Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Last week, I visited the rice field of one of our newest cooperators, Dean Schieffer of Bryan, Texas. Dean is a relatively new farmer, so this whole process is simultaneously exciting and terrifying, I am sure. Even though he is new to the process, and probably would prefer to have had a little more planning time before making the plunge, he has a good crop started.
Before deciding to plant rice, he had deep-ripped the field. This, along with lots of early-season rain, made the field pretty soft during planting, so the planter tire ruts were noticeable. Even with this, the plants look good. Dean is obviously conscientious; you just have to like a farmer who cannot walk through his field without pulling any weeds in sight. I really believe he will be successful.
In the field, I met with Dean, his rice consultant, and RiceTec representatives. All of us agreed that the young crop looks good. Plants are vigorous and appear to be tillering well. Of course, agriculture, like life, is a constant battle, so things are not perfect. There were a few large weeds, including some troubling bindweed, and a pretty good population of small grasses. However, the field scout was there that morning (Wednesday), and with timely spraying, these should be controlled.
There is not much rice grown in his neighborhood, so Dean is working in uncertain territory. He is getting great support from RiceTec, and he has a good scout to help with weed and disease issues. As we have found in the past few years, the overall process is very similar to flooded rice. What changes is the urgency of timing operations. With pivot rice, since there is no flood to help with weed suppression, we need to time applications by the clock, not by the calendar. In other crops, spraying within a three-day window may work out fine. However, in rice, earliest possible application is critical. Balancing the issues of drift to neighboring crops, lack of early canopy and efficacy of materials on small weeds is a critical process.
Dean seems to have a good handle on all these issues. As we all know, farming is a constant, tension-filled battle to assess conditions, allocate resources and time operations in the most effective, efficient manner possible. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, but it really helps if you develop a solid plan, and then follow it. Of course, we all have to deal with the detours that come our way, and it sure helps to get lucky sometimes!
We will, of course, follow the crop through the season and let you know how things are going in all our fields. I hope you have a safe, productive, profitable season. Let us know how things are going in your neighborhood.
Posted by Kelly Downing at 4:57 PM
Friday, May 25, 2012
Each week, we will post a new rice recipe for you to try and enjoy!
In honor of the Memorial Day holiday here in the states, this week's recipe is called Rice on the Grill, originally posted by Shirley Hopkins on AllRecipes.com.
Yield: 6 servings.
Preparation Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 15 min.
|Photo by Soup Loving Nichole|
- 1 1/3 cups uncooked instant rice
- 1/3 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
In a 9-inch round aluminum foil pie pan, combine rice, mushrooms, pepper, onion, chicken broth, water, and ketchup. Dot with butter or margarine. Cover with heavy-duty foil; seal edges tightly. While covered, grill for about 15 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve immediately.
One serving (prepared with low-sodium broth and reduced-fat margarine) equals 104 calories, 195 mg sodium, trace cholesterol, 21 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 1 gram fiber.
So, fire up your grill, grab a cold drink, and enjoy the unofficial start of summer!
Posted by Kelly Cox at 9:11 AM
Monday, May 21, 2012
|New Sprinkler Package|
Posted by John Robison at 3:22 PM
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
|Campbell Coxe | Darlington, SC|
In 2011, the Valley Circles for Rice team worked with Campbell Coxe, a rice grower and owner of Carolina Plantation Rice in Darlington, South Carolina, USA. He produced aromatic rice under a Valley center pivot, and it yielded a very profitable 116 bushels per acre. As aromatics traditionally produce fewer bushels per acre than varieties and hybrids, this yield exceeded Campbell’s expectations.
During an interview last year, we asked Campbell why he decided to grow rice under a center pivot. “We wanted to expand our acreage, as well as rotate our rice crop with other crops,” he said. “I think the most exciting thing about growing rice with a center pivot is being able to spoon feed our nitrogen and our fertilizer inputs, which we can do ourselves through the pivot. We feel like the rice has really responded to the gradual increase in nitrogen.”
Tyler Fields of Guess Irrigation, the local Valley dealership in Hartsville, SC, led the team that provided the design and construction of the Carolina Plantation center pivot. Soil moisture monitoring and remote communication equipment were also installed, which enabled Campbell to utilize the latest Valley technology to ensure a successful result for his rice under center pivot.
“Campbell is a great example of how an innovative grower can combine traditional practices (good crop management) with modern concepts (center pivot irrigation) to produce a good crop, conserve resources, and be profitable,” stated Circles for Rice team member Kelly Downing. “His 2011 rice yield under the center pivot exceeded his expectations and was profitable for his operation. For a first-time center pivot owner, we are impressed with his dedication to the Circles for Rice project.”
Campbell has been an active member in the rice farming community for 20 years. In addition to operating Carolina Plantation Rice, his work includes rice plot research with the USDA Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, SC, as well as co-development of a blast-resistant rice with his seed breeder in Beaumont, TX. He is currently helping in the effort to bring rice production back to the state of South Carolina, the birthplace of rice in the United States. With this effort, Campbell has expressed interest in working with other South Carolina growers to produce rice under center pivots.
For the 2012 growing season, Campbell has decided to produce a soybean crop under his center pivot, with the intention of rotating back to rice in 2013.
We want to know your rice producer story! Shoot us an email or leave a comment in the box below. (And don't forget to Share!)
Posted by Kelly Cox at 9:47 AM
Thursday, May 3, 2012
|S3 stage rice | prophyll has emerged|
Jeremy planted around April 26th. His rice was at the S3 stage; not emerged from the soil, but the prophyll has emerged (see picture on right).
Next week, I will be at a cooperator’s field in Texas, and will let you know how things are going there.
Posted by Kelly Downing at 3:12 PM
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
In the Northern Hemisphere, spring is here and rice is in (and out of) the ground! We have been waiting and preparing all winter for the new crop; now, finally, we get to start growing again. I have to admit, I prefer autumn, with the harvest and sense of completion and accomplishment it brings. However, it is really nice, after a long winter, to get into the field and get the new crop going.
This year, Valley Irrigation has a total of five cooperators in three states: Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas.
In the Missouri and Arkansas areas, much of the new rice crop has been planted, and is now emerging, while planting moves north. This week, we will begin installing soil monitoring instrumentation into the rice fields of our cooperators. Dennis Robison and Chad Price farm right along the Missouri/Arkansas state line; they got into the fields early and their rice is up and growing. Both are “old hands” at this process—Dennis grew rice under his Valley center pivot in 2010, and Chad did it last year. Both produced excellent results, and are primed for another good crop this year. This week, we will install soil water sensors in their fields, which will be used to schedule irrigation. Other growers will be added to the system as they get their crop up and growing.
|Soil Moisture Monitors | installed on a rice field|
This is one way we increase our knowledge of the process—we monitor soil water status of rice under pivots in several fields each summer. This helps us fine-tune our irrigation recommendations. It is a great management practice for any irrigator to use, but is especially critical with rice, due to the shallow root zone and resulting small margin for error.
We all have biases, and one of mine is toward data-based irrigation management. Estimating evapotranspiration (ET), or crop water use, and using sensors to verify this information is critical for effective, efficient irrigation. Effective irrigation means making sure the crop gets all the water it needs to maximize production. Efficient irrigation means using the least possible resources (water, energy, labor) to accomplish this. Using ET data helps calculate when, and how much, to water the crop. Since these are estimates, we also recommend using sensors to periodically verify that, over time, the estimates are correct.
So, the (generally) warm spring has given most producers the chance to finish field operations in a timely manner, so planting and other activities seem to be proceeding at a pretty optimum pace. I hope you have a safe, enjoyable spring, and I look forward to sharing our progress with you as we work through the summer. Check back and let us know what is going on in your part of the world.