General Production-71



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Promising lines of excellent straw strength, slightly shorter than our tall varieties, are coming along. For lodging resistance, these are being crossed with our most advanced short-stature lines. Some seed will be available and tested at 3 or more locations in '72, and a few short-stature experimentals will go into county trials for yield evaluations.

Although increased yield and improved agronomic characteristics are being emphasized in the variety development program, the many crosses are being reviewed for cooking quality, seed chalkiness, etc., to ensure their commercial usefulness.


In cool areas, shallow water of 1-2 inches retarded rice growth in '71 tests because it permitted night water temperatures to cool more than deeper water did. However, submerged weeds may also prevent deep water from warming, off. setting the possible benefits of depth. And besides, during germination and seedling growth, deeper water does more harm than. the good resulting from the warmer water temperature during the cold early season.


The new smooth-surface rice varieties (CS-M3 and CS-S4) need more air pressure than the older varieties for the same airflow in the dryer. Avoiding damage in processing and storage, particularly with natural-air dryers, will require dryer operators to adjust for these varieties.


Rotation of rice with other crops looks good with new findings: In some cases sunflowers have yielded up to 2,000 lb per acre on high-water-table rice soils without supplemental surface irrigation. Yields varied little when plant populations were varied from 17,500 to 52,000 per acre. Nitrogen at 90 lb active ingredient per acre appeared optimum, and sunflower moth was not of economic importance in any of the early plantings.

Historically, safflower and milo following several years of rice have done poorly or failed in some areas of Glenn, Colusa, and Sutter counties. Although phosphorus has given only poor correction when broadcast or mixed thoroughly with soil, it is now found to give a striking response when banded with or near the seed. Spectacular growth and yield resulted from drilling the seed near a band of phosphorus if there had been four years or more of rice preceding. Following only one or two years of rice or fallow, phosphorus had little effect. Safe and economic are 100-200 lb per acre of treble superphosphate, 11-48, 10-50, or 8-24.


Two new spray booms deliver a droplet size that practically eliminates the drift problem. The Microfoil boom, adapted primarily for the helicopter by Amchem Products, is quite effective. in reducing problems of herbicide drift (yellow spotting of prune trees and other crops). Engineers continue research on a simpler boom for fixed-wing aircraft. Crop dusters may soon be able to place chemicals more precisely for more effective weed control and also increase safety in applying other liquid chemicals by aircraft.

The experimental low-turbulence nozzle shows promise in controlling drop size and could be a major contribution to aircraft spraying of all chemicals, particularly 2,4-D, MCPA, and propanil, as widely used for weed control in rice. The Microfoil boom gives excellent control of droplet size when on a helicopter but on a fixed wing airplane appears to offer no improvement over the jet nozzles recommended by the- State Department of Agriculture for 2,4-D. Also being tested are new foam-producing nozzles and an electrostatic spray system. Preliminary tests on the electrostatic system show no observable effect in reducing drift.


Use of chemicals is most efficient with preflood soil-incorporated techniques because Ordram and ammonium sulfate remain longer in the soil and are not released so readily into flood waters and drains. Application postflood resulted in greater loss of chemicals into spills and less uniform chemical distribution in the flooded field, even under flood and hold conditions. Managing water so that spills are captured and reused during and after chemical application not only maximizes chemical efficacy but also guards against degradation of the water quality of return flow.


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