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Arkansas Rice Update 9-19-14
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

September 19, 2014                   No. 2014-28

Dr. Jarrod Hardke

Crop Progress

This may be (?) the last weekly rice update of the year.  Additional updates may be published if needed.

The state is somewhere around 40% through rice harvest at this point.  The only thing there is to say about yields is that they’ve been consistently inconsistent.  Fields drying 130 – heard that.  Fields drying 280 – heard that too.  As much work and preparation go into a rice crop, luck (both good and bad) may be more responsible for this crop than any in recent memory.  Some might say if it weren’t for bad luck they didn’t have any luck at all this year.

The most difficult thing to hear, and I’ve heard it very frequently, is that a field looked beautiful all year long.  Until the combine hit it that is.  In most cases people are looking for reduced tillers (tillers seem to be there) or excessive blanking (generally no more than usual).  What I see in some of these situations is a reduced number of grain positions on panicles (Picture 1).  Basically, the heads are there but the rice isn’t.  Now that’s not every case – I’ve been in some fields that looked beautiful, but the number of panicles didn’t seem very dense.  Given how sporadic the yields are, it should be no surprise that the possible reasons for those yields is also sporadic (reduced number of tillers, reduced number of grains per panicle, pollination issues, etc.).

The weather wasn’t kind all year long.  We struggled to get rice planted due to the rain.  Then we struggled to get it moving due to the cool temperatures and more rain.  Then the wind and rain made it impossible at times to fertilize and flood properly or timely.  Then we had record low temperatures, clouds, and rain during boot and heading.  The general consensus is nobody can remember a year quite like this one and they don’t want to see another one like it.

Picture 1.  Increased number of kernels on the left panicle compared to the right.

Picture 1. Increased number of kernels on the left panicle compared to the right.

Revised FSA Rice Acreage Report Released September 16

Table 1 shows a summary of the rice acreage information released in the revised report.  Rice acres are listed by county – long-grain, medium-grain, and total county acreage.

Total rice acreage for the state is reported at 1,456,531 acres (up from 1.37 million in the August report).  Of that 1.46 million acres, 1,246,000 (86%) is long-grain and 210,531 (14%) is medium-grain.

This brings rice acreage numbers more in line with previous USDA estimates (March:  1.521 million acres; August:  1.565 million acres).  1.46 million acres is the most planted rice acres in Arkansas since 2010 (1.78 million acres).  Final FSA acreage numbers will be released in January.

Table 1.  2014 FSA rice acres, Sept. 16, 2014.

2014-28 Table 1

Blackbird problems?

If you’re experiencing problems with blackbirds on any of your fields, let me know.  I would like to try to do some work in fields with serious problems to see if we can limit the damage.

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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