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Arkansas Rice Update 9-15-17
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke & Scott Stiles

September 15, 2017  No. 2017-26      

Crop Progress

“They come a-runnin’ for me, I said this is the end…”  This will be the final weekly update for the season.  Additional updates will be posted throughout the fall and spring as needed.

Over half of the state’s rice crop has been harvested to this point.  As of Monday the official number was 41%, but by this coming Monday that number should be over 60%.

Yields continue to remain strong throughout the state.  The southern half of the state, generally speaking, is probably producing yields 10-15 bu/acre better than those currently reported in the northern half.  However, most are extremely positive.

Early milling yields at times left something to be desired but have stabilized recently.  While not great, they are good and overall quality is certainly much improved over last year.

Keep in mind that with the odd weather conditions we’ve had of late, some of our grain moistures seem artificially high.  For instance, we took samples from a trial that was giving an error reading on Monday afternoon (meaning over 35% moisture) and today the moisture is reading 23%.

This type of weather can help to explain some of the early low milling numbers as grain moisture was actually falling but conditions weren’t allowing that be reflected in samples taken.  Why?  Moisture seems to have been adhering to the grain hulls with the regular showers and heavy morning dews.  Meaning all that re-wetting and drying would be causing kernels to fissure and ultimately break up more in the milling process after harvest.

Maybe we can dodge some of the forecast rainfall next week and finish this crop up quickly.  There have been a few calls related to late disease and drift issues.  Call if we can help.

Preliminary Cultivar Testing Results

To access preliminary results for the Arkansas Rice Performance Trials (ARPTs) and Producer Rice Evaluation Program (PREP) on-farm testing access the following link:

These results will be updated as more trials are harvested and can be added to the files.  These results are preliminary only and subject to change prior to final publication.  However, they are being made available now to assist in any early planting decisions currently needing to be made.  Please contact us with any questions.

Estimating Harvest Losses

Harvest loss estimates are a regular question this time of year.  See Table 1 for easy calculation of harvest losses in the field based on kernel counts on the ground behind the combine.

Table 1.  Converting field loss counts into bushels per acre.

Glyphosate & Rice Don’t Mix

Thankfully this fall has brought relatively few calls on glyphosate injury to rice (Fig. 1).  However, they’re still out there.  Depending on the timing and rate associated with the injury the yield losses can be quite substantial – to the tune of harvesting 60-70 bu/acre rice where you might be harvesting 180-200 bu/acre rice.

Generally speaking, if you’re ever harvesting a field and it just seems off relative to comparable fields – stop the combine and get off to check things out.  Regardless of what may be going on such as weather, chemical, disease, etc., – something explainable may be going on if you look while there’s still standing rice left to evaluate.

Fig. 1.  Glyphosate injury to reproductive stage rice.  Shortened flag leaf and distorted kernels.


Rice Market Update

Crop Progress:

In Monday’s Crop Progress Arkansas’ rice harvest was estimated at 41% complete as of September 10th; up 23 percentage points from the prior week’s 18%. Monday’s estimate is behind last year’s pace of 49% but ahead of the five year average of 37%.  The five-year average pace in next Monday’s report would be around 58% harvested.

Harvesting Costs:

Each year at this time we get a number of calls about harvesting costs and custom rates.  The tables below include harvesting cost estimates for rice.  Our fact sheet “Estimating Farm Machinery Costs” includes harvesting cost estimates for all grains, cotton and peanuts.  Cost estimates for tillage and other field operations are included as well.  Page 5 of Table 2 in the fact sheet includes the harvesting costs for each of the major crops.

Total Costs include ownership (depreciation and interest), fuel, repairs and labor. Fuel costs are estimated using $2.00/gallon and labor at $13.40/hour. Grease/oil cost is estimated to be 15 percent of fuel cost. Repairs are estimated as a percent of purchase price based on American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers standards.

Allowances for profit are not included in these cost estimates. Charging custom rates at the estimated costs shown in the tables should cover total costs, but will not generate profits. In cases where machinery is used to perform custom work, adding 10 to 15 percent to the estimated total cost is customary as the owner / operator’s profit.

FSA Certified Acreage (as of Sept. 1).

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) released its September crop acreage report earlier this week.  Keeping in mind these are still preliminary numbers, Arkansas growers have certified 955,704 planted acres of long-grain and 145,034 acres of medium-grain to date.  Total planted for both classes is roughly 1.1 million acres.

One other notable in the FSA numbers was Arkansas’ “Prevented Planting” acres.  As expected, these were sizeable this year and currently total 218,300 acres compared to 59,582 acres last year.

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.  Currently, NASS is estimating Arkansas’ long-grain harvested acreage to be 945,000.  Given that growers have already certified 955,704 as “Planted”, it is possible NASS may revise its’ harvested acreage estimate higher in October.  The medium-grain harvested acreage estimate from NASS was 147,000 in the September Crop Production—which should hold for now.

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

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

Rice PLC Update:     

As of September 12, USDA is projecting a 2016 marketing year average price for long-grain of $9.62/cwt. or $4.33/bu. A projected PLC Payment Rate can be determined by subtracting the $4.33/bu. marketing year average price from the PLC Reference Price of $6.30/bu. This would result in a projected PLC Payment Rate of $1.97 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 $1.84 per bushel.  The final 2016 marketing year prices for rice and PLC payment rates are expected to be announced October 30, 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 includes projected 2017 crop PLC rates.  For long-grain, FSA is currently using the mid-point of the producer price range included in the September WASDE report—which is $12.50/cwt. or $5.63/bu.  Using this average price a PLC payment of 67 cents per bushel would be expected for the 2017 crop (not accounting for sequestration).

The current outlook from USDA implies that the average producer price received for 2017 long-grain could be $1.30 per bushel higher than the average price received for the 2016 crop.  If this price outlook holds, the 2017 crop PLC payments will be roughly 66% less.  For operations with large rice base this will dramatically reduce the amount of cash flow in November that was received from PLC payments.  With more 2017 revenue expected to come periodically from market sources such as seasonal pool advances, projected monthly cash flows should adjust to reflect this.

The mid-point of the 2017 price range for southern medium grain is currently $5.72/bu., which equates to a PLC payment of 59 cents per bushel. As a reminder, PLC payments are made on 85% of base acres and historical average yields.

The next USDA Crop Production and WASDE report will be released on October 12, 2017.



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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