Arkansas Rice: Acreage Outlook, Crop Budgets

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Crop Outlook

2015 is in the past, behind us, let’s just try to forget most everything about it. The majority of folks seem to be settled on what cultivars they’re growing this year, but the topic of how much of it has been a hot one of late.

The official acreage last year was 1.3 million acres planted in Arkansas. A 20% increase in acres seems extremely likely given the current commodity price environment. This would put us above 1.5 million acres and staring down the barrel of 1.6. There are many ways to easily get to that 1.6 million acre mark, but hopefully we don’t go over it. The state, and the market, doesn’t need us to have 1.7 million acres of rice. Rice prices may not be exciting when looked at alone, but they start looking a lot better next to other options – detailed in the budgets mentioned later.

Now that’s total acres, and most of the increase in acreage is expected to be from long-grain. However, medium-grain acres went up last year despite overall acreage being down. There seem to be some indicators keeping people pushed toward medium-grain this year, but we don’t need 300,000 acres of it. This looks like a second consecutive year where no contracts will be offered for medium-grain – and that should tell you all you need to know.

The state average yield for 2015 came in at 163 bushels per acre, down from 168 in both 2013 and 2014. However, the drop probably should’ve been greater. By guesstimation I had it pegged at about 158 bu/acre. If this is true (and predictions are only right half the time) then we may find out about mid-summer that rice stocks are not as high as the official 163 state average would indicate.

Crop Budgets

The 2016 Crop Enterprise Budgets for Arkansas Field Crops planted in 2016 is now available. Please visit here for PDF summaries of budgets and interactive Excel spreadsheets for all commodities to tailor the budgets to your specific operation and inputs.

In addition to the Enterprise budgets, please consult the 2016 Crop Comparison by Yield & Price budget as well as the 2016 Rice Comparative Budgets for making detailed decisions and projections for the coming season. If you have any questions about these budgets please contact us.

Phosphorus Recommendation Changes

Phosphorus (P) fertilizer recommendations for rice were revised in December 2015 based on soil-test information and rice yield response results from P fertilization trials. The primary change was that the soil-test levels (Very Low, Low, Medium, and Optimum) were revised by adjusting the soil-test P values that define each level’s lower and upper boundary. The critical soil-test P concentration that triggers a recommendation to apply P fertilizer was essentially lowered from 35 ppm to 25 ppm. Minor adjustments were also made to the fertilizer rates within each level.

Revised recommendations were implemented on soil test reports in late December 2015 and influence only the P recommendations. Remember that soil-test based recommendations for rice are based on soil samples collected to a 4-inch depth. Collecting soil samples from the 0-6 inch depth will usually result in slightly lower soil-test P and K concentrations as compared to samples collected from the 0-4 inch depth.


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