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Arkansas Rice Update 5-15-15
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

May 15, 2015                             No. 2015-12

Dr. Jarrod Hardke and Dr. Gus Lorenz

Planting Progress

More rain the forecast for an already wet year.  While we were getting in desperate need of the rainfall we received last weekend, it looks like we’re in line to receive more spread across the next several days about the time we were drying out to get back in the field.

Warm temperatures and scattered rain over the weekend should be great conditions for the crop already in the ground – which is most of it.  However, we still have about 15% of the crop left to plant.  Over the next 7-10 days if wet conditions continue, that percent planted acreage will likely increase without a rice seed hitting the ground.  Two main reasons – the lateness leading acres to shift to soybeans and the approaching May 25 date for prevented planting.

The last few years it feels like we spend a lot of time ‘making the best of a bad situation’ and I get tired of using that line.  Prices this year make things less favorable.  Remember, we want to maximize yield but don’t waste trips across the field.

More overall planting progress info in Figure 1.  The increase to 86% planted puts us right in the center of progress for recent years, behind only 2012, 2010, and 2007.  With that we’ve managed to plant 50% of the rice crop in roughly two weeks.  Incredible progress, but everyone wishes it had happened two weeks earlier.  Increases to the planted acreage estimate on Monday will likely be confined to the easternmost counties along the Mississippi River that received far lower rainfall amounts compared to the rest of the state.

Figure 1.  Rice planting progress, 2007-2015.

2015-12 Figure 1 Planting Progress

Grape Colaspis Causing Damage

Seedling rice without an insecticide seed treatment can be bad news on lighter soils.  Picture 1 was taken at the Rice Research & Extension Center in research plots.  The “bean row effect” from grape colaspis is devastating – these were yield plots that are now a scratch.  This year some may have elected to skip out on seed treatments to save money with rice prices being what they are.  Unfortunately if you have grape colaspis injury there is little you can do once you observe the problem.  We can only hope that this is an isolated case and most production fields are spared – but that may be asking too much.

To add insult to injury, or injury to injury in this case, rice water weevil adults are usually attracted to thin stands – meaning that fields affected by grape colaspis may also be at greater risk for rice water weevil injury.  Scouting will be key for rice water weevil in situations where our time to flood gets really extended and we may not be able to depend on seed treatments for adequate control.  In those situations you may need to treat for the adults to minimize injury – consult the MP-144 and the Arkansas Rice Production Handbook for guidelines on managing rice water weevil.

Picture 1.  “Bean row effect” caused by grape colaspis.

2015-12 Picture 1 Bean row effect


Stand Establishment Erratic at Best

Calls over the past few weeks about thin stands have been plentiful.  Regardless of cultivar or seeding rate, most had much thinner stands from rice planted early- to mid-April than we normally see.  Most of the questions were about whether there were enough plants to keep the field or replant.  Those questions are best handled on a case-by-case basis, but remember that the calendar and the weather come into play at this point.  The answer you would get about a replant is not the same right now in mid-May as it would be in mid-April.

There has been some upside lately – more plants are emerging in many of the fields with weak stands.  For example, some fields planted to varieties have gone from 5-8 plants/ft2 up to 9-12 plants/ft2, and hybrid fields from 2 plants/ft2 up to 4-5 plants/ft2.

It’s not all good news though.  Some fields are beginning to look like Picture 2.  Here we have plants at all stages of development from just emerging to tillering rice.  Fields like this will not be fun and management decisions will be difficult all season long.  Decisions will need to be based on the majority of plants present in the field, hopefully the larger plants, and if we’re lucky the smaller plants won’t act like weeds but will actually catch up and produce.

Picture 2.  Wide range of rice growth stages in same field.

2015-12 Picture 2 Plant stand range


Upcoming Webinar Next Friday

On Friday, May 22nd at 1:30 PM there will be a Food and Agribusiness Webinar hosted by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.  The topic is 2015/16 U.S. and Global Rice Outlook with Nathan Childs, Agricultural Economist, USDA Economic Research Service.  On the webinar panel will be Bobby Coats, Professor, UofA Division of Agriculture; Tony Franco, Arkansas FSA Chief, Farm Program Division; Anita Wilson, Arkansas FSA State Agricultural Program Specialist; Brandy Carroll, Assistant Director, Commodity Activities and Market Information with Arkansas Farm Bureau; and Forrest Laws, Content Director at Farm Press, Penton Agriculture.

Webinar registration:


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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 blog ( where additional information from Extension specialists can be found.

More information on rice production, including access to all publications and reports, can be found 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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