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Arkansas Rice Update 8-29-14
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

August 29, 2014                         No. 2014-25

Dr. Jarrod Hardke & Dr. Gus Lorenz

Crop Progress

Progress!  Rain chances throughout the week largely failed to materialize.  With the rain skipping out, many more combines have hit the fields, at least in the Grand Prairie.  Plenty of other fields are nearing that time, but the high humidity and heavy dew each morning still seem to be keeping grain moisture elevated.  The next two weeks should see a significant jump in harvested acreage (favorable weather permitting).

Labor Day weekend may be less labor and more weekend.  Rain chances are forecast for the next few days starting tonight, with three day total rainfall forecast at 1-2” for the whole state.  Next week looks warm and breezy which will hopefully dry fields out to allow combines in the field earlier in the day.  Overnight lows should stay down enough to ease any stress on grain that’s still filling.

It seems like everything is going to be ready for harvest at the same time.  To varying degrees, corn, rice, and soybeans are ready for harvest.  Some difficult choices will need to be made to decide what order to harvest.

Table 1.  Percent of rice acres set to reach harvest moisture during listed weeks of 2014 according to DD50 enrollment.

2014-25 Table 1

So far the few yield numbers reported are very good, ranging anywhere from 170-230 bu/acre and test weights of 46-47 lbs/bu.  I’m hoping to start hearing even better numbers actually, because a lot of the early-planted rice has not behaved like early rice this season.  It was put through a gauntlet of difficult weather for a month and a half and nitrogen fertilization timing was a serious issue.  I won’t be surprised if some mid-April to early May rice out-yields it (against conventional wisdom).


Out Standing in Your Field

Picture 1.  Afternoon harvest progress.

Picture 1. Afternoon harvest progress.


As mentioned before, rice stink bug numbers have been on the decline.  Some later heading fields do appear to be hitting treatment threshold though.  Continue to scout and don’t let them sneak up on you.



Drain timing is a never-ending topic of conversation this time of year.  And it should be.  It’s not an easy call and probably is the result of more gray hairs than many would care to admit.

Picture 2 is an example of maturity progress that can be used as a guide when deciding on drain timing.  At left – nearly all kernels are straw-colored and the field would be well past the safe point to drain.  At center – nearly 2/3 of kernels are straw-colored and would be safe to drain on a silt loam soil.  At right – 1/3 of kernels are straw-colored and would be too early to drain on a silt loam soil.  The panicles at right are just short of or approaching the point where it would be safe to drain on a clay soil.

Picture 2.  Rice panicles at varying maturity levels described by percent straw color: (L) 100%, (C) 67%, and (R) 33%.

Picture 2. Rice panicles at varying maturity levels described by percent straw color:
(L) 100%, (C) 67%, and (R) 33%.

If you combine this information with the general draining guidelines of 50% heading + 25 days for long-grains and 50% heading + 30 days for medium-grains, you should be more comfortable (and safer) in your decision-making process for draining.


Picture 3.  Lined up, ready, and waiting for it to dry off to start again.

Picture 3. Lined up, ready, and waiting for it to dry off to start again.


Additional Information

Arkansas Rice Updates are published periodically to provide timely information and recommendations for rice production in Arkansas.  If you would like to be added to this email list, please send your request to

This information will also be posted to the Arkansas Row Crops where additional information from Extension specialists can be found.  Please visit the blog at


We sincerely appreciate the support for this publication provided by the rice farmers of Arkansas and administered by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board.

The authors greatly appreciate the feedback and contributions of all growers, county agents, consultants, and rice industry stakeholders.

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