Rice farmers who see their crop starting to show bronzing on the leaves should consider a dose of zinc, says Dustin Harrell, an LSU AgCenter agronomist advised.

Zinc deficiency can slow growth of young plants, and alkaline soils with a high pH can prevent rice plants from absorbing zinc, Harrell said. A field probably needs additional zinc if soil testing shows less than 1 part per million, he said.

“Once that rice gets severe zinc deficiency, it’s dead,” Harrell said.

He recommended adding 0.5 pound to 1 pound per acre when using a foliar zinc application. He said liquid chelated zinc products can also be added to the soil preplant at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per acre.

Cold water pumped from the ground can induce zinc deficiency, he said, especially in parts of a field that get irrigation first. Also, salts can prevent zinc from being absorbed, Harrell said.