Rice Weed Control 101

Review & Wrap Up

Andy Kendig, State Extension Weed Specialist

Printed/Posted with permission of Mid America Farmer Grower

No rice discussion would be complete without mentioning the DD-50 computer programs. These computer programs generate a day-by-day list of what you need to do to your rice. Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi have their own versions of this program; but they all work basically the same. The only caution is that these programs list everything that MIGHT need to be done (such as delayed PRE, early POST, Preflood and postflood herbicide applications). However, if everything goes right, you could conceivable apply Stam plus Prowl once when there's 2-3 leaf barnyardgrass and never spray another chemical. You don't have do EVERYTHING listed on your DD-50 printout.

This brings up another important topic. Experienced rice growers still take full advantage of outside technical assistance- including hiring a crop consultant. Beginning rice growers need this assistance even more. Hire a consultant, use the experts at your local dealership and don't hesitate to call extension persons. The DD-50 computer printout is nice, but these experts can help you sort through what you should do and what you don't need to do.

Just to review- rice weed control is complicated. I recently killed a small patch of rice because I forgot about a nit-picky restriction on one of the herbicides we were testing. So, pay close attention to label warnings. We are developing a guidesheet named "Rice Herbicide Don'ts" Unofficial versions should be available from Missouri extension offices.

In rice the flood provides over 50% of your weed control. It will keep weeds from germinating, but really won't kill weeds that are already growing. Levee building problems, pumping problems and late flood establishments are one of the biggest weed control problems in rice.

Timing is critical in rice. In general, grass cannot be allowed to get bigger than the 3 leaf stage. You need to think in terms of a fuzzy green carpet instead of thinking about grass plants.

There are inexpensive weed control programs, expensive programs and really expensive programs. Inexpensive programs can work, but they quickly become the most expensive ones when when they fail. Expensive, properly executed programs are cheaper than clean up programs. A particularly consistent, "Bubba-proof" program is a tank mix of a full rate of Stam with a Full rate of Facet. It might be the best way to go for a new rice grower.

Stam, Facet, Arrosolo, and Bolero control a lot of broadleaf weeds in addition to providing grass control. As long as you've got a good rice stand and do things half-way right, broadleaf and aquatic weeds will not be a problem in drill-seeded rice (unless you are using a grass-only herbicide program like Command, Prowl or Whip/Ricestar. However, a few skips, holes and other areas with weak stands are inevitable and you may find broadleaf and aquatic weeds there. Consult your dealer, weed guides or consultants to use Blazer, Basagran, Grandstand, Londax or Permit on appropriate weeds. As with all herbicides and especially rice herbicides- follow the label. There are ways to mess up, especially with Grandstand and Londax.

A lot of Missouri farmers let their levees grow up. A lot of Arkansas farmers have clean levees which are seeded to rice. Levee maintenance is a lot of work; however, letting weeds go on levees provides seed for future weed problems.

Don't dive into rice hook line and sinker. Weed control is just one of many ways in which Rice is different from other crops. Give it a try, but watch it like a hawk! Be sure you are prepared for harvest. Missouri's biggest limitation is that we have very few places to take our rice after we cut it.

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