Rice For Ducks

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by duckhawk-55, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. 4scout

    4scout Refuge Member

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    Thanks Fowler.

    What would be the ideal water depth range for hunting in an uncut rice field? Thanks
     
  2. Porter Bayou

    Porter Bayou Senior Refuge Member

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    6-18" and make some landing zones before it heads out. Either leave an area unplanted or spray and kill a spot before you put a flood on it.
     
  3. DisplacedDuck

    DisplacedDuck Senior Refuge Member

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    Second the above reply. I'd flood as much as possible whilst keeping the max depth below 18".
     
  4. 4scout

    4scout Refuge Member

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    Thanks guys! I was thinking 18" max but wanted to check with the experts here. In the past I've planted rice in low wet areas with some success...not great. Last year it looked great but most had blank heads for some reason. The year before it turned out pretty good. Maybe too much nitrogen, not at the right time or hot temps during the night...so I've read. The deer and coons hammered my corn last year so thinking about trying something that may be around when duck season starts. Just a little nervous about trying it and not having any food...it seems a lot more challenging to grow than most other crops. I'll need to read up on it some more to get a better comfort level to grow it properly.
     
  5. hhpage

    hhpage Senior Refuge Member

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    A few things that I have learned about growing rice for ducks (and your experience may vary):

    Get it in early (by mid-June)

    Spray to control broadleaf weeds in a timely manner (while broadleaves are small and before flood)

    Incorporate your nitrogen before you plant if you are not able to flood it (I use 150#/acre DAP and 200#/acre Urea on my soils)

    Sow it thick to encourage "legginess", particularly if you can't hold a consistent flood at fairly high level (another way to make it leggy). You want it to lodge (fall over) after it matures.

    If it won't lodge, you are better off to flood it above the heads during the season. In my experience, duck use of standing rice at commercial densities is poor if the heads remain above the water, plus the blackbirds will get most of it. I have started sowing my rice in the deeper parts of my impoundments (most are far from level) with native vegetation in the remaining areas. The ducks don't care how deep the water is if they can reach the rice heads.

    Like Porter said, leave some unplanted areas that can be manipulated for landing zones. I have gone to strip planting instead of sowing large unbroken blocks.

    Be conscious of the fact that your rice may not make if you can't irrigate it. Hot dry weather during pollination and maturation can cause a lot of blanking. If that happens, you will be glad that you did not try to control grass competition. Just because you can't irrigate or reliably control a flood during growing season doesn't mean you can't grow rice, it just makes the outcome more uncertain.

    Rice is the only grain crop that I have found that both deer, turkey, and raccoons won't bother. This makes it my choice above corn, japanese millet, etc. Even if it doesn't produce a super high yield, I usually get a good crop of barnyard grass and fall panicum along with it.

    Good luck!
     
  6. 4scout

    4scout Refuge Member

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    Thanks hhpage! I'll try to plant earlier this year and follow these suggestions. What is a good herbicide to spray before planting to get a good burndown...been using generic roundup and 2-4d amine. Prefer to spray something that may last longer to control weeds if possible. Also, what can be sprayed on the rice and at what stage in the growing season to control broadleaves...2-4d amine? When is a good time to try and flood or flush the rice ...about 1 month after planting? Is there a minimum time to hold water on the field? Since the field is not completely level, how deep can the water level be in order not to kill it since some parts of the field will be deeper than others. Thanks for the help.
     
  7. hhpage

    hhpage Senior Refuge Member

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    I don't use a burndown herbicide since I typically disc before I plant and I use a seeder (poor man's drill) to sow with. The herbicides that you mentioned tend to do a good job. As to post-emergence herbicide, I have used Aim and 2,4D amine with good results, but this year I plan to use Storm herbicide for broadleaf control. It avoids the volatility issues inherent to 2,4D and is also labeled for soybeans, which is my primary off target damage concern.

    If you flood at the proper time, you won't have much need for long-term residual broadleaf control. Initial flooding is supposed to coincide with the rice attaining the 5-leaf stage (about 6-8" tall); it's better to be a little late with the flood than too early. You can flush immediately after planting to increase germination, but I have never needed to do that. Too wet is usually my issue in the spring.

    I try to spray for broadleaves immediately prior to flooding. That is also the recommended timing for top dress application of nitrogen if it is not incorporated preplant. Your flood should never overtop the rice plant; too shallow is much better than too deep. Rice does not have to be flooded to grow well, but weeds are less of a problem if a constant flood is maintained. I like to flood to 3-5" and then let nature take it's course from there unless it gets way too dry or way too wet (my flashboards control the maximum depth). I also have impoundments where it is not practical to flood irrigate (too much topography); I grow "dry land" rice in them. It works, but it is not as reliable due to increased weed competition and increased moisture stress during seedhead maturation. In these areas I sow the rice in the lowest and wettest parts of the pond.
     
  8. 4scout

    4scout Refuge Member

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    Thanks again! Have you found any certain type of rice grows better than others?

    Now I have a game plan...just need mother nature to cooperate.
     
  9. hhpage

    hhpage Senior Refuge Member

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    I buy whatever rice variety the local co-op has available in bags. if I had my choice, I would either go with one of the older cultivars that have withstood the test of time and shown themselves to be well adapted to a wide range of soil types or a newer cultivar that scores poorly in lodging (more likely to lodge). Because I live in the heart of commercial rice production, most any cultivar I end up with will work for duck plantings.
     
  10. 4scout

    4scout Refuge Member

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    I buy whatever my local Co-Op can get in too...thanks and good luck this year!
     

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