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CROWLEY, La. – An Acadia Parish field day covering research in rice and soybean production has been scheduled for June 15 at the South Farm of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station south of Crowley.

The field day will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and end with lunch at noon. Topics for presentation by LSU AgCenter scientists will include a rice disease update, rice variety development, soybean variety trials, rice fertilization, weed control and rice insect management.

The tour will start at 9 a.m. After touring the South Farm, the event will move to the nearby farm of Glen and Wes Simon where we have a rice water weevil insecticide demonstration test.

For more information, contact Barrett Courville, LSU AgCenter county agent in Acadia Parish, at 337-788-8821.

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Contact: Barrett Courville at 337-788-8821 or Bcourville@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Bruce Schultz at 337-788-8821 or bschultz@agcenter.lsu.edu

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The Mexican rice borer (MRB) has now been found near Lake Charles, LA.  This link will take you to an LSU AgCenter press release that provides the latest update: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/news_archive/2011/may/headline_news/Mexican-rice-borer-advances-in-La.htm

Fortunately, LSU AgCenter Professor Gene Reagan has conducted intensive research on this pest for the past ten years, and we are prepared with management options in hand and ready to use as needed.  He has provided an Agent training in Texas for a number of years.  Following is a link to a blog posting about the most recent site visit.  Within the blog you will find a link to the handout, which contains information on recent management recommendations:

https://louisianariceinsects.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/lsu-agcenter-mexican-rice-borer-site-visit-beaumont-tx/

It is important that you learn to identify this pest, and distinguish it from other borers that can be found in rice or cane. You can study up on the pest by downloading these two LSU AgCenter numbered pubs:

This publication includes images of SCB and MRB for comparison:

http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/communications/publications/Publications+Catalog/Crops+and+Livestock/Rice/Rice+Pests+of+Louisiana.htm

This publication provides images of MRB:

http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/communications/publications/Publications+Catalog/Crops+and+Livestock/Rice/Mexican+Rice+Borer+Identification+Card.htm

Following is a Louisiana Agriculture article that includes the latest information on MRB research that has been generated by Dr. Reagan’s lab:

http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/communications/publications/agmag/Archive/2010/fall/Advanced-Management-Research-and-the-Mexican-Rice-Borer.htm

In sugarcane, there are a number of recommended management practices to prevent injury from MRB.

In rice, the seed treatment Dermacor X-100 should provide control of this pest. Pyrethroids can also be used, but timing of application is critical. It is necessary to detect an infestation when larvae are still feeding in the sheath area. Once the larvae penetrate the stem, pyrethroid insecticides will not provide acceptable control because they are not able to come into contact with the larva.

If you find a larvae in rice or cane and suspect that it is MRB, please call me and we can arrange to pick up the sample.

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This week we’ve continued to travel the state and meet with cooperators for the LSU AgCenter rice water weevil (rww) demonstration test. In case you are a new reader to the blog, you can read more about rww at http://bit.ly/haGduU. You can also see a video on how to scout for rice water weevil adults and larvae at this website: http://bit.ly/gUJe8R

RWW are the most important insect pest of rice in Louisiana. Adults enter fields either before or after permanent flood.  Injury begins when adults feed on plant leaves making longitudinal scars. If scarring is excessive the field will sometimes have the appearance of being “painted” with white paint. In some instances adult feeding can be severe enough to merit an insecticide spray before application of permanent flood. Mating commences soon after adults enter the field, but oviposition of eggs occurs after application of permanent flood. Larvae hatch from eggs, feed briefly within the leaf sheath, and then swim through the flood water to burrow into the mud and begin feeding on the roots of the rice plant. This larval feeding on the roots is the primary source of damage caused by rice water weevils when they attack the rice plant. In some cases, root pruning can be so severe that plants will fall over in the field. In other cases, root pruning in not severe enough to cause lodging, but can still significantly reduce yield.

The purpose of our rice water weevil demonstration test is to compare currently recommended insecticides on commercial farms in Louisiana. This year we are restricting our test to comparison of three insecticide seed treatments (CruiserMaxx, Dermacor X-100 and NipsitINSIDE) which will be compared to an untreated check. These products were described in my last blog posting, so I won’t spend a lot of time describing them here.

Yesterday we met with Farmer Charlie Fontenot, Crop Consultant Dean Reed, and County Agent Vince Deshotel in St. Landry Parish. Charlie cooperated with us last year, and his farm had the most severe rice water weevil pressure of all locations. It will be interesting to see what we find this year. Charlie intends to plant XL745 at a seeding rate of 25 lbs per acre. We will plant two passes (reps) of each seed treatment, which will be compared to an untreated check. There is a good chance that we will plan a field meeting at this site sometime later this summer. We anticipate planting in mid-March.

After we completed our discussion about demo test plans, Bruce Schultz joined us to interview Charlie Fontenot for a feature story in Louisiana Farm and Ranch. Charlie was honored as St. Landry Parish Farmer of the Year for 2010. An accomplishment that he certainly deserves. Charlie has ramped up his production over the last few years and runs a beautiful operation in St. Landry. Look for the story in next month’s issue of Louisiana Farm and Ranch.

Today we met with Farmer Wes Simon (and his son Ethan), Crop Consultant Rustin Gilder, and County Agent Barrett Courville in Acadia Parish. 

County Agent Barrett Courville, Farmer Wes Simon and I discussing plans at the field in Acadia Parish.

This is our first year working with Wes and his father Glen.  Wes intends to plant either XL729 or XL745 at a seeding rate of 22 lbs per acre. 

Wes Simon measuring out the plot size with his tractor.

The planting arrangement will be the same as at Charlie’s farm – two passes for each seed treatment which will be compared to an untreated check. Depending on the weather this weekend, Wes will probably plant sometime next week. There is a good chance we will have a tour stop here in conjunction with the LSU AgCenter south farm tour this summer.

After we left Wes, we headed over to Calcasieu Parish to meet with Farmer Mark Stelly, Landowner Johnny Hensgens, Crop Consultant Randy Verret and County Agents Jimmy Meaux and Dusty Zaunbrecher. 

County Agents Jimmy Meaux, Dusty Zaunbrecher, Farmer Mark Stelly, and Johnny Hensgens discussing plans for the demo test site.

Plans for the demo field site in this parish will be very similar to our set-up in Acadia Parish. Mark intends to plant XL745 at a seeding rate of 25 pounds per acre.  Again, depending on the weather, this site will be planted sometime before early April.

Now we are headed to Breaux Bridge for their annual winter rice production meeting at 6 pm tonight at the St. Martin Parish LSU AgCenter office. I’ll discuss seed treatments for rice water weevil management.

All photos taken by Anna Meszaros.

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Thanks to Bruce Schultz for this nice press release about our guide.  If you haven’t tried it out yet, please visit the site when you have time.  I’d also love feedback about this guide, and where we can go with future development of this sort of technology.

News Release Distributed 12/03/10

Solving the whodunit mystery of insect damage in a rice crop will be easier with a new online program developed by the LSU AgCenter.

Using the process is as easy as playing the board game “Clue” because it uses a simple process of elimination, according to LSU AgCenter experts. But instead of guessing if the perpetrator was Col. Mustard armed with a lead pipe, the usual suspects will be arthropods (insects and mites) such as the rice water weevil, billbug, chinch bug or spider mites.

The program originated from a conversation with Evangeline Parish farmer Richard Fontenot, said LSU AgCenter entomologist Natalie Hummel. “The whole project was his idea.”

Anyone with access to the Internet through a smart phone can get to the guide in the field and through process of elimination, click on a list of symptoms and narrow down the pest and suggested treatments.

“It doesn’t require you to be an entomologist to use it,” Hummel said.

The website starts by asking users to identify the location of visible damage, then lists descriptions of different types of damage with photographs to illustrate the feeding signs so the user can identify the likely culprit.

For example, feeding on the lower part of the plant brings the user to the options of feeding signs on the leaf blade or another part of the plant. If the feeding is on the surface of the leaf blade, the next step is to choose between the first option of feeding on “narrow strips of leaf material removed between veins” or “other type of feeding damage or leaf dehydration.”

The first option would identify the suspect as Public Enemy No. 1 in rice farming, the notorious rice water weevil, or the lesser-known rice leaf miner. The second choice, “Other type of feeding damage or leaf dehydration,” asks the user to further identify the damage, choosing between broken leaf tips, which could be caused by the Southern green stinkbug, or dehydrated leaf tips, which is probably the work of aphids.

“At the final step, you will see a picture of the arthropod and some information about scouting and management,” Hummel said. The guide also has links to videos that show how scouting should be done for rice water weevils and colaspis, a small beetle.

Hummel said rice producers in states outside Louisiana will refer to the site because Louisiana is home to all of the rice insect pests. But she said pesticide recommendations on the website may not have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on rice in other states.

This project demonstrates how the LSU AgCenter meets the needs of farmers, said Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for extension.

“The online guide will aid farmers who need quick answers to their pest problems,” Coreil said. “With our increasingly tighter budget, we’ve got to figure out cost-efficient ways of providing help, and this is one way of accomplishing that.”

The site address is: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/ricepestguide.

Bruce Schultz

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