Dow AgroSciences: Flexibility Key When Planning Effective Herbicide Treatment Programs in Rice For rice growers formulating weed control plans, flexibility is crucial when choosing herbicide solutions. Being prepared to adjust to changing conditions is critical — a scenario the rice industry experienced to extremes last year.

“It’s essential to start the season strong,” says Jeff Ellis, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences. “A clean rice field early in the season helps improve both rice quality and yield.”

Apply herbicides when weeds are small and manageable, Ellis advises. Large weeds push products to the limit and can lead to inconsistent control, especially under unfavorable conditions. Choosing herbicides that provide flexibility and broad-spectrum weed control will help keep rice fields clean and improve crop quality.

“RebelEX herbicide is a product that rice growers should strongly consider as an integral part of their total herbicide treatment program,” Ellis says. “It has excellent activity on grasses and broadleaves, including aquatic weeds. Not many weeds will escape a timely application of RebelEX. It’s a very effective herbicide.”

Protect profits with residual control

A weed-free field is important when establishing permanent flood. Using residuals increases the overall performance of a weed control program, according to research by Louisiana State University AgCenter scientists at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.

The LSU study evaluated the economic effects of residual herbicides in a CLEARFIELD® Production System. It assessed Command, FACET, Grasp® SC and PROWL H20 herbicides applied with the first application of NEWPATH herbicide, followed by a second application of NEWPATH or BEYOND herbicide. Grasp brought grass activity upfront and controlled broadleaves that NEWPATH struggles with, like hemp sesbania and jointvetch.

The research showed profits increased 21 to 23 percent with Grasp SC or FACET added to the first application of a typical program with NEWPATH herbicide. Profit increases were attributed to improved weed control and higher rice yield, which more than offset the additional herbicide cost.

“With up to 21 days of residual control, the active ingredient in RebelEX, Grasp SC and Grasp Xtra herbicides provides added control of yield-robbing barnyardgrass, smartweed and rice flatsedge,” Ellis says.

Effective resistance management tool

Concerns are growing about herbicide resistance, particularly to propanil and FACET. With two modes of action, RebelEX® herbicide is an effective option for resistant biotypes, Ellis says.

Jason Fortner, a co-op crop consultant in Lonoke County, Arkansas, says herbicide resistance has caused more and more of his growers to re-evaluate their weed management plans.

“RebelEX controlled barnyardgrass and sprangletop populations left uncontrolled by a propanil-based system,” Fortner says. “Barnyardgrass escapes can hurt yield by outcompeting rice. With a thick stand, you are not going to have the yield you need to be profitable.”

With planning, good record keeping and herbicide flexibility, rice growers can prepare for a successful season regardless of weed management challenges.