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Arkansas Rice Update 8-17-18
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Drs. Jarrod Hardke & Yeshi Wamishe

August 17, 2018  No. 2018-25      

Crop Progress

“I said hey, what’s going on?”  My calendar must be broken, because this doesn’t seem like August to me.  We should be cutting quite a bit of rice and instead we’re getting rain.  In some locations across the northern part of the state there have been up to 10 inches of rain the last two days.  Time for a weather audible.

Hopefully we wrap up this rain system by Monday and get on with harvest.  Certainly we’ll need a few days to dry out, but with sunny conditions and highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s we should be in for some drying.

It’s still very early for yield reports given the rain, but there have been a few.  Of those limited reports, yields have been very good to outstanding.  High early yields is no guarantee for the rest of the crop, but it’s definitely a good sign.  If the early rice is bad, then it generally doesn’t improve.  If we can start getting this crop out soon we may have a very good one in store.

Fig. 1.  Ideal conditions last week have been replaced by clouds and rain.


FSA Acreage Report

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) released its August acreage report last week (Table 1).  Numbers will still go up from here, but it paints a much larger acreage picture for Arkansas rice than was previously predicted in the June acreage report.  The currently total is 1,419,655 planted acres in Arkansas, but be prepared for that number to get a lot closer to 1.5 million.  Total acres for each major rice-producing state can be found in Table 2.

Table 1.  FSA Acreage, Arkansas, Aug. 2018.

Table 2.  FSA Acreage, U.S., Aug. 2018.

For those curious, other major commodity acres are found in Table 3.  Soybean acres are currently well below June predictions.  Corn, cotton and wheat are slightly below to right on June predictions.  There’s still a long way to go for harvest, so there could always be a big difference between these planted acreage numbers and the eventual harvested acreage.

Table 3.  FSA Certified Acreage, Arkansas, August 2018.


Disease Update

False smut: Recently, rain and lower temperatures appeared to enhance the development of false smut (Fig. 2).  Similar to kernel smut, rice fields with a history applied with heavy nitrogen fertilizers often show considerable false smut in susceptible rice cultivars under favorable weather conditions.

Unfortunately, most commercial cultivars including hybrid rice are either moderately susceptible, susceptible, or very susceptible.  Currently, we are largely seeing considerable levels of false smut in Diamond, RT Gemini 214 CL, and RT XP760 in fields planted earlier than the 3rd week of April.  The severity varied on field history and nitrogen management.

False smut in fungicide-protected fields: Fields with a history, managed inadequately with nitrogen may also show some level of false smut in rice fields that received fungicide applications.  Fungicides containing propiconazole can suppress false smut from 50% to 75% in well-managed fields when at least 6 oz/acre rate of Tilt equivalent is applied at the recommended timings of early boot to mid-boot.

Using adequate water volume for good coverage is highly essential.  Ten gal/acre is the recommended volume.  Using less than 5 gal/acre water volume to carry the fungicides does not give good coverage to offer the required suppression.  Similar recommendations apply for kernel smut.  However, there is better suppression of kernel smut by fungicides than false smut.

Kernel smut:  We have seen kernel smut in some fields but the severity levels were low in already matured rice.  Kernel smut occasionally can be seen more in late tillers than the earlier tillers (Fig. 3).  Such phenomenon is more common in hybrids than varieties.

Fig. 2.  False smut.

Fig. 3.  Kernel smut on late tiller.


Insect Update

Rice stink bug numbers have increased in late planted rice just now reaching heading.  Some numbers have been found at 50+ RSB per 10 sweeps.  Those with rice finishing up, remember that insecticide applications can be terminated once rice is beyond 60% hard dough (straw colored kernels).

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.



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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