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Arkansas Rice Update 8-24-18
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

Rice LogoArkansas Rice Update

Dr. Jarrod Hardke

August 24, 2018  No. 2018-26      

Crop Update

“Forget the curveball, Ricky.  Give’em the heater!”  We have a favorable forecast currently and combines are starting to find traction up and down the state.  Rice has been harvested in most every county so far, but progress is definitely greater in the central and southern regions.

The outlook for the next 10 days is mixed.  Temperatures look good (Fig. 2), but humidity and dew set is high which will delay starting each day.  Moderate rain chances come into the picture starting on Wednesday, but the forecast rain totals are currently low as long as that red bullseye doesn’t move south (Fig. 1).

Those with any rice that can be harvested would be wise to find a way to start getting it out – and some are mudding it out already.  I hate to say it, but we’re due a wet fall after three straight years of mostly dry harvest conditions.

Unofficial yield reports have been extremely favorable.  Mostly hybrid acres have been harvested so far, but those reports have been in the range of 180-250 bu/acre.  That certainly sets a good tone for the year, but we need a better window to get the rest of the crop out.  The rice looks like it’s there if we can cut it standing.  There’s enough grass out there to make me worry about lodging if we can’t be Johnny-on-the-spot with our harvest timing.

Fig. 1.  7-day precipitation forecast.

Fig. 2.  8-14 Temperature Outlook.

Fig. 3.  Early rice harvest is looking up.

Four Feet High and Rising

The northern counties – mainly Mississippi, Clay, and Randolph – have experienced particularly heavy rainfall the end of last week and last weekend.  Try 12-15” worth of rainfall over just a few days in MissCo.  As a result, many acres of soybeans are flooded out and rotting.

On the rice side, harvest was ready to begin when the rain began to fall.  Now the bottom ends of fields have deeper floods than they had all season long.  With the rainfall occurring up into Missouri as well, the water isn’t really leaving with any speed, or much at all.  While limited, some rice is even sprouting on the head as a result (Fig. 4).  Sprouting kernels was a shock in 2016, but then a few could be found in 2017 and now again in 2018.  Still rare, but more than anyone wants to see.

Even beyond the sprouting, the longer rice sits in the field, the more bad things can happen.  Direct yield loss due to shattering and lodging come into play.  Continued wetting and drying in the field will also steadily bring down milling yields.  Terrible timing for those affected with all the money already in a made crop.  Hopefully there are continued warm and dry conditions for all – and good drainage.

Fig. 4.  Rice sprouting on the panicle in Mississippi County.


Initial Data from Planting Date Studies

The first two planting dates have been harvested at the Rice Research & Extension Center near Stuttgart (Table 1).  This is preliminary data and is subject to change before final reporting.  Results are not intended to be a strict predictor of in-field performance, but rather a reflection of relative differences in cultivar performance at various planting dates.  In theory, these grain yields are attainable if similar levels of management could be achieved at a field scale.

I’ll be the first to say that some of these yields seem very high.  We’ve triple-checked that these yields accurately reflect what’s occurring in the trials.  Fields of hybrid rice such as XP753 and CLXL745 have been harvested near the station from similar planting dates and some of those actual field yields have been extremely close to those reported here (within 10-20 bu/A).

Table 1.  Preliminary data for planting date studies at RREC, Stuttgart, 2018.


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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