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REGIONAL CROP REPORT

Uncertainties Remain as Planting Begins in South

SOUTH LOUISIANA AND TEXAS

Planting in southern Louisiana and the Texas Rice Belt cranked up the week of Feb. 28. Dry conditions from October until now allowed fields to be prepared for drill seeding in the region and set the stage for a quick start to the planting season. Progress slowed down last week due to the cold temperatures that were forecasted for this past weekend.

I think we are about 25% or so planted in southern Louisiana and 20% or so planted west of Houston. Very little, if any, rice is planted east of Houston. In southern Louisiana, PVL03 has been the most popular of our varieties, with CLL17 a close second. So far, CL153 continues to be our most popular variety in Texas.

Speaking of dry conditions, in southern Louisiana, rainfall is about 10 inches below a normal year to date. Encroachment of salt water in the coastal parishes needs to be watched closely. Normally, saltwater encroachment is not an issue until later in the season. It is hard to believe that last year’s rainfall was far above normal, and now we are basically in a drought.

If you would like me to look at fields or have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Corey Conner
District Field Representative
337-249-9523

UPPER DELTA

Uncertainty seems to be the constant with respect to the planting mix throughout the Upper Delta (North Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri). Just as it seemed fertilizer prices had softened a bit (though still very high), the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent already high fuel and fertilizer prices even higher. It’s no secret that diesel continues to climb, with local over-the-road diesel at the pump eclipsing the $5.00 mark in the Midsouth this week.

In December, many in Arkansas projected rice acreage to be flat to up slightly. The tone doesn’t seem to be as bullish today as we head into the final pre-planting stretch. Some have suggested 1M acres in Arkansas may be hard to come by. Needless to say, unless something changes fast, this very well could be the first consecutive down planted-rice acres, year over year, in well over a decade.

Unlike other plant nutrients, Nitrogen (N) is not one where you can cut rates in half or even all the way out without suffering economically relevant yield losses. As a matter of fact, in most cases, more than a 10-15% reduction in recommended N rates can cost more in yield loss than is economically feasible. The old adage of “you can’t fatten a hog by starving him” certainly holds true in N fertilization of rice. Though skimping too much on N is not advisable, one thing farmers should be sure to do is implement practices that are maximizing nitrogen uptake/utilization efficiencies.

Nitrogen cannot overcome P, K, S, and micronutrient deficiencies. If any other nutrient is limiting other than N, fertilizer N will not be as efficient. Hence, it is extremely important that adequate P, K, and especially Zn are present. If those critical nutrients are limiting, preplant to preflood applications of these nutrients should be made so that the best return on investment can be achieved with all inputs being very high this year.

There’s no question that soybean acres will be up. We encourage you to use this time to go after some weedy rice-infested fields with residual herbicides to help prepare you to move back into rice when it makes the most economic sense.

Multiple years of soybeans where residuals are used can help decrease the weedy rice seed bank substantially. Furthermore, for fields where consecutive years of imidazolinone herbicide application have occurred, this will incentivize you to break the cycle and begin rotating with Provisia® rice.

We are excited about the positioning of our newest Clearfield® and Provisia offerings in 2022. CLL16, backed by its strong performance in 2021, is in demand. Its high yield potential with good milling and an excellent packaged product across multiple environments looks as good as any offering on the market when it comes to final profitability.

PVL03 is by far the best Provisia variety offered. It offers substantially higher yields and disease resistance compared to previous Provisia varieties and has very good herbicide tolerance and standability.PVL03 may be the best-packaged rice product offered by anyone in the Southern U.S.A. in many years. Herbicide availability for both Clearfield and Provisia systems are in good supply.

Though the outlook for this year is uncertain, we wish all of our partners the best. Horizon Ag will be here to provide seed, but also give our best advice on managing your rice crop for the highest return on investment.

Visit horizonseed.com/proven-to-perform, our 2022 season website, to find out more about Horizon Ag top-performing Clearfield and Provisia varieties. It’s a great place to hear what farmers are saying about how those varieties are achieving solid results on their farms and to download tools like the Horizon Ag 2022 Season Brochure.

If you have any questions or need support from any of our Upper Delta Field Representatives, please reach out to them:

MISSISSIPPI AND NORTH LOUISIANA

Tim Jett
District Field Representative
901-687-6362

GRAND PRAIRIE, ARKANSAS

William “Hutch” Hutchens
District Field Representative
870-273-9291

NORTH CENTRAL ARKANSAS

Chase Kagen
District Field Representative
870-273-9283

NORTHEAST ARKANSAS AND MISSOURI

Jason Satterfield
District Field Representative
901-347-9715