Rice: Missouri, Arkansas Planting Mostly Finished Despite Wet Conditions

    Rice planting. Photo: University of Arkansas

    Missouri and Arkansas rice is in the ground!  While it’s been another wet year across the region, there were enough dry spells in April and May for producers to finally get in the fields and plant.

    Planting in Missouri finished up last week.  According to Rance Daniels who farms in Hornersville, “Everyone in our area finished or decided they were finished planting last week.  It rained anywhere from 3/10 to 2 inches last Thursday which was good for us.

    “Our later planted fields needed some water; if we didn’t have that rain then we would have had to flush those fields to get the crop up. The early planted rice is looking pretty good; a lot of those fields received their pre-flood nitrogen and are going to flood right now. Quite a few crop dusters are in the air today, too, with neighbors putting out fertilizer before Tropical Storm Cristabol hits.”

    While Daniels and others in his area weren’t able to plant all of their intended acres, some producers north of him were able to plant all of their intended rice acres and then some, leading him to predict Missouri rice acres will match state projections or be down just a little.

    Jeff Rutledge in northeast Arkansas was able to plant all of his rice from April 11 through the end of May.

    “While it was a wet spring, we had enough dry periods to get out and plant. We were only 100 acres short of our intended planted acres and that was due to flooding. Unfortunately, the rain keeps coming and the river hasn’t had a chance to drop yet so quite a few acres are still underwater. If the water doesn’t recede soon, we will have some fields that will not be planted and some that will lose strands.”

    On Matthew Morris’ operation in central Arkansas, the heavy rainfall that hit the state in recent weeks missed their land, providing them with a much-needed dry spell.

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    “We planted about 60 percent of our rice crop the first couple weeks of May, then waited for it to dry down to plant the rest of our intended rice acres. We’re actually pretty glad that planting was spread out like it was because then our watering and harvesting should be spread out, too.

    “We planted RiceTec Gemini because we’ve had good luck with it in the past. It has a longer growing period than some other varieties so by planting it last, our harvest period is stretched out and we can control the dry down to prevent shattering and improve milling yields.”

    Robert Petter and Brandon Truax, who farm in south Arkansas, have all of their rice acres planted. “We planted all of our rice in a week in mid-May and will put it to flood next week,” said Truax.

    “It’s looking good so far so we’re optimistic about this year’s crop. It looks like rice acres will be up in our area this year, too. We’re seeing rice planted on fields where rice isn’t typically grown, and you can see a lot of row rice in Desha County as well.”

    Joe Mencer, near Lake Village, was able get all of his rice planted but it was 3-4 weeks later than he wanted.

    “We planted some rice on May 27 and had to flush the fields.  In most of our fields we’re putting out fertilizer and cleaning the crop up, trying to get rid of grass, weeds, etc.  The rain from Cristobal hit our place at 6 a.m. today and we had received 1½ inches in four hours.  It’s been a good, steady rain with winds about 15 – 20 mph so it’s been a lot better than we expected.”

    Rice Prevent Plant acres are expected to be down this year across the state but there may be areas that have higher numbers because of the rain.  “Due to coronavirus, most producers haven’t been able to get out and visit with neighbors like in years past so it’s hard to know what everyone else is doing,” said Truax.




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