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Arkansas:Record likely for rice crop
Weather and crop conditions appeared to be nearly ideal for the 14th Rice Production Field Day Wednesday. Several participants say the state's rice crop may be the best yet.
Growing conditions for rice have been ideal, with temperatures during the critical growth periods in the low to high 90s, said Dr. Chuck Wilson, rice specialist with the Cooperative Extension Service Rice Branch Experiment Station at Stuttgart.
Wilson said that 1.4 million acres of rice have been planted in Arkansas, and forecasters have predicted 1.3 million acres will be harvested."The USDA forecasts a record rice crop," Wilson said.
Cache River Valley Seed sponsors the annual field day to showcase not only its facilities on Arkansas 226 east of Cash but also to show growers the effort put into growing seed rice on the Burns Seed Farms.
"All certified fields are rogued three times, and all fields for registered seed are rogued four times," Burns Seed Farms manager John Greer said. Rogueing is the practice of manually pulling up weeds and carrying them out of the fields.
He said that Burns puts $30,000 a year into rogueing and perhaps another $30,000 into other practices over and above growing a normal rice crop.
"When you buy the seed it may seem high, but it has to be to recover the costs necessary to grow seed rice" because it requires special handling, Greer said.
Standing between two fields of Francis variety being grown for seed, Greer said Francis seems to tolerate high pH and salt better than Wells.
The first stop on the tour was a test plot on the Joe Christian farm. There participants learned how different varieties of rice respond to various inputs necessary in the immediate area. The farm also had a fungicide treatment tract.
"We put these varieties in replicated plots around the state as they are released, or are about to be released," said Dr. Rick Cartwright of the Rice Branch Experiment Station. "These (test plots) give us some idea of how they perform in some of the environments that we don't see on the experiment stations and let us see how they react to certain diseases that we have difficulty reproducing on the experiment stations.
He said blast was present in the experiment and growers could make a side-by-side comparison of how the different varieties respond to the disease.
Dr. Karen Moldenhauer, principal plant breeder at the Rice Branch Experiment Station, talked about different varieties and the possible roles they could play in Arkansas rice fields in the future.
Several of the varieties are on the market now, including Ahrent (named for the late rice-growing Corning resident Martha Ahrent).
Moldenhauer said Ahrent "deserves a second look," especially for lighter, sandier soils.
Three varieties, Chemiere, Cocodrie and experimental RU0001124 "will all be competing for the same acres in the future," the rice breeder said.
But, the plant breeder singled out the variety RU0001188 as "the best out there" and added that in time it may take the place of LaGrue with its blast resistance. The variety 1188 was developed in the U of A experiment station program.
Wilson commented during the tour that Wells is the most popular and is planted on about 47 percent of the rice acreage in Arkansas. It's a high-yielding, long-grain variety that has excellent seedling vigor but may not perform quite as well on high pH soils as LaGrue or Francis.
Several hybrid rice varieties also were showcased on the field tour by RiceTec to provide information about high-yielding varieties that producers may want to try.
Clearfield Production System also offered tests of its Newpath herbicide-resistant rice which provides characteristics that producers may need to help clear fields of certain pests, such as red rice.
MGR Archive 26.8.2003
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