Rice Market Update: Gulf Quality Below Average, Delta Harvest Ramps Up

    Rice harvest. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    Life has slowed down for much of the Southern rice industry while things are just beginning to get interesting in the Upper Delta region. Harvest continues to work its way north into the final throes of the year and while quality from the Gulf Coast is below average, the more northern areas are still in play.

    The export market for the week noted some decrease in the sales as overseas buyers continue the hand to mouth purchasing approach that has been seen over the past months. Vessel loadings posted modest gains as prior sales leave the country and the up and down trends will probably persist for the next several weeks until the market can figure out what the entirety of the new crop will look like.

    Benchmark Asian origins have contracted again over the week as the supply and demand constraints in that region have relaxed to a certain degree. As if to confirm the general market softening, USDA has lowered its world market price estimate for the week in both long and medium/short grain classes.

    In the domestic market, the Gulf Coast harvest has drawn to a close. Based on dryer samples to date, several trends have emerged regarding quality. The earlier rice was noted to have lower milling yields, although the total out turns were within normal ranges. Mid-season harvested lots showed stronger head yields while maintaining total pounds while later season lots saw again decreased head yields and outturns as well.

    In the Arkansas area, harvest is well underway and while the total pounds per acre are considered “good,” no milling or quality data has yet been reported. Much of the market over the next few months will hinge on how good the quality and yield is in this area.

    The futures market for the week posted modest gains for the nearby contracts and modest losses in the 2021 crop contracts. This is probably a reflection of the expectation of a large domestic crop of decent quality that will provide some carryover into that marketing year. The new crop contracts closed up between 1.5%-2.5% on lower average daily volume and marginally lower open interest.

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