Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue and Kelly Downing

Currently, the Valley Circles for Rice team is observing fields under center pivots in Brazil, Chile, Zambia, and Australia. Growth stages vary from 1-2 leaf to early tillering.

  • Weed control is a challenge and becomes a big problem if the weeds are not controlled when they are small. Grasses in particular seem to be a problem and, in some cases, are taller than the rice.
    • A plan and knowing available herbicide options when you start a rice crop is critical for pre-emergence and post-emergence treatment.
    • Please follow the herbicide label. If the herbicide is not labeled for rice use, DO NOT use it.
  • Irrigation management requires an understanding of the rice root zone from week to week. When talking "field capacity," we mean that when the soil is completely saturated and a rain event occurs, the rain would either run off the field or leach quickly through the root zone.  Due to this, in general, you should refill the root zone of the crop to within 15% or so of field capacity to allow room for a rain event.
  • An example - rice at early tillering:
    • Root zone -- 7.5 to 10 cm
    • Soil -- silt loam
    • Allow 30% depletion at this stage -- up to 60 mm
    • Crop water use
      • Confirm the evapotranspiration (ET) -- let's assume it is 7 mm/day
      • Assume rice at this stage has a crop coefficient of .35 mm
      • Daily use would be about ET x crop coefficient (7 x .35 = 2.45 mm)
    • Center pivot can apply 9.5 mm/day
    • Probably need to be applying about 6 to 7 mm every other day
    • If you have soils that tend to crack, start irrigation during the tillering stage when cracks are 2 to 3 mm wide
    • Both light, frequent applications and heavy applications can be a problem. Watch your wheel tracks and watch for runoff
    • Check the crop root zone and confirm that you are refilling the profile without runoff or irrigation moving out of the root zone
Remember: the data from soil moisture sensors is only as good as the installation. Make sure your sensors are properly installed and calibrated, and use the "smell test", i.e. if something smells bad (if the readings seem bad), it probably is. Check conditions around the sensors periodically to make sure that what they report is the real situation in the field.


Have questions?  Please enter them into the Comment box below!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sprinkler Packages 101 by Jerry Gerdes

I have just completed my first year as a member of the Valley Circles for Rice team, and I have learned much about the process of growing rice. Crop-specific information is very useful when selecting sprinkler package components for a center pivot or linear irrigation (lateral move) machine. The term "sprinkler package" refers to the collection of sprinklers, pressure regulators, drop components, and fittings used to mount the sprinklers to the machine.

sprinkler package on rice 2010

The sprinkler package is designed to apply water evenly (ie: uniform depth throughout the field) and efficiently. This is to maximize crop yields, minimize water usage, and operating costs. Sprinkler choices are designed to operate at pressures in a range of 6-30 PSI, depending on the sprinkler model. Products called U-pipes and drop pipes (or drop hose) are used to mount the sprinklers below the span trussing. The combination of low-operating pressure and low-ground clearance maximizes the application efficiency of the irrigation water. This type of sprinkler package was used on all 2010 Valley Circles for Rice fields.

Soil type is an important consideration when selecting a sprinkler model for growing rice. More on this in my next blog entry next month.

Do you have questions on sprinkler packages and how they relate in rice production under center pivots and linears? Leave a comment in the box below or email rice@valmont.com.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Circles for Rice | 2010 Final Yield Report by Jake LaRue

Below you will find the final yield report for the 2010 Circles for Rice growing season in the United States, Ukraine, and Pakistan.

United States

Blodgett, Missouri - 201 bu/ac
Neelyville, Missouri - 186 bu/ac
Scott, Arkansas - 173 bu/ac
Sikeston, Missouri - 160 bu/ac
Crawfordsville, Missouri - 160 bu/ac
Eagle Lake, Texas - 149 bu/ac
Dyersburg, Tennessee - 130 bu/ac

Crimea, Ukraine - 55 bu/ac

Pakistan

AAS 501 (hybrid) - 122.8 bu/ac
HS 777 (hybrid) - 108 bu/ac
Superi (variety) - 81 bu/ac
Shantaj (hybrid) - 79 bu/ac
#385 (variety) - 68.6 bu/ac
Super Guard Basmati (variety) - 62.4 bu/ac

If you have any questions about the yields, or about the Circles for Rice project in general, please send me an email at rice@valmont.com .

Monday, November 22, 2010

Circles for Rice | Brazil Update by Kelly Downing

Sáo Borja
Sáo Paolo
I was able to visit several fields in Brazil during a visit November 8 - 15. We really covered a lot of country. Once again, I was struck by the wonderful people, as well as by the great beauty and agricultural potential of Brazil. It was a great pleasure to be hosted by Embrapa Professor Jose Parfitt during part of the trip.


Pelotas and Bage areas:
Embrapa: Unusually cool, wet spring, so delayed emergence (planted September, just now emerging). Jose Parfitt (Pelotas) and Naylor Perez (Bage) leading the research, focused on variety, irrigation scheduling, and fertility issues, as well as rotation into forage system.

São Borja area:
Farrouphilha: Professor Marcelino Knob is researching rice in rotation under a pivot. The rice is just emerging, due to cool weather. There may be some interaction with antecedent crop/herbicides.
Renam Toniazzo: São Borja area, rice looks very good. No disease or weed problems. Good crop last year, expects another successful year.
A first-year Circles for Rice grower farms 2,000 ha of rice at this location with his brother and father. Rice planted in September and looks wonderful - thick and lush. A few spots of clomazone damage, but will recover. Some areas of the field should be monitored for wheel track issues.

São Paolo state:

Lagoa Bonita: volunteer wheat from previous crop dominates the field. They planned to use Aura (profoxydim). I hope it works.
Lagoa Farm: in this field, volunteer edible beans from antecedent crop has taken over most of the field. It is tough to treat, since bordering fields contain both edible beans and soybeans. Volunteer beans are infested with anthracnose, so their agronomic consultant has advised them to wait for the volunteers to die.
First-year Circles for Rice grower: very nice crop, planted in late September. We saw some spots with stunted plants, may be iron chlorosis, zinc, or sulfur shortage.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Congratulations, Kelly Downing!

It is with our great pleasure to announce that Kelly Downing, a member of the Valley Rice Team, has become a Certified Crop Advisor, as determined by the American Society of Agronomy.

Qualifications include requirements in education and experience, along with an examination process. One examination is issued from the national office and is uniform across the United States. In addition, each state designs, offers, and grades an exam specific to the crops and conditions of that state. Following successful completion of the two exams, CCAs are required to earn continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain their certification. All exams and continuing education requirements include four technical areas: Soil & Water Management, Nutrient Management or Soil Fertility, Integrated Pest Management, and Crop Management.

Please join us in congratulating Kelly for this accomplishment!


Original copy written by Michelle Stolte, Intl. Mktg. Materials Mgr., Valmont Irrigation, November 11, 2010.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Circles for Rice | Update by Jake LaRue

 Missouri, USA | October 2010
Ukraine | September 2010
Pakistan | November 2010
Between U.S. post-harvest analysis and traveling, it's been a few weeks since I've been able to post an update on the project!  For the 2010-2011 growing season(s), we have confirmed Circles for Rice fields in the following countries: Zambia, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, China, Pakistan, and the United States.

United States
The rice crop has either been sold or is in the grain bin, and we are working with interested growers planning for the 2011 season.


Ukraine
Harvest is complete.

Pakistan
This week, there is a series of field days at the Circles for Rice field; harvest will soon begin.


Brazil
2010-2011 Circles for Rice fields in Brazil have been planted and the new rice crop has begun to emerge. The crop is facing early season challenges, particularly weed control.

Africa
Fields are being planted in southern Africa, while fields in northern Africa will plan in December and January.

China
Plans are being made for a series of rice under center pivot trials.


For those of you planning to produce rice under a center pivot or linear for the next crop cycle, please be sure to consider the following:
  • Seed selection for yield and disease resistance
  • Weed control
  • Fertility and nitrogen management
  • Irrigation hardware
  • Irrigation management
  • Disease control

We are still gathering the last of the U.S. and Ukraine harvest data. As soon as we have that data analyzed and published the the web, I will post an update.

Is there a particular topic related to rice production under center pivots and linears that we have not yet posted on? Let us know!

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Writers to Rice Blog!

I would like to introduce two new voices to the rice blog - Kelly Downing and Jerry Gerdes.

Mr. Kelly Downing (Certified Crop Advisor and Ag Specialist, Valmont Irrigation) will be contributing his thoughts on several topics, including crop specialty and soil moisture, as they relate to rice production under center pivots and linears.   

Posts by Mr. Jerry Gerdes (Water Application Product Manager, Valmont Irrigation) will focus on water application as it relates to rice production under center pivots and linears.


Do you have questions about soil moisture and water application in rice production?  Comment below!  We will make sure your question is addressed in a blog post by either Kelly D. or Jerry.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Delta Region Rice Growers Tour Fields by Kelly Cackin

The following article was published by Elton Robinson of the Delta Farm Press on October 15, 2010.

Rice producers hit the road to learn

This morning, one of the very first things I did was check the Delta Farm Press website for any new articles on rice that I could share with you all.  What I found was this article, and I was quite moved by it.  This article is about a passionate group of rice growers in the United States Delta region who have recently toured rice fields that are far from perfect.  The members of the group talked amongst themselves and with other rice producers about each one can do to help make their rice growing situations better, in terms of management, technology, weeds, and other factors.  Other conversations stemmed around rice growers who have already started to overcome and solve issues on their fields.

Hopefully, one say soon, the tour group will pass a rice field irrigated with a Valley center pivot and find that an interesting topic of conversation. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Circles for Rice Blog!

I can't believe it's been one year since we launched the Circles for Rice blog - it's gone by so fast (and, yes, I do realize I'm a bit late in publishing this special edition post, since the blog's actual birthday was in September...)!  Let's take a look back at some of our most viewed (and most memorable) posts:

  • September 25, 2009 - Welcome to the Valley Circles for Rice Blog
    • This was our very first blog post.  Though I am a writer, I'd never blogged before, so this was both an exciting and strange experience.  I kept thinking, "What do I write about?  What do people want to read?  Do I need to modify my writing style?"  Now that I look back at this first post, Jake and I have really let loose and feel comfortable writing to you, our subscribers and visitors.  We've even started to use exclamation points!
  • January 4, 2010 - Welcome to the 2010 Rice Production Season
    • In this lengthier post, we introduced some of the minds behind the Valmont Irrigation rice project.  I'll write a similar post in January 2011 with updated rice team members. 
  • January 11, 2010 -  Valley Rice  Team Update
    • We introduced more rice team members in this post. These are the minds behind the marketing of the Valmont Irrigation rice project.  I'll need to update the photos of us all next year since the ones we used in the post are not quite up-to-date...
  • February 15, 2010 - Circles for Rice Weekly Update
    • This is our most visited post to date.  In this post, Jake optimistically wrote about the rice harvest in Brazil.    
  •  April 15, 2010 - Circles for Rice Weekly Update
    • This post was awesome because it showed that the 2010 rice growing season in the United States was going to be right on time (at least in the Delta region), as compared to 2009 when the rice seed was planted quite late.  We were all pretty excited here in Nebraska when the rice seed was planted in April (right on time, or even a few weeks early); it was a good indication for us that our growing season (in the Midwest)  had a good chance of progressing on time in 2010, too.
  • May 17, 2010 - Circles for Rice Weekly Update
    • We published our first YouTube video with this post. As an ag company, we're a bit slow on the social media uptake, but we're progressing! (Let's see - we have a blog, and we kind of use YouTube...) Though this was only one of two YouTube videos posted to this blog thus far, you will notice that this was not the end of our use of video throughout www.CirclesForRice.com.   
  • September 14, 2010 - September is National Rice Month
    • We helped celebrate the 20th anniversary of National Rice Month by posting information about the month-long event and sharing some recipes!
Thank you to all of our dedicated subscribers and visitors who pop by every once in awhile.  We keep this blog for you, to keep you informed of the work Valmont Irrigation is doing to efficiently irrigate rice.  Irrigating rice with center pivots and linears will put more land into rice production (thereby producing more food for the world's ever-growing population), will give you, the grower, another crop option, and will conserve valuable resources.

Please let us know if there is a particular rice-related topic that you would like us to address in the future - just click on the Comments link at the bottom!

Happy reading!

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    United States

    Harvest | Sikeston, Missouri, USA
    Data continues to come in from the commercial fields and, overall, the results have been good. Complete yield information will be periodically posted on www.CirclesForRice.com throughout this month; when all yield information has been published, I will post an update. 

    Yields have ranged from 100 bu/ac (4.8mt/ha) to 195 (9.4mt/ha).  The overall average of the nine commercial fields is 159bu/ac (7.6mt/ha). Four fields yielded above the average, and five fields yielded under the average.

    The Circles for Rice team is currently reviewing data to understand what happened in each case. We do know that all fields had excellent weed control, so we cannot blame weed pressure for impacting the yields.

    Initial review of each field indicates that the yields may have been reduced due to a combination of irrigation management, center pivot performance, fertility, and harvest issues.
    Harvest | Crawfordsville, Arkansas, USA

    We have sampled several fields (both tissue and soil) to try to pinpoint fertility-limiting factors. This sampling has led to, in one case, the application of ammonium sulfate.

    This growing season, the project moved onto non-traditional rice soils, and we have thus experienced more challenges with fertility needs on some of the finer sands and loamy sands.


    • Total irrigation applications - 12.2 inches (310 mm ) to 27.1 inches (688 mm)
    • Total number of passes with the center pivot (ie: trips around the field) - 27 to 68
    • Total hours of operation of the center pivot - 411 to 1,357

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Two More Rice Recipes!

    I realize I said I would post rice recipes until October 1 to celebrate September's National Rice Month...however, time got away from me! Below are two more recipes that use rice as the main ingredient. Bon appetit!


    Dirty Rice
    Yield: 8 to 10 servings
    Time: Approx. 1 hour

    You need:
    • 1/2 lb bacon
    • 1/2 lb ground pork
    • 1 lb ground chicken livers
    • 1 large onion, finely diced
    • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
    • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
    • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 5 cups cooked rice, at room temperature
    • 4 green onions, including tops, minced
    • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
    To do:

    In a heavy Dutch oven, saute bacon, pork, and livers until they are very brown.  Let the meat stick to the skillet a bit before stirring.  Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; cook until wilted.

    Add chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.  Add rice and toss the mixture until rice is hot.  Stir in green onions and parsley.  Adjust seasonings to taste.


    Chinese Rice with Vegetables
    Yield: 6 servings

    You need:
    • 1 cup uncooked white rice*
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 2 cups any combination of:
      • fresh or frozen peas
      • frozen mixed vegetables
      • Julienned carrots
      • sliced mushrooms
      • chopped green pepper
      • shredded cabbage
      • broccoli florets
      • sliced green beans
      • ground black pepper
      • salt (optional)
    To do:

    Combine rice, water, soy sauce, and oil in a 2 to 3-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Stir once or twice.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes*.  Add vegetables.  Cover; simmer for 5 minutes, or until rice and vegetables are tender and liquid has been absorbed.  Season to taste.

    * If using brown rice, increase water to 2 1/4 cups and simmer for 45 minutes.  If using parboiled rice, simmer for 20 minutes.


    Recipes courtesy of U.S. Rice Producers.

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    Well, it's been a few weeks since my last update!  Unfortunately, I don't have much to report this week.

    In the United States, rice harvest is wrapping up.  Most of the Circles for Rice fields have been harvested, and the Rice Team is collecting data.  We will have this data analyzed by next week; at that time, I will report dry weight yields and water usage.

    Until then, take care, and have a wonderful week!  

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    September is National Rice Month

    Happy 20th anniversary, National Rice Month!

    The U.S.A Rice Federation explains:
    "Initiated by an act of Congress in 1991, NRM helps increase awareness of rice and recognizes the contribution the U.S. rice industry makes to America’s economy. NRM celebrations will take place across America in grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and rice-growing communities."

    To learn more about National Rice Month, please watch this video produced by the U.S.A. Rice Federation.






    For more information on the U.S.A. Rice Federation, please visit their website.

    To help celebrate National Rice Month, I will be posting my favorite rice recipes from now until October 1!  

    Stuffed Peppers | Yield - 3-4 servings
    You need:
    • 3-4 large green bell peppers
    • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
    • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
    • 1 1/2 cups brown rice (uncooked)
    • 1 cup water
    • Sharp cheddar cheese (shredded - for topping)
    • Ground sea salt
    • Ground black pepper
    • 1-2 large sauce pans, with lids
    • 1 shallow baking dish
    To do:
    • Wash and core green peppers; cut 3 of the peppers in half length-wise.
    • Fill a large sauce pan with water and bring to a boil; add the 3 peppers.
    • Boil peppers for 4-5 minutes, or until blanched.
    • Remove peppers from the water and place them upside down on a paper towel or plate until all water has been drained.
    • Finely chop the last pepper.
    • In a large sauce pan, brown ground beef/turkey, chopping finely; add chopped green pepper.
    • Cook ground meat and green pepper together until the green pepper is about half-cooked, salt and pepper as needed.
    • Stir in 1 can tomato sauce and 1 can water.
    • Add rice (uncooked); put a lid on the pan.
    • Cook mixture until rice is tender.
    • Place blanched green peppers in a shallow baking dish and fill with meat/rice "stuffing." 
    • Top with cheese and microwave at 50% for about 6 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    United States Harvest

    Harvest information continues to come in to the Circles for Rice team as farmers collect their data.

    Scott, Arkansas
    A couple of week ago, we reported an overall field average of 173 bu/ac (8.3mt/ha) dry weight across a field of 137 acres (55.4 hectares). This was RiceTec hybrid Clearfield XL746. The predominant soil type is silt loam. This field had more potential, but suffered moisture stress during grain fill due to problems with wheel tracks in an area where no changes had been made to the center pivot.

    Neelyville, Missouri
    This field has a variety of soils ranging from silt loam to fine sand. On some of the hill tops, the preliminary yield averaged 186 bu/ac (8.9mt/ha) dry weight on a field of 37 acres (14.9 hectares). This was RiceTec hybrid Clearfield XL729. This field has considerable slopes in some areas. The nearby flooded field to the southeast of the center pivot yielded just under 200 bu/ac (9.6mt/ha)


    More fields are being harvested this week and we hope to have some details next week.

    How is your harvest going?  Share your thoughts in the Comments box below!

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    2010 Farm Progress Show | Boone, Iowa, USA

    Hello, everyone!  Valmont Irrigation attended the 2010 Farm Progress Show this week in Boone, Iowa, USA.  Both Jake and I helped staff the booth, and we talked about Circles for Rice whenever we had the chance! 

    Thanks to all the Valley booth staffers who helped make this trade show a success!

    Please look for us at Husker Harvest in Grand Island, Nebraska, USA, in two weeks!



    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Rice Taking an Important Role in Schools

    Judy Rusignuolo of the USA Rice Federation recently published an article about improving nutrition in schools. Not only will rice be used to help make meals more nutritious, but also will children be educated about the advantages of rice in general.


    To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update




    Demonstration of center pivot on rice. Wheel tracks are very shallow - less than 2 inches deep.



    Templeton | Wyatt, MO
    Wheel tracks, Sikeston, MO | 18.4 x 26 tires
     Wheel tracks, SIkeston, MO | different soil
    The photo to the right is of a center pivot near Wyatt, Missouri. This is the only Circles for Rice field in the United States that used a non-hybrid rice seed, a relatively new release from Arkansas called Templeton. It looks good and is maturing a little slower than a nearby field with RiceTec Clearfield XL729.


    Historically, late in the season, center pivot wheel tracks have been a challenge. The Circles for Rice team has observed that matching the right drive unit hardware with the right management can help the center pivot successfully travel around the field for the entire growing season.

     

    U.S. Harvest

    As I mentioned in last week's post, harvest has begun in the United States and slowly continues as the center pivot rice fields continue to mature.

    The wide range of soil types in a particular field is a unique characteristic present in center pivot-irrigated rice, and not present in traditionally flooded rice. Some of this year’s Circles for Rice fields have soils ranging from fine sand to silt loam within the same field.  Depending on the soil type(s), the rice matures at slightly different rates across the board.

    Initial yield data under the center pivots has started to come in; these numbers have not been finalized, but final numbers will be reported later this year both on this blog and on the www.circlesforrice.com website. Two fields have so far been cut: our field near Eagle Lake, Texas, and our field in Scott, Arkansas.  Later this week, another field will be cut, and one or two more fields will be cut the week of August 30th.

    Eagle Lake, Texas
    Initial yield data has indicated a range from 149 bu/ac (dry weight, and where weed control was not optimum) to 172 bu/ac (dry weight, and where there was better weed control).

    Scott, Arkansas
    Initial yield data has indicated a range from 135 bu/ac (dry weight) to over 185 bu/ac (dry weight).


    How is your harvest progressing?  Share with us in the Comments box!

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    Harvest | David Feilke's Field in Scott, AR, USA
    Harvest has started in the United States!  Initial yields have started to come in from two fields, and we will have specific data in the next couple weeks.

    So far, in fields where weed control and irrigation was consistent, we have observed yields approaching nearby flood irrigation yields.  Initial water use numbers, where we can compare to flood fields, indicate savings of 40% to 60%.

    Irrigation is being cut back on the remaining fields as they range from late milk stage to approaching hard dough.  Irrigation cycles are being changed from every 1-2 days to every 3-4 days.

    We anticipate harvesting the rest of the fields within the next three weeks.



    Soft Dough Stage
    Please visit the www.CirclesForRice.com often, as 2010 field and harvest updates will be consistently posted throughout the coming weeks.


    How is your growing season progressing?  Share with us on our Comments board!

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    CANALRURAL | Rural Noticias | News Story in Brazil

    As it was briefly mentioned in the last blog post (Monday), Valmont Irrigation is currently hosting a small T.V. crew from Brazil. The three gentlemen accompanied we Rice Team members on our Field Day trip last week, and got some great footage! Please view this newscast that was aired in Brazil on August 9.  Thank you to Patrick Hulshof and Dr. Earl Vories for making an appearance!

    Disclaimer: Video is in Portuguese.


    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Circles for Rice Field Days | August 3-5, 2010

    Disclaimer: I apologize ahead of time. This post is super long, but I wanted to make sure to squeeze everything in about our Field Days from last week!







    August 3-5, 2010, Valmont Irrigation hosted three Field Days dedicated to the Circles for Rice project. Each Field Day was a success, and we could not have pulled them off without our cooperating rice growers, partners, and staff.  Each Field Day had a similar agenda, which included presentations on:
    • Weed control
    • Irrigation equipment and controls
    • Application of water and fertilizer
    • Yield potential under center pivots
    • Field and crop information
    • Irrigation management

    Tuesday | August 3, 2010 | Sikeston

    Donny Deline's rice field | Sikeston, MO
    We started the day by participating in a rice under center pivot Field Day hosted by the University of Missouri Delta Research Center.  Though the weather was hot (even at 8:30 in the morning!), the Field Day presenters persevered and delivered great information, including some newer research on rice breeding.  Presenters included Dr. Gene Stevens (UM Delta Center), Dr. Earl Vories (USDA-ARS), Dr. Anna McClung (USDA-ARS), Dr. Don Beighley (SE Missouri State U), Dr. Joe Henggeler (UM Delta Center), Jim Heiser (UM Delta Center), and Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation).

    Later that afternoon, we gathered at the Clinton Building in Sikeston, MO, for our first Field Day.  Following registration and a short meet-and-greet, we piled into a well-chilled bus and headed to Donny Deline's rice field.  Presenters included Donny Deline (rice grower), Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation), Jim Heiser (UM Delta Center), Fred Ferrell (Mid-Valley Irrigation, Valley dealership), Jerry Gerdes (Valmont Irrigation), and Dr. Gene Stevens (UM Delta Center).

    Patrick Hulshof's rice field | Sikeston, MO
    After the presentations, we boarded the bus and headed for Patrick Hulshof's rice field, also in Sikeston.  Presenters included Patrick Hulshof (rice grower), Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation), Jim Heiser (UM Delta Center), Dr. Earl Vories (UM Delta Center), and Barry Barnett (RiceTec).


    Both Donny Deline and Patrick Hulshof participated in the 2010 Circles for Rice project in hopes of finding an alternative crop.

    We concluded the Field Day with a WONDERFUL supper, catered by Tasteful Creations.  Rice was not a main dish, but the Butterfinger cake was to die for!

    Wednesday | August 4, 2010 | Neelyville

    Dennis Robison's rice field | Neelyville, MO
    The Valmont crew regrouped Wednesday morning in Neelyville, MO,  for the second of three Field Days at Dennis Robison's rice field. We brought with us plenty of cold water and pastries from Rowland Stollen Bakery and Deli.

    Unlike traditional rice fields (which are flat), Dennis's field is rolling.  Because it is a nontraditional rice field, Dennis's participation is one that helps illustrate the ability to produce a good rice crop in new areas of the world.

    The Circles for Rice Team collectively felt this Field Day was the most successful of the three.  Despite the terrible heat, the attendees were quite interested in our project and asked a lot of good questions!  Presenters included Dennis Robison (rice grower), Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation), Dr. Earl Vories (USDA-ARS), Jim Heiser (UM Delta Center), Fred Ferrell (Mid-Valley Irrigation, Valley dealership), Jerry Gerdes (Valmont Irrigation), and Dr. Gene Stevens (UM Delta Center).

    Thursday | August 5, 2010 | Scott

    David Feilke's rice field | Scott, AR
    After a trip down to Little Rock, AR, we held a Field Day at David Feilke's rice field in Scott, AR.  We provided bagels, muffins, cookies, and coffee from the San Francisco Bread Co. (the BEST cookies ever, I give my recommendation) at the field.  Presenters included David Feilke (rice grower), Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation), Dr. Paul Counce (University of Arkansas), Mark Maier (crop consultant), Randy Powell (Ag H2O, Valley dealership), Jerry Gerdes (Valmont Irrigation), and Whitney Jones (RiceTec).

    A long-time rice grower, David decided to participate in the 2010 Circles for Rice project in order to grow rice on a budget.


    We would like to thank Sid Cameron, our Mid-South Valmont Territory Manager, for his unwavering support of this project and participation in our Field Days.

    We had some last-minute visitors tag along for most of the trip - a T.V. crew from Brazil!  We'd like to thank Marcelo, Danilo, and Jose for putting up with the heat and our crazy schedule. 

    Now that we're back in the office, expect to see more frequent updates on the Circles for Rice blog!  I will be updating the rest of the Circles for Rice website (www.circlesforrice.com) throughout the next several weeks, please visit us for detailed field information.

    Friday, July 30, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    In the last week,  four of the fields have had applications of Karate for army worms, plus Quadris for possible disease issues.

    We need to keep watching closely for insects, disease, and development of wheel tracks.

    Everyone is asking when we can start slowing the irrigation, but most fields are at least seven to ten days away from cutting back.

    To maintain quality,  we believe center pivot irrigators need to keep relatively good moisture (less than 30% depletion) in the root zone through early soft dough, and then gradually allow the depletion to increase.  All of this does depend on temperature and moisture-holding capacity.

    I hope to see some of you next week at our field days in Missouri and Arkansas!

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    I am back in the U.S. after traveling for two weeks in France and Spain.  I visited farmers, customers, and Valley Dealers.

    Now, I personally need to catch back up on the rice project, and I will be visiting the fields this week.  Kelly Downing has done a great job following the crop development.

    Current situations growers are facing include:
    • Potential damage from army worms
      • Have seen some signs of damage; everyone needs to be watching their fields
      • Extension service recommended using Karate
    • Developing "spots" in fields believed to be related to nutrient issues
      • Soil and plant samples have been collected
      • Reviewing the analysis as little data exists for nutrient levels for center pivot or linear irrigated rice
    • No confirmed brown spot or blast in any fields
    • One pivot has gotten stuck and the grower has worked through this with the Valley Rice Team.  A number of reasons contributed to this situation.

    All fields are in various stages of heading.

    The rice under center pivot in Texas is beginning to mature and we have begun to reduce the water applications.  Unlike flooded fields, where there may be a couple of inches of water on the soil surface and the soil profile is saturated, we are typically operating between 5% to 30% depleted with a center pivot.  This means there is not as much water "stored" in the soil profile and irrigation must continue to ensure a good quality crop.

    Our Mid-South Field Days are next week!  Come visit us in Missouri and Arkansas on August 3-5.  For more information, and to register for one or more field days, please visit www.CirclesForRice.com .  

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Attention Rice Growers! Field Day Reminder

    Valmont Irrigation, RiceTec, and the University of Missouri Delta Research Center will be hosting rice Field Days in August!

    What:     Rice under center pivot Field Days

    Where:  Tuesday, August 3, 2010 | Registration @ 8:30 AM, Presentations @ 9:00 AM
                  University of Missouri Delta Research Center
                  147 Highway T
                  Portageville, Arkansas, USA 63873
                  LAT 36 25' 19.8516", LONG -89 41' 56.3928"
               
                  Tuesday, August 3, 2010 | Registration @ 3:00 PM, Presentations @ 4:00 PM
                  Clinton Building/Donny Deline and Patrick Hulshof's fields
                  501 Campanella Drive
                  Sikeston, Missouri, USA 63801
                  LAT 36 53' 24.3816", LONG -89 34' 3.6042"
                  Meet and greet at the Clinton Building Community Center.
                  Field-to-field transportation will be made available.
                  Dinner at the Clinton Building will follow presentations.

                  Wednesday, August 4, 2010 | Registration @ 8:30 AM, Presentations @ 9:00 AM
                  Dennis Robison's field
                  Neelyville, Arkansas, USA
                  County Road W5.  5 miles straight south of Naylor.  Turn west on County Road W5.
                  LAT 36 30' 01.08396", LONG -90 37' 01.6716"
                  Continental breakfast will be available at the field.

                  Thursday, August 5, 2010 | Registration @ 8:30 AM, Presentations @ 9:00 AM
                  David Feilke's field
                  Scott, Arkansas, USA
                  LAT 34 35' 27.8196", LONG -92 07' 55.6782"
                  Continental breakfast will be available at the field.



    To Register: rice@valmont.com | +1-800-825-6668 ext 6032 or ext 3505 | www.circlesforrice.com 

    Rice Growers: Donny Deline, Patrick Hulshof, Dennis Robison, David Feilke
    Valley Dealers: MidValley, Ag H2O

    All Field Days are open to the public. However, we do request that you please pre-register! Register by July 21 and receive a welcome gift at the Field Day!

    We look forward to seeing you down South in August!

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Another Article about Rice Blogs

    The Delta Farm Press published an article earlier this week about the debut of rice blogs.
    "Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for extension, said the blogs are good examples of using technology to distribute research-based information to producers. 'Innovations such as these blogs are cheaper than mailing material to farmers and accessible 24 hours a day to anyone,' Coreil said."
    To read the article in its entirety, please visit www.DeltaFarmPress.com.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    United States

    Last week, I visited the rice fields down South.  Some observations have been made:
    • We need to watch the wheel track depth in a couple of fields, as a couple of spots in some of the fields are deeper than we would like.  In each case, this is occurring on drive units using 14.9 x 24 or smaller size tires.
    • Dr. Gene Stevens at the University of Missouri Delta Research Center has advised that they have seen some brown spot and are going to treat appropriately.  
    • We have another field that may have brown spot and we are currently reviewing this thoroughly.  If we do treat this field for brown spot, we will use between 12 and 15 ounces of Quadris per acre.
    • One field continues to run with lower-than-optimum pivot pressure, which is causing fairly poor sprinkler patterns.  The flow is lower than we expected, running about 6.1 gpm/acre, which is more than likely too low for this particular field.
    • Fertility questions have continued to pop up, so we are sampling more fields by collecting soil and tissue from areas that look "good" and from areas that look "poor."  This sampling will provide us with a comparison since there is very little data both for rice production under center pivots and rice production on light-textured soils.
      • The yellowing field from last week is definitely looking better since having ammonium sulphate applied.
    • As stated before, we need to closely watch the depth of water being applied.

    One field is about 3% headed, and several are in early-to-mid boot stage.  Some fields have received over 12" of irrigation this growing season from the center pivot.

    Valley is coming a to a rice field near you!  If you live near Sikeston, MO, Corning, AR, or Scott, AR, come visit us at one of our Field Days in August!  Updates and reminders will be posted to the blog; registration is available by phone (402-359-6032), email (rice@valmont.com), and web (www.CirclesForRice.com).

    Attention Rice Growers!

    Valmont Irrigation, RiceTec, and the University of Missouri Delta Research Center will be hosting rice Field Days in August!

    What:     Rice under center pivot Field Days

    Where:  Tuesday, August 3, 2010 | Registration @ 8:30 AM, Presentations @ 9:00 AM
                  University of Missouri Delta Research Center
                  147 Highway T
                  Portageville, Arkansas, USA 63873
                  LAT 36 25' 19.8516", LONG -89 41' 56.3928"
               
                  Tuesday, August 3, 2010 | Registration @ 3:00 PM, Presentations @ 4:00 PM
                  Clinton Building/Donny Deline and Patrick Hulshof's fields
                  501 Campanella Drive
                  Sikeston, Missouri, USA 63801
                  LAT 36 53' 24.3816", LONG -89 34' 3.6042"
                  Meet and greet at the Clinton Building Community Center.
                  Field-to-field transportation will be made available.
                  Dinner at the Clinton Building will follow presentations.

                  Wednesday, August 4, 2010 | Registration @ 8:30 AM, Presentations @ 9:00 AM
                  Dennis Robison's field
                  Corning, Arkansas, USA
                  County Road W5.  5 miles straight south of Naylor.  Turn west on County Road W5.
                  LAT 36 30' 01.08396", LONG -90 37' 01.6716"
                  Continental breakfast will be available at the field.

                  Thursday, August 5, 2010 | Registration @ 8:30 AM, Presentations @ 9:00 AM
                  David Feilke's field
                  Scott, Arkansas, USA
                  LAT 34 35' 27.8196", LONG -92 07' 55.6782"
                  Continental breakfast will be available at the field.



    To Register: rice@valmont.com | +1-800-825-6668 ext 6032 or ext 3505 | www.circlesforrice.com 

    Rice Growers: Donny Deline, Patrick Hulshof, Dennis Robison, David Feilke
    Valley Dealers: MidValley, Ag H2O

    All Field Days are open to the public. However, we do request that you please pre-register!

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Circles for Rice Field Day

    Last Tuesday, June 29, Valmont Irrigation and RiceTec hosted an open Field Day at Kevin Hoffman's rice field in Eagle Lake, Texas, USA.  We feel the attendance was great with around 100 total attendees.



    We started the day with a luncheon at RiceTec (Eagle Lake Facility); the food was wonderful (which included rice) and the conversation rich!  We then moved to the rice field where presentations were given and the center pivot was turned on and demonstrated.

    Presentation topics included:
    • Characteristics of the most effective Hybrid seed options
    • Recommended chemical and fertilizer applications to control weeds, diseases, and insects
    • Recommended irrigation scheduling and sprinkler options
    • Irrigation equipment and controls
    • Energy and water conservation
    Presenters included Mr. Kelly Downing (Valmont Irrigation), Mr. Jerry Gerdes (Valmont Irrigation), Mr. Don Mooring (Valmont Irrigation), Mr. Jason Hester (Peerless Equipment, Valley Dealership), Mr. Derrol Grymes (RiceTec), and Mr. Jon Wahn (NRCS).



    For the most part, the weather cooperated.  It was really hot for us Nebraskans, though we may be getting a taste of the heat this week! 

    We'd like to thank RiceTec, Peerless Equipment, Kevin Hoffman, all attendees, and all Valmont staff members for their preparation and participation.  You helped make this Field Day a success!

    Check out the Web page on www.CirclesForRice.com regarding our 2010 Field Days; click here

    For more information on future Field Days and events, please subscribe!  Announcements will also be made on the www.CirclesForRice.com homepage as they become available.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    New Observation

    An observation we have seen in very lightly textured soils under a center pivot is new emerging leaves appear yellow (photo on right).  Tissue and soil samples were collected in both areas of healthy plants and areas of yellowing plants; these were then taken and examined by specialists at the University of Missouri Delta Research Center, where a conclusion was made that the yellowing was caused by a fertility issue.  The analysis was run by the Delta Center Soils Lab, and, while there were no specific recommendations for center pivot irrigated rice, it appeared that sulfur may be the culprit.  Ammonium sulfate was applied and watered in the field on July 3, 2010.  We will follow up with the issue this week.

    New Observation

    An observation we have seen in very lightly textured soils under a center pivot is new emerging leaves appear yellow (photo on right).  Tissue and soil samples were collected in both areas of healthy plants and areas of yellowing plants; these were then taken and examined by specialists at the University of Missouri Delta Research Center, where a conclusion was made that the yellowing was caused by a fertility issue.  The analysis was run by the Delta Center Soils Lab, and, while there were no specific recommendations for center pivot irrigated rice, it appeared that sulfur may be the culprit.  Ammonium sulfate was applied and watered in the field on July 3, 2010.  We will follow up with the issue this week.

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    The 2010 rice crop season continues to be a challenge; but, then again, how many years are not!

    Weeds are a continuous issue in both the United States and Ukraine.  However, the fields with full ground shading are ahead of the game.  In the past week, we have seen in some fields development of patches of Johnson grass and shatter cane, and, of course, pigweed is a problem.  The Delta Farm Press recently published an article by Ford L. Baldwin on the current weed situation in (flooded) rice fields:
    "I am getting the normal midseason rice herbicide questions. With the difficulty a lot of folks had getting herbicides applied timely, there will be some escaped grass."
    Please click here to read the article in its entirety.

    Overall, though, the Rice Team has rated the weed control as good/excellent across the fields.

    Irrigation management is a continuously critical factor, and we recommend applying more water as the rice crop matures (per our observations on the loamy sand to clay loam soils); HOWEVER, we do not want the water moving from where it is applied (ie: runoff - photo on the right).  Some fields can take up to .75", while other fields are limited to only .5".  We must also be careful to cover the field and return to the driest areas in a timely fashion.  Remember that the rice root system is much shallower than corn, cotton, and soybeans, which means that there is a small volume of soil to manage.



    We also need to keep an eye on the pressure at the pivot point (photo at left).  As pumping levels change, we have observed a reduction in the pivot pressure; if the pivot pressure is below the sprinkler chart (design pressure), the depth of water applied is reduced.  This reduction can lead to the situation as shown in the picture below where, due to reduced pressure, the correct overlap is not maintained and streaking has developed in the field.  The darker areas are rice plants exhibiting signs of moisture stress, while the lighter areas are plants that have adequate moisture.





    We have started to collect infrared images to help identify issues in the fields, which we then compare with adjacent flood fields (photo at right).  Please note the half-circle center pivot and the flood field in the lower right-hand corner.  We like to see uniform color across the field.

    I know this is a lot of information for one update!  If you have any questions about any of the observations, please ask away in the Comments box below.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Circles for Rice Field Day Reminder | One Week!

    Valmont Irrigation and RiceTec will be hosting a rice field day in one week!

    What: Rice under center pivot field day
    When: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
    Where: RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility
                 3055 Hwy 3013
                 Eagle Lake, Texas, USA 77434
                 GPS: LAT 29 32' 19.49", LONG 96 19' 26.01"
                 Kevin Hoffman's rice field
                 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614
                 Texas, USA
                 GPS: LAT 29 28' 18.71", LONG 96 21' 44.06" 
    Times: Registration at 11:30AM
                Lunch will be served at the RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility at 12PM.
                Field day activities will commence at the field from 1PM - 3PM.
    RSVP: rice@valmont.com | +1-800-825-6668 ext 3042 | www.circlesforrice.com 

    Rice Grower: Kevin Hoffman
    Valley Dealer: Peerless Equipment

    The field day will open with a luncheon at the RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility.  Following lunch will be a trip to the rice field, where attendees will see the Valley center pivot in action and participate in field day activities presented by Circles for Rice team members and RiceTec staff.

    For those who do not wish to participate in the luncheon, please join us at Mr. Hoffman's field at 1PM for field day activities; registration will also be available at this time.  The field is located 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614 (about 10 miles from Eagle Lake).

    This field day is open to the public. However, we do request that you please pre-register.

    Register by email, website, or phone.  Pre-registrants will receive a special welcome gift at the Field Day!

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    United States



    Missouri, USA


    Missouri, USA
    This week, I will focus on some irrigation management issues that have been observed in the rice fields under center pivots.  The following situations have developed in the fields:

    1. Case #1 - The rice team advises the grower to irrigate, but the grower "wants to wait for rain."  We all want to utilize the rain, but if the grower delays irrigation for two or more days, particularly on some of the lighter soils, we will see damage to the tillers and, in some cases, some significant drying.  We need complete canopy development to both minimize late season weed pressure and achieve good yields.

    2. Case #2 - The farmer applies very light, frequent irrigation applications of .09" per pass.  As shown in the graph below, the trend for soil moisture at the 4" depth has increased.  Note the small "dips" after each application, but not complete refill of the soil profile.  Fortunately, on June 17, the rice field received significant rain that recharged the soil profile.




    3. Case #3 - The grower applies too much irrigation per pass.  There are two problems with this approach:
    • There is a potential for runoff (which is what happened).  More water was applied than the soil could infiltrate or store on the surface and it began to run off.
    • There is significant time to get back to the start of the irrigation cycle.  Rice is a shallow-rooted crop and does not have much soil volume from which to draw moisture; it may reach critical depletion before the center pivot gets back to the beginning of the cycle.

    Overall, though, the rice is looking excellent and has good weed control.

    Circles for Rice Field Day Reminder

    Valmont Irrigation and RiceTec will be hosting a rice field day in June!

    What: Rice under center pivot field day
    When: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
    Where: RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility
                 3055 Hwy 3013
                 Eagle Lake, Texas, USA 77434
                 GPS: LAT 29 32' 19.49", LONG 96 19' 26.01"
                 Kevin Hoffman's rice field
                 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614
                 Texas, USA
                 GPS: LAT 29 28' 18.71", LONG 96 21' 44.06" 
    Times: Registration at 11:30AM
                Lunch will be served at the RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility at 12PM.
                Field day activities will commence at the field from 1PM - 3PM.
    RSVP: rice@valmont.com | +1-800-825-6668 ext 3042 | www.circlesforrice.com | by June 18, 2010 (TODAY!)

    Rice Grower: Kevin Hoffman
    Valley Dealer: Peerless Equipment

    The field day will open with a luncheon at the RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility.  Following lunch will be a trip to the rice field, where attendees will see the Valley center pivot in action and participate in field day activities presented by Circles for Rice team members and RiceTec and NRCS staff.

    For those who do not wish to participate in the luncheon, please join us at Mr. Hoffman's field at 1PM for field day activities; registration will also be available at this time.  The field is located 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614 (about 10 miles from Eagle Lake).

    This field day is open to the public. However, we do request that you please pre-register

    Register by email, website, or phone.  Register by June 18 (TODAY!) to receive a welcome gift at the Field Day!

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    Australia

    After spending 10 days in Australia, I am back in the United States.  Part of my trip overseas was devoted to meeting with people involved in rice production, and some are interested in producing rice under center pivots and linears.  In Australia, the primary driver for producing rice under center pivots and linears is the shortage of water for flood irrigation.  I visited with several people associated with rice production to learn more about the Australian climate, soils, and typical production process.

    United States

    The rice crop continues to develop well; most fields are either early tillering or are approaching panicle initiation.  The key focuses right now include:
    1. Weed control
    2. Nitrogen application
    3. Gradually moving irrigation application depth from 0.20" to 0.30" (10.0 mm to 12.5 mm), depending on the ability of the soil to infiltrate the water
    4. Watching wheel tracks under the center pivot

    Ukraine

    The rice in Ukraine is also developing well, but some weed pressures have been observed.  The photo to the right is of the rice field in Ukraine.

    Field Day | Eagle Lake, Texas, USA

    We are looking forward to our first field day this month, and we hope to see you all there!  Please see www.circlesforrice.com (Homepage) for more information on this upcoming event.  We do ask attendees to please pre-register by June 18, but the event is open to the public.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Circles for Rice Field Day Reminder

    Valmont Irrigation and RiceTec will be hosting a rice field day in June!

    What: Rice under center pivot field day
    When: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
    Where: RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility
                 3055 Hwy 3013
                 Eagle Lake, Texas, USA 77434
                 GPS: LAT 29 32' 19.49", LONG 96 19' 26.01"
                 Kevin Hoffman's rice field
                 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614
                 Texas, USA
                 GPS: LAT 29 28' 18.71", LONG 96 21' 44.06" 
    Times: Registration at 11:30AM
                Lunch will be served at the RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility at 12PM.
                Field day activities will commence at the field from 1PM - 3PM.
    RSVP: rice@valmont.com | +1-800-825-6668 ext 3042 | www.circlesforrice.com | by June 18, 2010

    Rice Grower: Kevin Hoffman
    Valley Dealer: Peerless Equipment

    The field day will open with a luncheon at the RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility.  Following lunch will be a trip to the rice field, where attendees will see the Valley center pivot in action and participate in field day activities presented by Circles for Rice team members and RiceTec and Texas A&M staff.

    For those who do not wish to participate in the luncheon, please join us at Mr. Hoffman's field at 1PM for field day activities.  The field is located 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614 (about 10 miles from Eagle Lake).

    This field day is open to the public. However, we do request that you please register

    Register by email, website, or phone.  Register by June 18 to receive a welcome gift at the Field Day!

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    World Environment Day | June 5, 2010


    Every year, June 5 marks World Environment Day. Founded in 1972 by the United Nations, World Environment Day was created to encourage people to become aware of the issues surrounding our global environments, so that we as global citizens can help ensure a bright future for us and generations to come.

    In 2009, Omaha, NE, was fortunate to have been the North American host city for World Environment Day.  Personally, I feel very proud of this factoid, and amazed at how the citizens of my hometown were able to come together and become more aware of our environment.  To learn more about the 2009 celebration in Omaha, please click here.

    This year's North American celebration will be hosted in Pittsburgh, PA.  The host city has created a wonderfully interactive website for those interested in the event.  Please visit www.pittsburghwed.com for information on tomorrow's activities and celebration.


    Happy World Environment Day!

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    United States

    The rice under center pivots continues to develop. Field scouting has been focused on irrigation scheduling, wheel tracks, and weeds. Most of the rice is actively tillering and is beginning to close the canopy


    The below graph is current soil moisture data for one rice field that we are reviewing this year.  Note the green line - it is a measure of soil temperature.















    We are most interested in the blue line.  This represents the moisture sensor at 4", which is the distance the rice roots have reached.  Note that on May 28th,  June 1st, and June 3rd, the blue line drops - this is from the soil receiving water, which, in each of these cases, is irrigation; rainfall would show up similarly.  After each irrigation application, the blue line gradually increases; this is representing moisture use by the crop.

    Our goal is to manage the highs and lows of this cycle to promote good crop growth and efficient water use.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Circles for Rice Field Day Announcement

    Valmont Irrigation and RiceTec will be hosting a rice field day in June!

    What: Rice under center pivot field day
    When: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
    Where: RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility | Eagle Lake, Texas, USA
    Times: Lunch will be served at the RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility at 12PM.
                Field day activities will commence at the field from 1PM - 3PM.
    RSVP: rice@valmont.com | +1-800-825-6668 ext 3042 | by June 18, 2010

    Rice Grower: Kevin Hoffman
    Valley Dealer: Peerless Equipment

    The field day will open with a luncheon at the RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility.  Following lunch will be a trip to the rice field, where attendees will see the Valley center pivot in action and participate in field day activities presented by Circles for Rice team members and RiceTec staff.

    For those who do not wish to participate in the luncheon, please join us at Mr. Hoffman's field at 1PM for field day activities.  The field is located 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614 (about 10 miles from Eagle Lake).

    This field day is open to the public. However, we do request that you please register

    Register by email or phone.  Register by June 18 to receive a welcome gift at the field day sign in!

    More details to come!

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Center Pivot News Article

    Online newspaper The Fence Post recently posted an article about the history of the center pivot.  The article illustrates the life of inventor Frank Zybach, the inventor of the first center pivot mechanized irrigation machine.

    "Like tractors, center pivot irrigation is one of the staples of modern-day agriculture.  The Irrigation Association calls the center pivot irrigation system 'without a doubt the greatest advancement in agriculture since the McCormick reaper.'  The Scientific American says that center pivot is 'perhaps the most significant mechanical innovation in agriculture since the replacement of draft animals by the tractor.'"

    To read the article in its entirety, please visit The Fence Post.


    With the goal of conserving water, as well as various other resources, Valmont Irrigation is the worldwide leader in mechanized irrigation sales, service, quality, and technological expansion since its founding.  The Nebraska, USA-based company remains dedicated to providing novel solutions now and well into the future.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    United States

    The rice under the center pivots continues to develop well.  Currently, the growth stages range from 2 leaf to 5 leaf (first tiller).  Most fields have received nitrogen, either dry Urea or 28% liquid.  Most growers are using the center pivots to apply the 28% liquid nitrogen; in most cases, the application includes sulfur.

    In the past week, rainfall varied from approximately 1/2" to 2".

    While soil moisture is excellent at 2" and deeper, most of the center pivots have been operating and applying between .15" and .30" per circle in order to maintain adequate moisture around the root systems. Below is an example of the soil moisture sensors for one field, which is in 4 leaf stage.  Please note that we are beginning to see the soil moisture sensor at 4" show some depletion (blue line).






    As we scout closely for weeds, we observe that the herbicide applications are doing their job well.  The Circles for Rice team rates weed control as excellent overall.

    We would love to hear from you!  Do you have questions about the progress of the Circles for Rice project?  Click on the Comments link below!

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Top 10 Maintenance Tips | Series 5

    9. Electrical Connections - Be sure to power down the equipment before checking any electrical connections.  Once the power is off, check for loose connections or loose cord grips in tower boxes.

    10. Moving Parts - Steel moving on steel without proper lubrication can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on irrigation equipment.  Be sure to grease all moving parts, including the pivot point bearing, towable hubs, corner rollers, and legs.


    That concludes our series on Top 10 Maintenance Tips!  To read the Top 10 Maintenance Tips in its entirety, please visit Valley Irrigation.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update


    Advanced field | four leaf stage
    Emergence
    Even though some of the Circles for Rice fields have experienced very hard rains and flooding pre-emergence, the fields, which are located in Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee, are progressing well.

    Per field scouting late last week, all fields are at least 80% emerged; the most advanced field is in the four leaf stage. As wind has been a concern in some fields, the farmers have been irrigating with the center pivots to help minimize wind erosion and damage to the young rice plants. Several growers have applied light applications of crop nutrient products to help push their crop along after the heavy rains.

    Several of the earlier planted fields have already seen their second application of herbicides.  Though most growers are using are using a combination based around either Command or Prowl, herbicide combinations and applications have varied. Combinations depend upon soil type, what has already been applied, and perceived weed pressure.

    As we continue to irrigate, we need to be careful not to exceed the soil's ability to take water, as shown in the video clip below. Most fields have very good soil moisture 2 inches and deeper, but, in the current root zone, some fields are approaching 25% depletion.






    Questions about herbicides, soil qualities, or the project in general? Ask away!

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Congratulations, Germani!


    The Valley Circles for Rice team would like to congratulate our agronomist, Dr. Germani Concenco, on his marriage to his fiancée, Fernanda.  Germani and Fernanda will be wed on Saturday, May 15, in Brazil.

    Germani and Fernanda, below you will our personal congratulatory messages to you!

    "Germani is joining the club of serious men with his marriage this week!  We wish Fernanda and Germani all the best and are happy for this young and engaged couple!" ~ Bernhard Kiep

    "Our prayers and blessings are with you and Fernanda on your special day." ~ Jake and Marlene LaRue  

    "Germani and Fernanda, congratulations on your marriage.  I know you have been looking forward to this day for a long time.  I pray for a long, happy life together, filled with blessings and faith to help you through the difficult times we all eventually face." ~ your friend, Kelly Downing

    "Germani, congratulations and best wishes!" ~ Jerry Gerdes

    "Congratulations, Germani and Fernada!  I wish you all the best!" ~ Michelle "Stolte" Johnson 

    "Congratulations, Germani!  I am very happy for the both of you.  I wish you a very happy and long marriage!  I expect to see photographs!" ~ Kelly Cackin

    "I wish the both of you a lifetime of joy.  Congratulations, Germani!" ~ Martin Brack



    Please help us in wishing Germani and Fernanda congratulations on their marriage!

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Rice Blogs Becoming More Prevalent


    The social media aspect of agriculture is continuously growing.  The existence of our blog helps to prove that!  As it turns out, the Circles for Rice blog isn't completely one-of-a-kind (in terms of blogging about rice), but we really didn't expect it to be.  People blog about whatever they want, including rice production.

    Carroll Smith, editor of the publication Rice Farming, recently developed a blog about her personal, on-the-job experiences.  (http://ricefarming.wordpress.com/)  The blog is informal, yet still informational, which makes it a pleasure to follow.  Carroll recently wrote an article about the booming rice blogging world, which included information about both hers and others' blogs.

    The article "Spreading the Word: Informal blogs bring rice perspective from field to screen" can be found here: http://www.ricefarming.com/home/issues/2010-04/2010_AprLead.html (April 2010, Rice Farming).  It brings attention to the fact that communicating with others about a common interest, including ag-related topics, isn't just limited to face-to-face or over-the-phone interaction.  I'm not suggesting that you stop visiting your neighbors/friends/colleagues, just that we should all be aware of the evolving communication strategies that surround our cultures.

    In response to this blog post, I encourage you all to click on that wonderful little "Comments" link and write something to us!  It could be comment about this or previous posts, or just general questions about our project.  The Circles for Rice team is eager to converse with you directly through this blog!

    Until next time!

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    Top 10 Maintenance Tips | Series 4

    7. Pivot Alignment & Pipe Flushing - Ensure the tower box microswitches are set properly.  Improper settings can cause pivot misalignment, which results in nuisance shutdowns.  Flushing your pipeline and cleaning your sand trap is essential, especially if you either have water quality problems or your irrigation water contains sand.

    8. U-Joints - Evaluate the equipment for worn u-joint inserts and ensure driveshaft shields are in place for safety.

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    Planting | April 30

    Planting | April 30

    Soil Moisture Monitor | Installed
    So much for blogging about how dry it's been in Missouri and Arkansas...

    The Circles for Rice fields received between 3.75" and 9"+ of rain last weekend.  Some fields were under water for three or four days.  Because of the amount of rain observed, some concern has been raised for the herbicides that were applied right before the storms.

    The last Circles for Rice field was planted on April 30th.  Rice has emerged in five fields.

    While soil moisture is generally excellent, we are closely watching it due to the heat and wind observed this week.  We feel this is necessary because of the moisture observed in the crop's current root zone.  Some growers will apply light applications of irrigation later this week to maintain good soil moisture in the root zone.

    At most Circles for Rice sites, we have installed soil moisture monitors; we will continue installation early next week.


    Do you have any questions about how the rice fields are doing in the midst of the torrential rain storms down South?  Let us know!

    Have a great week!

    Friday, April 30, 2010

    Arbor Day | April 30, 2010

    Plant a tree today!

    As both a native and current Nebraskan, I am proud to honor Arbor Day, which was founded in 1885 by Nebraskan J. Sterling Morton. Arbor Day celebrates the planting of trees.

    Valley center pivot on orange trees
    Interesting Facts about Trees
    • Did you know that most apple trees do not self-pollinate?  You will more than likely need to plant more than one apple tree in order for your tree to bear fruit. You may also need to cross breed for pollination to be completely effective.
    • Did you know that oak trees will not produce acorns until they are at least 20 years of age? Oak trees will produce these nuts typically in the Autumn months.
    • Did you know that the largest tree resides in California?  The Redwood (or Sequoia) averages a height of  360 feet.


    What is your favorite tree and why?  Does it encourage memories of past summer days or family picnics?  Please help us celebrate Arbor Day by taking a moment to reflect on this question.  If you would like, please write your answer/story in the Comments box below!

    Happy Arbor Day!

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

    United States

    In most of the Circles for Rice fields, the rice crop under center pivots is off to a fast start!  As there has not been significant rain for at least 10 days in many field locations, the rice seed was planted in dry, or relatively dry, seed bed (photo below).  A light application of irrigation through the center pivots has not only activated pre-emergence herbicides, but has also helped settle the soil and germinate the rice.  Last weekend (April 23 through April 25), the rice received between 1/4" and 3/4" of irrigation, and 3/4" to 3" of rain, varying by location.





    Miscellaneous Information about Rice under Pivots and Linears

    A traditionally flooded rice field will take between 54,000 and 81,000 gallons per acre.  Compared with these numbers, a rice field irrigated with center pivot and lateral move (linears) technology will only need to take 7,000 to 14,000 gallons per acre. 

    When irrigating rice with center pivots and linears, the grower does not need to take time to map fields and pull levees - he or she only needs to walk up to the center pivot and press "start"!

    Notice the photo below - very small weeds are present.  At this size, focus on controlling the weeds.




    How is your growing 2010 season progressing so far?  If you have a thought to share, or a question about producing rice under center pivots and linears, please write in the Comments box below.