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Arkansas Rice Update 7-28-17
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke & Dr. Yeshi Wamishe

July 28, 2017  No. 2017-19      

Crop Progress

“Breakdown, go ahead and give it to me.”  I don’t think that line was written about Arkansas temperatures dropping July and August, but it should have been.  We need a break from the daytime and especially the nighttime heat and it looks like we’re in for it.  If the current forecast holds up, then a lot of this rice crop is in for ideal grain filling conditions.  Some of the crop wasn’t so fortunate, but we’ll take a win whenever we can get it.

The downside of the expected current weather pattern is the rain.  Rainfall this time of year brings increase disease concerns.  Sheath blight may start blowing out late, blast may increase its infection rate, and bacterial panicle blight may rear its ugly head.  It may literally rain on our parade in every sense.  But that is worst case, if the rainfall amounts are minimal then it’s much ado about nothing.

The first fields in the state started being drained at the end of last week.  More have begun the process in southern Arkansas this week.  A number have reported that the rice is moving fast and they may be draining a little late.  Better safe than sorry.  The current rainfall may prevent someone from delivering a truckload of rice in July.

Fig. 1.  Rice after a morning rain.

Fig. 2.  Current 14-day forecast.

Arkansas Rice Expo Next Week

The 2017 Rice Expo will be held at the Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart, AR on Friday, Aug. 4.  Find complete details at

Additional upcoming Field Days involving rice:

  • Aug. 8 – Northeast Research & Extension Center near Keiser.
  • Aug. 17 – Pine Tree Research Station near Colt.
  • Aug. 7 – Clay Co. Field Day
  • Aug. 14 – Poinsett Co. Field Day
  • Aug. 15 – Prairie / White Co. Field Day
  • Aug. 16 – St. Francis Co. Field Day


Review of Drain Timing

The basic recommendations for draining are 25 days after 50% heading on long-grain cultivars and 35 days for medium-grain cultivars.  These are the number of days built into the DD50 program.

However, depending on temperatures, rainfall, and overall environmental conditions, drain timing is a moving target.  As a result, drain timing is as much an art as a science.

Fig. 2 shows a general guide for determining relative grain maturity.  In the figure:  at left nearly all kernels are straw colored (field is safe to drain regardless of soil type); at center nearly 2/3 of kernels are straw colored and it is safe to drain on a silt loam soil; and at right 1/3 of kernels are straw colored and would be close to safe drain timing on a clay soil.

When choosing when to drain – always edge on the side of caution.  Draining too early can sacrifice some late grain fill and hurt yield.  Use a combination of the days after 50% heading guideline (25-30 days) and the relative grain maturity in the field to make your drain decisions.

Fig. 3.  Rice panicles at different maturity levels described by percent straw color:  (L) 100%, (C) 67%, and (R) 33%.


Management Key:

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


This week’s Rice Disease Update can be found HERE.


Fig. 4.  Severe sheath blight emerging through canopy.

Fig. 5.  First confirmed neck blast of 2017 – only a few panicles in entire field.

Fig. 6.  Severe brown spot disease indicating potential potassium deficiency.


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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