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Arkansas Rice Update 5-4-18
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke

May 4, 2018  No. 2018-10      

Crop Progress

“Get busy flushing, or get busy dying…”  So maybe that’s not the exact line from Shawshank Redemption, but it would have been if they were growing rice right now.  Arkansas weather:  wait and minute and it will change.  A week ago we were still lamenting too much rainfall, now we are sorely in need of a rain.  Go figure.

As of Monday the state was listed as 60% planted (Fig. 1).  By now we should be in the range of 85% planted.  Depending on the area of course that number will really range from near 100% to 60%.  Will very little to no rain in the extended forecast rice planting should mostly wrap up in the next week or so.  There will still be some bottom ground acres and fields that need leveling work prior to planting that will be outliers, but we should be near completion in the next week to 10 days.

Fig. 1.  AR Rice Planting Progress 2007-2018.

Crop Emergence versus Planting

We may be finally staying with or getting out in front of 2007 and 2011 in terms of planting progress, but our emergence progress tells a different story (Fig. 2).  The cool weather has clearly been holding our emergence back.

We are beginning to pick up a solid number of heat units finally so if we can get the crop on out of the ground we should be off and running.  Long range forecasts through the next few months call for slightly above average temperatures, so maybe we won’t end up as far behind as we seem to be starting out.  Fortunately the later window of July and August looks like moderate temperatures to keep us out of heat issues when we need them least.

Fig. 2.  AR Rice Emergence Progress 2007-18.


On The Next Episode of Crust Busters…

I find myself staring at the radar at the moment.  Theirs is a massive system currently over southwest Arkansas moving east-northeast.  It looks like it’s set to drop a much needed rain on a good portion of the state.  At this point, most could really use 0.5-1.0 inch of rain.

Fig. 3 shows rice plants struggling, and failing, to emerge through a severe crust in a rice field earlier this week.  The only answer was to flush and hope for the best but not to wait on the rain.  Many other fields weren’t in this severe of a situation earlier in the week but are now.

Flushing is not a fun recommendation to make, though it’s even harder to be the one told it’s necessary to do so.  For many I can say that if you don’t get rain today it’s time to fire up the power units and getting flush going because there is a major lack of rain in the extended forecast.

Fig. 3.  March planted rice starting to finally green up and show a good stand.


New Row Crop Helpline Now Available!

With the help of our IT staff, Extension is happy to announce that we now a system in place for row crop specialists to post audio reports for growers and consultants.  These reports will be posted by respective specialists on an as-needed basis.  You can sign up to receive a text message whenever a report is posted for the crops you want to hear about here:

Also, here is the direct link to the page where all report postings can found:


UAEX Rice Text Message Updates

If you want to receive text messages when Rice Updates are posted or other rice information, you can sign up to receive those here:

Links to Row Crops Helpline audio posts will also be shared using this system, so you may or may not want to sign up for both the Row Crops Helpline and these updates.


New DD50 Program is Live!

Check out for the overhauled DD50 Rice Management Program.  We have tried to make this version extremely user friendly, but in doing so it is a little different than the old version.  If you run into any issue, please call or text me directly at 501-772-1714 or send emails to  It also works great on mobile phones and tablets.




Fig. 4.  Blackbird depredation causing severe stand loss in a field.

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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