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Arkansas Rice Update 8-21-15
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

August 21, 2015                         No. 2015-25

Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Dr. Gus Lorenz, Scott Stiles, & Dr. Yeshi Wamishe

Crop Overview

Harvest continues to pick up speed in the southern half of the state.  Unfortunately yield reports have yet to pick up along with it.  The general consensus seems to be that yield numbers are running in the neighborhood of 10% off from previous years.  Occasional exceptional fields are out there, but they’re by far the exception, not the rule.

The other potential downside that remains to be seen is chalk – caused that period of high nighttime temperatures mostly experienced in the southern half of the state.  North of I-40 only a few fields have been cut and those numbers sounded much closer to performance from recent years and may have fewer quality issues due to missing out on some of the high temps.

Rain chances this weekend give way to mild temps next week.  This will likely slow crop maturity and grain drying in the field depending on humidity.  Conditions favorable for disease.

The initial August FSA acreage report was released this week (Table 1).  So far it shows that almost 1.29 million acres are enrolled (the number will likely increase each month until the numbers are finalized in January).  So we could still get close to the 1.39 million acre prediction from July.  The most notable takeaway was 267,000 acres listed as prevented planting.

According to DD50 enrollment, 36% of fields have reached harvest moisture (20%) (Table 2).  Rainfall this past week likely returned some moisture to fields drying down rapidly, but the dry air that moved in behind it may reverse that quickly.

2015-25 Table 1 FSA Crop Acreage

2015-25 Table 2 Harvest


Harvest Aids

With a lot of green foliage remaining in fields, a number of growers have already used harvest aids to improve desiccation and make harvest easier.  Sodium chlorate is a useful tool – used correctly it’s very beneficial, used incorrectly and it causes more problems than it solves.

Sodium chlorate should only be applied once grain moisture is below 25% and do not apply if grain moisture is below 18%.  After application the foliage begins to dry down and so do the grains.  In just a few days you can lose up to 5% grain moisture – so plan to harvest no later than 4-7 days after application.  DO NOT apply prior to rainy periods when immediate harvest is not possible.


Rice stink bugs showing up in high numbers in late heading fields – SCOUT!

2015-25 RSB in late rice

Glyphosate drift to reproductive stage rice can leave you with parrot-beaked kernels and blank heads.  Note the shortened, twisted flag leaves to differentiate from straighthead.

2015-25 Glyphosate drift


Disease Update

Sheath Blight:  Keep scouting in late-planted rice.  Although the temperatures appear to cool down, with the current wet conditions the disease can still progress slowly in fields planted with susceptible cultivars – especially with high N rates and thick stands.  In some instances, sheath blight (Fig. 1) can be confused with sheath spot diseases of rice (Fig. 2).  Fungicides are not recommended for either aggregate or bordered sheath spot diseases of rice.

Fig. 1.  Sheath blight in rice requires fungicide application at the recommended threshold level.

2015-25 Fig 1 Sheath blight

Fig. 2.  Sheath spot disease so far is considered a disease of low economic importance.

2015-25 Fig 2 Sheath spot

Blast:  Serious concern in late-planted rice.  Frequent rain, overcast, slow wind, and lower temperatures than required by sheath blight encourage blast disease development in prone fields planted late with susceptible cultivars.  Leaf blast is mostly managed with flood depth of at least 4 inches.  However, blast-prone fields with history, planted with susceptible cultivars and excessive N rates require preventative fungicide treatments for neck blast.  Fields with heavy tree lines, difficult to water, get foggy from nearby waterways or low-lying areas are all “blast-prone fields”.  While planning preventative fungicides for neck blast, “timing in relation to the crop stage” is crucial.  Fungicides applied after the head is completely out of the boot will not be beneficial to control neck blast of rice.  The first application needs to be made from late boot to 10% head out in the main tillers and the second from 50-75% head out.  “Head out” refers to the percent length of the panicle that is out of the boot.  It is important that the necks are still in the boots to benefit from a fungicide application.  Once the necks are completely out of the boots, fungicides do not prevent neck rot from blast.

Bacterial Panicle Blight:  All suspicious samples received so far from commercial fields tested negative.  Example of suspicious sample for BPB shown in Fig. 3.

Fig. 3.  An example of a sample obtained from commercial fields that tested negative for bacterial panicle blight.

2015-25 Fig 3 Negative for BPB

Kernel smut:  can be easily detected and identified usually in the morning when seeds get swollen with moisture.  Some dark kernels with sooty molds (Fig. 4) at crop maturity may be confused with kernel smut (Fig. 5).  If seeds have kernel smut, black spores fill the kernel and the spores ooze out when seeds are opened (Fig. 5).

Fig. 4.  Sooty mold can be confused with kernel smut.

2015-25 Fig 4 Sooty mold

Fig. 5.  Black spores ooze from kernels infected with kernel smut.

2015-25 Fig 5 Kernel smut

False smut:  The lower temperatures with frequent rains encourage false smut development.  Therefore, it is a disease of concern in late-planted rice.  Rice seeds harvested with false smut galls or kernel smut spores are not acceptable to parboil (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6.  False smut spores in harvested grain.

2015-25 Fig 6 False smut

Protective fungicides for kernel smut and false smut:  Fungicide rate, timing, and coverage are important to suppress both kernel and false smut.  The fungicide recommended rate is a minimum of 6 fl oz/acre of Tilt (propiconazole) or Tilt equivalent.  The correct timing is between early boot and mid boot.  Fungicides applied prior to early boot or past late boot are not beneficial.


Weekly Market Summary

The CME September and November rice futures contracts settled about 1 cent lower on the day Friday and 17 cents lower on the week.  Both contracts posted decent gains Monday and Wednesday.  Thursday’s Export Sales report was not very exciting and the September contract was up against option expiration.  Call option open interest was almost 4 times greater than put option open interest in the September contract.  That may explain Thursday’s negative price action.  From a technical or chart perspective, November futures remain in an uptrend channel and prices settled Thursday and Friday on trend line support.

CBOT Rough Rice futures settlements ($/cwt)

2015-25 CBOT Rough Rice Futures

CME November 2015 Rough Rice, daily.

2015-25 CBOT Rough Rice Daily Futures

Crop Progress:

For the week ending August 16, U.S. rice harvest was 13% complete. Very dry conditions continue to allow rapid progress in Louisiana with harvest now over 63% complete there. Texas’ harvest was 34% complete as of last Sunday.

2015-25 Harvest Progress

Export Sales:

Long-grain rough rice business was lite last week with just 159,000 cwt. in net sales.  The only two buyers were Honduras and Mexico.

Long-grain milled rice sales were an estimated 561,000 cwt., with sales to 13 different markets.  Haiti and Canada were the top buyers with sales of over 7,000 metric tons (MT) each.

In contrast to wheat, corn, and soybeans, long grain rice export sales are running ahead of last year’s pace for the week of August 13. Rough rice sales are 13% ahead of last year. Milled rice sales are 79% ahead of last year with two reasonably large 60,000 MT sales so far to Iran and Iraq.  Canada, Haiti, and Mexico have been active milled rice markets as well.


The first named Atlantic hurricane (Danny) strengthened to Category 2 on Friday.  However, the U.S. National Hurricane Center says some additional strengthening is possible but it should weaken during the weekend.  The hurricane is centered about 930 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is moving west-northwest near 10 mph.  Updated forecast maps can be accessed at this link:

Hurricane Danny forecast map

2015-25 Hurricane Danny Forecast Map


The energy markets continue to work lower this week as crude oil futures have traded below $40 on Friday.  Of particular interest this week were some comments in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Today in Energy” released on Wednesday.

“Amid high uncertainty in the global oil market, EIA has lowered crude oil price forecasts in the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), expecting West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices to average $49 per barrel (b) in 2015 and $54/b in 2016, $6/b and $8/b lower than forecast in last month’s STEO, respectively. Concerns over the pace of economic growth in emerging markets, continuing (albeit slowing) supply growth, increases in global liquids inventories, and the possibility of increasing volumes of Iranian crude oil entering the market contributed to the changed forecast.”  

Link to the full report:

EIA lowers crude oil price forecast through 2016

Below is the monthly nearby chart for NYMEX crude oil.  A year ago crude futures settled at $93.65.  Today prices are roughly $53 per barrel below that or about 57% lower.  The key feature in the monthly chart is the fact that crude prices are now trading at the lowest level since March 2009.  The weakness in crude oil is certainly pulling diesel prices lower.  Quotes for tanker loads of dyed diesel on Friday were in the $1.66 area.  The energy markets should be followed for opportunities to hedge 2016 fuel needs.

Energies Futures Prices

NYMEX Crude Oil, monthly nearby.

2015-25 Crude Oil


Upcoming USDA reports:

September 11 (11:00 a.m. central):

  • Crop Production
  • Supply/Demand (WASDE)

September 30 (11:00 a.m. central):

  • Grain Stocks
  • Small Grains Summary


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 and 2015 PLC payment rates are 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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