We are now well into ratoon-crop production for many farmers, and you should be scouting for insects.
Be on the lookout for fall armyworm. Dr. Mike Stout, LSU AgCenter, and I were collecting rice stink bugs last week at the Beaumont Center. We found many fall armyworms feeding on pasture grasses.
This means armyworms could also be feeding on your ratoon rice. Signs of a fall armyworm infestation are an abundance of cut leaves on the windward side of levees or around water boxes and the presence of cattle egrets in your rice paddies.
If larvae are present and defoliation approaches 20%, consider applying an insecticide.
Also, blackbirds can be very serious this time of year. We don’t have many options for managing these pests. However, winter baiting of blackbird roosts with DRC-1339 is a good method of reducing population densities in the winter.
Wildlife Management Services has successfully operated this program for many years in Texas, but DRC-1339 is coming up for re-registration. The cost of re-registering this product may be prohibitive, so researchers are meeting in Louisiana next month to consider ways to preserve this technology for our rice farmers.