Here’s our first report for 2017.


This marks the beginning of our 19th year of covering the rice crop in the Midsouth and in coastal areas of Louisiana and Texas.


Our thanks to the Southern Rice Team of Dow AgroSciences for once again sponsoring our coverage. If you see your Dow rep, be sure to thank him or her for the company’s continued support.



Some rice already has gone to flood in south Louisiana and more is heading that way. A small percentage also has gone to flood in Texas. That says a good deal about how early this crop has started – both in the coastal rice belt and in the Midsouth.


Rice planting in the Delta states has progressed so fast that some growers throttled back on planting to avoid bunching up too much maturing rice as harvest starts.


Rains missed parts of the Midsouth early in the week. Some flushing started in southeast Arkansas last week and probably in other areas, as well.


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Curt Johnson, CRC Ag Consulting, LLC, Lake Village, Arkansas:

"My growers are about 50% planted (as of 4/17) and probably half of that is completely up. The reason we’re not completely finished is that farmers realized they were going to really create problems trying to keep up with harvest if they continued putting seed in the ground. So, they held up. I have customers who will temporarily stop planting every year to space out the crop a little.


“My rice acreage is down somewhat. Some people are planting about 20% less compared to last year, simply because of prices. My diehard rice farmers will tell you they need rice for their rotation. This year they’re putting it on their best ground and will use best management practices. Rice will go on fields that don’t have much weed activity, too. With prices like they are, there’s no room for error this year -- with rice or anything else, for that matter.


“We’ll have a lot more soybeans going into rice acres than into corn acres. What corn they expected to have was planted in a relatively short time, and a few of those acres aren’t up yet. Those are cases where farmers had a few seeds left and planted those in small areas. But most of mine ranges from 2 to 5 leaves. Cotton acreage will maybe take a slight upwards bump in this area, too.”


Dustin Harrell, Louisiana Rice Extension Specialist, LSU Rice Research Station, Crowley:

“Rice is pretty much all planted in south Louisiana. We got an early start with the dry weather and good growing conditions. A lot of rice has already been flooded and more will go to flood later this week, so things are moving along quite well in that part of the state.


“It’s rained just enough in north Louisiana to delay things, and they’re really just starting to any extent. A little weather system was moving through that area today (4/17) but planting should resume later in the week if they miss more rain after that.


“Planting, overall, is ahead of normal in Louisiana – there’s no doubt about that. At one point it seemed like we were 1.5 to 2 weeks ahead of average. And we haven’t had those delays with saturated ground where we would have to wait to apply pre-flood fertilizer. Storms that did come through were hit or miss. Here at the station we received 1.8 inches of rain over the weekend (4/15-16), but 2 miles down the road it only measured 0.3 of an inch.


“We’ve had only a handful of calls about any problems. A little wind damage was apparent in places, but most of that rice will be okay with a little nitrogen and water. In places enough rain fell that farmers had to get water off, and that ended up with a little stretched rice. But, again, that was a limited situation.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“Everyone is in surprisingly good sprits through most of the state. People have been able to make a good deal of progress with planting. We had a very similar situation last year – conditions were good and people planted a lot of rice early. Unfortunately, we got way too much rain late in the season, so that situation didn’t work out well. We’re hoping this year’s weather will play out better.


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“USDA’s crop progress report on Monday said that as of last Friday (4/14) we were about 67% planted, but I’m comfortable estimating that we’re 75% planted, counting what people could do over the weekend. Some guys have already finished, while I’ve talked to a number of growers who only have about 25% left. That covers a cross section of both small and large growers.


“With all this rice planted in such a short time, we could be setting ourselves up for problems if the crop hits a major weather event. That's the down side.


“Parts of the state needed rain early in the week. A system on Monday looked like it would bring rain across a wide part of the crop, but it got to about Little Rock and made a sharp northward turn. Even though the forecast called for plenty of rain in northeast Arkansas, some growers caught it but others didn’t.


“In places, growers were flushing rice last week, particularly in southeast Arkansas to get rice out of the ground. That area mostly has soil moisture, but crusting was causing plants to struggle.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“We’re at least 60% planted, if not more, and a good portion is up. The early fields that emerged look really good, and it’s surprising how far along we are.


“A few minor hiccups have turned up along the way. The first calls about Roundup drift came in last week, and some fields were touched with paraquat. Otherwise, the phones have been relatively quiet. Little storms moved through early in the week but haven’t dumped too much rain, and we actually could be through with planting by May 1.”


Amy Beth Dowdy, ABD Crop Consulting, Dexter, Missouri:

"A very small amount of rice planting started 2 weeks ago, but most of what we’ve planted went in the ground in the last 7 days (from 4/17). Six of my growers are completely done and the rest have a good portion started, with most of them at about the halfway point. A few of my growers won’t have rice at all this year, as things worked out.


“We’ve gotten about an inch of rain. But if it doesn’t rain more, then we can start planting again by the end of the week and maybe finish up. A couple of hundred acres of the earliest planted rice are spiking.”


David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:

“We’ve planted about 95% of our expected rice crop (as of 4/19). We’ve never been this far along this early. My acres will be off some, maybe down 10%. Of the rice planted, 30% is just emerging. Very few fields are at what I’d call a full stand.


“We got a good rain on the western half of my territory early this week but the system played out as it got to the eastern side. As things worked out, cotton was the first thing any of my growers started planting, and I’ve had some cotton up for a week.”


Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:

“I won’t have any rice this year, as things look now. Growers didn’t see any point in planting it. Some will be produced in the area, but not by any of my guys. On the other hand, I’ve just about tripled my cotton acres. I picked up one farmer who was getting back into cotton and I also will work cotton for several farmers who’ve never been clients.”


M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist, Beaumont:

“Organic rice acreage will increase this year to maybe 20% of the state’s crop. That’s up from 15% to 16% in 2016. A good deal of this shift will be on the east side of Houston.


“Since organic prices tend to be higher, a number of farmers looked at the conventional market and decided to take a chance on some organic acreage. It’s a simple transition for farmers who’ve had land in cattle for 3 or more years and haven’t used any chemicals. That land qualifies for organic status right away.


“As of April 14 about 65% of the Texas crop had been planted. And except for the low prices, I’m not hearing any complaints. Farmers are applying more bird repellant – AV-1011 – than they did last year. We’re again running above average on precipitation, which is making it difficult to always plant when desired.”




Louisiana Field Reports: Rice Planting Wrapping Up, Soybeans Take Off   4-17


Arkansas Rice: Be on Lookout for Black Cutworms; Resistant Barnyardgrass on the Rise 4-17


Ag Sec Confirmation Expected as USDA Faces Trump Budget Slashes – DTN   4-19


California: 2 Irrigation Dealer Groups Merge Under Indian-Based Multi-National   4-19


Farm Bill: Early Farm Program Proposals Are Found Wanting   4-18


Louisiana Sugarcane: Rust Turning Into a Big Problem   4-18


 More Rice News And Analysis Here



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