Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Today I share with you news about a career change. After much thought and consideration, I have accepted a position with Bayer CropSciences as a Product Development Manager – Principal Scientist. I will be working out of the North American headquarters of Bayer CropSciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. This move allows my husband and I to live close to family in North Carolina. It will also give me the opportunity to work in a critical area of crop production – developing solutions to the myriad of production challenges that producers face on a daily basis.

Yesterday was my last day at the LSU AgCenter. I have the utmost respect and admiration for every individual involved with agricultural production in Louisiana. I feel humbled and honored that I had the opportunity to serve Louisiana citizens as an Extension Specialist at the LSU AgCenter. I enjoyed the opportunity to work side-by-side with many of you identifying problems and developing solutions that were economically and environmentally sound. Louisiana will always hold a special place in my heart.

I would like to especially thank all of the rice farmers, consultants, field scouts, industry representatives, and LSU AgCenter colleagues who participated in our demonstration program over the years. Your willingness to cooperate in our program resulted in a tremendous increase in the adoption of recommended pest management practices.

Fortunately, my responsibilities will continue to bring me to Louisiana in my travels. I hope to see many of you at meetings in the future. I wish you the best of luck this season.

If you want to remain informed about Louisiana rice production and pest problems, please follow the Louisiana Crops Blog at http://www.louisianacrops.com


Natalie Hummel

P.S. If you would like my new contact information, please comment on this post and I’ll email it to you.

This year EPA approved a section 24C approval to use Dermacor X-100 in water-seeded rice in Louisiana. [Click here for a blog post about the registration.] Quite a few producers used this insecticide option in water-seeded rice in Louisiana this season. Mike Stout had extensive research data to support the efficacy of Dermacor in water-seeded rice, but I felt it would be good to verify the activity in commercial fields. Dr. Saichuk used this treatment option at the Vermilion Parish LSU AgCenter rice verification field. According to Johnny, the Dermacor rate was 1.75 oz/A. The variety Cheniere was planted on 4/5/2012 at 120 lbs/A. A true pinpoint flood was applied to the field. Nick Colligan and Stuart Gauthier pulled ten core samples from the field 4 weeks after permanent flood to verify the activity of the insecticide. Nick reported that they did not find any rice water weevil larvae in the core samples gathered.

On another note, one of the field reps reported that they are starting to see armyworms in vegetable gardens in Grand Chenier. I have not received reports of armyworms  in Louisiana rice yet, but it would be good to be on the lookout for this pest. If you treated with Dermacor X-100, the rice should be protected from injury, but CruiserMaxx or NipsitInside will not control army worms. Click here to read about armyworms in rice.

A Section 18 request has been approved by EPA for the use of Tenchu 20SG on up to 100,000 acres of Louisiana rice to control rice stink bugs. Click here to read about biology and management of rice stink bugs. This product will provide an alternative mode of action to the pyrethroids that are currently registered for use in Louisiana. The exemption expires October 31, 2012. The distributor in Louisiana is Mr. Michael Hensgens with G&H in Crowley. According to Mr. Hensgens, the suggested retail price is $24.30 lb at ½#per acre = $12.15/ac.

Rate and restrictions: Please contact your local County Agent for a copy of the Section 18 registration before using this product. Remember that the label is the law! The registered rate is from 7.5 to 10.5 oz of product per acre. A maximum of two applications can be made per acre per season. A seven day pre-harvest interval must be observed. Be aware that this product is toxic to honeybees – read the Section 18 registration for precautions to avoid bee injury.

Treatment threshold:We do not recommend treating until you exceed the recommended thresholds as described on the Section 18 label (the current label reads that you should follow the Texas guideline – this has been amended to reflect LSU AgCenter recommendations in pub 2270). To scout for rice stink bugs in the field, use a 15-inch diameter sweep net, take 10 sweeps at 10 different areas around each field. Count the number of bugs collected after every 10 sweeps and then treat if they exceed the threshold as described in LSU AgCenter Publication 2270. During the first two weeks of heading, treat when there are 30 or more stink bugs per 100 sweeps. From the dough stage until 2 weeks before harvest, treat fields when there are 100 stink bugs per 100 sweeps.

Before we consider applying for an emergency exemption next field season (should we feel it is warranted) we need to gather some specific data. We need your assistance gathering this information.

1. Resistance. Please notify us if you believe that you have a stink bug population that is resistant to pyrethoids. We will gather insect samples to run laboratory bioassays to screen for insecticide resistance.

2. Efficacy. If you use Tenchu 20SG we would appreciate any data you gather on residual efficacy of the product. Data from Texas has indicated that it provides a longer window of activity than pyrethoids. This will potentially result in a reduction of the number of insecticide applications to a field in one season. We will be conducting efficacy trials in Louisiana to measure residual efficacy when compared to pyrethoids. If you’d like to participate in a field demo, please contact your local County Agent and they can work with me to make arrangements.

3. Milling. We also need your assistance in gathering data on milling quality of rice. Specifically, we need more data on reductions taken at the mill in the form of peck and broken grains which is attributed to Rice stink bug feeding injury. Any information you can provide on grade reductions attributed to rice stink bug feeding injury will be appreciated.

Please contact me if you need additional information.

Last week, Dr. Saichuk handled some insect related rice field calls. I thought you’d like to learn about his observations and how he recommended handling the pest problems. The problems were reported on the Louisiana crop blog. Click here for a link to a field Johnny scouted that had a thrips infestation. Learn more about thrips in rice at this linkClick here for a field Johnny scouted that had a rice water weevil adult infestation that was causing defoliation and death of seedlings. Click here for a fact sheet on rice water weevils.

Pest alert: scout for armyworms in rice near wheat

Armyworms have recently been reported causing injury in Arkansas rice. Click here for a report I read in Oryza news this morning about the armyworm situation in Arkansas. I haven’t had calls about armyworms in Louisiana this season, but we should be aware of the situation with armyworms moving from wheat to rice. A similar situation could occur in Louisiana. The Louisiana wheat crop is maturing more quickly than usual and Sebe Brown recently reported  army worms in wheat in north Louisiana.

So, if you are scouting a rice field near a wheat field, you should watch out for armyworms in the wheat that may march over into the rice. Click here for a fact sheet on armyworms in rice. If you treated your rice with Dermacor X-100 seed treatment it should be protected from armyworm injury. If you used CruiserMaxx or NipsitInside seed treatment you will not have protection from armyworms. Keep this in mind as you make your scouting plans this season.

Rice water weevil sampling plans

Nick Colligan is resuming Karen Nix’s dissertation research studying the relationship between planting date and rice water weevil infestation levels in untreated rice fields. The first field he will sample is located in Vermilion Parish. The field went to flood on Saturday and we will pull core samples in 4 weeks. I’ll let you know what we find.

Over the weekend Sebe Brown scouted a field in Concordia parish where the stand was being severely reduced by colaspis larvae feeding on seedlings. Problems with this field started on March 16 when the stand began to decline. The plants were described as yellow and stunted. This was a Dermacor X-100 treated hybrid rice field no-till drill-planted at a 23 lbs/acre seeding rate. Surrounding fields were growing nicely. When Sebe scouted the field on Saturday he confirmed that the injury was being caused by Colaspis larvae feeding on the roots of seedlings. The stand was reduced about 40% by this injury. The recommendation was made to establish a shallow permanent flood to avoid further injury. In a situation like this, where the rice isn’t quite ready for a flood, you may lose some injured plants to the flood. The alternative is to wait to establish flood, during which time the colaspis will continue to injure the seedlings and further reduce the stand. Establishment of a flood on the field will prevent further feeding injury by the colaspis larvae and eventually the larvae will die. Note: according to experts in Arkansas it may take up to a month for colaspis larvae to die in the permanent flood. Click here to read more about colaspis. You can watch a video on how to scout for colaspis here. The Dermacor X-100 should provide about 30% suppression of the colaspis infestation. Next season, they will consider using a CruiserMaxx or NipsitInside seed treatment to target control of colaspis. The use of pyrethroids will not provide control of colaspis because they are injuring the crop below the soil line.

On our final day in Texas we toured the RiceTec facility in Alvin, TX and Doguet’s rice mill. At RiceTec we learned about their seed business unit (SBU) and consumer business unit (CBU). The SBU is focused on developing hybrid rice varieties, while the CBU focuses on marketing specialized rice products to consumers. Rice Tec has five physical locations: Texas, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Mercosur (Brazil) and India. The facility at Alvin, TX is a 500 acre farm where rice land is rotated with soybeans. RiceTec is not immune to the water shortages in Texas and they have been affected by the water restrictions implemented this production season.

RiceTec is a full-integrated company, employing more than 200 people from many continents. The company activities range from breeding, contract growing, and milling of rice to packaging, branding and marketing of specialty rice to consumers. Improvements in varieties are driven by customer needs. RiceTec is one of a few agricultural companies that only focuses on rice.

This seed scanner machine measures grain size dimensions to check for uniformity.

RiceTec began in 1988 with the first hybrid rice crosses. At that time, the company was called “Farms of Texas”. RiceTec was officially formed in 1990. In 2000, the first hybrid rice variety (XL6) was sold by RiceTec. The first Clearfield variety was released in 2001, and the first hybrid with Clearfield qualities was sold in 2003. Currently, XL745 is the most popular long grain rice variety grown in the US.

A technician evaluating the cooking qualities of rice varieties.

Many people ask the question: what is hybrid rice? Hybrid rice is a cross between two distantly related parents. The offspring of this cross benefit from the phenomenon referred to as “hybrid vigor”: consistently higher yields than conventional rice varieties. Rice has a perfect flower, perfect in the sense that both male and female structures are present in the flower. This allows rice to self-pollinate. One of the challenges of hybrid rice breeding is the development of female sterile lines, which allow for the crossing of two varieties. The difficulty lies in distributing pollen from the male line to the female sterile line. RiceTec developed a mechanized hybrid seed production by planting female and male lines in blocks in a field and then using a helicopter to move the pollen between the two parent lines.

Hybrid rice was first produced in 1974. Currently, 60% of rice hectares in China are planted in hybrid rice varieties. Due to the enhanced yield potential of rice, growers can intensify production on less land. This ability to intensify crop production in a sustainable matter is critical to the support of our growing global population. The impact of hybrid rice production in China is significant. More than 40 million acres of hybrid rice varieties are planted in China. On average, the hybrid varieties have a 20% yield advantage over conventional varieties. This increase in yield potential, feeds 60 million more people each year! Hybrid varieties allow farmers to grow more food on less land, sustainably, and feed more people.

Greenhouse facilities used for variety development.

One of the critical issues facing farmers across the globe is the challenge of crop production intensification using sustainable practices. Hybrid rice varieties fit within this paradigm, because they are in their nature a sustainable product. Hybrids offer increased per capita grain yields, higher fertilizer efficiency, higher water use efficiency, lower production costs per hundred weight of rice produced, and disease and insect resistance (thus less pesticide use).

After Brian Otis concluded his presentation on the Seed Business side of RiceTec, we heard a brief presentation on the Consumer Business at RiceTec. This information was all new to me. I was not aware of the RiceSelect company. RiceSelect only sells premium rice and grains. The company is vertically integrated from seed to plate, distributing proprietary varieties of rice that are grown in Texas. RiceSelect has been in business for 30 years and was the first company to produce and distribute aromatic rice grown in the US. The CBU conducts studies of customer preference and marketing. RiceSelect is the only major brand of rice packed in a resealable jar, which improves the package appearance of their product on the shelf and maintains the quality of the rice. RiceSelect products are grown on American family farms, are rated US no 1 grade, and can be purchased in white, brown, light brown and organic. Light brown rice has gone through one phase of milling and still has some bran intact on the grain, improving the fiber content. The photo below contains (right to left) brown rice, light brown and white rice.

RiceSelect has a strong focus on environmental stewardship. They strive to produce a high quality product that is nutritious, provides ease of use to the customer, is non-genetically modified, and has low environmental impact. These stewardship principles are applied from the rice field, to the processing, packaging, and distribution of the product. They graciously provided us with some of their RiceSelect Texmati rice. I cooked it for dinner on Saturday night and was pleased with the freshness, texture and flavor of the product.

RiceTec is one of the sponsors of the Rice Leadership program and we greatly appreciate their support.