For Forest, La., farmer Jim Lingo, rice production is about finding ways to do it better, whether it’s implementing on-farm trials to determine maximum economic profits or a willingness to learn from others, whether it’s LSU’s Extension Service or other members of the farming operation.

Lingo, his father Lindy, brother Lindy Carl, Jr., and uncle, Michael Lingo, farm around 5,500 acres, including 2,000 acres of rice, 320 acres of corn, and 3,180 acres of soybeans. “We have separate farms,” Lingo said, “but when the time comes, we all harvest together and plant together. We’re fortunate to have a real tight family. We are a big, happy family operation.”

No one in the farm family has a specific duty, according to Lingo. “We all pitch in. Nobody has a job that’s theirs. Whatever needs to be done, gets done.”

The Lingos farm in East Carroll and West Carroll parishes, but have roots in Lonoke, Ark., where Jim’s grandfather, James Lingo, farmed in the 1950s. “He always said he followed the new ground south. He bought the main core of this farm in 1963,” Lingo said.

James passed away in June two years ago, but stayed a farmer until the end. “That  spring, he was still pulling levees,” Lingo said. “He was the glue that held us together for a long time. If you had a question or problem he had probably seen it before. Now my father, Lindy, has moved into that role.”

The Lingos rotate rice, all Clearfield hybrids, and soybeans one year in, one year out. This meets the rotation requirements for preserving the Clearfield technology, but Lingo says that rotation is something they would do anyway. “We’ve always been one year in and one year out because there hasn’t been any control for red rice besides water seeding. We do have some red rice, but since we’ve gone with Clearfield, it’s not been an issue.”

His grandfather James, also insisted on stewardship of the land. “Grandpa would leave rice ground fallow to help keep it clean. Then they started planting a few soybeans in the fallow year.”

Today, soybeans typically yield in the 50-bushel to 60-bushel range, and provide the Lingos another mode of action for red rice. Most of the farm consists of heavy clay soils.

Cultural practices

To prepare for rice, after soybean harvest, the Lingos will disk land two or three times, and if possible pull a land plane over the ground to get it smooth and flat for the next spring.

They typically burn down rice ground in early March with Sharpen and Firstshot, and may include Select where glyphosate-resistant Italian ryegrass is present. They drill seed their rice with a Great Plains drill, this season going with hybrids Clearfield XL 745 and Clearfield XP 756.

Lingo switched to hybrids “because I figured we had less money in the hybrids and they yielded better. When the hybrids first came out, it seemed like we had a little trouble with milling, but today the milling has been just as good with the hybrids as it has with anything else we’ve been producing. Last year we had just an unbelievable year in yields.

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“We had some farms that yielded in the mid-180s and others in the mid-190s. I’ve never averaged 200-bushel straight across, but we had a lot of fields last year that cut over 200 bushels.”

For weed control, they’ll make an application of Newpath and Permit or Regiment, and used Command this year, because it now has an aerial label. They will apply 100 pounds of urea, but if the soil is wet, they will switch to ammonium sulfate.

“After we get it flushed and it’s growing, we’ll spray it again with Newpath and other products depending on the weeds. Then we’ll come back with around 250 pounds of urea. We will flood, and then when we start seeing a few heads, will come back with 100 pounds of urea.”

The Lingos get about 30 percent of the irrigation needs from Bayou Macon, the rest from wells.

They apply 4 ounces of Tilt around heading to control smut. A Cruiser seed treatment helps control rice water weevils, while stink bugs are treated with Karate.

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Scouting and harvest

The Lingo’s consultant is Richard Costello, but Lingo adds his own twist to scouting, flying his rice several times a day in a two-seat Scout. “It’s the quickest way to check levees,” Lingo said. “It has a 180-horsepower motor so you can fly slow and get a birds-eye view. When everything is flooded up, it takes me around and an hour to get a good look at everything.”

After fields are drained and ready for harvest, the Lingos run three John Deere combines, two 9770s and a S670, with 30-foot Draper headers. “After we get our rice harvested, if it’s dry, we like to burn our rice straw off. As soon as we can, we start tilling it under, getting it ready for the soybean crop the next year.”

The Lingos store rice on the farm, which has well over 300,000 bushels of storage, in eight locations, most within a 3-mile range of the farm. They haul to terminals with seven trailer trucks with hopper bottoms and three 10 wheelers.

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While hybrids have become the mainstay on the Lingo operation, the family is always looking for better varieties and or hybrids. “LSU AgCenter has been real good all about bringing new varieties on,” Lingo said. “We have kind of gotten away from LSU varieties and gone to the hybrids, but I think LSU is making good progress. And the RiceTec breeders have some good, new rice hybrids in the works. There is always room for improvement.”

Lingo is in the second year of participation in the Louisiana Rice Research Verification Program (LRRVP), working with LSU AgCenter Extension rice specialist Johnny Saichuk, who visits Lingo’s verification field weekly from planting to harvest.

Saichuk and Lingo are concentrating on producing the most economical rice crop they can by easing back on fertilizer rates. “Johnny has talked to RiceTec about the variety we have in the trial, and we think the lower rate should be adequate.”

Saichuk will collect yield and cost of production information for the verification trial and Lingo’s usual fertility program “to compare net returns and see what direction we need to go.”

Lingo says LSU’s verification program “is like a learning tool. They really like to recruit young farmers to teach them all aspects of raising rice from planting until harvest.”

Heavy rains delayed planting and spraying on all the Lingo’s crops this spring, and the Lingos were just getting back into fields in mid-June. “It was the last week of April before we got anything planted on our farm,” Lingo said. “We had a good run, then 10 days ago (June 6), it started raining again at and put a damper on everything.

“We’re not terribly behind, but we’re not where we want to be right now. Most years, we have all of our rice flooded up by now and getting close to layby soybeans. But everything is looking real good, and we definitely have plenty of moisture.”

Lingo is a member of the Northeast Louisiana Rice Growers Association and represents West Carroll Parish on the NLRGA board. He also represents northeast Louisiana on the Louisiana Rice Council.

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