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Arkansas Rice Update 3-18-16
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke

March 18, 2016  No. 2016-03      



Crop Outlook / Progress

Rice was planted in Arkansas this week.  And so the 2016 season begins.  Word is a field in northeast AR was planted last week before the rains started but have yet to lay eyes on that one.  There will likely be a pretty big start to rice planting starting this weekend that will continue until rain says stop sometime next week.

For those in the southeast, there isn’t a way to adequately describe the amount of rain received last week.  And a little more was added onto that this week.  A lot of the water is off of fields, but there’s still a lot of drying left to do.  That’s not likely to happen before another round of rain hits next week.

Just remember, whether you have ground that can go right now or it’s going to be a couple of weeks, it’s still early.  In a tough year with tight margins it’s not going to be profitable with a marginal stand or the need for a replant.


Rainfall last week led to many closed roads & forced some to scramble to save grain bins still full of rice and corn.

2016-03 Flooding


Medium Grain Questions Remain

It still sounds like there will be plenty of medium-grain rice planted in Arkansas this year.  Going into a tough year, the solid performance of medium grains the last few years makes them a good looking option.  That’s fine if you have all your ducks in a row.  Make the phone calls you need to make before you plant it – know where it’s going and that you’ll have a decent price for it even if there’s no premium over long grain.  This homework will pay off, even if all that algebra didn’t years ago.


Seeding Rates – Get Them Right!

Last week seeding rate information was sent out along with drill calibration tools – all of which can be found at  However, questions still remain about seeding rates for various cultivars.  For the sake of clarity, these comments will focus on varieties, but the same principles apply to hybrid rates, just at lower seeding rates.

For the record – an optimum seeding rate of 30 seed per square foot (seed/ft2) is based on a silt loam soil, good seedbed preparation, drill-seeding, and optimum planting date (April-May).  When selecting seeding rates based on pounds of seed per acre (lbs/A), different seed sizes are common between cultivars; and different seed sizes occur between different lots of the same cultivar!  So you need to calculate seeding rate properly because 70 lbs/A of one cultivar will not give you the same seed/ft2 as 70 lbs/A of another cultivar.

For instance, based on recent lots sampled, it takes 66 lbs/A of Roy J to achieve 30 seed/ft2.  To achieve the same rate with Taggart would take 75 lbs/A.  If you planted the same lbs/acre of both varieties then Taggart would have 10% fewer seed (3.5 seed/ft2 less).  Those kinds of numbers make a difference in performance.

There are specific recommendations for increasing the seeding rate above the optimum, including changing from a silt loam to a clay soil (increase 20%), water-seeding (increase 30%), etc.  These seeding rate increases are additive to a maximum of 50%, meaning that for Roy J you wouldn’t plant more than 99 lbs/A.

At the end of the day, our goal is to achieve an optimum plant stand of ~15 plants/ft2.  If you believe that you can achieve that stand with a lower seeding rate, then more power to you.  However, our recommendations are based on average plant stand performance across many sites and planting situations so I would strongly advise you to stick with them.

To run seeding rate scenarios for different varieties and hybrids please visit  There you can select for all different situations and print the results.  It works very well in the browser on your smartphone or tablet too if you want to look at different scenarios on the fly as conditions change around you.


Nitrogen Fertilizer Recommendations

The 2016 Rice Nitrogen Fertilizer Recommendations for Arkansas is now available.


Times Are Tough – Scrutinize Every Input Choice

Worth the read here:


Don’t Skip the Seed Treatments

Treat the seed.  Lecture over.  But be sure you know what you’re treating the seed with.  The recommendation is to use both insecticide and fungicide seed treatments.  Table 1 shows what is contained in each of the products you may be asked to consider treating your seed with.  If planting hybrid, some treatments are already on the seed so you only need to add an insecticide (unless you bought some pre-treated with insecticide included).

Table 1.  Seed treatment products for rice and description of use.

2016-03 Seed Treatments


No, You Can’t Get Away with Preplant Nitrogen Alone

Many calls have been coming in about putting out all the nitrogen in rice up front to avoid the cost of putting it out later and avoid complications with trying to get urea on dry soil.  Unfortunately, there just isn’t an option out there to make that a possibility.  As soon as we find such an option, we’ll let everyone know!

A number of the calls received have asked about ESN, the polymer-coated urea otherwise known as Environmentally Smart N.  This is an excellent N fertilizer for preplant application to upland crops like corn and cotton, but is NOT recommended for use at any growth stage or timing in flood-irrigated rice.  There may be opportunities for ESN in water-seeded or furrow-irrigated rice but research is needed to determine the possible utility of those options.


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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