New Type of Watergrass Challenges Rice Growers
California rice producers have always had to battle watergrass in their fields, but there appears to be a new type of watergrass that is resistant to many of our commonly-used herbicides. Whitney Brim-DeForest is a UC Cooperative Extension rice advisor who, along with her colleague Luis Espino, is trying to identify this weed and it’s potential control strategies.
Brim-DeForest… “Watergrass is really competitive against rice, all the different species. So this particular one seems to get going very early in the season and once they can't kill it with herbicides at the beginning of the season, it just sort of overtakes the rice. So, yes, some of the fields have been very severely impacted yield-wise.”
Brim-DeForest and Espino are taking steps to better understand the weed this growing season.
Brim-DeForest… “In spite of, you know, working with some folks to try to get it ID'ed, we haven't been able to. So we're running a big experiment this year, we just started. Where we're actually going to be measuring a bunch of different traits. How tall the plants are, how many tillers they have, what the seeds look like, what colors the different parts of the plants are. And then we're going to hopefully be able to, from there, kind of start to work backwards, to figure out what we've got.”
If you suspect you have this weed in your rice field, please contact rice advisors Whitney Brim-DeForest and Luis Espino.