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Rice Yields Slipping In Midsouth In Later Fields But Quality Mostly Holding

Owen Taylor
From US Rice Producers Association's Rice Advocate October 19, 2013 13:58

Rice Yields Slipping In Midsouth In Later Fields But Quality Mostly Holding

The entire Delta/Arkansas/Missouri region is being hit with continuing sporadic rains, which are slowing the harvest quite a bit. Mississippi’s harvest is close to finishing in most of the rice producing areas.

As could have been expected, field yields have fallen off from the very high 200+ bu per acre to levels that are making the overall average something closer to 170 bu per acre.

Quality has continued to be good, and the milling outturns are holding up as well.

It’s a quiet market at present though, and bids are running in the area of $15.50 per cwt delivered barge facility. It appears, however, that sellers are not interested at this level, and we understand that some rice has traded a better price – just what that was we are not certain.

Arkansas’ intermittent rain situation is similar, but there seem to be considerably more late acres in the north end of the state that are raising questions about being able to mature and be harvested before cold weather hits.

The crop is guestimated to be 80% to maybe 85% in now. There were reports this week of some fields being observed that are still green, leaving a few to predict that those will not be harvested.

Just as reported in Mississippi, the early 200+ field yields have given way to considerably lower numbers as the later planted rice has been cut. We are hearing final averages of around 170 bu per acre, which is still good.

Quality has continued to hold up, as has the milling, and this is very important this year in particular – we may get more shots at quality buyers like Iraq where good rice will absolutely be expected and demanded.

Bids remain weak in the neighborhood of $6.85 per bu delivered mill, and some small lots are being picked off by the buyers. For most growers, however, this price is too low.

They want bids around $7.25 per bu picked up at the bin, and they may well see that this year considering how short this crop is along with continuing rains and in the face of good demand – especially domestic demand.

Missouri reports a quiet market at present. Harvesting is seeing the same rain delays as the neighbors to the south are experiencing. Some areas are reporting very high field yields.

Rough rice sales in Texas this week saw a single seller put up just over 75,000 cwts of both conventional and hybrid varieties, on which ARI bid $9.50 per cwt premium over loan for the conventionals and $9.00 over for hybrids.

The single seller confirmed all the rice at the levels bid.

We think about 40% of the Texas first crop has been sold already. Second crop should start cutting in the next week or two.

All of this year’s production should disappear fairly quickly. It’s a small crop, and the domestic buyers will be watching and hoping to pick off whatever they can at premium levels that start with a 9, even though farmers are looking for something starting with a 10 instead.

With patience we think the 10 or 10+ will be achievable, but if figures in the 9’s work, book it and don’t worry about it.

Over 60% of the south Louisiana crop has been sold. Even so, bidding continues to be active, with some buying still being reported at the $25.00 per bbl fob farm level. This seems to be coming from a domestically oriented buyer who is taking rice into his local mill as well as shipping paddy to a mill in central Louisiana and loading barges said to be destined for a Texas mill.

Other mills – more export-oriented but with branded business of their own – are trying to drop the bidding a bit and have moved their prices to $24.25 per bbl fob farm for conventional varieties to ship in the Nov/Dec time frame and $24.35 for Jan/Feb/Mar; hybrids are bid at $24.25 per bbl, we are told.

Reports are that no one is selling at these levels and that the price must start at the $25.00 level to get rice out of first hands. The export buyer at Mermentau has eased his price as well to $14.85 per cwt on a 55/70 for nearby shipment up to $15.00 per cwt for later shipment.

This looks like inventory building at low prices to us. We have not heard if anyone is selling at these levels. Just as in Texas, second crop harvesting will also get underway here in the next couple of weeks.

Owen Taylor
From US Rice Producers Association's Rice Advocate October 19, 2013 13:58

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