The 2021 Weedy Rice Workshop in Yuba City provided industry members with some insight into the latest efforts to address the issue. Researchers and personnel from the California Rice Commission (CRC) and California Crop Improvement Association (CCIA) all presented relevant industry information to attendees. Rice Farm Advisor for Sutter, Yuba, Placer, and Sacramento counties Whitney Brim-Deforest highlighted the importance of the weedy rice survey that was conducted last year alongside fellow Rice Advisor Luis Espino.
“We’re really trying to make sure we have accurate acreage. Part of that is for the registration of potential products,” said Brim-DeForest. “We need to be able to tell the EPA and DPR exactly what we have and generally where it’s located as well.”
Timothy Blank with CCIA provided an update on the level of weedy rice infestation found in seed fields last year. Infested seed fields were subsequently removed from the seed program. “There was a surprisingly large number of fields last year compared to previous years. We’re not exactly sure why,” Brim-Deforest noted. Blank and his team will continue inspections this year to identify and remove any potential problems with weedy rice.
A presentation from Roberta Firoved from the CRC went over the progress made in the registration of new materials for growers. Some progress has been made with a new spot spray herbicide to address weedy rice. Brim-DeForest said that they are in the IR-4 program with the material and hope to conduct further research pending approval.
“Suppress is available right now but Suppress is a biopesticide. It does work of course, but we were wanting at least one other option for people. So, we’re working on another product that hopefully, we’ll be testing next year,” Brim-Deforest explained. “We’ve tested it in the greenhouse, and we’ve done some field testing, but we need more data.”
The Weedy Rice Workshop also reemphasized the importance of identification and reporting. Brim-Deforest noted that the various mitigation efforts would not be possible without industry participation. Growers and PCAs are encouraged to contact their local advisors when weedy rice is suspected to be found.