Arkansas Rice: Rains Keep Slowing Planting

    Photo: Clay Gibson, University of Arkansas

    We keep getting very close to a big run at rice planting only for it to be rained away.  A small amount of rice planting has happened to date with the state officially 2% planted as of Monday.  More planting was occurring over the weekend that likely wasn’t captured in that number, and there was a good push in areas on Monday thru Wednesday morning.

    Surprisingly, rainfall amounts on Wednesday were even more variable than expected, with some locations receiving virtually nothing and some spots getting 2.5 inches.  With that, planting resumed on Thursday in some isolated areas.  Of course, we’re staring at a delta-wide rainfall event tonight (Friday) with 0.5-1.5 inches expected.

    It’s still early, but everyone is itching to get on a run.  There may be some drier weather in store next week, but it may have cooler temperatures along with it, which means drying conditions may be a toss-up.  Attitudes are generally more positive this year at this time than the past couple of years, but that could change quickly if conditions don’t improve.

    We’re about to start entering the thick of the calendar where acreage competition heats up.  That is, corn and rice need to start getting put in the ground to hold their acreage intentions before planting dates dictate a move toward soybean.  However, as sometimes happens, corn acres can swap to rice, then rice acres to soybean, as the calendar progresses.

    As the wise man once said, “We’ll see.”

    Crop Progress

    As of Sunday, the USDA reported 14% of the US rice crop had been planted, slightly behind the five-year average.  Planting is well advanced in the deep south with Texas and Louisiana beyond the halfway mark.  Arkansas and Mississippi have made a start with more progress made early this week.

    Midweek rains stopped fieldwork Wednesday evening.  More showers could follow Friday evening into Saturday morning.  Cooler temperatures are expected next week in the Delta with lows dipping into the mid to upper 40s.

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