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I am pleased to announce the release of the beta version of LSU AgCenter RiceScout app! The app was partially funded by a grant from the Southern Region IPM center and the Louisiana Rice Research Board. We greatly appreciate their support of this project. The creation of RiceScout was a tremendous team effort, including contributions from many faculty at LSU AgCenter, University of Arkansas and Texas AgriLife. The app was programmed by the Information Technology service unit at LSU AgCenter and editing was completed by the LSU AgCenter Communications service unit. Full credits to all authors and contributors can be found in the “About” section in the app. Special credit is due to Anna Meszaros who directed this project from start to finish.
The RiceScout app contains images, descriptions, and management information on insects, diseases and weeds that commonly occur in southeastern rice producing states. Information on crop fertility is also included. The purpose of the app to increase the speed and accuracy of rice fertility and integrated pest management crop decisions.
You can access a web-based version of the app at this link:
Please share this link with your contacts in the rice industry. The app should function on most smart phones and web browsers. Send an email to ricescout@agcenter.lsu.edu if you experience any technical difficulties or find an errors in the app.
We are in the process of developing a stand-alone app for the iPhone, iPad and Android – in the meantime, you can use this web-based version in locations where you have access to data on your phone.
To use the app, open up the link (http://ricescout.lsuagcenter.com) in your web-browser. A “splash” screen with the logo of the app will appear briefly on the screen while the app is loading in your browser. Once the app loads, you can use the touch screen on your smart phone to navigate through the content on the app. When you open the image galleries, you can navigate through the images by swiping on the phone screen. You can also zoom in for greater detail. Links to scouting videos and control recommendations can be opened up using links to websites within the app.
Hope your rice crop is moving along nicely. The rice I have seen in southeast Louisiana looks good.

I am currently touring across the southeastern US rice production area as a member of the 23rd USA Rice Leadership Development Program class. This is the first of four sessions we will complete over the next two years. I’m enjoying the time with my fellow classmates who hail from across the US rice production regions.

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USA Rice Leadership 2012 Class (from left to right) Timothy Gertson from Texas, Rance Daniels from Missouri, Brian Barrett from California, Clint Roth from Arkansas, Brice Lauppe from California, myself and Noble Guedon from Mississippi and Louisiana.

We all met in Houston on Sunday (April 1) and our first day of tours began on April 2. The first morning was spent learning about the structure of the US Rice Federation and international rice trade. The USA Rice Federation contains four units that represent producers, millers, suppliers and consumers of rice:

  1. USA Rice Council – promotion of US rice
  2. USA Rice Producers Group – the farmer’s advocate
  3. USA Rice Millers Association – representing rice millers
  4. USA Rice Merchants Association – rough and seed rice merchandiser

The Rice Leadership Development program is administered by The Rice Foundation, an organization dedicated to rice industry research and education.

About 85% of US rice acreage is represented by the USA Rice Federation, while the other 15% is represented by the US Rice Producers Association. The Vision of the USA Rice Federation is to be the driving force of a profitable and unified US rice industry.
After we learned about the structure and purpose of the Federation, Bill Farmer spoke about US rice exports to Canada, Asia and Mexico. Mexico is a growing export market for US rice. Cooking demonstrations and TV shows are used to promote rice consumption in Mexico. After Mr. Farmer’s comments, we learned about the rice brokerage business from Michael Creed, of Creed Rice. You can visit riceonline.com to learn more about rice trading and the Creed Rice Report.
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 In this photo: Brice Lauppe and Noble Guedon discussing rice trading with Michael Creed.
In the afternoon, we toured the Anheuser-Busch plant in Houston, TX. One of the Brewer’s led our tour, which focused primarily on the brewing process. Anheuser-Busch is the largest domestic consumer of US grown rice. Rice is a key ingredient in many Budweiser products.
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In this picture – Tim Gerston and Chuck Wilson (USA Rice Federation) discussing grain deliveries with a brewer.
One of the most interesting things about the tour was the sights and smells. If you’ve ever brewed beer then you’ll be familiar with a lot of terms like wort, hops, and sparge – all terms that apply to specific phases of beer production. The mechanical processes used to produce beer on a commercial scale are remarkable. One thing I did not know is that the Lager is held in “Chips” tanks for a period of time before bottling. These tanks contain beech chips and are a traditional final step in beer brewing used by Anheuser (see photo below).
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On our second day in Texas, we struck out bright and early to visit the headquarters of Riviana Foods in Houston. The Riviana brand originated in Louisiana and the name is derived from a combination of “river” and “Louisiana”. Riviana has developed into a $1.2 billion corporation that is currently owned by Ebro Foods, a Spanish company. They distribute and market a variety of rice products as indicated in the photo below.
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Riviana and private label make up 50% of the US rice market. Riviana sells about 25 pounds of rice per second. While Mahatma is their no. 1 brand of rice, they are seeing great growth in the aromatic rice sector. During the presentation by their marketing director, Paul Galvani, we spent a lot of time discussing the increasing demand for ready-to-serve rice products.
During our trip across Texas, we also visited the US Rice Producers Association, Hlavinka equipment, the Gerston Farm in Libbey, Texas, and Rice Belt Warehouse. The conversation in Texas focused on water issues. Due to water shortages, about 70,000 rice acres will not be planted in Texas this year. The TX acreage reduction will impact farmers, but also millers, seed merchandisers, equipment dealers and other supporting industries.
Linda Raun met us at the Hvalinka Equipment Company. Mrs. Raun is a Texas rice farmer, graduate of the Leadership Progam, and current Chair of the USA Rice Producers Group. She traveled with us to the Gertson farm and spent time discussing the history of rice production in Texas.
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In this picture: Chuck Wilson, Linda Raun and Mr. Gerston (Texas rice farmer).
The Gertson’s have an impressive amount of diversification on their farm which includes a rice and cattle rotation, machine shop, precision farming equipment, and a flying service.
On our second day in Texas, we visited Doguet’s rice mill and RiceTec before we crossed the Sabine into Louisiana. I’ll pause for now and tell you more about our visit to RiceTec in my next post. If you want to follow us real time – follow the hashtag #usarice23 in twitter. You can also follow my tweets @NatHummel.

I don’t often post information outside of the subject of rice entomology, but I believe that many of you would like this information. Read below about a comment period on a potential emergency registration of a fungicide for disease control in rice.

RE: ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

AGENCY

[EPA–HQ–OPP–2012–0172; FRL–9341–7]

Fluxapyroxad; Receipt of Application for Emergency Exemption for Use on Rice in Louisiana, Solicitation of Public Comment

The public comment period is now open on the Louisianan petition for a Section 18 Emergency Application for Fluxapyroxad for use as a fungicide in the Louisiana rice crop in 2012. This emergency exemption has been requested for use in those areas where resistance has been identified to the strobilurin fungicides which have been widely used to control sheath blight disease in Louisiana rice production for a number of years. Last year it was confirmed that resistance of the disease causing organism has developed to the strobilurin fungicides which make them ineffective in controlling sheath blight in certain areas. Fluxapyroxad is a different class of fungicide that will control sheath blight in areas where this resistance has developed.  Fluxapyroxad is a BASF product that was tested as BAS700 and will be marketed in rice under the name Sercadis.

It is important that the USEPA receive a number of comments regarding this emergency exemption to the Louisiana rice industry. You are encouraged to send comments as individuals as well as organizations.

 

Following all the rain and wet conditions, much of the rice acreage has shifted to water-seeded rice this season. This is particularly the case in southwest Louisiana. Insects problems in water-seeded rice are often very different from in drill-seeded rice, primarily because of the presence of water. Water provides a protection from some early season pests such as chinch bugs, colaspis larvae, and sugarcane beetles. On the other hand, some aquatic insects thrive in water-seeded rice and can cause injury to seedlings.

One early season water-seeded rice pest is the rice seed midge. I haven’t had too many calls about seed midge in my time here at LSU AgCenter, but I want to give you a little brush up on the biology of this pest and how to scout for injury. You can learn more about rice seed midge by clicking here.

Rice seed midge larvae injure rice seedlings by feeding on the roots and seeds of young seedlings. Begin scouting for seed midges 5 to 7 days after seeding the field. Look for hollow seeds and chewing marks on the seed, roots, or seedlings. If you confirm rice seed midge in a field causing injury, please shoot me an email. I’d like to get some better field shots of the injury and close-ups of this insect.

Rice Seed Midge - Chironomus spp.
The larvae develop through four instars before pupating under water in tubes.
The life cycle from egg to adult requires one to two weeks.

Larvae injure rice by feeding on the embryo of germinating seeds or on developing roots and seeds of very young seedlings.

Midge injury is indicated by the presence of chewing marks on the seed, roots and shoots and by the presence of hollow seeds. Midge injury occurs in water-seeded rice and is usually not important once seedlings are several inches tall. Photo by J. Saichuk.

 

You can avoid rice seed midge injury by not holding water for more than 2 to 3 days before seeding. Pre-sprouting seed and avoiding planting in cool weather can also result in fast growth of the seedlings, decreasing the chance for injury by rice seed midge.

A number of LSU AgCenter Entomology Faculty have been working on an exciting new project. In a nutshell, we have created a series of webpages that are an introductory online entomology course. Because these webpages are electronic, we can adapt them for a variety of educational purposes. I hope you take a moment to visit the website by clicking here. Let me know what you think about what we have developed and how we can adapt it for your needs. You can read more about our project in this article in The Advocate.

News Release Distributed 03/06/12

Identifying insects as native or invasive species just got easier with help from the LSU AgCenter entomology department.

LSU AgCenter entomology specialist Natalie Hummel and extension associate Michael Ferro, are working with colleagues at the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee to build a website that will help not only professionals, but the average citizen identify insects.

The First Detector Entomology Training Project consists of a series of Web pages that allow people with little or no experience to learn about the world of insects and arthropods, insect collecting and insect photography.

The project will develop a train-the-trainer general entomology training course for first detector educators such as county extension agents and Master Gardeners, along with first detectors, which include border inspectors and homeowners.

“I tried to develop the website in such a way that you could come to the site with little or no knowledge of insects and walk away with something,” Ferro said.

The advantage of this system over print publications is the ability to quickly update information and not have to worry about the information going out of date.

“Also we didn’t want people having to attend a workshop or sign up for a class since things are now more global and mobile,” Hummel said.

The pages were created in a “wiki” format, which is easy to edit as needed, Hummel said. “Bugwood, a program at the University of Georgia, hosts the content for the program, and the start page can be found at http://wiki.bugwood.org/FD-ENT.

The information on the Web pages were designed for Master Gardeners and extension agents but can be used by anyone interested in learning more about insects and arthropods, including teachers and students.

The pages provide a general overview of entomology and are designed to help users recognize common arthropods, whether pests or non-pests, confirm the identification of pest problems and recognize and report suspect, unusual, exotic or invasive species, the developers said.

Some major insect orders, such as true flies, true bugs and beetles, get their own wiki pages that highlight specific examples of commonly encountered pests or non-pests.

The training project consists of several wiki pages that provide a good overview of arthropods in general, insects and entomology, Hummel said.

Topics include how to photograph insects, how to collect and preserve insects, basic insect biology and a brief introduction to the major orders of insects, she said.

“There are some invasive pests, like the brown marmorated stink bug, that we don’t have now, but it is rapidly making its way south from the northeastern United States,” Hummel said. Having the Web site should make people aware of these type invasive insects before they become a problem.

The pages were designed to be user-friendly and act as important sources of reference information, Hummel said. “Anyone interested in learning more about insects and arthropods is encouraged to visit the site and share it with friends and family.”

“In addition to the Web pages, we are also making PowerPoint presentations so that extension agents, Master Gardeners or others can download these PowerPoints and use them as presentations about the information on the Web pages,” Ferro said.

The third piece of the project involves the development of e-learning modules that are entirely online where tutorials will be available. After viewing them, individuals can test their knowledge by taking a short quiz, he said.

Hummel said the future of the project is “limitless.” One of the next steps could be to develop it into a smartphone app that would allow the information to become more mobile.

Johnny Morgan

The last few weeks have been busy with conferences and preparation for the season. While I was at the Rice Technical Working Group conference back  in late February, I heard that some rice was already being drill-planted. By now that rice has started to emerge. Now is a good time to be reminded about early-season pest problems to scout for in these drill-seeded fields. A number of insects can attack drill-seeded rice in Louisiana. These can include both above ground and below ground pests. Remember that the use of seed treatments will selectively control pests, but no single seed treatment has the ability to control all the insects that can attack seedling rice. This link will take you to an article that contrasts which insects are controlled by each seed treatment in drill-seeded rice.

Some common problems we experienced last year were (click on the name of the insect to learn more about biology and management) aphids, colaspis, chinch bugs, thrips, billbugs, sugarcane beetles, and armyworms. We also had trouble with some small black beetles that were also in the chrysomelidae family (related to colaspis). If you find this same problem with the small black beetles defoliating rice, please collect some samples and contact your county agent immediately so that we can verify the species and crop injury.

If you need help identifying a crop pests that you are not familiar with in rice, or need advice on management strategies, please don’t hesitate to call your local County Agent or contact me: nhummel@agcenter.lsu.edu.

This season I am also using twitter to send out insect alerts. If you use twitter, you can follow me @NatHummel for the latest observations from the field.

I hope your season is off to a good start. My next post will talk about early-season pest problems in water-seeded rice. I talked to some Agents and dealers this week and it sounds like most of the crop that is planted following these rains will be water-seeded. Remember that Dermacor X-100 now has a 24C registration for use in water-seeded rice. This season we plan to sample some of the water-seeded fields to verify the efficacy in commercial field use. I’ll let you know what we observe.

Our society has become increasingly mobile and access to the internet is improving rapidly, even in rural regions of Louisiana. Agricultural industries are reliant, more than ever before, on the internet to access critical, timely information to guide crop management decision. The LSU AgCenter has led the land grant university system in developing a comprehensive website that we use to distribute research-baesd information to rice producers. The design of our website continues to improve over time in response to feedback from our clientele.

After many long days spent in front of a computer screen we have completed a drastic revision of the layout and content of the LSU AgCenter Rice Insect Website. The new website has a simple layout with an easy to use menu at the homepage that will point you to all the resources you need to make pest management decisions in your crop. Click here for the new LSU AgCenter rice insect home page.

At the new home page you will find links to the following resources:

We are still developing some of the content. Soon you will also be able to access the following topics:
  • Demonstration tests (all the data and information on our demos over the past few years)
  • Meetings (Oral and poster presentations)
  • Rice Pest Management Guide and Insecticide links
  • Rice Extension publications

The inspiration for our redesign came from the LSU AgCenter Rice Disease website redesign. Now that the page is launched, we need your help. Please email (nhummel@agcenter.lsu.edu) or comment here with any additional improvements we can make to our content. We will continue to revise the website based on your feedback.

Special thanks to Anna Meszaros, Lisa West and Nicholas Colligan for redesigning our website. I think you’ll be pleased with the new layout. If you are attending RTWG this week, look for a poster display by Anna that will introduce you to our new website.