MID-SOUTH: It is time to start thinking about fall applications of burndown herbicides in rice production. It’s especially important if a field was fallowed and is now overgrown with vegetation, or if it had a late-season flush of troublesome weeds after harvest due to the warm, wet conditions earlier in the fall.
However, remember that fall applications can expose bare ground, which can promote erosion. The presence of vegetation throughout the winter months can provide protection from runoff or wind erosion. Removing vegetation on highly erodible land should be avoided. Therefore, fall applications should be a field- by-field decision and not a blanket treatment across all acres.
In most cases, a spring burndown application will still be needed even following a fall application. Spring applications should be at least four to six weeks before planting to remove any vegetation that can compete with emerging rice seedlings. This also reduces the number of insects that may feed on emerging rice by eliminating their habitat.
If you delay this application until planting, you risk exposing emerging rice to early-season weed competition and insect feeding. It is also important to have a seedbed without a thick layer of dead weeds. Plant residue could cause a reduction in stand or delayed emergence. It could also serve as a barrier for a soil-applied herbicide by reducing herbicide-to-soil contact that would result in a loss of activity.
There are many factors to be considered when deciding to apply burndown herbicides in rice. Now is a great time to start making those decisions to help your 2014 rice crop emerge quicker and get off to a good start.
Reporting from Lafayette, LA