Robb Dedman, owner of Ultimate Ag Consulting in Rison, Arkansas, is the inaugural winner of the Rice Consultant of the Year award. Sponsored by Corteva Agriscience and Rice Farming magazine, the award recognizes dedication, leadership and innovation.
“It was a great honor, especially to be the chosen as the first person to receive this award,” Dedman says. “There are a lot of qualified consultants out there.”
The award was presented at a special recognition reception this March at The Peabody Hotel before the 2018 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show in Memphis.
Dedman takes a holistic approach to consulting, working with growers year-round to help them make the most of their operations.
To stay current on industry trends, he takes advantage of learning opportunities available to consultants. Dedman attends field days, takes continuing education courses and is active in the USA Rice Federation.
“You need to know basic agronomics to grow rice. That part is relatively easy,” Dedman says. “But to be good, you need to be active. Be aware of all aspects of rice from chemical rotations to governmental issues that will affect the rice industry.”
Dedman says the biggest challenges he and his colleagues face today are managing a wide spectrum of weeds and battling herbicide resistance. He believes Loyant® herbicide will be a game-changer for weed control in the rice industry.
“We did a 5-acre Loyant trial last year on a field that was a mess of resistant barnyardgrass, resistant sedges and broadleaves,” Dedman says. “We applied Loyant, and in about seven days, it was clean. We walked out in the field, and there was nothing but dead weeds hanging from our boots.”
Sustainability is a priority for Dedman, who works to reduce water and nitrogen use in rice.
“The rice industry has been working on sustainability for several years,” he says. “We use less water, fewer products, less fertilizer and are easier on the environment.”
Dedman focuses on good stewardship of herbicide technologies and the land.
“We are fortunate anytime we get a new product like Loyant because it may help us to reduce the number of chemicals we have to use and have a cleaner crop,” he says. “Propanil came to the market in 1961, and we are still using it today. If we are fortunate enough to keep Loyant around for 57 years like we did propanil, then we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”