Drift damage in Arkansas rice, soybeans

I was afraid this was going to be a drift year and, unfortunately, that is turning out to be the case. I have “cell phone elbow” and a “cauliflower ear” and most of the calls are on drift issues.

In rice, it is glyphosate on both conventional and Clearfield rice, and Newpath or Beyond on conventional rice. In soybeans it is Permit, Permit Plus, Halomax, Regiment, Grasp or a combination of those, which can be even worse. In grain sorghum it is a little of everything but predominantly glyphosate.

I have even received some questions about some glyphosate combinations in corn that contain atrazine and one of the HPPD herbicides like Calisto on rice. These can be really tough.

You just knew it was bound to happen with our crop mix, everything being planted at the same time and wet weather getting everyone behind and forcing a lot of aerial applications on wet ground.

When I am asked to look at fields, I try to concentrate on what is adversely affecting the crop and how to manage it from that point forward. I do my best to avoid trying to determine “whodunit” if the situation is in Arkansas.

I seldom give up on an existing crop unless it is dead. I have always subscribed to the principle of “them that linger on have better chances than them that die immediately.” I especially find this to be true with rice that is affected in the seedling stage. If it doesn’t die, it usually can be babied into making a remarkable recovery.

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Some think they can easily distinguish glyphosate injury from Newpath injury. I find it can be difficult unless, of course, it is Clearfield rice. I have also learned to look for any uninjured plants among the injured ones in a conventional field. These are usually Clearfield plants, and they are great diagnostic tools.

I use patterns and protected areas to help determine drift from some other type of problem and also to determine direction. I recently looked at several rice fields for a second time and actually changed my mind on the direction a glyphosate drift came from based upon surviving rice plants behind ryegrass clumps in the field. That is one reason when I get a call to come look at a drift I try to delay the trip a few days because I can usually tell a lot more about what happened and also about chances for survival.

With glyphosate drift I usually recommend time as the best cure. Some like to apply some fertilizer ahead of a rain or apply and flush the field. Research shows this may help you feel like you are doing something but that is about it.

If the drift is from Newpath, you want to keep the field as dry as possible until the rice recovers. I rarely recommend a field be replanted, and I am not a fan of putting more seed into an existing stand. My philosophy is usually to keep what you have or start over.

I find Permit, Regiment injury on soybeans to be a tougher call. Those herbicides are very systemic in the plant if they are not STS beans. Again, I rarely quit on the existing crop, but recovery can often be very slow — depending upon how badly the plants are injured.

Sometimes replanted soybeans will emerge and grow right past the inured plants if they are kept. With grain sorghum, the decisions are usually made for you because it doesn’t take much drift of anything to kill it.

There is another huge factor to consider in determining whether to keep or replant a crop. If it is determined where the drift came from and who is responsible, I always recommend getting the insurance adjuster involved in the decision. They will normally want the crop kept, and if that is the decision, then farm it like nothing ever happened to it.

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