Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue

This week, I visited the Circles for Rice field near Eagle Lake, Texas, USA, and noted a couple points we all need to be aware of when working with the heavier soils, especially those that may crack.

In the photo below, note how the rice is well into tillering, grass is dying and soil is cracking. These cracks can break the small lateral roots and limit tillering. In this case, the pivot is just coming around and the area will receive 0.30 in (7.5 mm). The soil surface is dry, but the depletions are less than 10% if you dig down about 4 in (12.7 cm).

cracked soil
Cracked soil | Eagle Lake, TX, USA

The picture below illustrates how the rice roots tend to spread more laterally than vertically; the above-ground portion is 9 in (23 cm).

rice root
Rice root | Eagle Lake, TX, USA

The image below is the soil moisture data for this area of the field. The blue line indicates a sensor at 3 in (7.5 cm), red at 6 in (15 cm) and black at 9 in (23 cm). The higher the line appears on the graph, the drier the field is.

soil moisture report
Soil moisture report | Eagle Lake, TX, USA
Watch for weeds, as the best time to kill them is when they are small!