The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its first projections for major crops for the 2018/19 crop years today, and according to the report, total rice production is forecast at 217.8 million hundred-weight (cwt), up sharply from 178.2 million cwt a year earlier, based on a 17-percent increase in planted acreage to 2.88 million acres.
Higher expected returns for rice at planting compared with alternative crops, primarily corn and soybeans, is responsible for the projected increase in rice area.
For all rice, the average yield is projected at 7,631 pounds per acre, up 2 percent. Exports are seen at 106 million cwt, a 6 percent increase.
The season-average farm price (SAFP) for long grain rice is projected at $11.20 per cwt, down 50 cents from the 2017/18 midpoint. Medium and short grain ending stocks are forecast to increase 12 percent to 10.4 million cwt. The SAFP for all medium and short grain rice is projected at $14.20 per cwt, down 80 cents from the 2017/18 midpoint.
According to the report, “Global trade will continue to be driven by China, which currently accounts for nearly two-thirds of world trade. Continued demand growth in the rest of Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa region will provide additional support for a rise in global imports.”
“Today’s projections provide an early-season signal of increased acreage and production of rice versus other commodities,” said Keith Glover, CEO of Producers Rice Mill and chairman of the USA Rice World Market Price Subcommittee. “We look forward to USDA’s Prospective Plantings report on March 28 for the first survey-based indication of farmers’ intentions.”