UC Cooperative Extension is conducting a survey of rice diseases this fall. The objective of the survey is to document the incidence of rice diseases in Sacramento Valley rice fields so that the Air Resources Board agrees to continue to allow the rice industry to burn up to 25% of the acreage. Every five years, the Board has to re-approve the straw burning program. One of the reasons for letting growers still burn is disease control. Therefore, it is important to show that diseases are still present in rice fields.
A crew of four to five will be stopping in random fields in the major rice producing counties and inspecting for the presence of diseases in 30 sites in each field. We will look for stem rot, aggregate sheath spot, kernel smut, and blast. The precise location of each field won't be disclosed, only the general location and County. So far, we have inspected 10 fields in Butte County, and have found very low levels of blast and kernel smut. Stem rot and aggregate sheath spot are more variable; we have found fields with very little of these diseases and fields with a lot.