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Arkansas Rice Update 8-4-17
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke & Dr. Gus Lorenz

August 4, 2017  No. 2017-20      

Crop Progress

Rice harvest has begun on a very limited basis. Initial yield reports don’t tell us a great deal, but opinions have been that yields are good to very good. Some yields have been 20 bu greater than the same time last year while others have been 30-40 bu below.  Ultimately a handful of observations don’t give us a yield forecast.

It’s always good to get harvest started but we’re staring down what is likely to be a second consecutive atypical August. In the next 5-7 days the state is projected to receive ~5 inches of rain. If you’re keeping score at home, August is the driest month of the year on average, usually with total rainfall of 3 inches for the month.

The unseasonably cool weather is a big plus for overall rice grain quality.  Nighttime temperatures have fallen off and should lead to low chalk levels for much of the crop – a much needed result.  Low chalk is good for individual growers and the industry as a whole.

However, the persistent rainfall that appears to be on the way will be problematic not just for drying rice in the field, but also for milling yields.  Rice nearing maturity that is repeatedly exposed to wetting and drying cycles will begin to fissure.  Ultimately, grains will then be more likely to break up in the milling process leading to reduced head rice yields.  However, a few milling numbers heard so far on this earliest rice have been excellent.

Fig. 1.  2017 Rice College was a big hit.

Fig. 2.  Thanks to all Rice College sponsors.

Fig. 3.  Rice harvest has begun in south AR.

Fig. 4.  8-14 day outlook shows below normal temperatures for mid-August.

Fig. 5.  Current 7-day precipitation forecast shows ~5 inches rainfall for Arkansas.

Fig. 6.  In 2016 at about this time we had an even greater rain event, let’s hope we don’t see this again.

Upcoming Field Days

  • 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


Harvest Aids

To get harvest underway, many will likely lean toward to the use of harvest aids.  Sodium chlorate can be used to reduce foliage and grain moisture to move fields closer to desired moisture levels for harvest.

However, sodium chlorate should only be applied once grain moisture is below 25%.  DO NOT apply if grain moisture is below 18%.  In just a few days after application, grain moisture levels can fall up to 5%, so be prepared to harvest no more than 4-7 days after application.  DO NOT apply a harvest aid immediately prior to suspected rainy weather that will delay immediate and timely harvest.


Fall Armyworm Scattered

There have been a handful of reports of fall armyworm in occasional fields.  When reported, larvae were eating plants back to the waterline in younger rice and in some larger rice taking out flag leaves.  Generally speaking, control is only warranted in extreme situations like those – most often only occasional larvae and feeding are found.  In maturing rice if significant numbers aren’t clipping flag leaves or panicles, then they can typically be left alone.


Fig. 7.  Large fall armyworm larvae feeding on rice leaves.

Fig. 8.  Fall armyworm eating rice back to the water line.


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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