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Arkansas Rice Update 8-11-17
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke & Scott Stiles

August 11, 2017  No. 2017-21      

Crop Progress

“I’m no stranger to the rain…”  This is getting out of hand.  While much of the state has missed recent forecast rainy weather, it seems most caught it today.  Most do not need a reminder but the current forecast looks reminiscent of what happened in 2016 (Table 1).

Far southeast Arkansas in places has caught significant amounts over the past week and may be catching the brunt of the storms today.  Even before today’s storms there have been a few whispers of a small amount of sprouting beans and rice in the field.  If the current forecast holds true then much of the mature crops could be subject to a second year of these issues.

Early milling yield reports have been very good, but repeated rainfall causing continued wetting and drying aren’t good.  If this keeps up we could see a falloff in milling yields.  Nighttime temperatures were only high for a relatively short period of time so quality may be good, but that is a small positive at this point if we can’t get the crop out in a timely manner.

Additional yield reports have been few with the recent weather not being conducive to grain moisture dropping.  Some that have cut this week are still reporting moistures of 20% or more.  Depending on the area some early yields appear strong while others are underwhelming.  This variability in early yields doesn’t promote confidence in attaining the high yields we would like to see but instead points toward an average yield expectation.

Table 1.  Rainfall and temperature data for Stuttgart, AR in 2016.

Fig. 1.  Sprouting rice kernels in research trials at RREC, Stuttgart.

Upcoming Field Days

  • Aug. 14 – Poinsett Co. Field Day
  • Aug. 15 – Prairie / White Co. Field Day
  • Aug. 16 – St. Francis Co. Field Day
  • Aug. 17 – Pine Tree Research Station near Colt.


Ratooning Rice in Arkansas

A viable ratoon crop in Arkansas is generally rare.  However, given the early planting this year, some are interested in attempting to produce a ratoon crop of rice.  This is a topic rarely pursued in research due to rare environmental conditions that allow for the practice.  However, there are a few guidelines that can be followed if attempting a ratoon crop.

Generally speaking, a ratoon crop should only be attempted in Arkansas if rice harvest occurs prior to August 15th.  Again, this is an area that needs research but based on average temperature trends and limited trials, this date is a good reference point.

In the event that harvest occurs by this point, no more than 100 lbs urea should be applied post-harvest and a shallow flood established.  DO NOT apply greater amounts of nitrogen or the ratoon crop will likely be delayed too long and the rice will not mature in time to make a crop.  Given the current extended forecast 75 lbs urea may be a better approach.

Harvesting rice in a manner that leaves stubble at a height of 8-12 inches would be ideal.  DO NOT manipulate stubble any further by mowing or rolling.  This will also delay any potential for a ratoon crop.  The taller the stubble height is left, the quicker a ratoon can be produced but the yield gets lower.

In an ideal year with high temperatures a ratoon yield in Arkansas can reach 100 bushels per acre.  In a suboptimal year with mild temperatures such as this year, with a little luck yields may range from 20-70 bushels per acre.  It is up to the individual to determine if the risk is worth the reward.


Drain Timing

A reminder that the approximate drain timing is 25 days after 50% heading for long-grain cultivars and 30 days for medium-grain cultivars.  Mark Twain once said, “be careful of reading medical books, you could die of a misprint.”  A couple of weeks ago it was accidentally stated that 35 days were needed for medium grains but 30 is the rule of thumb.  Again, look at the image below and drain based on approximate days and overall maturity of the crop.  The days are a guideline – prevailing temperature, humidity, and rainfall play major roles in actual grain maturity.

Fig. 2.  Rice panicles at different maturity levels described by percent straw color:

(L) 100%, (C) 67%, and (R) 33%.

Rice Acreage Update

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) released its August acreage report on Thursday.  Keeping in mind these are preliminary numbers, Arkansas growers have certified 953,490 planted acres of long-grain and 146,381 acres of medium-grain to date.  Total planted for both classes is roughly 1.1 million acres.

Over the upcoming months total certified acreage would be expected to increase slightly.  Last year, almost 12,500 planted acres of rice were added between FSA’s August report and the final release in January.  If there’s a similar trend this year, final long-grain planted acreage could inch toward 965,000—very close to NASS’ current harvested acreage projection shown in the table below.

It’s interesting that the NASS Acreage report (released on June 30) estimated Arkansas’ total planted acreage to be 1.171 million—which is just 23,000  more than the “Planted & Failed” acres certified to date.  Furthermore, Arkansas’ harvested acreage, which NASS projected in June to be 1.1 million, aligns very closely with the “Planted” acreage that FSA has certified to date.

One other notable in the FSA numbers was Arkansas’ “Prevented Planting” acres.  As expected, these were sizeable this year and currently total 217,903 acres against a relatively small 59,582 acres last year.

For reference, the U.S. long-grain and medium-grain planted acres certified to date were 1.77 million and 571,405 respectively.

The FSA acreage reports will be updated monthly and release dates are provided below. NASS incorporates the FSA certified acreage data in the October Crop Production report to adjust their own crop acreage estimates.

FSA acreage data for 2017 will be released on the following dates (release time: 3:00 p.m. Central).

  • September 12
  • October 12
  • November 9
  • December 12
  • January: TBD


2016 and 2017 Rice PLC Update:    

As of August 10, USDA is projecting a 2016 marketing year average price for long-grain of $9.60/cwt. or $4.32/bu. 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 ARC and PLC payment rates have been reduced by 6.8 percent.  Applying that same percentage reduction, the net 2016 PLC payment would be $1.85 per bushel.  The final marketing year prices and PLC payment rates for 2016 are expected to be announced in October.

2016 Projected PLC Payment Rates, Rice.  (As of August 10, 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, FSA is currently using the mid-point of the producer price range included in the August WASDE report—which is $12/cwt. or $5.40/bu.  Using this average price a PLC payment of 90 cents per bushel would be expected for the 2017 crop (not accounting for sequestration).

The mid-point of the 2017 price range for southern medium grain is currently $5.49/bu., which equates to a PLC payment of 81 cents per bushel. As a reminder, PLC payments are made on 85% of base acres and historical average yields.



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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