Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Circles for Rice Update | by Kelly Downing

Hey, everybody. It has been a while since my last update, and even this one is not extremely timely. Things have been a little hectic for me the past couple of weeks, as my lovely bride and I were busy marrying off our youngest, Joe, to the beautiful Katie on July 7. I have to admit, I wondered a bit at their judgment, planning an outdoor wedding in Nebraska in July! Everything went well, except for me fighting off a heat stroke.

Anyway, the preceding week l was able to visit the rice field of our cooperator in Texas, Dean Schieffer.  In general, his rice looked pretty good—vigorous growth and well-tillered. On the West side of the field, there were still some weeds, but this area had just been sprayed. The East side had been sprayed a few days earlier, and it looked much better. I have since heard that the West side also improved dramatically. There was a little leaf burn on the tips of the rice plants, but that was probably due to the herbicide treatment, and is likely not serious.

I was a bit concerned that the soil was so dry, but Dean needed to let it dry a bit so he could get the sprayer through the field. It looked to me like the crop was getting ready to enter its reproductive growth stages, so Dean and I talked about increasing the irrigation frequency, and he seemed ready to do that. I looked at the data from the soil sensors today, and it does appear pretty wet, but that may be due to four inches of rain, as much as anything!

Rice field | TX
At any rate, according to what I saw and what I have since heard from Derrol Grymes of RiceTec, the crop looks good and we are very optimistic. I hope to hear more from Derrol this week, and I will pass along his impressions. I have included a photo to this post, to give you an impression of the field conditions, as of June 28. The most critical thing going forward, now that he has all his fertilizer applied and the weeds under control, is to keep the root zone well-watered as the grain develops.

Currently I am in China—we are working on a couple of projects in Inner Mongolia, and part of my trip will include visiting a rice under center pivot field in Ningxia Province. I will let you know what I see in my next report.

Don’t forget (or, if you hadn’t heard about it, be aware), our Rice under Center Pivot Field Day will be held at Dennis Robison’s farm on Tuesday, August 7. His farm is located near Neelyville, Missouri, virtually on the Arkansas state line South of Poplar Bluff, MO. We will start with my favorite breakfast — doughnuts then have a few speakers through the morning and a free lunch. Go to the to get directions, see the program, and register. Remember, your early registration helps us plan so there is plenty of food (and FABULOUS gifts)!

Let’s talk again soon. Have a safe July, and try to stay cool.