In most years, farmers manage their winter straw by flooding a field where the rice straw has either been chopped or chopped and incorporated. In these cases, the flood water helps to ensure good decomposition. This year however, is different. Many growers are faced with the fact that they will have no water to flood their fields over the winter. Good straw decomposition is important as it will impact nitrogen management decisions the following year. It may also affect the survival of stem rot and aggregate sheath spot sclerotia, the fungus resting structures, in the soil. Too much straw will tie up nitrogen fertilizer early in the season and will also serve as a host for stem rot and aggregate sheath spot. So, what are the options besides burning?
First, removing straw is an option. Driving around, I have seen a lot of straw bailing going on. Bailing rice straw removes about half of the rice straw. This is a good start, but it would still be nice to make sure the rest of it gets decomposed by following the suggestions in the second option.
The second option is to do the best possible to make sure rice straw decomposes without winter flooding. Simply chopping the rice straw and leaving it on the surface will likely not do the trick – especially if there is not much rain over the winter. It is really important to make sure there is good soil-water-straw contact to ensure good decomposition. For this to occur you need to incorporate your rice straw. Studies were conducted here in California in the late 1990s which compared burning, bailing, incorporation and rolling of rice straw. They found that incorporating rice straw resulted in the greatest amount of straw decomposition and the least straw remaining the following spring. This result was seen in both fields that were flooded and those that were not. When the fields are not flooded, rainfall can provide water for good decomposition.
- Author: Whitney Brim-DeForest
|EVENT:||UC Rice Pest Management Course 2021|
|DAY/DATE:||Friday, Sept. 10, 2021|
|LOCATION:||Hamilton Road Field (on West Hamilton Rd. between Hwy. 99 and Riceton Hwy., Biggs, CA)|
|EVENT TIME:||8:00 AM-3:25 PM (Check-in: 7:30-8:00 AM)|
|COST:||Non-student: $80/100; current student: $40/50|
This year will mark the 4th rice-specific course at the Hamilton Road Field and the Rice Experiment Station in Biggs, CA. The UC Rice Pest Management Course 2021 will begin with an interactive field tour of the research plots (Hamilton Road Field) where attendees can get up close to the weeds and rice (BRING YOUR BOOTS!) The course will include hands-on weed identification sessions on emerging and mature weeds and a disease and pest ID session. In the afternoon, speakers will address several pertinent topics in CA rice, including regulatory updates, new herbicides for resistance management, diseases and pests research updates, and how to construct a weed management program.
The course is a collaborative effort between UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE), UC Davis, and the California Rice Experiment Station (CRES.) “This course provides a strong foundation for weed and pest management in California rice, as well as a chance for interaction and discussion with researchers on the latest pests and pest control options for California rice systems” said Whitney Brim-DeForest, UCCE Rice Farm Advisor. The event is a great opportunity for pest control advisers, growers, industry, extension, and interested students to gain a deeper understanding of pest management topics that affect rice.
Enrollment is limited, so register early. The cost is $80 if received by 9/7/2021 and $100 if received after 9/7/2021 (if there is space.) The cost for current students with proof of student status is $40/$50. Online registration closes on 9/7/2021. If there is space, you can register onsite the day of the event. For more details or to register, visit http://wric.ucdavis.edu and click on RICE PEST MANAGEMENT COURSE.
CA DPR and CCA continuing education units pending approval.
If you have questions, contact Whitney Brim-DeForest [email@example.com or (530) 822-7515.]
- Author: Whitney Brim-DeForest
AUGUST 25, 2021
The annual Rice Field Day will be Wednesday, August 25, 2021, at the Rice Experiment Station (RES), Biggs, California. We cordially invite you and your associates to join us for this event. The purpose of the Rice Field Day is to give rice growers and others an opportunity to observe and discuss research in progress at RES. Rice Field Day is sponsored by the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation (CCRRF) and University of California (UC). We also seek and receive support from many agricultural businesses and are planning a rice equipment vendor display.
Following is a brief outline of the Rice Field Day program. We will update the program on our web page at www.crrf.org.
- 7:30 - 8:30 A.M. REGISTRATION
- Posters and Demonstrations
- 8:30 - 9:15 A.M. GENERAL SESSION
- CCRRF Annual Membership Meeting
- Rice Research Trust Report
- California Rice Industry Award
- 9:30 - NOON FIELD TOURS OF RICE RESEARCH
- Variety Improvement
- Disease Resistance
- Insects and Control
- Weeds and Control
- 12:00 - NOON LUNCH
The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a General Session that serves as the Annual CCRRF Membership Meeting. Posters and demonstrations will be in place during registration until after lunch. Field tours of research will emphasize progress in rice variety improvement, disease, insect, and weed control. The program will conclude at noon with a lunch that includes rice.
The RES is located at 955 Butte City Highway (Hwy. 162), approximately two and one half miles west of Highway 99 north of Biggs, California.
It is that time of year again. Rice is heading and our thoughts are turning to harvest. As we have been doing since 2015, we will be running the UCCE Rice Yield Contest. We continue to learn a lot from this contest which we share with all of you. This week we picked up the prize for the winner. It is a John Deere Gator (see picture) and is made possible by our generous sponsors:
FMC, Gowan, Nichnio, UPL, Valent, Valley Truck and Tractor, and Wilbur-Ellis.
Details can be found at http://rice.ucanr.edu/Rice_Yield_Contest/, but briefly,
- You need to enter by Aug 25. This is the day of the Rice Field Day. We will have a place to sign up there if you have not already done so.
- You are competing with growers in your general region of the Sacramento Valley.
- We have made some changes to the contest rules so that participation is as minimally disruptive to your harvest operations as possible.
- You must harvest a minimum of 3 continuous acres of rice (most growers harvest more in order to fill a set of doubles). The grain will be put in an empty trailer and taken to a drier for weight and moisture content. The exact area will be measured and yields determined based on weight and grain moisture.
- We will be present for the entire operation (harvest to drier).
Driving this week, I saw quite a few fields with heads starting to show up so drain time is around the corner. Earlier than normal planting and a warm early season means that the crop is going to be harvested earlier than normal. Soon growers are going to begin making the decision as to when to drain the field in preparation for harvest. Cass Mutters is the only one I am aware of that has done research on this and he suggested you could drain safely 21-24 days after heading. A few thoughts on this.
I think most growers are a bit reluctant to drain this early, given the risk of lower quality if soil dries out too quickly.
- Drain time will be soil dependent. Some soils dry out faster than others.
- This year with a lot of fallow fields and pump usage, the “typical” hydrology of fields is different. Pumps can lower ground water tables in their near vicinity, perhaps causing water to percolate more readily downward and the soils dry up faster. Also rice fields adjacent to fallow fields may lose water faster due to lateral water movement towards dry fields.
- If the weather is really warm and dry (especially with north winds), growers may want to hold water a bit longer as well due to increased ET.
All that said, growers could save water by stopping irrigation early and allowing water to naturally subside. This is as opposed to applying irrigation water until you are ready to pull the boards at the end of the season. As a rule of thumb, ET losses are about ¼ inch a day. So, if you have 4 inches of water in your field, that would keep the field flooded or saturated for about 16 days. Given that water may drop faster this year (due to reasons mentioned above), it may be safer to plan for about ½ inch loss a day. So, let use an example of a grower who typically pulls the boards at 25 days after heading and expects the surface water to be drained from the field by 28 days. If this grower has 5 inches of water in the field, this water would last about 10 days. Therefore, irrigation water could be halted at 18 days after heading; and by 28 days, the field water would be similar as if they pulled the boards at 25 days. This would save one week of irrigation water.
Obviously, how fast water drops in a field once the water has been turned off is soil, year and location dependent. As we go into the future, where water limitations may become more frequent, it would be a good idea for growers to track how fast water drops in a field when boards are in place and no irrigation water is coming in. All you need is a stake in the field with 1” markers and simply record how much the water lowers each day. Keep in mind that in fields with a slope, the upper checks may drain into lower checks, so the stake should be in the upper check which will dry out the fastest. When doing this, make note of if adjacent fields are flooded or not or if a well is close by. Keeping records for a few years, will help farmers make more informed decisions in future years.
Photo: Jim Morris, CRC