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Arkansas Rice Update 7-7-17
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

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

July 7, 2017  No. 2017-16      

Crop Progress

“Raindrops keep falling on my head.”  B.J. Thomas must have been talking about 2017.  The rain itself is certainly no problem and helping to keep pumping to a minimum.  That’s one of the few blessings from the frequent heavy rains we’ve had all year.

However, the continued overcast conditions aren’t favorable to optimum rice production at this time.  Cloudy weather reduces light penetration to rice leaves which can reduce yields if prolonged enough.  The high humidity, long dew periods, and frequent also make the year ripe for disease issues.  We’ll see.

If you have heading rice out there it’s also prime time for stink bug scouting.  Several have reported fields at up to 5x threshold levels.  It’s important to get good coverage with these applications to get optimum control – don’t short the water volume.

Fig. 1.  Lightning strike (courtesy of Jim Dickson).


Rice Blast on the Go

Reports of blast incidence are still coming.  So far (7/7), blast has been reported from Woodruff, Monroe, Perry, Pulaski, Lawrence, St. Francis, and Clark Counties.  Most finds have been on Jupiter but also on LaKast, Diamond, and Francis.  Continue scouting!

Weather conditions for the past weeks appeared very favorable for blast disease.  It looks like that weather; however, the disease may be slowed but not totally stopped.  Blast severity levels depend on favorable environmental and weather conditions given compatible host-pathogen relationship.

Blast pathogen’s spores are airborne.  Also, numerous studies have shown the survival capacity of the spores under wide ranges of temperature and relative humidity.  It is wise to assume that the pathogen is somewhere around moving slowly or waiting for favorable conditions to reproduce on susceptible rice.

A number of studies and observations have shown that the life cycle of the blast pathogen goes in a series of overlapping cycles during the rice growing season – which means blast pathogen’s spores continue to be produced and infect the tender tissues of rice plants at any crop growth stage.  As a result leaves, collars, nodes, panicle branches (Fig. 2, 3) and even seeds of a susceptible cultivar may get infected within a season.

Fig. 2.  Leaf blast (left) and collar blast (right).

Fig. 3.  Neck blast (left) and panicle blast (right).

Of all infections, neck (node) blast or neck rot is the most devastating and it can cause near 100 percent grain loss.  Thus, we need to be proactive and plan for protection using fungicides.  Remember, the most common mistakes in rice blast disease management are:

  • Planting susceptible cultivars in blast prone fields,
  • Not scouting for leaf blast early in the season,
  • Using inadequate water volumes for mixing and appliction, and
  • Waiting too long / late to make a fungicide application.

Two fungicide applications are recommended.  The optimum timing for the 1st application timing to manage neck blast is when about 50% of the main tillers are at late boot to 10% heading and the 2nd application from 50 to 70% heading but all necks still in the boot.

Leaf blast is often managed with a deep flood (>4 inches).  Fields that are more susceptible to blast are those that are difficult to hold a flood.  Maintaining a deep flood of at least 4 inches after midseason can reduced the risk of blast and it may be worth at least one fungicide application.  The optimal timing for only one application is at 30-50% head out of the boot.

For any fungicide application during heading to manage neck blast, the neck should still be in the boot.  Trifloxystrobin (GEM 3.8 – 4.7 fl oz/acre) is considered to be slightly more effective on blast than azoxystrobin (Quadris 8.5 – 12.5 fl oz/acre).  For adequate protection full rates are preferred.

To read more on blast disease scouting read here.  To read more on blast and frequently asked questions go here.  To read more on blast fungicide timings go here.  Refer to MP154 for more information on fungicides and follow the fungicide labels – the label is the law.

Sheath blight:  temperature and humidity have started picking up in favor of sheath blight.  Continue scouting!  To read more on sheath blight here.  To read more on fungicides go here.

Kernel smut:  Warm and wet conditions also favor kernel smut.  If your field has a history of kernel smut, the cultivar is susceptible, and nitrogen fertilizer rate beyond optimum then you need to apply the correct fungicide at the correct timinig.  For this information read here.

To read more on fungicide rates and timing for major rice diseases read Rates and Contents of Fungicides; Fungicide Timings for Selected Rice Diseases.


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:


Fig. 4.  Streaked preflood nitrogen application and resulting maturity difference.

Fig. 5.  Rice stink bugs will find heading rice no matter where it is.

Rice Market Update

Chicago rice futures responded favorably to today’s USDA Export Sales report.  The September contract finished 7 cents higher on the day and 18 cents higher for the week at $11.99 ½.  The September contract has closed higher 9 out of the last 10 weeks and is now trading at new contract highs.

For the week ending June 29, long-grain rough rice sales reached a marketing year high of 79,251 metric tons (MT).  For the second week in a row Venezuela purchased a large volume of rough rice.  Last week’s purchase was 52,000 MT.  Marketing Year-to-date, Venezuela is the number two (2) market for U.S. long-grain rough rice, accounting for 23% of sales.  The number one (1) buyer in the current marketing year, Mexico, purchased 26,955 MT of long-grain rough last week.  In all, there were rough rice sales to four markets last week.

Long-grain milled sales were consistent with the previous couple of weeks at 25,532 MT.  Haiti was the single largest milled buyer last week, purchasing 21,331 metric tons.  Long-grain milled sales are now 3% ahead of last year’s pace.

The old crop export pace has improved as we near the end of the 2016/17 marketing year.  With 82,000 MT of rough rice sales to Venezuela over the past two weeks, it is becoming possible the USDA’s old crop export estimate of 80 million hundredweight can be obtained.  With basically 4 ½ reporting weeks left for exports, total long-grain sales are now 3% ahead of last year compared to the June USDA projection for a 5% year-over-year increase.

CBOT rice futures should trade in a narrow range ahead of next Wednesday’s USDA supply/demand report.  The prospect of lower 2017 production lends support to the market.  As a reminder, in July’s balance sheet USDA will use the June 30 Acreage numbers.

As mentioned, the September contract is now trading at new contract highs.  One now has to evaluate the September continuation charts for technical ideas on where prices might be headed next.  The September weekly chart is included below.

CBOT September Rice Futures, Weekly Continuation.

If the September contract can close above last Friday’s (6/30) high of $12.27, the next point of price resistance would be the May 2016 high of $12.34.

To wrap up with a few odds and ends, new crop rice basis continues to hold steady this week with basis at mills remaining 50 cents/cwt. under futures for fall delivery.  That would equate to a bid of $5.17 per bushel (basis September futures).  Basis for fall delivery to driers remains in the range of 75 to 80 cents under futures.

And, closely watch November soybeans over the next week for opportunities to catch up on 2017 sales.  The ’17 bean contract closed at $10.15 ½ today.  And, Jarrod would probably appreciate me not mentioning this, but July ’18 wheat did trade $6 this week.  This is attracting much grower interest—especially coupled with the November ‘18 bean settlement today at $9.99 ½ – high trade today was $10.02.  Also, keep watch on Gulf Urea.  It has been trading at $160/ton for the past few weeks—multi-year lows.  Opportunities abound.


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.

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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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