Many things happen to the rice plant once the field goes to a continuous flood. Farmers monitor the rice to make sure it is growing and progressing as it should.
Once rice reaches the four-leaf stage of development, the flood is established. Rice will begin active tillering in the vegetative stage of development. Roots of the plant will begin to grow vertically and laterally creating a sturdy base.
New leaves will emerge rapidly, and the rice will seem like it grows visibly taller and larger every day.
While visible changes can be noted on the outside, the inside of the rice plant is working hard to begin the reproductive phase of development.
Panicle initiation, also known as rice kernel development, begins at the roots system. “A thin, green band forms just above the top node and represents the very beginning of internode elongation.”[i]
The panicle of rice kernels will move up the culm, or stem, as the internodes elongate.
The internodes and panicle are visible if the rice plant is vertically split in half. Can you see the tiny rice kernels beginning to form?
Check back each week as the rice grows to see more From Riceland Farms.
[i] Karen Moldenhauer, Charles E. Wilson, Jr., Paul Counce and Jarrod Hardke, “Rice Growth and Development,” Arkansas Rice Production Handbook (2012): 16.