Rice Crop: Texas, Louisiana 70% Harvested; Mississippi, Arkansas Not Ready Yet
Texas harvest is just over 70% complete. Field yields hold fairly steady in the 48 to 75 bbl green range, but there are reports of later fields falling off by 2 to 3 bbls. Quality and milling are still noted as good.
Cool showers in hot fields are creating some small decline in milling outturns. This year’s short acres took another hit when around 15,000 acres on the west side were told there would be no water for second crop this year.
Texas agriculture has really taken a beating from the drought, and with no relief in the near future. The daily lake reports now have lakes Buchannan and Travis down the 34% of capacity – now at only 686,000 acre feet. Once the harvest is finished, some heavy and steady rains would certainly be welcome.
Texas sales this week: 95,400 cwts offered, with bids from $9.00 to $9.50 per cwt premium over loan for conventional varieties and $9.00 to $9.40 for hybrids. All bids were turned down yesterday. It looks like growers are looking for at least the $10.25 level again.
Harvest is 75% to 80% completed. The rice has been coming in quickly, and some showers in the last several days have allowed a bit of catching up at the dryers.
Field yields continue in the high-40 bbls to low-50 bbls, quality and milling are holding up as well. Bids remain firm at $25.00 per bbl fob farm. Farmers are looking for something more in the area of $26.00 per bbl. A bid of $15.25 per cwt delivered Mermentau is getting some attention from those fairly close to the delivery point.
The Delta harvest is expected to be in full swing by mid-September. Some very late planted acres are expected to be cut in October. Weather is a big question for that rice – both on the heat units needed being available as we move into the fall, and from a frost standpoint.
Mississippi rice acres are now estimated around 106,000, which is off from earlier 110,000 to 120,000 of a couple of weeks back. Bidding remains at the $15.56 per cwt level delivered barge loading point for the harvest period and $15.56 per cwt fob farm for Oct/Nov/Dec. There have been some confirmations at those levels.
Arkansas continues to predict just an average crop, but one of good quality and, hopefully, good milling. The rain in north Arkansas has been persistent, and this is a worry to most folks up there – not enough heat and sun and too cool for the rice to be aggressive. The rains have created some real grass problems, and there are quality concerns about how this rice will turn out.
The basis bid is now 40 cents under the Nov futures for Jan/Feb delivery, but we don’t think anyone is booking at that level. Buyers are expressing more interest as the harvest gets closer, but no pricing has been put out yet.
Growers are looking for pricing in the range of $7.00 to $7.10 to perhaps even $7.25 per bu fob farm this year. Expect competition for rice in Mississippi and Arkansas this year, especially as Texas and south Louisiana start feeling the pressure early on their depleting stocks. The remaining delivery certificates still available in Chicago are now down to 103 – over 3,500 certificates have been redeemed for physical delivery since last July 2012, most of it in the last two months.