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Rice Update for the week of June 13, 2012
Author: Rick Cartwright, Associate Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources-Cooperative Extension Service

The Rice Update is a weekly summary of what’s happening and what to look for in rice production, based on interviews and submissions of rice experts in Arkansas and the Mid-South.

Weather:  Highs in the upper 80s to low 90s the next 10 days; lows in the 60s to low 70s.  Chances of rain vary from 0 – 40% but scattered showers are the primary hope.  We are starting to get the impression that it is summer.


Dr. Chuck Wilson, Director of the Rice Research and Extension Center and Rice Agronomist, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture:

The rain the past couple of days has helped overall, especially with pumping costs in the face of all our other early planted crops needing irrigation at the same time we have been establishing and maintaining permanent flood on rice.

We have a few reports of phosphorus and potassium deficiencies showing up on the typical soils where they historically occur or in some cases, where mistakes were made during application and the fertilization did not get applied.  Soil testing and proper fertilization remains a good concept.

A few salt problems have developed in east central Arkansas where the well water has high EC readings, with levels of about 1800 (1200 is a threshold level we use to determine if salt potential is getting too high) in at least one case we examined.

Our Clearfield rice crop looks really good and has not slowed down during this spring.  With all the Newpath carryover and drift, the same cannot be said of the non-Clearfield rice crop.  While the conventional varieties are getting blamed for poor growth and development, one only needs to go to an area where these same varieties are not in rotation with Clearfield rice, or next to Clearfield rice fields, to see what they are supposed to look like in the absence of herbicide injury.

USDA surveys suggest about 65% of the rice crop in Arkansas looks good to excellent while the other 35% is average.  It is interesting that we have about 60% Clearfield rice according to our DD50 enrolled acreage.

Dr. Bob Scott, Professor and UA Division of Agriculture Extension Weed Scientist:

We are currently making later season post-flood applications to touch up rice fields and clean up weed escapes.

IMPORTANT!  Remember that rice can be very sensitive to certain post-flood herbicides at later growth stages so it is very important to pay attention to the label and what it says about application cut-off timing.  2,4-D and Regiment have definite cut-off timings, for example.  Beyond has a cut-off timing of 14 days post-panicle initiation (green ring) for Clearfield non-hybrid varieties and PI (green ring) for Clearfield hybrids.  Follow the label.  Always check the rice fields physically to make sure they agree with the DD50 printout; do not assume as you know what happens when you do.

We are seeing a lot of Clincher and Grasp being applied to clean up later escapes as well.

Many herbicides have a pre-harvest interval or PHI, rather than growth stage cut-off timing.  For example, Strada and Permit Plus are used for northern jointvetch control under certain conditions, and they both have an extended PHI so read and follow the label.

We are finally getting a flood on the conventional rice fields injured by Newpath carryover and/or in many cases, Newpath drift. Carryover from 2010 seems to be a bigger issue than we had thought and in these fields, the conventional rice has really been held back for an extended period.  This is a big concern to us since label directions on rates and rotation interval were followed.  We are not sure why this is happening this year when we have not noticed it before.

Overall, this has been an exceptional year for crop injury.

Dr. Yeshi Wamishe, Assistant Professor and UA Division of Agriculture Extension Plant Pathologist:

Sheath blight is more active the past few days; scouting should also be active.  Be aware that in years where the crop has been planted early and ½ inch IE occurs in mid June, sheath blight is usually worse.  Stay alert and remember that this disease can sneak up on some of the semidwarf long grain varieties early and this damage cannot be reversed.  Examples would be CL 111, Cheniere, CL 151 and a few others.  Taller varieties tend to outgrow sheath blight for a time so they usually can be scouted and treated a bit later than the semidwarfs.  Stem rot should also be looked for shortly after midseason in fields with low soil potassium levels – don’t get surprised later.

Scott Stiles, Extension Instructor and Economist


Gulf urea prices continue trending lower with barge prices averaging $490 per ton by the end of last week.  For the first time since February 24, spot barge prices are trading below $500.  The downtrend looks to remain intact through mid-summer.  Local retail prices continue to slide as well with some suppliers now reporting prices just below $700 per ton.


Heating oil futures hit bottom last Monday (6/4), only to gain about 4 cents last week by Friday.  The energy markets found support from a bailout package for Spain, a reversal lower in the U.S. Dollar, failed nuclear talks with Iran, and strong Chinese crude oil imports last month. OPEC meets this week.  July heating oil futures has resistance in the range of $2.71 to $2.73.


After strong gains on Wednesday and Thursday, September rice closed lower for the fourth consecutive week, settling at $14.295.  Mid-week, rice followed soybeans, corn, and cotton higher.  However, with no bullish news and a bounce higher in the U.S. Dollar, profit-taking ruled on Friday.  Of particular interest last week, November Soybeans reversed course and gained nearly 75 cents to settle at $13.32.  September corn finished 36 cents higher, closing at $5.51.  December cotton was 2 cents higher settling at 69.88.

For the time being, traders are focused on ample world rice supplies and slow export demand ahead of the next inflow of rice that will come from Vietnam and Thailand.  However, 2012/13 U.S. rice supplies are projected to tighten given this year’s lower acreage.  Furthermore, USDA lowered its rating of the U.S. rice crop last Monday by 4 percentage points to 65 percent “good” or “excellent”.  As yield potential becomes clearer, futures could move higher.  September rice has chart support at $14 and major resistance at $16.

USDA will release its next monthly supply/demand and Crop Production reports on Tuesday June 12.  Little change is expected in the U.S. old and new crop rice balance sheets from the May report.  USDA will not adjust U.S. rice production this month.  Any changes made would likely be in the import or export forecasts.

Of note, this is the first month that CME futures will be trading during the release of these USDA reports.   As a reminder, an electronic trading session begins at 5:00 p.m. (CDT) and closes at 2:00 p.m. the following day.  On key USDA report days (such as supply/demand), the open outcry or “pit” trading will open earlier than normal at 7:20 a.m. (CDT).

Last Friday the CME announced that it had requested regulatory approval for the open outcry session to be extended from its current 1:15 p.m. (CDT) close until 2:00 p.m. to coincide with the end of the electronic session. If approved, the change would go into effect on June 25.

Northeast Arkansas – Johnny Wheetley, Rice Consultant:

Overall our rice is looking better, although we are now seeing nitrogen streaks and other typical discolorations for the midseason time frame.  Sheath blight is just getting started.  A few fields have turned a bit yellow prior to the midseason N applications we are now making.  We have to keep a close eye on P and K needs of our “white dirt” fields as any mistakes result in deficiency symptoms.  We have observed a bit of salt injury on some of our traditional rice fields as well and have been had a few “grass surprises” in a few fields.

Rick Thompson, Rice Consultant, Poinsett County:

Some of our early fields are at 2 inch internode elongation.  My DD50 report seems to be 4-7 days behind at present, but we had a lot of trouble with emergence date that was turned in because of the rice coming up at different times so we are adjusting accordingly.

We have had some reports of leaf tips turning color already mostly on the gumbo soils.

Ron Baker, County Extension Agent – Clay County:

Our rice crop is looking better and the thin stands earlier have mostly filled in over time.  Nothing major is going wrong at present.  We are starting to actively scout for sheath blight and continue to hunt down and destroy all the pigweeds on levees and around rice fields as we battle this problem on all crops.  The recent rain has helped tremendously on our young soybeans.

East-Central Arkansas – Brent Griffin, County Extension Agent Prairie County:

Most of our fields are at midseason and we have observed a little sheath blight here and there.  We also have the typical grass escapes that we are dealing with.  Clearfield rice fields still look the best and the cleanest in our county.  We seem to have earlier discoloration of rice prior to midseason for unknown reasons.  We appear to have good crop potential still.

Please direct all questions and concerns about the statements in the Rice Update to Dr. Rick Cartwright, who can be contacted at .


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