The heavy rains that hit the state a week ago have left many well prepared fields in rough shape. Washed out levee gates and blown levees are all too common.
For many of these fields there’s plenty of time to get things patched up. But for some out there, the rice is reaching time to flood and that’s just not an option with the field situation. So what should we do?
I strongly recommend you run a DD50 report for a little guidance on application timings – based on research for specific cultivars.
Basically if you’re just getting to 4 leaf rice you have about 2 weeks until you hit the end of the recommended window for preflood nitrogen (N) application. Those in this situation have asked “should I go ahead and apply 100 lbs of urea or some ammonium sulfate ahead of these rains?” No, you shouldn’t – you have time, don’t go to Plan B before you’re done with Plan A. Again, you have time to wait to flood if you leave the rice alone, but as soon as you give it a kick with N that window closes fast and you increase the likelihood that you’ll have to keep putting out N that way.
In addition, every application made that is not well incorporated by a permanent flood is subject to major N losses. Since those losses are highly variable it makes N management very difficult for the rest of the season. When we’re forced to start guessing at N rates based on N loss it gets difficult to supply adequate N without going overboard and causing other problems.