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Arkansas Rice Update 7-2-15
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

July 2, 2015                                No. 2015-19

Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Dr. Yeshi Wamishe, and Scott Stiles

Crop Progress

Continued favorable weather conditions over the past week look to give way to a rainy 4th of July weekend.  Must of the state is expected to receive heavy to scattered showers Friday through Monday.  This will hopefully give some irrigation efforts a break and allow everyone to enjoy the holiday a little more.

After this round of weather, sunny skies and temperatures in the 90s are set to return.  This should help to keep the majority of the crop on track for heading in our traditional window – mid-July.  Hopefully temperatures will remain out of the extremes during that time, especially at night.

The big story of this past week was the release of USDA’s acreage report.  Full details can be found later in the report, but Arkansas acreage is predicted to be 1.391 million total acres with 240,000 of that in medium-grain.  This represents a 6% decline in total acreage with a slight increase in medium-grain acreage.

According to DD50 enrollment, the majority of the crop is past midseason.  Also included for reference are the projected dates for 50% heading (Table 1) with the earliest fields already there before the 4th of July.

2015-19 Table 1 50 heading

Scouting and Field Diagnosis of Rice Blast Disease

Leaf blast can be difficult to properly identify in the field without previous experience with the disease.  Leaf blast mostly occurs between seedling and tillering stages of the crop.  Initial symptoms start as small grayish or bluish spots (Figures 1 & 2)

Fig. 1.  Grayish or bluish early blast lesions.

2015-19 Fig 1 Blast

Fig. 2.  Grayish or bluish early blast lesions.

2015-19 Fig 2 Blast

As the disease progresses darker-reddish border with whitish center show (Figure 3).  At this stage, the spots can often be confused with brown spot (Figure 4) or herbicides such as Gramoxone (paraquat) (Figure 5) damage.

Older lesions turn into spindle shape (diamond-shape or lens-shape) with white-grey center surrounded with a red-brown margin; i.e. wide center with pointed ends (Figure 6).

Favorable conditions allow multiple infections and lesions to join (coalesce) producing bigger lesions (Figure 7).

Fig. 3.  Darker reddish-border blast lesions with whitish centers.

2015-19 Fig 3 Blast

Fig. 4.  Brown spot lesions that are often confused with blast lesions.

2015-19 Fig 4 Brown Spot

Fig. 5.  Paraquat drift lesions that are often confused with blast lesions.

2015-19 Fig 5 Gramoxone Drift

Fig. 6.  Older blast lesions with diamond or spindle shape.

2015-19 Fig 6 Blast

Fig. 7.  Blast lesions joining to produce bigger lesions.

2015-19 Fig 7 Blast

Light yellowish outside with reddish inner border may be seen as in Figure 3 as lesions develop.  Severe leaf blast results in severe leaf burn and death of rice seedlings (Figure 8).

Early leaf blast is best detected on the lower leaves (Figure 9).

Fig. 8.  Severe leaf blast resulting in leaf burn and plant death.

2015-19 Fig 8 Blast

Fig. 9.  Early leaf blast on lower leaves.

2015-19 Fig 9 Blast

Fig. 10.  Counties and cultivars reporting leaf blast to date (7/2/15).

2015-19 Fig 10 Blast Report Map

Weekly Market Summary

Rice futures traded this week at the highest levels since early May.  Sharp higher trade in the entire grain complex and confirmation of lower rice acreage provided fuel for very strong gains Tuesday and follow-through gains on Wednesday.  The Chicago Mercantile Exchange closes at noon Thursday (7/2) and will re-open Sunday night.  September rice futures are higher Thursday morning ahead of the early close.

CBOT Rough Rice futures settlements ($/cwt)

2015-19 Rough Rice Futures Settlements

Note: Commodity markets are closed Friday July 3 in observance of the July 4th holiday.

CBOT September 2015 Rough Rice daily futures

2015-19 CBOT Rough Rice Futures

In a news release Tuesday, Iraq is still considering a recent tender to purchase at least 30,000 tons of rice from the U.S., Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and India.  The tenders closed on June 28.  India was the low bidder at $431.50/ton.  The U.S. bid was $589.50.  All other bids were above $600/ton.

Iraq Considering Tender to Purchase 30,000 Tons of Rice

The U.S. and Cuba have agreed to open embassies in each other’s capitals.  The agreement was reached on Wednesday.  Embassies could be opened on July 20 or later.

U.S., Cuba restoring diplomatic ties after 54 years

USDA Reports

Monday:  Crop Progress

For the week ending June 28, U.S. rice condition ratings held steady at 68% good-to-excellent, compared to 69% a year ago for the same week.  Crop conditions improved week-to-week in Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi, but declined 10 points in Louisiana.  Overall, U.S. crop conditions are equal to the five (5) year average for this point in the growing season.

2015-19 Rice condition

Tuesday:  USDA Acreage and Rice Stocks


USDA’s “all rice” acreage estimate of 2.767 million was well below the March 31 Prospective Plantings estimate of 2.915 million.  Compared to 2014, total rice acreage is down 172,000 acres or 6 percent.  Most in the trade were anticipating 5 to 10% year-over-year reduction especially given this year’s planting delays.

Tuesday’s Acreage report revealed the difficulties of getting this year’s crop planted.  Long-grain acreage was cut by 124,000 acres to 2.073 million compared to 2.197 million in the March 31 intentions.  Arkansas accounted for most of the March to June reduction, dropping 70,000 acres.  Mississippi cut back 30,000 acres and Missouri and Louisiana 10,000 acres each.

U.S. Rice Planted Acreage

2015-19 US Rice Planted Acreage

Arkansas’ long-grain acreage estimate came in at 1.150 million; down 120,000 or 9.4% from last year.  Medium-grain acreage was estimated to be the highest since 2011 at 240,000 acres.  The June 30 medium-grain acreage estimate was 20,000 acres above the March 31 grower intentions.

Arkansas Rice Planted Acreage.

2015-19 AR Rice Planted Acreage


Rice Stocks

The report confirmed what most in the trade already knew:  growers were holding significant amounts of 2014 crop on-farm.  As of June 1, Arkansas growers were estimated to be holding 6.4 million hundredweight (cwt) on-farm, compared to 2.85 million a year ago.  This is the highest level of June 1 rice stocks held on-farm since 2011.  Arkansas rice stocks held in “all positions” (on-farm and off-farm) were estimated at 38.787 million cwt compared to 23.965 million last year.  The estimate of U.S. rice stocks held in “all positions” as of June 1 was 71.340 million cwt.

Thursday:  Export Sales

Old crop (2014) net sales and shipments of both long-grain rough and milled rice were lower for the week of June 25.  There was a new crop rough rice sale of 800 metric tons (MT) to “unknown”, bringing total new crop sales to 16,800 MT.  One new crop long-grain milled rice sales of 3,184 MT to Canada was reported.  Total new crop milled rice sales are now 4,504 MT.


The energy markets have been trading lower this week and crude oil and diesel are both near the bottom of some long-term trading ranges.  From a fundamental perspective, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported this week that distillate supplies (includes diesel) rose by 263,000 barrels.  Also negative to the market was news that OPEC production hit a three-year high.  Iraq’s oil production is now at an all-time high.

NYMEX Crude Oil daily futures

2015-19 Crude Oil Daily Futures


Crude oil has been in a $6 dollar trading range between $56.51 and $62.58 since May 1.  Trading is now very near the lower end of this long-standing price range (at Wednesday’s close, August Crude traded at $56.96.  August Diesel futures closed at $1.8393).  From a technical standpoint, Crude needs to close below $56.51 to build any downside momentum.  If prices can close below this key support level, the next downside objective could be $54.73.  A break lower in crude oil out of its’ trading range will put downward pressure on diesel prices.

Energies Futures Prices

Upcoming USDA reports:

July 10 (11:00 a.m. central):

  • Crop Production
  • Supply/Demand (WASDE)

NASS Crop Progress is released each Monday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. central.

USDA-NASS reports

FAS Export Sales are released each Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. central.

USDA-FAS Export Sales

USDA-FSA information on projected 2014 PLC payment rates is available at this link:

ARC/PLC Program Data


DD50 image

The DD50 program can be accessed at  It has now been improved for use on both your computer and your mobile devices.


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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