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Arkansas Rice Update 8-28-15
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

August 28, 2015                         No. 2015-26

Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Dr. Trent Roberts, & Scott Stiles

Crop Overview

The old saying goes if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.  I do wish there were nicer things to say right now, but hopefully better days are on the horizon.

To echo previous comments, yields in the southern half of the state continue to support an estimate of a 10% decline compared to recent years and milling yields don’t sound too great either.  This is certainly not what anyone needed this season.  However, “recent years” of 2012-2014 represent the three highest state average yields ever for Arkansas.  There was always going to be a fallback from that, we were just hoping to ride the wave for one more year.

There is still hope out there.  The rice that has been harvested to date was all planted in the early window of late March through the first week of April.  As we move into the later window, I do believe that the yield situation will improve.  Early numbers from the northern half of the state suggest yields closer to recent years.

From looking at fields that have been or are being harvested, it doesn’t look like our decline is from lack of pollination.  In most cases, nearly all kernels are full on the plants, the panicles are just small and there aren’t that many kernels.

The number of panicle branches and number of kernels per panicle are set around internode elongation.  So the field observations suggest that conditions weren’t favorable around internode elongation for plants to maximize these yield components.  Conditions during this time period were daytime highs in the 90s with overnight lows hovering around 75 degrees in the southern half of the state.  Mixed into that were unseasonable cool snaps.  Just speculating, plants may not have known which way was up during that period and maybe that’s part of the reason for the yields we’re currently seeing.

According to DD50 enrollment, 69% of fields have reached harvest moisture (20%) (Table 1).  Dry conditions, but with heavy morning dews and low overnight temperatures seem to have drying conditions at a moderate pace at best.

2015-26 Table 1 Harvest


Grain Moisture and the DD50 Program

The DD50 program provides an estimate of 20% grain moisture.  This is inevitably a built in guess according to a set number of days because of the many factors that can greatly influence the grain dry-down process, including N rate, drain date, temperature, rainfall, humidity, and dew period.  However, at this time based on samples we’re taking from plots in Stuttgart, rice cultivars ranging in maturity from Roy J to CL111 appear to be hitting 20% grain moisture right in line with the DD50 estimate.  If you don’t already have fields enrolled in the DD50 program you can do so here: to get predicted dates for 20% grain moisture.


Blackbird Repellent for Headed Rice

There have been a number of calls over the last couple of weeks about blackbirds in headed rice.  There is a product labeled in Arkansas called ‘Avian Control’ that appears to have some utility for managing this problem.  Plot work involving blackbirds is virtually impossible, so we have put out a handful of demonstrations with some growers to evaluate how well the product works for us.  Results are only observational – blackbirds aren’t like insects, we can’t go out and catch them in a sweep net.

In general the results have all been positive.  In situations where birds were roosting in nearby tree lines and frequenting the adjacent field, there was success in treating only the portion of the field closest to the tree line.  However, in fields with no obvious near source of blackbirds, it was necessary to treat the entire field.  There is a wide rate range on the label – we’ve looked at the 24 and 32 oz/acre rates.

Please remember that this product acts as a deterrent, it doesn’t mean that birds will completely stop entering the field and it doesn’t kill them.  They don’t like the taste and move on.  The product is fairly short-lived, but we were told to expect 7-14 days of bird deterrence with 7 days likely if it rained after application and 14 days more likely if it didn’t rain.  So far that seems to hold pretty true for our demos.

2015-26 Blackbirds

Information provided on this bird repellent is simply a “passing along info” effort.  Use the product at your own risk and discretion as we have only seen it in a few large demos.  Yes, it causes rice to be distasteful to birds, but we have no indication that it will cause any change in taste of the rice – this product and others like it are labeled and used on many fruits, vegetables, and cereal grains.

There are likely other products with a similar active ingredient out there that are labeled for a similar use, this is just one such product we have had the opportunity to demo.  Find what works best for you at the best price.  My understanding is the cost works out to around $13/acre at ~24 oz/acre – confirm before ordering.  Not cheap, but cheaper than some of the other methods I’m hearing people using to scare them off.


Cover Crops – Planning for Success

To read the first installment in a series on cover crops, including tips in rice production systems, please visit the following link:



Weekly Market Summary

The CME September and November rice futures contracts settled 29 cents higher on the day Friday, but 4 to 6 lower on the week.  Both contracts posted solid gains Friday to erase most of the week’s heavy losses that occurred on Monday. In addition to pressure from outside markets, export sales were modest last week and the U.S. dollar posted four straight days of strong gains. From a technical perspective, in spite of wide trading ranges this week that took   November rice futures down as low as $11.435, the contract did manage to find support and settle no worse than the $11.59-$11.60 area. Friday’s strong gains indicate prices may again retest the $12 to $12.20 range.

CBOT Rough Rice futures settlements ($/cwt)

2015-26 CBOT Rough Rice Futures


CME November 2015 Rough Rice, daily.

2015-26 Rough Rice Daily Futures


Crop Progress:

For the week ending August 23, U.S. rice harvest was 18% complete, versus the five-year average of 16%. Harvest progress is well ahead of the average pace in Louisiana at 75% complete. Texas is slightly behind average at 55%. Arkansas is 6% harvested and Mississippi 10%, both of which are in line with the five-year average.

2015-26 Harvest Progress

Export Sales:

Net sales of long-grain rough rice totaled 13,856 metric tons (MT) last week; up from 7,212 the previous week.  Venezuela and Mexico were the top buyers.

Long-grain milled rice net sales totaled 10,993 MT; down from 17,950 the week prior.  Haiti and Saudi Arabia were the two largest buyers.

Long-grain rough rice sales are running about 3% ahead of last year, while long-grain milled rice sales are 75% ahead of last year.  The two large 60,000 MT sales to Iran and Iraq account for about 56% of new crop milled rice sales to date.  Iraq announced Monday a tender to purchase 30,000 MT of rice from the U.S., Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and India.  Bidding will close on September 6, 2015.


Other News:

Egypt’s ministry of trade and industry announced Thursday a ban on the export of all types of rice starting September 1.  Last October Egypt lifted a ban medium-grain rice exports. No indication was given as to how long the export ban would remain in effect.

Egypt to ban rice export starting September


USDA-NASS released its’ August 1 Rice Stocks report Thursday.  The total U.S. rough rice stocks held on and off-farm on August 1, 2015 was 61% higher than a year ago. On-farm stocks were 1.48 million cwt, compared to 305,000 cwt. last year. Off-farm stocks were 41.3 million cwt., compared to 26.3 million a year ago. Milled rice stocks were up nine percent from a year ago at 4.06 million cwt.

Looking specifically at Arkansas, a considerable amount of rough rice has moved out of bins since June 1.  At that time NASS estimated there was 6.4 million cwt. (14.2 million bushels) held on-farm.  As of August 1, NASS estimates there is 940,000 cwt. (almost 2.1 million bushels) of rough rice still in on-farm storage.  As rice futures rallied this summer, about 12.1 million bushels of rice moved out of on-farm storage between June 1 and August 1.

2015-26 Rough Rice On-Farm Stocks


After trading as low as $37.75 Monday, crude oil futures made very strong gains late in the week.  The nearby October contract traded Friday just above $45 per barrel.  Diesel futures (Heating Oil) are following crude oil sharply higher and now trade about 20 cents of the mid-week lows at $1.59. This price correction in crude oil may extend into the $48 to $54 range.  The current price levels still represent a favorable diesel buying opportunity in the cash market or as a level to start hedging 2016 fuel.

Energies Futures Prices

NYMEX  Diesel (heating oil), daily nearby.

2015-26 Diesel Futures


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 Crop Progress

NASS Rice Stocks. Next release date is October 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. central.

USDA-NASS Rice Stocks

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


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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