Growers in California have been experiencing a significant increase in the prevalence of weedy rice over the past year. It has been more than 50 years since California has been subject to the number of infestations that are being reported.
A widespread survey was done with the assistance of growers and PCA’s to determine the level of infestation. It was discovered that upwards of 10,000 acres have been affected by weedy rice.
Weedy rice is a serious concern due to the sizable impact it can have on yield and because of the difficulty in managing it. Using herbicides to combat weedy rice isn’t a viable option as weedy rice is the same species as cultivated rice, which would result in significant damage to the crop.
Timeliness is a critical factor in getting control of this pest. Seeds can survive for long periods of time in the soil, making it increasingly difficult to eradicate if a plant is permitted to produce seed.
The sizable increase of infected acreage prompted a more concentrated effort in management techniques and the launch of a new website to assist growers. The website is a collaboration between the California Rice Commission and the University of California Cooperative Extension. Pictures and other informative materials were also provided by the California Crop Improvement Association as well as the Rice Experiment Station.