STONEVILLE, Mississippi – A few dry days in a row have let Mississippi rice growers get three-quarters of their planned cropped planted and set them on pace to complete their plantings by the end of this week.
On the downside, herbicide drift across large field – most likely from aerial spraying — is becoming a concern.
Meanwhile, growers are fertilizing and flooding up a lot of rice this week, said Tim Walker, research professor for rice at the Agriculture Extension Service Research Center here.
“The first of the flooding started about the middle of last week. We’re making progress. USDA’s last report had us at about 75 percent planted at the end of last week and conditions have been dry, so we’ve been making a pretty good run at planting since then,” Walker said in a AgFax report issued by Owen Taylor.
“We will pretty much finish this week except maybe some isolated cases where people have to wait.”
Walker said rice planted in late April and early May is probably some of our best looking this season. “It was planted in warmer soils and came out of the ground running, so we’re not far from taking it to flood,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we’re still chasing herbicide drift. The way the wind has been blowing this week I hope people can exercise some caution so that we don’t see more of this continue into next week. This year the drift tends to be across large fields or even blocks, and these are cases where the materials traveled a long way. That’s making it difficult to pin down the source. We have had some cases that likely came from ground equipment, but most of what I’m seeing would appear to have come out of an airplane.”
Walker said beside the winds of 15 mph or more, wet conditions have made it difficult to keep the herbicides in place “regardless or the tips you use or how hard you try to avoid drift.”