In the southern U.S. rice belt it is recommended that rice (Oryza sativa L.) grown in the dry-seeded, delayed flood cultural system have the preflood N fertilizer applied and the field flooded at the fourth to fifth leaf stage of plant development. The objective of this field study was to determine if delaying the flood and preflood N application past the fifth leaf stage was detrimental to rice total N and fertilizer15N uptake, total dry matter, and grain yield. This study was conducted on a Crowley silt loam (Typic Albaqualfs) and a Perry clay (Vertic Haplaquepts). The preflood N fertilizer and flood were delayed 0, 7, 14, or 21 d past the fourth to fifth leaf stage, after which time a permanent flood was established and maintained until maturity. All treatments received 20.5 g N m−2 as15N-labeled urea in three topdress applications. All plant and soil samples were taken at maturity. Harvest index increased as the preflood N and flood were delayed past the 4 to 5 leaf stage. Total N in the grain + straw either decreased or showed a decreasing trend as the N and flood were delayed. Similarly, uptake of native soil N decreased as flood was delayed. Conversely, percent recovery of fertilizer N in the rice plant and the plant-soil system increased as the preflood N and flood were delayed. Rice grain yield was not significantly affected by delaying the preflood N and flood up to 21 d.