Rice – Arkansas Harvest Starts, Coastal Yields Still Lag – AgFax

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Owen Taylor, Editor

Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Rice, sponsored by the Southern rice team of Corteva Agriscience.


Rice harvest continues in the coastal belt of Texas and southwest Louisiana, and lackluster yields remain the norm.

In Arkansas, harvest started on a limited basis this week. Momentum should pick up next week. At least some cutting will likely begin in Mississippi over the next week.

Keep in mind that plenty of rice went in late, even into June. So, any immediate harvest will begin in rice planted in a typical time frame. This year, that’s a relatively small portion of the crop. However, this latest round of hot weather has nudged along the later-than-normal plantings.

Irregular emergence in the spring continues to complicate crop management. To an extent, harvest has stalled in southwest Louisiana while growers wait for all the rice to fully mature in fields that otherwise seem ready. Grain is dry enough on plants that emerged early but remains too moist on plants that broke through later.

Also Of Note: In our links section, connect to the latest on world rice stocks, EU imports and world rough rice prices – plus, considerations for ratooning rice in Arkansas and a Mississippi study on paraquat damage in heading rice.



This is our last regular issue for the year, marking the end of our 21st season covering rice in the Midsouth and the coastal rice belt of Louisiana and Texas.

Special thanks to two groups:

Our contacts – the crop consultants, dealer personnel and Extension professionals who graciously supply the information contained in every issue. We appreciate their time, patience and insight. In a sense, they are the real editors. They know what’s important from week to week, and we simply bring their thoughts together and pass them along to you.

Our sponsor – the Southern Rice Team of Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences). We are grateful to Corteva and its staff for once again sponsoring our coverage. This marks the company’s 14th year with us.

From our sponsor…



Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“Growers are pretty much draining fields every day now. I doubt if anyone is draining whole farms, but we’re certainly progressing toward harvest.

“A few more people have called about neck blast. It’s developing on corners, but this doesn’t seem to be as severe or as widespread as we saw with those initial cases. A few people have mentioned blackbirds hitting the more mature fields.

“Our latest-planted rice is 10% to 15% headed. That doesn’t count a handful of ‘ultra-late’ plantings. Fields planted before that later rice have reached about 50% heading. This run of hot weather pushed rice, and later fields caught up quite nicely. Rice planted in the last week of May or into the first week of June is starting to head.

“I am a little concerned about the heat and potential for blanking where rice was flowering.

“To my knowledge, nobody in the state has cut a sample yet. I’ve been on the phone all morning (7/15) and no one mentioned anything like that. However, that’s not to say someone hasn’t made a run at it. Sampling will likely start in earnest next week, and people will begin harvesting the earliest fields. Certain fields in the south Delta are really close now.”


Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:

“Rice is headed or moving into it, and we’re wrapping up fungicide applications. High stink bug pressure developed in rice that headed out two weeks ago, and rain interrupted some of our spraying or reduced effectiveness due to wash offs.

“Growers will drain several fields this week. We’re still irrigating row rice. Most of the early rice is running seven to ten days behind normal. The later planted crop caught up very quickly, and rice we planted in early June is headed this week.”


Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:

“Our rice is winding down. We are still checking for stink bugs. I’m looking at a lot of row rice, which we fell in love with a few years ago. It’s a lot easier to check. To me, row rice is a good alternative.

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“We are finding billbugs in the row rice, but I haven’t seen any harm. They can be a problem farther south, and billbugs can kill tillers, not just chew on them a bit. In this area, though, 95% of the time they don’t harm our crop.

“We’ll begin cutting test strips in two weeks. With one field, we shut off water last week and are waiting for the moisture to come down.”


M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont:

“Reports from the field continue to suggest yields are down this year, but we still have no solid yield figures. A few reports about kernel smut are turning up.  

“It’s been dry over the past week, which is great for harvest and quality. The weather models indicate that dry conditions will remain in place this week. That’s great news, and I hope it holds. Mid-September is kind of the peak for hurricane season along the Texas coast, so we become nervous about any systems developing in the Gulf of Mexico.”


Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

“Growers are pulling boards this week in plenty of rice fields. For whatever reason, numerous stink bugs are making a return appearance in places as rice dries down. Numbers are exceeding 1 per sweep. In the last 2 weeks of heading, the threshold is 10 per 10 sweeps.

“We terminate applications at 60% hard dough. While many folks might hesitate to treat, don’t take a chance with pecky rice. If you’re close to 60% hard dough but find threshold numbers, treat the stink bugs.”


Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley:

“Harvest has moved along, albeit on a stop-and-go basis due to rains. Fortunately, it’s been dry through southwest Louisiana for the first couple of days this week. However, the forecast calls for a high probability of rain today (8/14), which will slow up things a bit.

“Yield reports continue to be a little disappointing and are down pretty much across the board for reasons stated in last week’s newsletter. High grain moisture also has been holding up harvest in places in both the varieties and hybrids.

“One reason rice seems to be drying slowly is the high variability in the maturity of the rice. That gets back to the uneven emergence early in the year. Current conditions are also playing a part in that. For example, over the past several weeks the relative humidity has run well above 50% most of the time, which significantly slows the drying process.

“If relative humidity had been lower, rice would be drying down faster and more likely would have been harvested by now.

“We’re seeing more smut, both false and black kernel, and also are finding sooty mold. Historically, smuts had not been prolific in southwest Louisiana, but frequency and severity have picked up in recent seasons.

“As rice comes off, growers are setting up for the ratoon crop. Typically, our best ratoon yields are from rice harvested before August 15, and we’re at that point this week. Obviously, we’d like to be further along with harvest and have more of that ratoon crop set up by now.

“Stubble management is recommended to increase second-crop yields. That can be done by either rolling or by mowing the stubble down to eight inches. Stubble management forces the tillers to develop from the base of the plant. Those resulting panicles tend to be larger and generate more filled grains per panicle.

“Another advantage with stubble management is that less disease tends to follow, especially cercospora. Plus, it evens out maturity.

“However, stubble management can delay maturity by about two weeks. Once you’re past August 15, we don’t officially recommend stubble management because it does delay maturity.

“Also, we generally recommend 90 lbs/acre of nitrogen applied pre-flood, preferably on dry ground. Start pumping up those fields as soon as possible. In most years, that 90 lb/acre rate gives you the optimal return.”


Gary Bradshaw, Independent Agronomist, Bradshaw Agricultural Consulting, Richmond, Texas:

“We’re wrapping up harvest. A number of my clients had already finished or were cutting the last of their rice today (8/14). Several clients still have another four or five days to go.

From our sponsor…


“Yields are running below our typical average. It looks like hybrids are generally doing better and tend to be closer to average. Varieties are running 8,800 lbs/acre or less. Hybrids are averaging 10,000 to 10,500 lbs/acre in a lot of instances.

“I still don’t have a firm idea about how yields are turning out because a good deal of my rice goes into on-farm storage, so it’s difficult to pin down any numbers on that.

“The crop went through a good deal of rainy, cloudy weather in June, which accounts for at least part of this lower yield trend. The plants simply needed more sunlight. There’s that old saying about June weather and rice – ‘If the wells aren’t running in June, you’re not making rice.’ That was the case this year.

“About 97% of my rice will be ratooned. Typically, 100% is ratooned, but we have a few late fields that won’t make it.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“On Monday (8/12), the first load of rice in the state came out of the field, and I expect that more combines will be running this week. Draining is picking up, too.

“Over the past week, we’ve been in a heat spell, but a front last night (8/13) seems to have broken it. Temperatures today are in the upper 80s to low 90s.

“I anticipate a bit of blanking where later rice was flowering in all that heat during the last week, but I expect to find only a minor effect in most cases. The heat didn’t seem to persist long enough to cause significant blanking.

“The prospects for higher temperatures probably reduced farmers’ urge to drain fields right away. When highs hit 99, people avoid being too aggressive. At most, plenty of producers with those fields turned off their pumps. The pace, though, will pick up now, and draining also will commence farther north.

“Still, though, plenty of rice went in late, so we still have a long way to go with that part of the crop.”

The USA Rice Federation’s National Rice Month Scholarship Contest annually awards $8,500 in scholarships.
On a milled basis, the European Union is now expected to import 2.1 million tons in 2019
Projected world ending stocks are up 2.0 million tons to a record 174.7 million with China accounting for virtually all of the increase
The sooner you harvest, the better your chances, but other factors play into whether a second crop pans out.
Down for both long grain and medium/short grain.
In a multi year study, paraquat drift affected rough rice yields from 50% headed to one week prior to harvest.

AgFax Rice: Midsouth/Texas is published by AgFax Media LLC
Owen Taylor, Editorial Director.
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