There Is Still Time To Plant The 2014 Rice Crop


   Some areas of the mid-south are wrapping up rice planting, while others have experienced a delay in planting due to excessive rainfall and localized flooding. It seems like planting is a little behind the five year average, but overall it is ahead of last year. It is getting late and some folks are worried, however, there is still time to get the remaining rice crop planted.
   At RiceTec, we have conducted planting date studies for the past seven years. What we’ve observed is that hybrid rice planted in May or early June can produce very good yields. When compared to conventional varieties planted at the same time, hybrid rice still maintains a 20 percent to 30 percent yield advantage. Another thing we have noticed is rice that matures later in the fall typically has better grain quality due to cooler nighttime air temperatures during the grain filling process.
   The rain this spring has forced many growers to spread their planting window. I know most growers would like to have all the rice in the ground before May 1, however spreading out the planting window results in spreading of harvest window. When harvest is spread out over a longer period of time, there is obvious weather risk, but it also may provide a better opportunity to harvest each field at the optimum moisture content to maximize milling quality.  Being able to harvest fields when they are ready will also reduce the risk of lodging.
   As we are entering the later part of rice planting window, the good news is that the majority of the crop is in the ground. If you need to plant your rice crop a little later than usual this year, hybrids maintain yield potential when planted later. There is still adequate time to finish up planting and make a great rice crop with the potential to provide a better payoff in milling quality at the end of the season. ∆
   STEWART RUNSICK: Technical Services, RiceTec, Inc
MidAmerica Farm Publications, Inc
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