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Arkansas Rice Update 6-9-17
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke & Scott Stiles

June 9, 2017  No. 2017-12      

Crop Progress

And just like that, we might make a crop after all.  It’s amazing what a little warm weather and sunshine will do for a rice crop and a farmer’s disposition.  A week ago the rice crop still seemed to be creeping along, but by the middle of this week everything had launched forward.

While everything seems to be cooking along, the weather next week leaves something to be desired.  It looks as though we’ll still be warm, but clouds and scattered rain are once again the forecast.  That will slow down the crop and the metabolism of herbicides.

Rice planting is complete for the most part.  With that said – today is the last day of replants based on crop insurance requirements.  Passing that milestone may changes intentions for any remaining fields up in the air.  However, if you’re asking what the best rice to plant this late is, the answer is soybeans

Given everything thrown at this crop, now is not the time to slow it down.  Remember – over-fertilizing rice slows it down, so don’t think splashing extra N “just because” is going to get you to the finish line any quicker.  Optimum N uptake in rice usually looks like you left it just a little short anyway.

Fig. 1.  Now this is rice growing weather.


Arkansas Rice College is August 3rd

The 2017 Rice College will be held at the Rice Research & Extension Center at Stuttgart, AR on Thursday, Aug. 3.  Rice College provides in-field training & management updates from specialists.  More details to follow.


Timing is Everything in Rice Management

In rice, as in comedy, timing is everything.  When I get many questions, the first thing I ask is if a DD50 report has been run on the field.  Too often these days the answer is no.  The DD50 program is designed to provide you with expected dates to reach key growth stage timings that ultimately determine the success of your rice crop.

There are very few people who can determine is a field is at or beyond the recommended time to fertilize and flood from a truck window.  You can have 5 leaf rice that is 4 inches tall and 5 leaf rice that is 10 inches tall.  Height tells me nothing – growth stage tells me everything.  For N management, herbicide cutoffs, fungicide applications, etc., the DD50 is your guide to staying on time.  Say you don’t have to time to run those reports?  When timing is everything to making money, how can you afford not to?

Enroll your fields in the DD50 program at  You should update the reports monthly.  They’re based on the current year’s weather data only up to the date they’re run (the rest of the season is forecast based on 30-year weather averages.  So every day that goes by they get increasingly accurate.  Run the report and follow it – as best as the weather allows.


Midseason Nitrogen Fertilization

A large percentage of rice in the state is approaching midseason timing.  Remember that we have modified the recommendation for midseason nitrogen (N) timing.  We still recommend the 2-way split with the majority of N applied preflood and 45 units applied at midseason.  However, instead of the old method of timing the midseason application around ½” internode elongation, the timing is tied to preflood N fertilization.

Now, we recommend that before applying midseason N, it should be at least 3 weeks since preflood N was incorporated AND rice should be past green ring (beginning internode elongation); both conditions must be met.

The key is looking at Fig. 2.  It’s difficult to show this data in just a single graph but I’ve tried to simplify it.  Here is what you see in the graph – a line runs through two points – the first point is where we applied preflood N but no midseason N (none) and the second point is the highest yield we achieved for any of the midseason N timings.

Notice how all the lines trend up?  The highest yield is where it has been at least 21 days since the preflood N was applied, and all were past green ring.

This recommendation is based on preflood N fertilization applied accurately and under good conditions (hard to find this year).  If there are problems with preflood N efficiency then subsequent N applications and modification of the midseason N timing may be needed.

Before applying midseason N to rice, BOTH of these conditions must be met:

  1. Three weeks since preflood N was incorporated with the flood, AND
  2. Rice must be past green ring.


Fig. 2.  Overview of Timing for Midseason N Application on Rice Grain Yield (see text).


Out Standing in Your Field

Fall armyworm (Fig. 3) infestations have been noted in rice fields in the River Valley and south Arkansas.  Be on the lookout.  Once they’ve done most of their damage they’re easy to spot, but we want to catch them before that.

Fig. 3.  Fall armyworms showing up in rice (courtesy of Kevin Lawson).

We’re also still seeing yellowing and general injury from ALS herbicides in rice after it goes to flood (Fig. 4, 5).  Most of the time this injury is relative minor and just a “flash”.  What you see when looking closely are that the leaves are striped – referred to as interveinal chlorosis.  That’s the key to determining it’s not sulfur or some other deficiency.

As long as it is a small area of the field and the plants are maintaining equal size to their greener counterparts, no action is warranted.  They will recover shortly on their own and the color will fade.

However, if the area affected is large and the plants are beginning to fall behind, then it is best to back the water down to muddy and remove that stress from the plants.  They’ll recover quickly – less than a week in even the most severe cases.  Once new root growth is observed we can pump the flood back up.

Fig. 4.  Interveinal chlorosis from ALS herbicide applications.

Fig. 5.  More ALS herbicide injury on high pH soils and compaction playing a role.


Rice Market Comments

Make it six in a row.  New crop rice futures closed higher Friday (6/9) for the sixth straight week. Since making a contract low of $9.65/cwt. on April 28, September ’17 futures settled Friday at $11.60/cwt.; up 10 cents for the day and up 21 cents for the week.

The USDA’s monthly adjustments to the new crop long-grain balance sheet were price-supportive. Beginning stocks for the 2017 marketing year were reduced 1 million hundredweight (mcwt.) and exports were increased 1 mcwt.  Month-to-month, 2017/18 ending stocks were reduced by 2 mcwt. to 18.7 million—the lowest long-grain ending stocks since 2013/14.

Export Sales:

Thursday’s Export Sales offered no price support with futures finishing the day unchanged.  There have been no new crop (2017/18) long-grain rough rice sales reported to date.  By comparison, there weren’t any reported at this point last year either.

For the week of June 1, long-grain rough rice sales were down for the second week in a row at 5,375 metric tons (mt).  The only buyer last week was Panama (9,687 mt).  Some of this purchase was offset by cancellations of 3,811 mt by Mexico and 500 mt by El Salvador.  Weekly shipments hit a marketing year low of 880 metric tons.  As of June 1, long-grain rough rice sales are running 3% ahead of last year and account for 59% of total long-grain export sales to date.

The top two long-grain rough rice export markets in 2016 have been Mexico (43% of sales) and Venezuela (19%).  Sales to Venezuela have been almost exclusively in the first half of the 2016/17 marketing year.  The last sale occurred in the week of February 9th—nothing since. The situation in Venezuela continues to worsen daily.  The Washington Post ran an interesting article recently on the agricultural and economic crisis there.

Crop Progress:

After closing 7 ½ cents lower on Monday, the September contract was able to trade higher for much of the remainder of the week.  Monday’s Crop Progress report did show some week-to-week improvement in crop conditions.  However, the percent of the U.S. and Arkansas crop rated “good-excellent” is a few percentage points below last year.  The current crop conditions are not likely to sustain the price rally seen over the past 6 weeks.  The findings in the upcoming June 30 Acreage report are of most interest to the market at this point.

2016 and 2017 Rice PLC Update:

As of June 9, USDA is projecting a 2016 marketing year average price for long-grain of $9.60/cwt. or $4.32/bu. That’s a 5 cent per bushel decrease from last month. A projected PLC Payment Rate can be determined by subtracting the $4.32/bu. marketing year average price from the PLC Reference Price of $6.30/bu. This would result in a projected PLC Payment Rate of $1.98 per bushel (not accounting for sequestration).  For the previous two crop years payment rates have been reduced by 6.8 percent.  Applying that same percentage reduction, the projected 2016 PLC payment would net $1.85 per bushel.  The final marketing year price for 2016 long-grain is expected to be announced in October.

2016 Projected PLC Payment Rates, Rice (as of June 9, 2017).

Projected 2016 PLC payment rates are updated monthly on the USDA Farm Service Agencies’ ARC/PLC website at this link: ARC/PLC Program Data.  Look under the heading “Program Year 2016 Data” for “Projected 2016 PLC Payment Rates”.

Also at the link shown above, FSA recently added projected 2017 crop PLC rates.  For long-grain rice FSA is currently using the mid-point of the price range included in the June WASDE report—which is $11/cwt. or $4.95/bu.  Using this average price a PLC payment of $1.35/bu. would be expected for the 2017 crop (not accounting for sequestration).   The mid-point of the 2017 price range for southern medium grain is $5.09/bu., which equates to a PLC payment of $1.21 per bushel.

Coming Up:

Monday, June 12th

NASS Crop Progress – 3:00 PM

Tuesday, June 13th

ERS Rice Outlook – 2:00 PM

Thursday, June 15th

FAS Export Sales – 7:30 AM

Friday, June 30th

NASS Acreage – 11:00 AM

NASS Rice Stocks – 11:00 AM


It’s Time to Start Scouting for Blast Disease

See more here:


Enroll Fields in the DD50 Program to Help Time Management Decisions

The DD50 program can be found at  Please let us know if you have any questions or encounter any problems.

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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