Blackbirds can swarm onto a rice field and destroy it causing a farmer to have to replant or abandon the field Photo by Johnny Saichuk LSU AgCenter

Blackbirds can swarm onto a rice field and destroy it, causing a farmer to have to replant or abandon the field. (Photo by Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter)

Blackbirds damaging Arkansas rice

Cool, wet conditions cause problems early

Rice stand losses from blackbird damage continue to be reported in Arkansas. So far most of the reports are to very small and isolated areas of fields.

Birds are capable of following a drill row and digging up seeds. They will also pull up spiking to one-leaf seedlings.  Generally after that plants are established enough to prevent being pulled up.

There is nothing that can be done to stop them once the seed is in the ground.

If you’ll be planting a field that will be isolated from other planted fields by time (planted earlier or later) or will be isolated in its location, you might think about using AV-1011 seed treatment if you have known bird problems in the area. (Arkansas receives Section 18 for bird repellent in rice)

Cool, wet conditions cause problems early

Download a copy of the Arkansas Rice Pocket Guide (click here)
Download a copy of the Arkansas Rice Pocket Guide (click here)

I have received plenty of calls about injury to Arkansas rice that’s up to a stand. In many situations, Command is working exceptionally well for weed control, but it’s also working the rice over.

Current conditions will spring the rice out of that sickly appearance without much help from us.

Other calls are probably less to do with herbicide and more to do with seedling disease. Fungicide seed treatments are typically good for about two weeks, after that you’re on your own.

Some of the rice that’s been planted for three to four weeks hasn’t had much protection from the seedling disease complex through the cool, wet conditions that favor disease.

Some plant death has been observed, but it has typically been very mild. Things could’ve been much worse without the use of seed treatments.

Jarrod T. Hardke, Ph.D., is the rice Extension agronomist for University of Arkansas. jhardke@uaex.edu

TAGS: Management
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