Saturday, April 08, 2017

8th April,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Transgenic rice uses weed gene to combat drought effects

 David Szondy  April 7, 2017

Field performance of unmodified Curinga rice (left) and promising transgenic strain 2580 (right) (Credit: Riken)
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, rice is the world's third-largest crop after wheat and maize. It's the staple food in large regions of the world, and with increasing demand and the perceived perils of a changing climate, the vulnerability of rice production to droughts is a growing concern. The RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) is developing new transgenic strains of rice incorporating a gene from the weed thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) to make them more drought-resistant.

The CSRS scientists say that plants are able to adapt to drought by generating chemicals called osmoprotectants that include various forms of sugar. By increasing the concentration of the protectants in cells, they retain water better – much in the same way, to make a crude analogy, a damp salt cake dries out more slowly than a dish of water.
The key to producing one protectant sugar called galactinol is the enzyme Galactinol synthase (GolS). Working with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia and the Japanese International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), the CSRS has introduced the ability to produce GolS in rice by splicing in a gene from the drought- and saline-resistant weed thale cress.
"The Arabidopsis GolS2 gene was first identified with basic research at RIKEN," says RIKEN scientist Fuminori Takahashi. "Using it, we were able to improve resistance to drought-related stress, and increased the grain yield of rice in dry field conditions. This is one of the best model cases in which basic research knowledge has been successfully applied toward researching a resolution to a food-related problem."
To produce the new strains, the team started with Brazilian and African rice, and through gene splicing they made them over-express the GolS2 gene. They then grew the new rice in greenhouses under various controlled conditions and tested the enzymes produced by the transgenic plants compared to an unmodified control group.
The team then tested the transgenic plants under simulated drought conditions, where they found that the modified rice showed less leaf-rolling – an indicator of drought stress. Finally, the test plants were subjected to field tests in Cambodia and in different locations and seasons over a three-year period. In each case, the modified rice produced higher yields, less leaf-rolling, greater biomass, better fertility, higher water content, and more chlorophyll even in mild to severe drought conditions.
"Now, we have begun our next collaborative project, in which we will generate useful rice without [genetically modified] technology." says Takahashi. "It might take five to ten years to reach our goal, but we must keep pressing forward because droughts and climate change might get worse in the future."
The research was published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal.

2017/19 Rice Leadership Class Tours the Gulf Coast
By Chuck Wilson
 USA Rice Daily, Friday, April 7, 2017

HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Last week, the 2017/19 Rice Leadership Development Class attended the first session of the two-year program traditionally held in the Gulf Coast area of Texas and Louisiana, making stops that include examination of rice production practices, milling, and marketing as well as other aspects of the U.S. rice industry.

"Our class was announced at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in Memphis back in December and we are excited to finally get started," said Scott Franklin, a rice farmer from Rayville, Louisiana. 

Texas highlights included sessions at Riviana Foods, RiceTec, Inc., the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), Rice Belt Warehouse, Doguet Rice Mill, and several rice farms. 

Californian Brian Greathouse was most impressed with Texas reservoir construction to capture excess water flowing through the Colorado River and said, "Being from California means you're naturally sensitive to water issues.  That reservoir being constructed by the LCRA near Lake City, Texas, is one big rascal and will not only benefit agriculture but industry as well."

During the three-day visit to Louisiana, the class met with Farmers Rice Milling Company and toured the bioenergy plant that supplies the company's electricity.  At the South Louisiana Rail facility in Lacassine, Mark Pousson, an alumnus of the program, hosted a tour of their state-of-the-art rail facility.  Following a tour of the bagging facility at Crowley's JohnPac, Inc., the group met with Dr. Steve Linscombe, also an alumnus, at the Louisiana State University Rice Research Station, to review the latest rice research information.

Rice farmer Kim Gallagher from Davis, California, noted the different production practices used in the South compared to California.  "Talking to rice farmers about how crawfish production in Louisiana is so important to the rice industry here made me realize how integrated farmers are, no matter their location, with the surrounding ecosystem," said Gallagher.

Safety first on
Russell Marine tour

The final stop on the tour was in New Orleans to learn about river and barge logistics from Russell Marine Group and about DNA and GMO testing in rice from Eurofins.

"One of the great things about this Leadership Program is seeing aspects of our industry that are important but we just don't think about, like JohnPac manufacturing rice bags or all that's involved in shipping the product," said Missouri rice farmer David Martin.

Class members are rice producers Scott Franklin, Rayville, LA; Kim Gallagher, Davis, CA; Alan Lawson, Crowley, LA; David Martin, Bernie, MO; and Ross Thibodeaux, Midland, LA.  Rice Industry representatives are Brian Greathouse, Sutter, CA with Bunge Milling, Inc., and Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Carlisle, AR, with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

The Rice Leadership Development Program is sponsored by John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc., and American Commodity Company through The Rice Foundation and is managed by USA Rice.

From left:  Jarrod Hardke, David Martin, Scott Franklin, Ross Thibordaux, Alan Lawson, Brian Greathouse, and Kim Gallagher


Weedy Red Rice’ could threaten Yolo crops

By Hans Peter,, @WDD_Hans on Twitter
The name might be cute, but the pest it belongs to could seriously damage Yolo County rice acreage.
“Weedy Red Rice,” also known as simply “Red Rice” has been reported on over 10,000 acres of California rice crops. The pest has a history of seriously reducing crop yields in Southern U.S. regions, and has since been identified in nearby counties such as Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Sutter, Yuba and Placer. Small amounts of the infestation have also been seen in Yolo, according to the University of California’s Agronomy and Research Information Center.
During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Agriculture Commissioner John Young said the pest could mean trouble if it spreads into prime Yolo farmland. His department is still working with emergency regulations to determine the best way to curb the growth.
“We’re going to be required to check some equipment,” he said. Other counties have already set up checkpoints and trained them to spot the distinctive red color the pest leaves on raw rice.
Weedy Rice is the same species as domesticated rice; as of now, the weed can only be destroyed by literally pulling it out of the ground by hand, which makes for significant trouble in the fields.
Rice takes seventh place on the list of Yolo County’s top commodities. 2015 reports state rice earned the county about $36 million. In 2013 and 2014, rice yields brought in an average of $65 million. Such large yields have led to a wide span of buyers.
“We do a lot of exporting,” Young said in a later interview. “The pest is of concern to those other countries.”
The 10,000 infested acres make up about 2 percent of California’s total rice allocation, but Weedy Rice has been known to reduce crop yields by up to 60 percent, according to AGFAX, a website devoted to the market.
“Exclusion is the best way to prevent something from coming in,” Young said. “Then you don’t have to deal with it.”
Growers can learn about the pest and how to identify it on the AGFAX or Agronomy Research Information Center websites.
Contact Hans Peter at 530-406-6238. Rice

Planting Gets Off To A Good Start

Rice is drill-seeded on the Lounsberry Farm near Lake Arthur, Louisiana, in early March. 
 Planting in south Louisiana is considerably ahead of the usual planting time
 because of warm weather.

 Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter

   Louisiana rice farmers have taken advantage of warm weather to plant their 2017 crop exceptionally early.   “We had a lot of people that started planting in mid-February,” said Steve Linscombe, director of the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.   Some farmers with large acreage had completed planting by the first week of March, Linscombe said, estimating that as much as 70 percent of the crop had been planted by March 28.
   All off-station research trials in south Louisiana have been planted, and the first plots at the station were planted Feb. 17. “It just jumped out of the ground,” he said.   Warm temperatures since February and dry fields that allowed drill seeding have made planting easier for farmers to get started on this year’s crop. “The environmental conditions we are dealing with are ideal,” Linscombe said.

   Most stands look good, even in fields where farmers used seed with low germination rates, he said.
   Normally, seed has a germination rate of 80 percent or better, but environmental conditions last year affected the seed crop and reduced the germination percentage. In response, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry issued an emergency ruling to lower the seed germination standards.
   “It’s really been a great start to the season,” said AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell.
   By now, a little less than half of the crop would be planted in south Louisiana, but farmers have eclipsed that because of the warm weather.   “The only reason it’s not 100 percent planted is because people are holding out to space out their planting for harvest,” Harrell said.
North Louisiana farmers are waiting for their fields to dry to start planting, he said.
   Linscombe said acreage planted with hybrid seed from RiceTec is down because the company had decreased seed production last year.
A considerable amount of two new varieties – CL153, developed at the Rice Research Station, and CL172, developed by the University of Arkansas – have been planted. “I’ve been very impressed with the vigor and germination of the two new lines,” Linscombe said.
   The new Provisia line of rice, also developed at the Rice Research Station, has been planted on 500-700 acres of farmers’ field for seed production. “This is with the expectation that the technology will be available on a limited basis for commercial production in 2018,” he said.
   Charles Reiners, who farms near Crowley with his sons Cole and Clint and brother Pat, planted almost 300 acres of Provisia rice. That crop will generate seed for the expected release of Provisia next year.
   The herbicide-resistant Provisia technology is needed on many farms, including the Reiners operation. “I think it’s going to be well received,” Reiners said.
   Provisia also is being planted on 350 acres of the 2,000-acre farm of Philip, Bill, Paul and Fred Zaunbrecher, also near Crowley. “We’re eager to see what it does,” Fred Zaunbrecher said.
   Yields may be low in the first versions of Provisia, just as yields were low in the initial Clearfield releases, Zaunbrecher said. “The technology is definitely going to have a fit for helping us with resistant red rice,” he said.
   The Zaunbrechers also are growing the new varieties CL153 and CL172. All varieties planted on the farm have established good stands, with no problems evident from low germination, he said.
   The good planting season is welcome news in light of low prices. “We need an outstanding crop because we don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel for a significant increase of prices,” Linscombe said.
   South Louisiana acreage probably will be equal to last year’s total, but north Louisiana farmers who have more flexibility in what they plant may decrease their rice planting, he said. Louisiana rice farmers planted 432,000 acres last year.
   Planting is just getting underway in north Louisiana. This time last year, that area was dealing with major flooding that complicated planting for many farmers, Linscombe said.
   Todd Fontenot, LSU AgCenter county agent in Evangeline Parish, said about two-thirds of the crop is planted there.
   “We usually have some acreage in the north part of the parish that’s planted late,” he said. A large percentage of fields were water-planted because more farmers have switched to conventional varieties to save on seed costs.
   Fontenot expects the acreage to be about the same as 2016.
Andrew Granger, LSU AgCenter county agent in Vermilion Parish, said farmers are almost finished in his area. “Just about all the drill-planted rice has been planted,” he said.
   Granger said he doesn’t expect much of an acreage decrease for Vermilion.
   Blackbirds eating rice seed has been a big problem in Vermilion Parish in prior years, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this year. “I haven’t heard a single farmer complain about it down here,” Granger said. The bird repellent AV-1011 appears to be working.
   The widespread use of the product south of I-10 could explain why the birds have become more of a problem north of the interstate where farmers haven’t used the chemical as much, Linscombe said.
   Birds have been a problem, Zaunbrecher said, especially in one field that was flushed. “Those birds were pulling the sprouts up and eating the seed,” he said.
   A few pounds of seed treated with the bird repellent AV-1011 were flown onto a field, and the birds left after a few hours, Zaunbrecher said.
   Jeremy Hebert, county agent in Acadia Parish, said one farmer who planted 700 acres in mid-February had to replant much of the crop. “A good percentage got beat up real badly by birds,” he said.
   Acreage in Acadia Parish should be about the same as last year’s 83,000 acres. “I don’t think the acreage is going to fall off much,” Hebert said.   Frances Guidry, county agent in Jefferson Davis Parish, said it’s likely that rice acreage there won’t drop much below the 81,000 acres of 2016. “I guess it will be about the same,” he said.   Vince Deshotel, LSU AgCenter county agent in St. Landry Parish, estimated 50-60 percent of the acreage there is planted. He said more farmers are returning to water-seeding conventional varieties to save money on seed costs. ∆

 Rice plants grow near Crowley, Louisiana, in March. 
 The field will soon be fertilized and flooded

Domestic price hike hurts VN rice exporters
The abnormal surge in domestic rice prices in this year’s winter-spring crop has caused some rice exporters, who had signed export contracts before the harvest season, to suffer losses during the first quarter.

Rice packages being processed at the Phuoc Thanh Production Trading Company Limited in the southern province of Vinh Long.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam exported 1.28 million tonnes of rice, worth nearly US$570 million, during the first three months of 2017.
This represents a decrease of 18.1 per cent in volume and 17.3 per cent in value from figures during the corresponding period last year.
Do Ha Nam, general director of the Intimex Group Joint Stock Company, said most exported rice was destined for the Philippines, China and Africa, which are also the largest rice importers in Viet Nam.
However, enterprises that were not among those companies allowed to export to China under the protocol on plant quarantine for Viet Nam’s rice and rice bran exports to China, found it difficult to find markets to sell to.
Further, businesses usually signed export contracts early, so when local rice prices declined in the harvest season, they would buy rice from farmers, said Lam Anh Tuan, director of the Thinh Phat Foodstuffs Co Ltd in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.
However, the situation changed this year when rice prices remained too high throughout the winter-spring crop, even higher than export prices, causing the companies to lose money on those contracts they had inked, he added.
According to rice traders in the Mekong Delta region, the paddy price in mid-March was VND300,000-400,000 (US$13-17.8) per tonne higher than in the same period last year. The price hike was attributed to unfavourable climate and diseases that caused paddy output to plummet.
Nam from Intimex company said that many enterprises were unable to respond to the sudden price hike, failing to purchase and ship rice as scheduled.
Some even refused to deliver goods, as stated in contracts, as they did not want to incur losses, he added.
Soaring domestic prices also led to an increase in export prices, causing prices to reach a level $10 – 15 per tonne higher than those offered by Thailand and India. As a result, it is difficult for Vietnamese rice to compete with Thai or Indian goods in the same market segment, Nam said.
Nguyen Van Don, director of the Viet Hung Co Ltd in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, said his firm did not sign any new export contracts from late February to March 20, while waiting for market changes.
It is unlikely that importers would buy Vietnamese rice, whose prices are higher than those in Thailand and India. Meanwhile, the company would suffer from losses if it lowered prices that could not make up for material purchases and delivery expenses, Don said.
Most of the surveyed businesses said the market is still unpredictable, but there may be more favourable conditions for rice exports in the third and fourth quarters when Thailand will have finished selling its stockpiled rice.
Early this year, the Thai government announced it would sell eight million tonnes of rice stockpiled in the first half of the year.
Regulation changes
Rice exporters are not only vulnerable to unexpected changes in the market, but also hurt by regulations that create unfair competition, experts said during a recent workshop on changes in management institutions to improve the rice value chain.
They highlighted the necessity to repeal regulations stated in Decree 109/2010/ND-CP, which they say are hindering the development of rice businesses.
Under the decree, only a few large companies which satisfied strict requirements of storage and production capacities are allowed to export rice.
According to the Central Institute of Economic Management, before Decree 109 was issued there were 200 rice companies exporting rice, but currently, the number of eligible firms was reduced by half, despite the more active involvement of private firms in the market.
Due to the decree, the major market share of rice exports is in the hands of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), such as Vinafood 1, Vinafood 2 and some locally-based SOEs.
Expert Pham Chi Lan said that the decree was the worst export policy, as it offered more favourable conditions to SOEs, and caused small, private firms and farmers to be impeded, thereby erecting obstacles to the country’s rice exports in the context of increasingly fierce competition in the world market.
Dao The Anh, deputy director of the Field Crops Research Institute, said that the urgent concern was to shift the mindset in export management from quantity-based to quality-based. To do this, the country has to rebuild standards of Vietnamese rice, because the existing criteria from the 1960s-1970s is out of date.
Enterprises that meet the standards of rice quality and successfully sign contracts with foreign partners must be permitted to export.
Currently, some firms producing quality rice in the southernmost province of Ca Mau had to empower other intermediaries to export their products because they were not licensed to do so, said Anh, who offered examples. 

Sugar, rice prices to decline starting mid-April: Rice Division

Importers, distributors compelled to write factory sale price on packages to eliminate random pricing, says Shehata
Ragab Shehata, head of the Rice Division at the Chamber of Cereal Industries in the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), said that the price of rice and sugar in the local market will be declining starting mid-April.
He explained in a statement to the Middle East News Agency that the decision made by the Minister of Supply and Internal Trading Aly Meselhi to compel importers and distributors to write the factory sale price on the packages of products as well as to ban trading goods that have no prices stamped on them starting mid-April. This will consequently eliminate random pricing and stocking goods, eventually benefiting consumers, according to Meselhi.
He pointed out that those who violate the new decision will be subject to punishment, where the ministry will confiscate goods. He added that distributors will get rid of the amounts of rice and sugar that are not priced to avoid their confiscation.

Egypt's rice reserves enough for six months

Ahram Online , Friday 7 Apr 2017
File Photo: A laborer transplants rice seedlings in a paddy field in the Nile Delta town of Kafr Al-Sheikh, north of Cairo May 28, 2008. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's strategic supply of rice will cover more than six months' worth of domestic consumption, state news agency MENA reported on Friday.
The average price stands at EGP 6.5-7.5 per kilogram, and the food staple will be available in amounts to meet consumer needs, MENA reported Ragab Shehata, the head of the rice division at the Egyptian Federation of Industries, as saying.
He added that the [rice] market is currently stable and will not see a price hike before the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins in May.
Egypt's annual consumption of rice is about 3.95 million tones. while production is around 5.1 million tonnes, according to a United States Department of Agriculture report.
Last month the government reached an agreement with private rice mills to produce white rice domestically, potentially ending a standoff over the buying price of last year's crop that has led to millions of tons of paddy sitting idle since the harvest.
The supply ministry has said that it had agreed to pay private mills EGP 6.3 per kg of white rice, which the government would then sell at its outlets for EGP 6.5 per kg.
The new agreement means that private mills will instead buy up the paddy at the current market price of about EGP 4,200, before selling it on to the government.
Last year the irrigation ministry decreased the land area used for the production of the water-consuming crop in the 2017 season to 704,500 feddans, in comparison with 1,076,000 feddans in 2016.

Paddy production hit by flood in the Haors

Published at 01:10 AM April 08, 2017
Last updated at 01:11 AM April 08, 2017
People watch from one side from a dam in Sunamganj that broke down, letting the flood into paddy fields DHAKA TRIBUNE

Many farmers have been voluntarily participating in dam repair and reinforcement, but their efforts are mostly in vein

Paddy production is at peril in the Haors and low-lying areas of of the northeast as heavy rainfalls as well as onrush of water from the upstream Meghalaya hills in India have led to the inundation of a vast areas of croplands.
Floods have occurred in at least four of the five districts in the region.
In Moulvibazar, which experiences the most rainfall in Bangladesh, at least 12,800 acres of Boro paddy went under water. Our correspondent Saiful Islam reported that farmers were seen collecting peanuts, pumpkins and yams from the inundated fields.
Our Kishoreganj correspondent Bijoy Roy Khoka reported that the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) had found around 23,300 hectares of paddy fields completely inundated. The DAE is projecting a harvest loss of about Tk291cr there, but locals said the real figure could be double of that.
In the Haor areas of Itna, Mithamoin, Austagram and Karimganj upazilas, this correspondent was told by locals that about 45,000 hectares of paddy had been spoiled till Thursday and the total loss would stand at about Tk625cr.
All big and small rivers, including the Meghna, Kalni, Kushiara, Dhanu, Ghorautra and Dhaleshwari had spilled over the banks following several days of heavy rainfall.
Flash floods are a common incident in the Haor region in the pre-monsoon period, but poor management of the rivers and embankments and the decline in the navigability of the rivers have worsened the situation over the years, locals say.
Most of the paddy fields at Berachapra and Changnoagaon haors in Sutarpara union of Karimganj upazila had been inundated by the spill over of the Duba River, claimed the farmers. Many of them are now putting their last effort to cut the unripe paddy that can only be used as fodder for the cattle.
Deputy Director of Kishoreganj DAE, Md Shafiqul Islam, told the Dhaka Tribune that Austagram had been the most adversely affected upazila in the flash flood.
“The paddy is still unripe in the fields and getting inundated by the spill of river water. We are preparing a list of the flood affected farmers,” said Shafiqul.
In Habiganj, almost 13,500 hectares of almost ripe paddy have gone under water. Agriculture authorities fear that more damage would be done if the rain continues and have asked farmers in the risky areas to harvest their paddy in its current half-ripe state.
The officials told our correspondent, Md Noor Uddin, that the estimated loss at this point was Tk172cr.
Affected farmers allege corruption
In Sunamganj, farmers affected by the flood are alleging that their losses were caused by irregularities and delays in Water Development Board’s dam building works.
Flood entered the region on March 28 and has been growing since. Many farmers have been voluntarily participating in dam repair and reinforcement, but their efforts are mostly in vein.
Our correspondent Himadri Shekor Vodro, who travelled to the Haor areas in Dharmapasha, Jamalganj, Dirai, Shalla, Bishwamvarpur and Jagannathpur, saw many farmers crying in front of their wasted harvests.
Officials said at least 27,000 hectares were already under water.
Farmers said the Water Development Board received a Tk55cr budget in 2016-17 fiscal for the repair and construction of Boro protection dams in 48 Haors in the district. Although this work was scheduled to begin in December, it began in February and therefore most were incomplete when the flood struck

Furrow-irrigated rice may save more than dollars and cents

Father-son team finding row rice can save on wear and tear on equipment, rice producers.
For some rice farmers, the decision to try furrow-irrigated rice may come down to a question of water availability or expense. For Arkansas producers Mike and Ryan Sullivan, the issue was trips across the field.
That figures into expenses, as well, but it can also result in a lot of wear and tear on producers and their employees – the challenge of having to do something over and over again with no reasonable expectation of it getting easier.
That was one of the primary factors in Ryan Sullivan’s decision to try furrow-irrigated or row rice after hearing Louisiana rice producer Wendell Minson discuss the concept during a presentation at the National Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference in Baton Rouge, La., in 2015.
“Levee gates, levees and all that manual labor is one of the struggles we have on our farm,” says Ryan, who operates Florenden Farms with his father, Mike Sullivan, near Burdette in northeast Arkansas. Ryan Sullivan 
joined the operation after graduating from Arkansas State University in 2015.
The Sullivans rotate rice with soybeans on the 13,000 acres they farm in the northeast Arkansas Delta near Burdette. That creates a cycle of building up the 38-inch beds for twin-row soybeans, tearing them down, constructing levees for rice, smoothing out the ruts after rice harvest and building the beds again.
Build levee – repeat
“There’s not very much rice behind rice so every year we were having to do all this field work,” he said. “It was just a tradition that when you cut the rice you had to knock the levees down; you had to work the ruts out and do all the things you had to do to get the land ready for next year.
“When I heard Wendell speak about furrow-irrigated rice, it just clicked that maybe we could grow rice without all that field work,” said Ryan, who was a speaker at the 2017 National Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference.
The younger Sullivan included a video shot from an unmanned aerial vehicle or drone showing one of the 80-acre fields where the Sullivans grew row rice in 2016. (To watch the video, click on
The ease of transitioning from one year to the next may be the biggest advantage for row rice on Florenden Farms.
“The way that it fits into our system is the last trip before that drill (to plant the row rice) there was the combine cutting the beans,” he said, referring to a photo of a tractor pulling a grain drill to plant rice across a field of 38-inch beds.
Two trips saved and more
“In the field beside it, our comparison field, after we cut the beans, we ran a scratcher, a field cultivator, and a Kelly Diamond to smooth it out behind that to get it ready to plant rice. So that’s already two trips we saved on this row rice field.”
Then there’s building the levees after the rice is drilled. “In our kind of dirt, you can’t put up a good strong levee with less than five trips (with a levee plow). It’s just gumbo clods, and it takes that many times to get a good levee built. That’s a big deal for us in that you’re not having to do all those trips across the field when you’re putting up levees. There’s also no more harvesting in the mud.”
Eliminating the levee gates in conventionally planted and flooded rice also reduces the amount of manual labor.
Sullivan settled on drilling the rice at an angle to the rows to help with the down pressure on the drill, which, in turn, helps provide better coverage of the seed. “It probably depends on the soil, but this worked better for us.”
The father and son use the Delta Plastic Pipe Planner software program on all their fields, including the row rice. They punched a hole for each 38-inch row middle in the furrow-irrigated rice to make sure they put out enough water. (They water ever other middle in the soybeans planted on the 38-inch beds.)
Pushing water to the end
“We were able to put a deep enough flood on the young rice on that .10-of-an-inch slope with the furrow system,” he said. “The water covered all but the top 25 percent.”
As they do on most of their rice, the Sullivans applied a standard rate of Roundup and 16 ounces of Command behind the grain drill on their row rice fields. Because of cold temperatures and the slow emergence of the rice, a week later they applied two ounces of Sharpen.
“That was to try to hold the pigweeds back,” he noted. “That’s what we put out before the rice came up. Then we came back with half a pound of Facet and another 8 ounces of Command before we applied the flood.” (To learn more about herbicides in row rice, click on
Rice growers usually don’t worry about Palmer amaranth in their rice bays because the pigweed won’t come up in the flood water.  “In a traditional environment, you just flood them out – that’s what I’ve always been taught.”
The situation is different in row rice, and Sullivan is hopeful researchers like Bob Scott, University of Arkansas Extension weed scientist who appeared on the program with him at the National Conservation Systems Conference, can provide some answers about controlling Palmer amaranth in a low-flood environment.
Heaven for pigweeds
“The top end of the field in row rice is just staying muddy,” he said, showing a photo of an 18-inch pigweed that put out new roots after it was pulled up in the field. “So you can’t flood them out. This environment is heaven for them.”
The Sullivans received a five-inch rain after they applied the 2 ounces of Sharpen pre-emergence “so I’m not sure how much activity we actually received from that application.”
Sullivan said he applied slightly more water (40 acre inches compared to 36 acre inches) and made one more herbicide application (the 2 ounces of Sharpen) in the furrow-irrigated rice vs. the comparison field (in which he used alternate wetting and drying).
Nevertheless, the furrow-irrigated rice had lower costs ($336.14 an acre compared to $369.70 an acre for the more conventional rice) and produced more revenue ($635.00 an acre vs. $609.30 an acre) than the alternate wetting and drying field they compared with the row rice.
“We did not get much assistance from rainfall in this first year of row rice,” he said. “That figure for irrigation water (40 acre inches) might seem alarming, but more normal rainfall conditions probably would help offset the water usage.
“And I think might have used too much water. We applied the water each time it started looking dry,” he said. “We had soil moister meters in the research projects on our farm, but we didn’t use them this first year. I think we can use less water with closer management of the furrow-irrigated vs. flood-irrigated rice.”
For more on the costs of furrow-irrigated rice, click on

Horticulture exports jump, cereals contract in Apr-Feb period

India's exports of fresh fruits have jumped by a staggering 20.95 per cent in volume terms

Dilip Kumar Jha  |  Mumbai 
Dehydrated onion exports decrease by 50% this yearGrapes bump up fruit exports by 40%US cut in anti-dumping duty on shrimps to boost exportsDemonetisation puts brakes on agri-commodity exportsAgri input companies on fertile ground
India is making big inroads in horticulture (fruits and vegetables) exports with an improvement in quality and a special focus on market-specific approach to reach out to customers according to their requirement.

Data compiled by the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) showed India’s exports of fresh fruits have jumped by a staggering 20.95 per cent in volume terms and 17.4 per cent in value terms during the period between April 2016 and February 2017.

This shows a sharp reversal in trend until last year when overseas importers were cautiously monitoring souring of horticulture products from India. In fact, many overseas buyers, including countries in the European Union and the Middle East, had imposed temporary suspensions on imports of fruits and vegetables from India. The reason cited for these suspensions was that Indian products were of an inferior quality when compared to global standards.

However, it appears that Indian exporters have become quality conscious. Horticulture shares 10 per cent in India’s overall agri and processed food exports recorded by Apeda.

“India has become more quality conscious by maintaining products’ standard according to market requirement. Indian horticulture products like fruits and vegetables were not allowed in a number of countries earlier. For example, Indian grapes and mangoes were not exported to European countries earlier. But, market access has been provided now. Most importantly, Indian exporters are focusing on organic products that have greater demand overseas and also fetch higher realisation. All these issues put together have helped India perform so well. Still, India is nowhere near to its potential and we can look for a quantum jump in horticulture exports going forward,” said Ajay Sahai, director general and chief executive officer, Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

India’s exports of fresh vegetables declined steadily to 699,600.34 tonnes, valued at $323.87 million, for 2015-16 from the level of 953,731.22 tonnes, valued $374.07 million, in 2013-14. Similarly, fresh mango exports declined to 156,218.34 tonnes, valued at $49.54 million, for 2015-16 from 192,616.91 tonnes, valued at $50.55 million.

The entry of large corporates, including Mahindra and Mahindra, into the farm-to-fork business, along with advisory on sowing, harvesting and selling, has ensured huge strides in grape exports. In fact, India’s fresh grape exports shot up to 156,218.34 tonnes, valued at $232.07 million, for 2015-16 from 107,257.81 tonnes, valued at $203.44 million, in the previous year.

“Apart from fresh fruits, India must explore exports of processed horticulture products also. The phenomenal growth in horticulture products is a nice blend of the government’s policy and entrepreneurship of Indian exporters. India’s exports of horticulture products would continue to witness a phenomenal growth in future as well,” said a senior industry official.

Meanwhile, India’s exports of cereals have declined or witnessed marginal growth, with shipments of basmati rice falling by a marginal 3.4 per cent in volume terms and over 14 per cent in value terms in the period between April and February. Exports of non-basmati rice, however, rose by a marginal 2.2 per cent and 4.94 per cent in volume and value terms, respectively. Apart from rice, exports of wheat and other cereals also fell sharply during the 11-month period ending February 2017.

“While exports of horticulture are promoted by the government to fetch better realisation than domestic price, shipment of cereals and other agri products are politically driven. Hence, exports of cereals, including wheat and non-basmati rice, might continue to fall going forward,” said another industry official.

Data compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations showed global markets in oversupply for cereals resulting in lower imports.