Regional Farm News

Horizon Ag holds field day in Northeast Arkansas

Cooler than usual temperatures greeted attendees of the annual Horizon Ag Field Day on the Mark Wimpy Farm just outside of Jonesboro, Arkansas. Dr. Tim Walker, General Manager at Horizon Ag, said the event might be their best attended ever.



Dr. Walker said this year’s field day highlighted the partnerships Horizon Ag shares with other companies. He pointed to Horizon Ag’s twenty year relationship with BASF as a cornerstone of U.S. rice production.



“Seventy five percent of rice acres in the South are still finding success with Clearfield Technology, but losing the ability to control weeds is an ever increasing challenge. The new Provisia Rice provides growers with another tool in their box to control the Weedy Rice Complex.”



Walker says the new Provisia PVL01 rice variety is performing well in early harvest numbers from Louisiana. “We’re seeing 165 bushels per acre rice in fields in Louisiana that have only been producing 120 bushels per acre because of weedy rice pressure. We’re milling a lot of 63-65% whole grain without chalk. PVL01 is a table quality rice.”






Dr. Sunny Bottoms, Technical Services Director at Horizon Ag, showed attendees a test field of PVL01 and explained why controlling weedy rice is so important.



“The Weedy Rice Complex is made up of hybrid rice volunteers and resistant red rice. We’ve seen some fields where rice could not be grown at all any more because of weedy rice, and others that yielded less than 100 bushels per acre.”



Dr. Bottoms said that stewardship is critical with Provisia Rice. Labels for tank mixes and applications must be followed exactly. So must the “optimal rotation” for the system. The optimal rotation is Provisia Rice in year one, followed by Clearfield Rice in year two, and soybeans in year three. Bottoms said that Provisia herbicide has no residual effect on the next year’s crop, but Newpath (used in the Clearfield system) does, so there must be a year of soybeans in the rotation.



Speaking about new varieties in the pipeline, Bottoms said that there is every indication that the newer Provisia varieties will yield with regular varieties. Later varieties will combine increased yield with blast and sheath blight resistance.



John Schultz, Technical Services Representative for BASF, explained the herbicide side of the system. Schultz said that herbicides with residuals are the key to getting the most out of the Provisia system. Schultz also emphasized that growers need to be prepared to activate Provisia immediately after application.



“The (irrigation) well must be turned on right after application. Make sure that the well is operational before the plane flies or the sprayer runs across the field. We only get two applications of Provisia per season, we’ve got to make them count.”


After the Provisia Rice field demonstration tour, attendees were invited across the farm to see test plots of Clearfield Rice varieties. Horizon Ag District Field Representative Garrett Williams said that Clearfield Rice is still working well in the Mid-South, especially in fields where it can be rotated. Plots of current Clearfield varieties including CL111, CL151, CL153, CL163 were shown, as well as newer varieties CL172, which has blast and lodging resistance coupled with superb cooking quality; CL272, which is a medium grain with lodging resistance, better blast resistance, and very good milling and cooking quality; and the new CLJ01, which is the first Clearfield aromatic or “jasmine” type rice.



In his closing remarks, Dr. Walker said that the U.S. rice industry had to work hard to regain market share lost to imports of foreign rice which have claimed the equivalent of about 400,000 acres of American rice production.





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Terry Simmons