I usually look back at old articles this time of year and see what I have written about in the past. Normally I am writing about the season winding down in rice, but this year we are just getting started good.
We have the earlier-planted rice that is at midseason and looks normal for this time of year. There are, however, more acres where the crop is anywhere from just emerged to just being ready to flood.
While I do not wish to set off any panic buying on herbicides for the later rice, it would seem wise to anticipate what herbicides you are going to need and locate those. This seems to be the year of the shortage.
Most growers seem to have been able to find most of what they need so far, but several companies are reporting they are sold out and the remaining supply is in distributor/dealer inventory.
Just by driving the roads and answering the telephone, I know there is a lot of rice yet to be sprayed.
I have received more calls this year along the lines of “I think I may have glyphosate-resistant pigweed.” University of Arkansas weed scientists tell me resistant pigweeds have made a “big move.” With this being the case, resistant pigweeds will be common in the next couple of years.
Many of the growers who have said, “I don’t want to use anything but glyphosate,” are going to be asking, “What can I use with glyphosate or in place of glyphosate?”
A generation of farmers now does not know anything about controlling weeds in soybeans other that spraying them with glyphosate. That is about to change.
Some of the resistant pigweed problem can be managed by adding residual herbicides to a glyphosate program. Results will vary as soil residual herbicides always have been inconsistent on Palmer pigweed in Arkansas.
The LibertyLink soybean program is being ramped up very quickly, and if clearances are received in export countries, this technology can have a huge impact on both weed control and resistance management.
Companies are also working on stacking traits and it would not be surprising to see companies that have previously been competitors to be stacking traits for each other’s herbicides.
Just as a refresher, when I began my career a typical soybean weed control program consisted of a preplant incorporated herbicide for grass and pigweed control, followed by an at-cracking herbicide to establish a height difference between the soybean and the morningglories and cocklebur, followed by at least two post-directed sprays and a lot of cultivation. Doesn’t that sound like fun? It didn’t work very well most of the time either.
We cannot and will not go back that far, but technology must advance and we must get smarter about how we manage weed resistance.
One of the most frustrating issues I have had to deal with in working with consultants this year is how to manage weeds in the Clearfield hybrids. I have been on record many times as being a fan of hybrid technology in general.
Weed control in the current hybrids, however, often can be frustrating because of both real and perceived fears of crop injury. The hybrids can be more sensitive to Newpath and Beyond than the varieties. At times they also appear more sensitive than the varieties to some of the conventional herbicides.
This is in contrast to the fact they seem to handle other types of adversity better than conventional varieties.
Concerns over herbicide injury have a lot of consultants walking on eggshells trying to control the weeds. Increasing herbicide tolerance in the hybrids would make it easier to treat them like rice.
In addition, I am concerned about some of the volunteer hybrid populations from previous crops. If we are not careful, we can create a weedy off-type problem besides red rice.