Crawfish Rotation Alters Weed Worries

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Luke Bourgeois

Economics favor a crawfish rotation for southern Louisiana rice growers, but with reward comes potential risk.

Rotating crawfish with rice production can alter a field’s weed spectrum as well as its water and soil chemistry. On the other hand, rice producers who rotate to crawfish may see less disease pressure than with a soybean rotation.

“It’s a matter of economics. Crawfish is much more profitable than beans in southwest Louisiana,” says Luke Bourgeois, sales representative for Helena Agri-Enterprises in Morse, Louisiana.

Many southern Louisiana crop fields are set up for flood irrigation, which Bourgeois says favors a rice-crawfish rotation over a rice-soybean rotation.

While some growers in the region do rotate from rice to soybeans and a few double-crop rice and crawfish, many more rotate from rice to crawfish.

No matter which rotational program a grower adopts, crawfish production often changes a field’s weed spectrum.

“After crawfish, you’ll see less grass, but a lot more aquatic weeds in rice, including water lilies, ducksalad and alligatorweed,” Bourgeois says. “Loyant is perfect for the weed spectrum.”

For growers who are in a back-to-back crawfish production system, Bourgeois recommends spraying Loyant® herbicide in mid-summer once ponds are drained and prior to planting green rice for crawfish.

“Most growers will spray Loyant on green rice fields, especially for water lilies because they can get so bad,” Bourgeois says.

In addition to aquatic weeds, sedges can be problematic in rice grown after crawfish.

“There’s so much sedge after crawfish,” Bourgeois says. “While there is likely sedge in every field, with or without crawfish production, you definitely need to put something in the tank for sedges after a crawfish rotation.”

Because the soil is under anaerobic conditions much of the year, crawfish production can also alter soil structure and pH levels. There is also less disease pressure after crawfish than following soybean production.

Loyant® is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Always read and follow label directions.