- Author: Alex Ceseski
- Posted by: Gale Perez
The California Rice Field Day is back! The annual event, sponsored by the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation and the California Rice Board, returned to in-person status on August 25, 2021 after being held virtually in 2020. The field day is the premier event for the California rice industry, showcasing the latest developments in rice breeding and agronomic techniques, as well as demonstrations of research on rice physiology and pest control. More than 300 growers, advisors, industry professionals, and academics attended the event at the California Rice Experiment Station in Biggs, CA.
As usual, the UC Davis Weed Science group had several research trials on display at the rice weed research fields on Hamilton Road. The theme of this year's demonstration was “new methods and new herbicides for weed control in rice”, as several new rice herbicides in development are due to enter the market soon. Dr. Kassim Al-Khatib leads the lab in charge of this research and is flanked by his assistants Dr. Alex Ceseski and Saul Estrada. During the event, Dr. Al-Khatib expounded on the potential usefulness of some of the new molecules under development.
California rice has had very few new herbicides introduced since 2000, and herbicide-resistance is an emergent problem throughout the industry. The new herbicides in the development pipeline show promise to help growers achieve excellent weed control, and when used as additional “tools in the herbicide toolbox” may help manage resistance. Two herbicides poised to enter the market soon are Corteva Agriscience's Loyant® and Nichino America's Zembu®. Loyant is a foliar Group 4 (auxin mimic) with good activity on watergrasses, sedges, and broadleaves. Zembu is a pre-emergent PPO inhibitor with good broad-spectrum control of many common rice weeds.
Another exciting development for new herbicides is the ROXY® rice program, soon to be launched by Albaugh LLC. ROXY rice is tolerant to the PPO inhibitor oxyfluorfen, a trait that was achieved through traditional breeding and is thus non-GMO. This program might be useful for combatting weedy (red) rice, which is a burgeoning issue for some growers.
All in all, it is an exciting time to work in weed control in California rice as new chemical and cultural weed management tools are being developed to aid growers in mitigating the spread of herbicide resistance and weedy rice, and protecting yields.