I recently returned from the Rice Technical Working Group meeting. As the name would imply, it is a meeting where scientists working on all aspects of rice production and processing meet to exchange information.

It is hosted every other year by one of the rice-producing states and is one of the best meetings I attend. I spent one day in the weed control session and will pass along some of the information presented.

I also want to inform you of a publication that Eric Webster and the LSU researchers were handing out. The title is Schematic Diagram for Seedling Weed Identification in Rice. It is a single-fold sheet that opens up to a large front and back page.

At first glance the outside looks like an identification key. When Eric handed it to me I thought, “My man has lost it!”

When you open it, however, the large inside page has outstanding seedling photographs (I am a picture guy). Using both the key and the photos, you can pretty much nail down any seedling weed you are looking at in a rice field. It is a neat little publication and a must-have for consultants, Extension agents and farmers who walk their own fields.

In the next article, I will provide ordering information and the link to the publication on the LSU Web site www.lsuagcenter.com. It is my understanding the publication is free if ordered in single copies and there is a small fee if ordered in quantities.

Bob Scott was talking about ordering a quantity of them so they will likely be available in Arkansas as well as directly from LSU.

There were a couple of papers presented on glyphosate drift and Newpath drift to conventional rice. One confirmed how devastating the results of drift can be — especially from panicle initiation on through the heading stages.

The other paper was on the effects of supplemental fertilizer to aid in recovery from early-season drift. The university guys and others like myself who have to look at a lot of drift have routinely recommended an application of ammonium sulfate or DAP followed by a flush when glyphosate drift occurs to seedling rice.

This has also been sometimes used as a goodwill tool by applicators responsible for a drift. It would seem the rice would green up more quickly and get on the road to recovery quicker.

Bob Scott from Arkansas and Jason Bond from Mississippi State collaborated on a study last year with two locations in Arkansas and one in Mississippi. They sprayed low rates of glyphosate to bang up the rice, simulating a drift, and then flushed in ammonium sulfate, DAP or a mixture.

In this one year of research, they found no yield or major visual advantage to the fertilization compared to where no fertilizer was applied. It is natural to question research when it does not show “what you think it should have.”

My standard answer to that — even to myself — illustrates why research-based information is necessary. They are going to repeat these studies this year.

Do we keep recommending flushing in fertilizer in a drift situation this year and wait for another year’s research or not recommend it? Because it “looks like it does so much good,” my tendency would be to continue to recommend it another year. However, with fuel and fertilizer prices at record highs, that is not a decision to be taken lightly.

It looked like flushing in the supplemental fertilizer helped the recovery, but we do not know how it would have looked had it not occurred.

I have never forgotten a time early in my career when it had been raining for an extended period and one farmer’s soybeans were yellow as a gourd. He asked me what to do and I told him to cultivate as soon as it dried to get some oxygen to the roots.

A couple of weeks later I was back and the soybeans looked great. I sort of stuck my chest out and said, “Boy, they sure took off when you plowed them didn’t they!” He responded, “I never got around to plowing them.”

e-mail: ford@weedconsultants.com