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Arkansas Rice Update 6-23-17
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Dr. Yeshi Wamishe, & Scott Stiles

June 23, 2017  No. 2017-14      

Crop Progress

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.”  There are hotter topics in “other” crops this week than what’s going on with rice, but we’ll stay on topic here.  The current tropical depression has dropped considerable rainfall amounts on the state in the last 24 hours (Fig. 1).  The heaviest rainfall amounts have been concentrated in the southeast and I’ve already seen fields once again completely topped over by flooding.  More rain is currently moving across the northeast.

The next week looks to hold drier conditions but the following week is currently full of more rain chances.  It seems as if the weather merry-go-round will continue, and where it stops, nobody knows.

Fig. 1.  24-hr rainfall totals for 6/23/17.

For the most part problem calls have slowed down this week for the first time in months.  There are still occasional problem fields being found with late discovered nutrient deficiencies and some hydrogen sulfide toxicity.  If the color looks off on part of your rice field we need to take a closer look and be sure to check out the roots!  Not all problems can be fixed after midseason but some can be managed.


Weather You Like it or Not

There are things about this current weather pattern that I really don’t like.  Aside from the frequent rain that seems to be making everything difficult.  The weather around midseason growth has been reminding me a lot of 2015.

Why is that a bad thing?  Continued cloudy, overcast conditions around midseason can have a negative impact on yield.  Fig. 2 shows the effect of planting date on yield in 2015.  In that year much of our rice crop was planted at such a time that the midseason timing occurred equivalent to the April 21 date in the figure.

In 2015 rice planted around that time in south Arkansas, or planted earlier in north Arkansas, was due to hit midseason around June 15.  The majority of June was filled with cloudy, rainy, overcast days.  The problem – those types of conditions the two weeks before and after midseason can negatively impact yield.

Rice that seemed to be partially out of that windwo performed well, which is clear with how much better yields were for rice planted in May.  It’s always dangerous to forecast such things this far in advance of harvest (see 2016), but there are certainly concerns with this weather pattern of frequent overcast days.

Fig. 2.  2015 Grain yield by planting date study, RREC, Stuttgart, AR.

Acreage Percentages

We’ll see what the acreage report says next Friday as far as rice acres for the year.  For the time being, I’d like to note the most widely planted cultivars for 2017 based on currently available informaiton.  RT CLXL745 (18%), RT XL753 (14%), Jupiter (13%), CL153 (9%), Diamond (9%), Roy J (7%), CL151 (4%), and Titan (4%).

RT CLXL745 has been the most widely planted cultivar for years with RT XL753, Jupiter, and Roy J near the top as well.  However, the new cultivars CL153, Diamond, and Titan are emerging as major players in their first years of wide availability.


Rice Disease Season is Upon Us

As we pass midseason on most fields in the state, it’s time to be diligent in scouting for rice diseases.  With the coming rains and consistent warm temperatures, sheath blight and blast development should be on the rise.  Blast reports have now been confirmed in Woodruff and Perry Counties.  Sheath blight reports haven’t been an issue so far but the tropical storm system could get it moving.

Please see the 2017 Fungicide Timing for Selected Rice Diseases for tips on timing your disease management.  In the 2017 Rice Farming for Profit publication you can find further fungicide information and disease ratings on pages 20 and 21.


Out Standing in Your Field

Fig. 3.  Severe zinc deficiency at midseason showing bronzing of lower leaves and a bright leaf midrib.

Fig. 4.  Referred to this picture as potassium (K) deficiency last week – tissue test confirmed low K but the real issue was sulfur.

Fig. 5.  Healthy plant from the levee (left) and plant displaying hydrogen sulfide toxicity symptoms from the paddy (right).


Rice Market Update

If there’s anything positive to say this week it’s the fact that fuel costs are lower.  Following the May 25 OPEC meeting NYMEX crude oil has been in a major bear market.  Ironically, it has dropped $10 per barrel or almost 20% since OPEC agreed to extend production cuts.  Shale producers in the U.S. are proving they can compete, even with crude oil prices below $50.

Along with crude oil, NYMEX diesel futures hit 10-month lows this week.  The daily price chart indicates that NYMEX diesel is still in a sharp downtrend. However, price support was found mid-week at $1.3540.  Below $1.35, there is stronger chart support at $1.25.  Watch the energy markets closely for fuel buying opportunities.

NYMEX Diesel Futures, daily nearby chart.

As for rice, September futures were down 17 ½ cents on the week to settle at $11.51/cwt.  In fact, all CBOT grains lost ground this week. November soybeans were down 39 cents and September corn was down 26 ½ cents. Mostly favorable weather across much of the Central U.S. is a fundamental factor pressuring the grains.  From a “macroeconomic” and commodity investment perspective the continued weakness in the energy complex is a drag on grain and cotton prices as well.


Crop Condition Ratings:

As mentioned over the past couple of weeks, rice condition ratings are improving.  Monday’s USDA Crop Progress report showed that as of June 18th, 70% of the U.S. rice crop was rated good/excellent (G/EX), up 2 percentage points from the prior week and on par with last year.

In Arkansas, 60% of the rice crop is rated G/EX versus 62% last year.  As one might expect, Arkansas crop conditions have generally lagged last year’s ratings over the past four weeks.  However, warmer temperatures have allowed overall conditions to improve from 50% G/EX seen at the end of May.


Old Crop Export Sales

As of the week ending June 15, total long-grain export sales are now slightly ahead of 2015/16.  The recent 30,000 ton sale to Iraq helped in bringing total milled rice sales ahead of last year’s export pace. However, with the #2 buyer Venezuela now absent 18 straight weeks, the rough rice sales pace has slowed down.

There are six (6) reporting weeks left in the 2016/17 marketing year.  The table below could be an indication that old crop export estimates may be reduced in upcoming months as the USDA currently projects 2016/17 long-grain exports to increase 5.3% year-on-year from 76 to 80 million hundredweight.


Key USDA Report Next Week:

A favorable weather outlook for the Midsouth and Cornbelt for most of next week will likely keep CBOT grain prices under pressure and in tight trading ranges until the June 30 Acreage report is released.  In terms of market direction, it could be the biggest report of the summer for rice.  It will also directly impact the production estimates used in the July 12 WASDE (supply/demand report).  As many private analysts have mentioned, an explosive move higher in the rice market could follow the July USDA supply/demand report.  Thus, many industry followers are anticipating the June 30 rice acreage total will be below the USDA’s March 31 planting intentions.  “How much” will determine how the rice market responds next Friday. The Acreage report can and often does result in some very volatile trading sessions.


Coming Up:

Monday, June 26th

NASS Crop Progress – 3:00 PM

Thursday, June 29th

FAS Export Sales – 7:30 AM

Friday, June 30th

NASS Acreage – 11:00 AM

NASS Rice Stocks – 11:00 AM

Wednesday, July 12th

USDA Supply/Demand – 11:00 AM

*all times Central.


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.  Register now at this link:


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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