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Arkansas Rice Update 7-30-16
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke & Dr. Gus Lorenz

July 30, 2016  No. 2016-20      

Crop Progress

The long-term forecast says the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Some rain showers blew through many areas of the state over the past few days, particularly central and south.  However, some only got to watch it rain around them and not on them.

Many received a “million dollar rain” – the first appreciable, or measurable, rain since the beginning of June.  At a time when irrigation capacity is getting tight, over an inch of rain changes the whole game.  Strong winds in places have started a little lodging but that seems limited and hopefully stays that way.

Draining has begun on a limited basis with many set to pick up steam this week.  These rains will help the moisture situation as folks turn off wells and let the flood dry up rather than actively drain.

My expectation was that some rice would be delivered before July ended but the sudden burst of rainfall likely put a stop to that.  However, the first rice will probably be delivered next week sometime.  There has been rice cut in the state – at least one field of a new super-early hybrid – but no other fields of current commercial cultivars have been harvested.


Management Key:

When draining rice, always assume it’s never going to rain again after draining.  If the rice couldn’t make under those conditions, then hold the flood on the field.


Crop Forecast

So how does yield performance look based strictly on appearances?  Pretty good actually.  Overall the crop is in really good shape.  It doesn’t look like things will shape up as well as the record yield in 2013 of 168 bu/acre, but getting near the 166 bu/acre in 2012 is possible.

Considering the persistent heat and lengthy dry spell there are areas of fields that have received little or no water.  This is always a problem in dry years but exaggerated in high acreage years such as this one.  So let’s throw a dart at the wall and say 164 bu/acre.  That would still be the highest state average yield on record in a year where we have planted the 5th largest acreage.


High Temperatures

There is still concern for the high nighttime temperatures we’ve been having.  We’ll use Stuttgart as the site because of the dependability of weather data at that site but of course there’s a lot of variability throughout the state.  Table 1 summarizes nighttime temps from 2009-2016.

Table 1.  Number of nights with overnight lows of 75° or greater from July 1 – Aug 31.

2016-20 Table 1 Nighttime Temps 75+ 2009-2016

It’s not difficult to see why we had the problems we did in 2010 and 2011.  It’s also easy to see why things went so well in 2013 and 2014.  So let’s focus on the years similar to the current one.

The current year looks an awful lot like both 2010 and 2012 in terms of planting and emergence progress.  Which direction will it go from here?  In 2012 the temps fell out in early August while in 2010 temps were elevated and even increased as August began.

The current forecast says that as we enter August the nighttime temperatures will begin to tail off.  If that holds true, then it looks much more likely that we’ll have very good yields with combined with good quality.


Fall Armyworm in Rice

There are numerous reports of fall armyworm in heading rice this week, following on the heels of similar reports in Mississippi.  As a general rule we don’t treat for fall armyworm in rice.  Most often they’re moving in from grasses on field edges.  Occasionally eggs are laid directly in rice fields.

The main concern with fall armyworm in rice is the protection of the upper canopy leaves (flag leaf and next leaf down) and the panicles themselves.  Most reports have been of damage to lower canopy leaves which we aren’t concerned with at this point.  However, once they begin to feed on or specifically ‘clip’ the flag leaves off – we have a problem.  Of even greater concern is when they move into rice during grain fill and move to the panicle to feed directly on the high moisture, filling grains.

Fig. 1. Fall armyworm eating rice foliage back to waterline.


If they aren’t affecting the heads or flag leaves it’s best just to let them go.  In some cases their presence may coincide with the need for an insecticide application for rice stink bug control – in which case the pyrethroid will control them both.

Scout around the field and determine whether the problem is field-wide or confined to certain areas or edges.  Treat only where needed and save the rest.  Younger rice still weeks from heading can have the foliage eaten back to the waterline but so far that hasn’t been reported yet this year.  Keep an eye out in the field and in your sweep net as we try to finish this crop on the money side.

Fig. 2.  Fall armyworms are showing up in scattered rice fields.

2016-19 Fig 6 FAW in Rice


Arkansas Rice Expo is August 10th

The 2016 Arkansas Rice Expo will be held at the Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart, AR on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

For full details please visit



DD50 Program

The DD50 program can be found at  Enroll fields now to help with timing most major rice management practices.

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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