“We’ve planted a few acres of soybeans, but we probably aren’t even up to 10% yet. Where growers planted rice early last spring, that part of the crop came out soon enough that farmers had time to work up the ground last year. That allowed them to plant soybeans pretty quickly in those fields. But in plenty of places, farmers are still trying to disk up last year’s rice fields.”
M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont
“Plenty of rice is going to flood this week. So, compared to last year we are ahead. It’s been cool. Consultant Randy Waligura reports from the Garwood area that the emerged rice is showing cold and wind injury. But, it should recover with warmer weather.
“Consultant Weldon Nanson in the Matagorda County area reports rice drilled into moisture looks good. But he also said that some rice that was flushed is not doing as well. Following the flush, it rained, which prevented fields from draining quickly.”
Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist
“Not much to report (on 4/17) except that it’s wet, wet, wet. Along with the rain, it’s been cold. Maybe people can return to the field on Thursday or Friday (4/23-24). At the most, we’ve planted 10,000 acres of rice in the state, perhaps 15,000. It’s nothing widespread. People jumped in fields when they caught little weather breaks.
“That Sunday night storm dumped 1.8 inches of rain in this immediate area. Wind gusts are hitting 25 mph today (4/21), with a fairly constant speed of 10 mph. That will help dry up the soil, but we need warmer temperatures to move along that process.
“How rice acreage will finally shake out is still an open question. USDA forecasts 150,000 acres for Mississippi. I think we’ll hit that or maybe more, but a lot depends on how long the wet weather lasts.
“With rice prices where they are, people who haven’t been involved with the crop are interested in planting some this year. That’s based on several calls I’ve received. Some of these folks grew rice in the past but then dropped out of the crop after 2011 when that intense round of heat hurt yields and pushed planty of people out of rice. Now, they’re thinking they might give it another shot.
“I suspect that we could see 20,000 acres planted by folks like that. That’s based on the ‘extra talk’ out there. When you look at commodity prices, rice pencils out well compared to everything else.
“Last year, we planted rice slower than we had in 10 years, but this year it will drag out even farther, I think. We’re not out of the optimum planting window yet, and farmers can still plant rice really fast. We have about 1.5 weeks left to plant within that window. If we push much past that window, some acres may shift to soybeans.
“Some late acreage also may go into row rice if fields are set up for it. For 2020, I’m estimating that 10% to 12% of our acreage is slated for row-rice production – 15,000 to 18,000 if everything works out.”
Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist
“As of Monday (4/20), we’ve caught up to where we were with planting at the same point in 2019. Considering how slow 2019’s season started, that’s still not saying much. More of the state caught varying amounts of rain again on Sunday (4/19).
“In places, very little rain fell, and a bunch of those guys were running Tuesday morning (4/21). Some missed rain altogether and kept going. A few growers told me they’re actually finished or are close to wrapping it up. But on the other extreme, many farmers have planted zero to 10% of their expected rice acreage.
“People are now looking for dry spots where they can get anything done, and I’ve heard a couple of mentions of tractors getting stuck. Maybe conditions will be better tomorrow. The forecast includes a pretty good chance for rain and storms tomorrow (4/22), with some chance of hail, although hardly any rice is up. More rain fell on Wednesday night and put a stop to most of the state.
“Past that, the extended forecast seemed a bit more optimistic a few days ago, but now it’s calling for rain on Friday night and again next week. We’re hoping for a longer run.
“People tell me that a lot of corn is being pushed out of the plan now because it’s too late to plant. The crop insurance final plant date for corn is April 25 for south Arkansas and May 1 for north Arkansas.
“The upside to all the rain has been that it keeps herbicides activated.
“It may sound strange with all the rain, but flushing might be necessary in places. A good portion of the land being worked right now will be planted right away, so the soil will be rather loose. If it rains, that will seal over the soil and seedling can’t push through. I’m hoping for timely rains to bring rice up, but flushing may be the only option in certain cases.
“Some rice that’s just emerging is showing cold-weather symptoms, with that white banding where the soil surface was close to freezing as the seedlings emerged.”
Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley
“The weather has turned around and temperatures are warmer. That round of wind and cold temperatures damaged a lot of rice, but it’s growing a new leaf now and coming out of the injury with these improved conditions.