escapes present a unique challenge for a couple of reasons.

First, big weeds are harder to kill than little weeds. Suppression — especially with the grasses — is often more realistic where “graveyard dead” is the desired result.

The other challenge is working around emerged susceptible crops. This can often cause you to go to a second or third choice treatment and take what you can get for suppression or control.

Ronnie Helms (G and H Associates) perhaps said it best the other day: “It often comes down to what you can get applied rather than what you would like to recommend.”

Switching gears for a second, it sure is rewarding when right in the middle of writing an article you receive one of those “feel good” telephone calls from a farmer. It reminds me again why I write them when sometimes I am too tired or really can not get any thoughts together.

He called simply to say how much he appreciated the recent article where I attempted to convey that all is not lost. He went on to discuss how his crop had made a remarkable turn around with, as he put it, no snake oils or voodoo — just time.

Rice has an amazing ability to overcome adversity. By the nature of my job I see it most in herbicide injury situations. I can not tell you how many times I have seen distraught farmers with seemingly dismal-looking fields smiling at harvest.

We do not need any more talk about how much yield potential we have lost at this point with all of the June-planted rice. Maybe we have, maybe we have not, but statistics are out the window at this point. A ratty-looking crop a month ago is starting to look like a rice crop.

What we need is a warm September and no hurricanes.

I have recommended a lot of Beyond to be applied preflood instead of waiting to apply it postflood. I hate the calls where the red rice blows through the canopy after the recommended or even labeled cut-off dates. The result is being asked if it is better to violate the label or risk yield reduction on the hybrids by making the application — or to risk outcrossing if nothing is done.

If you make the second Newpath application and there is any red rice that is not dead prior to flooding, my recommendation is to make the Beyond application right then.

There was an article in the statewide newspaper this morning stating that we still had a million acres of soybeans to plant. It was a good article on potential implications to the statewide soybean crop.

What jumped out at me, as a weed scientist, was something that was not said — we have a million acres of soybeans that will have to be sprayed with glyphosate while rice is in the reproductive growth stage. If we are not careful this could be a bigger threat to the rice crop than the adversity we have been through thus far.

Rice can often overcome glyphosate drift that occurs in the seedling stage. However, when it occurs from panicle initiation to maturity the result can be devastating.

In addition, the farmer may never know it occurred until heading — or in some cases until they put the combine in the field.

This continues to be a frustrating situation and one we are receiving zero help from industry on. All I can say is be aware and be careful.