Scouting is critical in areas with a lot of rain

In Delta Farm Press

by Olivia McClure

Recent wet weather has been conducive to disease problems in Louisiana rice, and frequent rains are hampering plants’ recovery from issues that normally are not considered serious.

Farmers heard the news at a field day held June 14 at the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station South Farm in Crowley.

Sheath blight, a disease that thrives in moist conditions, has been showing up in recent weeks. Some fields are heavily infested while others display no signs of the disease, said AgCenter plant pathologist Don Groth.

“You have to look because it’s not been a consistent thing,” he said. “Scout and find out what disease you have out there.”

Another disease that has appeared sporadically is Cercospora leaf blight. Late-planted rice remains at risk of developing the disease, so it’s a good idea to apply propiconazole once it reaches the boot stage, Groth said.

“These fungicides have some curative activity, but you really want to be on the preventative side,” he said. To be able to do that, getting out in the field to check for signs of disease is important.

Farmers also should pay attention to plants’ growth stage when scouting. For example, propiconazole will control kernel smut — which is mostly confined to northeast Louisiana rice fields but has been more prevalent in southwest Louisiana recently — but only if it is applied at the mid-boot stage.

Read the rest of the story in Delta Farm Press.

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