Rice Outlook: U.S. Production Forecast Lowered 2%

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There were several revisions this month to the 2019/20 U.S. rice balance sheet. On the supply side, the U.S. production forecast was lowered 3.3 million cwt to 205.4 million cwt based on a lower all rice yield reported by NASS. In addition, the 2019/20 carryin was lowered 1.0 million cwt to 50.6 million cwt due to stronger exports in 2018/19.

On the use side, the 2019/20 total domestic and residual use forecast was lowered 1.0 million cwt to 137.0 million cwt. Exports in 2019/20 remain forecast at 101.0 million cwt. These supply and use revisions resulted in a 3.3-million cwt reduction in the 2019/20 ending stocks forecast to 47.2 million cwt.

The 2019/20 season-average farm price forecast was raised for both long-grain rice and southern medium- and short-grain rice. The only revision to the 2018/19 U.S. rice balance sheet was a 1.0-million cwt increase in the medium- and short-grain export forecast to 27.0 million cwt which lowered the all rice endings forecast to 50.6 million cwt. The 2018/19 long-grain season-average farm price was raised 10 cents to $12.80 per cwt.

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U.S. 2019/20 Rice Crop Forecast Lowered 3.3 Million Cwt

There were two supply side revisions this month to the 2019/20 U.S. rice balance sheet. First, USDA lowered its 2019/20 U.S. rice production forecast by 3.3 million cwt to 205.4 million cwt based on a lower yield reported by NASS. At 7,577 pounds per acre, the 2019/20 average yield for all rice is down 121 pounds from the previous forecast and 115 pounds below the year-earlier near-record.

This is the first survey-based yield for the 2019/20 U.S. rice crop. Yields for all rice by State were also reported this month. The first yields estimates by class for the United States and by State for the 2019/20 U.S. rice crop will be reported in January 2020 in the NASS Crop Production 2019 Summary.

The 2019/20 U.S. rice crop is more than 8 percent smaller than the 2018/19 crop, mostly due to reduced plantings. By class, the 2019/20 U.S. long-grain rice crop is forecast at 149.1 million cwt, down 3.0 million cwt from the previous forecast and 9 percent smaller than the 2018/19 crop.

The 2019/20 U.S. medium- and short-grain crop is forecast at 56.3 million cwt, down 0.3 million cwt from the previous forecast and 6.6 percent smaller than a year earlier.

At 2.76 million acres, U.S. rice plantings in 2019/20 were 6.4 percent below a year earlier, with the Delta accounting for the bulk of the 190,000-acre reduction in rice plantings. At 2.71 million acres, harvested area is down 204,000 acres from 2018/19. Planted and harvested area estimates for the U.S. and by State are unchanged from the estimates reported in the June NASS Acreage report.

Harvested area declined in 2019/20 in all reported States except for Mississippi and Texas, with Arkansas accounting for almost three-fourths percent of the total decline. Missouri reported the second largest decline, with harvested area dropping 32,000 acres. Heavy and persistent rains occurring nearly all spring across most of the South—especially in Arkansas and Missouri—account for much of the decline U.S. rice acreage in 2019/20.

The rains also delayed plantings several weeks and hampered field operations in these two States, with planting continuing well into late June. In addition, prices for long-grain rice, the dominant class of rice grown in the South, were declining in late winter and early spring when producers were making planting decisions for the 2019/20 crop.

Rice yields in 2019/20 are forecast to be below a year earlier in all reported States except for California and Mississippi.

At 7,300 pounds per acre, Missouri’s 2019/20 yield is down 6 percent from a year earlier and the lowest since 2016/17. Arkansas’ 2019/20 yield of 7,450 pounds is down 1 percent from a year earlier and also the lowest since 2016/17. The 2019/20 rice crop in both States was severely delayed by rains this spring.

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Louisiana’s 2019/20 yield is forecast at 6,700 pounds per acre, also down 6 percent from a year earlier and the lowest since 2016/17. At 7,900 pounds, the 2019/20 Texas rice yield is also down 1 percent from a year earlier.

In contrast, California’s 2019/20 yield of 8,700 pounds per acre is up 1 percent from a year earlier and the second highest on record. In contrast to the South, crop conditions in California have been reported quite favorable all year.

Mississippi’s 2019/20 forecast yield of 7,350 pounds per acre is unchanged from a year earlier but below the 2014/15 record of 7,420 pounds per acre.

Rice crops are forecast to be smaller than a year earlier in 2019/20 in all reported States except for Mississippi and Texas, with Arkansas accounting for almost two-thirds of the 18.8-million cwt decline in production.

At 95.1 million, the Arkansas rice crop is down 11 percent from a year earlier, mostly due to smaller area. Missouri’s 2019/20 rice crop is forecast at 13.7 million cwt, down 19 percent from a year earlier, a result of both reduced area and a weaker yield. The Louisiana 2019/20 rice crop is projected at 27.8 million cwt, down 11 percent from 2018/19 due to smaller plantings and a lower yield.

California’s 2019/20 rice crop is projected to decline 2 percent to 42.5 million cwt, a result of reduced plantings.

In contrast, Mississippi’s 2019/20 rice crop is forecast to increase 7 percent to 11.0 million cwt, a result of expanded area. Despite a slightly lower yield, the 2019/20 Texas rice crop of 15.3 million cwt is up 2 percent from a year earlier due to expanded plantings.

Crop progress continues to remain behind normal in much of the Delta, largely due to late planting caused by excessive rainfall this spring. In Arkansas, 73 percent of the 2019/20 rice crop was reported headed by August 11, well behind 93 percent last year and behind the State’s 5-year average of 85 percent.

The Missouri rice crop was reported just 55 percent headed by August 11, down sharply from 89 percent a year earlier and well behind the State’s average of 80 percent. Crop progress in both of these Delta States has been well behind normal all season.

Harvest of the 2019/20 U.S. rice crop began in late July on the Gulf Coast, slightly later than normal. For the week ending August 11, 38 percent of Louisiana’s crop was reported harvested, behind both 53 percent a year earlier and the State’s 5-year average of 44 percent. In Texas, 21 percent of the 2019/20 rice crop was reported harvested by August 11, also well behind 41 percent reported a year earlier and the Texas 5-year average of 36 percent.

Harvest had not begun in the Delta or California, typical for early August.

Total U.S. Rice Supplies Are Projected To Be Up 1 Percent in 2019/20

The second 2019/20 supply revision this month was a 1.0-million cwt reduction in the carryin to 50.6 million cwt, a result of a higher 2018/19 export forecast. The downward revision in the 2019/20 carryin was entirely for medium- and short-grain rice, which was reduced to 15.6 million cwt, still more than double the 2018/19 carryin.

The 2019/20 U.S. long-grain carryin remains forecast at 33.6 million cwt, up 65 percent from 2018/19 and the highest since 2011/12. The U.S. 2019/20 all rice carryin of 50.6 million cwt is down 1.0 million cwt from the previous forecast but up 72 percent from a year earlier and the highest since 1987/88.

U.S. all rice imports for 2019/20 remain forecast at a record 29.2 million cwt, up just 0.2 million cwt from 2018/19. Long-grain 2019/20 imports remain projected at a record 23.5 million cwt, up 0.2 million from a year earlier. Aromatic varieties from South and Southeast Asia are projected to continue to account for the bulk of U.S. long-grain imports.

Combined medium- and short-grain imports remain projected at 5.7 million cwt, unchanged from a year earlier but below the 2006/07 record of 6.3 million cwt. This forecast assumes China will continue to ship rice to Puerto Rico. China and Thailand now account for more than 75 percent of U.S. imports of medium- and short-grain rice, with Thailand shipping mostly glutinous rice.

China re-entered the U.S. import market in 2018/19 after being largely absent for a decade.

Total U.S. rice supplies in 2019/20 are forecast at 285.2 million cwt, down 4.3 million cwt from the previous forecast due to smaller forecasts for production and carryin. Total supplies are projected to be up 2.6 million cwt from a year earlier. Long-grain 2019/20 total supplies are projected at 206.2 million cwt, down 3.0 million cwt from the previous forecast and 1.4 million cwt below a year earlier.

The year-to-year decline is due to a smaller crop. Combined medium- and short-grain total supplies are projected at 77.6 million cwt, down 1.3 million cwt from the previous forecast but 4.0 million cwt larger than a year earlier. The year-to-year increase is due to a much larger carryin.

Forecasts for 2019/20 Domestic and Residual Use Lowered; U.S. Export Forecasts Unchanged

The 2019/20 forecast for total domestic and residual use of rice was lowered 1.0 million cwt this month to 137.0 million cwt, down 2.0 million cwt from the year-earlier record. Long grain accounts for all of the downward revision in domestic and residual use this month. The downward revision was based on a smaller crop.

At 105.0 million cwt, long-grain domestic and residual use is 1.0 million cwt below the previous forecast and 3.0 million cwt below a year earlier. The year-to-year expected decline is based on a substantially smaller crop in 2019/20.

Combined medium- and short-grain domestic and residual use remains forecast at 32.0 million cwt, up 1.0 million from a year earlier. The year-to-year increase is largely based on greater supplies.

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Total U.S. rice exports in 2019/20 remain projected at 101.0 million cwt, 9 percent larger than the year-earlier revised level. By class, long-grain exports remain projected at 72.0 million cwt, 9 percent higher than in 2018/19.

Much of the expected increase in exports is based on an abnormally high level of outstanding sales from 2018/19 that will be shipped in the 2019/20 market year, consisting of large purchases by Iraq and Mexico in particular.

In addition, in 2019/20, the United States is expected to regain some market share in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America due to more competitive prices than those of South American exporters, who are expected to harvest smaller crops in 2019/20.

Combined medium- and short-grain 2019/20 U.S. rice exports are projected at 29.0 million cwt, up 2.0 million cwt from the year-earlier revised forecast. Sales to Northeast Asia account for the majority of U.S. medium- and short-grain exports, with California supplying virtually all U.S. shipments to the region.

Both California and the Southern States ship rice to the Mediterranean. Jordan and Libya are currently the main buyers of U.S. medium- and short-grain rice in the Middle East. Mexico, Canada, Lebanon, and Israel typically buy smaller amounts of U.S. medium- and short-grain rice.

Despite the absence of Egypt from the global medium- and short-grain export market, the United States has so far picked up almost none of Egypt’s export market, with China the primary beneficiary of Egypt’s exit from the export market and Australia’s sharply reduced exports.

U.S. 2019/20 rough-rice exports remain projected at 38.0 million cwt, up 13 percent from the 2018/19 revised forecast. Long-grain accounts for most of the expected increase in U.S. rough-rice exports in 2019/20 and the bulk of expected shipments.

Latin America accounts for nearly all of U.S. long-grain rough-rice shipments and the expected increase. Much smaller amounts of medium- and short-grain rough-rice exports are typically shipped to North Africa and the Middle East, with Libya currently the major buyer. Turkey, once a regular large buyer of U.S. medium- and short-grain rough rice, is not expected to return as a significant buyer in 2019/20.

In 2019/20, U.S. milled rice exports (combined milled and brown rice exports on a rough-rice basis) remain projected at 63.0 million cwt, up 6 percent from the 2018/19 revised forecast. Northeast Asia is the largest market for U.S. milled rice, taking almost exclusively medium- and short-grain varieties from California.

Haiti is the largest market for U.S. long-grain milled rice exports, with sales already rebounding from earlier sluggishness caused by civil disorder in the country. The United States supplies nearly all of Haiti’s rice imports. Iraq, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are also major buyers of U.S. milled rice. Columbia purchases smaller amounts of U.S. milled rice.

U.S. All Rice Ending Stocks Forecast for 2019/20 Lowered; Season-Average Farm Prices Raised

The 2019/20 U.S. rice ending stocks forecast was lowered 3.3 million cwt to 47.2 million cwt, down 7 percent from a year earlier. The downward revision was due to a smaller crop and reduced carryin. The all-rice stocks-to-use ratio is estimated at 19.8 percent, down from 21.8 percent in 2018/19.

By class, U.S. 2019/20 long-grain ending stocks are projected at 29.2 million cwt, down 2.0 million cwt from the previous forecast and 13 percent below 2018/19. The long-grain ending stocks-to-use ratio is estimated at 16.5 percent, down from 19.3 percent a year earlier.

Combined medium- and short-grain 2019/20 ending stocks are projected at 16.6 million cwt, down 1.3 million cwt from the previous forecast but 6.6 percent larger than a year earlier. The year-to-year increase is the result of a much larger carryin more than offsetting a smaller crop and expanded use. The medium- and short-grain stocks-to-use ratio is forecast at 27.2 percent, down from 26.9 percent a year earlier.

There were several changes to the 2019/20 season-average farm price (SAFP) forecasts this month. First, the 2019/20 U.S. long-grain SAFP forecast was raised 50 cents to $11.00 per cwt based on a smaller crop and slightly higher recently reported prices.

The long-grain 2019/20 SAFP forecast is up 20 cents from the 2018/19 revised forecast, a result of slightly tighter supplies and stronger global trading prices. The Southern medium- and short-grain 2019/20 SAFP was raised 50 cents to $11.50 per cwt, down 70 cents from a year earlier. The upward revision was largely based on higher expected U.S. long-grain prices in 2019/20.

The California medium- and short-grain 2019/20 SAFP remains forecast at $18.00 per cwt, unchanged from the 2018/19 SAFP. The U.S. medium- and short-grain SAFP was raised 10 cents to $15.90, down 40 cents from the year-earlier combined medium- and short-grain SAFP.

The U.S. 2019/20 all-rice SAFP is projected at $12.20 per cwt, up 40 cents from the previous forecast and 10 cents above the revised 2018/19 SAFP.

The 2018/19 long-grain SAFP was raised 10 cents to $10.80 per cwt based on reported NASS prices through June and expectations regarding prices in July. The higher long-grain SAFP raised the 2018/19 all-rice SAFP 10 cents to $12.10, down 80 cents from a year earlier.

The only revision to the U.S. 2018/19 rice balance sheet this month was a 1.0-million cwt increase in the medium- and short-grain export forecast to 27.0 million cwt based on Census trade data through June and year-end shipment data reported in the weekly U.S. Export Sales report.

Several purchases by Japan that were shipped in June and July boosted the 2018/19 export forecast. The 1.0-million cwt increase in the medium- and short-grain export forecast lowered the ending stocks forecast for both combined medium- and short-grain rice and for all rice.

The only other revision for 2018/19 was a 10-cent increase in the SAFP for long-grain rice to $10.80 per cwt, which raised the all-rice SAFP 10 cents to $12.00 cwt.

Full report.


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