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Arkansas Rice Update 2-26-16
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Dr. Tom Barber, Dr. Archie Flanders, Dr. Nathan Slaton, & Scott Stiles

February 26, 2016  No. 2016-01


Crop Outlook

2015 is in the past, behind us, let’s just try to forget most everything about it.  The majority of folks seem to be settled on what cultivars they’re growing this year, but the topic of how much of it has been a hot one of late.

The official acreage last year was 1.3 million acres planted in Arkansas.  A 20% increase in acres seems extremely likely given the current commodity price environment.  This would put us above 1.5 million acres and staring down the barrel of 1.6.  There are many ways to easily get to that 1.6 million acre mark, but hopefully we don’t go over it.  The state, and the market, doesn’t need us to have 1.7 million acres of rice.  Rice prices may not be exciting when looked at alone, but they start looking a lot better next to other options – detailed in the budgets mentioned later.

Now that’s total acres, and most of the increase in acreage is expected to be from long-grain.  However, medium-grain acres went up last year despite overall acreage being down.  There seem to be some indicators keeping people pushed toward medium-grain this year, but we don’t need 300,000 acres of it.  This looks like a second consecutive year where no contracts will be offered for medium-grain – and that should tell you all you need to know.

The state average yield for 2015 came in at 163 bushels per acre, down from 168 in both 2013 and 2014.  However, the drop probably should’ve been greater.  By guesstimation I had it pegged at about 158 bu/acre.  If this is true (and predictions are only right half the time) then we may find out about mid-summer that rice stocks are not as high as the official 163 state average would indicate.


Crop Budgets

The 2016 Crop Enterprise Budgets for Arkansas Field Crops planted in 2016 is now available. Please visit the link for PDF summaries of budgets and interactive Excel spreadsheets for all commodities to tailor the budgets to your specific operation and inputs.

In addition to the Enterprise budgets, please consult the 2016 Crop Comparison by Yield & Price budget as well as the 2016 Rice Comparative Budgets for making detailed decisions and projections for the coming season.  If you have any questions about these budgets please contact us.


Phosphorus Recommendation Changes

Phosphorus (P) fertilizer recommendations for rice were revised in December 2015 based on soil-test information and rice yield response results from P fertilization trials.  The old and new soil-test level definitions are shown in Table 1. The primary change was that the soil-test levels (Very Low, Low, Medium, and Optimum) were revised by adjusting the soil-test P values that define each level’s lower and upper boundary. The critical soil-test P concentration that triggers a recommendation to apply P fertilizer was essentially lowered from 35 ppm to 25 ppm.  Minor adjustments were also made to the fertilizer rates within each level.

Revised recommendations were implemented on soil test reports in late December 2015 and influence only the P recommendations.  Remember that soil-test based recommendations for rice are based on soil samples collected to a 4-inch depth.  Collecting soil samples from the 0-6 inch depth will usually result in slightly lower soil-test P and K concentrations as compared to samples collected from the 0-4 inch depth.

For more information please visit: http://www.arkansas‑

Table 1.  The revised soil-test level definitions for rice with recommended P fertilizer rates.

2016-01 Table 1. P Recommendations
Herbicide Plant-Back Intervals

Intermittent warm conditions look like they’re going to create the need for a number of burndown herbicide applications, be mindful of the plant-back for rice (Table 2).  Many acres may shift around into rice that may not have been planned that way last year so also keep in mind the plant-back interval for some of the more common herbicides used in crops we rotate with rice (Table 3).  For more information see MP519 Row Crop Plant-Back Intervals for Common Herbicides.

Table 2.  Plant-back intervals for burndown herbicides in rice.

2016-01 Table 2 Herbicide Burndown
Table 3.  Plant-back intervals to rice for common herbicides used in rotational crops (Always check the label).

2016-01 Table 3 Plant-back intervals
Rice Margin Protection

The Risk Management Agency (RMA) is offering a new insurance plan to protect profit margins for rice production in 2016. February 28 is the sales closing date for Margin Protection and other crop insurance products covering Arkansas spring planted crops! Margin Protection combines crop price protection with protection directed at increased input prices that occur during the production season. With crop prices and input prices currently at low levels in the range of expectations, Margin Protection potentially offers protection in the event of input prices increasing between February and September. With limited analysis available for this new product, long-term efficacy of Margin Protection is uncertain. Margin Protection information is available at


2016 Pesticide Application Clinics

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is again hosting Pesticide Application Clinics across the delta this February and March.  The clinics will be held:

  • Tuesday, March 8th at ASU-Newport at Newport.
  • Wednesday, March 9th at Greene Co. Fairgrounds at Paragould.
  • Thursday, March 10th at Conway Co. Fairgrounds at Morrilton.

Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. with large group sessions starting at 9:00.  The day will end with a free lunch.  Producers and applicators alike are encouraged to attend to gain valuable information on how to be more productive and efficient in the field.  The clinics are free and there will be door prizes provided by several companies.  Session topics and demonstrations include:

  • New herbicide technology update.
  • How to test for worn nozzles.
  • Application tips for matching proper nozzles with chemistries.
  • Pulse Width Modulation demonstration.
  • Avoiding clean-out issues demonstration.
  • Electronics in applications demonstration.
  • Multiple spray table nozzle demonstrations.

3 hours of CCA credit will be available.  For more information concerning these events please contact Jason Davis by phone at 501-749-2077 or email at


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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