In south Louisiana a few fields have reached green ring.


Rain is the dominate story this week in the Midsouth crop. A front moved through the region on Wednesday (4/26) and more rain is in the forecast starting on Friday and into the weekend.


If the forecasts play out, all that rain will delay pre-flood applications and any remaining rice planting, perhaps for 10 to 14 days. With recent slippage in rice prices, some growers in the Delta states may throw in the towel and plant soybeans once they can move into the field again.


Along with heavy rains in the forecast for the upper Delta, even heavier amounts of rain are predicted in the upper Mississippi River basin, which raises the prospects of river bottom flooding in parts of the Midsouth. See comments by Jarrod Hardke.


In Texas, rain also has delayed pre-flood applications in places over the last 2 weeks. “Some areas south of Houston received 9-plus inches of rain in 6 hours early last week,” Horizon Ag’s Michael Fruge reported in the company’s weekly rice update report (see Links section). “Other areas received over four inches…These rains did help farmers establish a flood on some of the earliest planted rice.”


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Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas:

“Our rice crop is about 90% planted. Stands are mostly still emerging, and some fields are up to good, complete stands. Our oldest rice is at the 2-leaf stage. You can find a bit of variability in places where growers planted dry and were waiting for a rain. Plants in some fields are just spiking or trying to germinate. We just got 1.5 inches of rain (4/25).


“A lot of herbicides have been going out, starting last week and into this week. Winds have somewhat inhibited when and where we could spray. Other than that, things have looked pretty good. Some weather is moving into the area this week and over the weekend, based on the forecasts, so we’ll see how that plays out.


“All of our corn is planted and 25% to 30% of the soybeans have been planted. Growers are just getting into cotton, with maybe 2,000 acres planted. At the moment, though, everyone has stopped planting ahead of this next weather system. The forecast calls for 3 to 6 inches of rain, and I’ve heard forecasts that say it could rain as much as 8 inches over multiple days. So we want to let all that weather move through before planting anything else.


“Overall, my rice acres are down 50%. Cotton acreage will be up a little, based on farmers’ intentions. Corn acreage is down.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“I feel like we’re 80% to 85% planted. A few places were caught by these last rains, so they’re on hold. More rain is in the forecast, although the predictions for Mississippi don’t seem to be as unfavorable as some of those I’m hearing about in other parts of the region. We’re supposed to get 1 to 3 inches of rain, based on the last report I saw.


“This has been a very quiet year in rice, so far. People quickly planted and applied their preemergence herbicides, which have remained active with this rain. In drier areas growers are coming in with second herbicide applications. The 2-leaf AMS/DAP applications are going on in places.


“The rain is supposed to start on Wednesday (4/26) and linger off and on. Amounts could be more significant in spots, of course, depending on how storms trend. All that could delay post emergence herbicide applications and pre-flood fertilizer on the earliest rice, which is at 2 to 3 leaves right now.


“If it rains enough, we could be 10 to 14 days out from further pre-flood applications. But even with those delays, we would still be running early, since a good deal of the rice was actually planted in March.


“So far, we’ve only received 3 drift calls, and in some of that the rice had already grown past any injury by the time we could look at it. In a couple of locations the Command sat on the rice a little hard because of cool, wet conditions, but most of that rice will grow out of it fine.”


Gary Bradshaw, Independent Agronomist, Bradshaw Agricultural Consulting, Richmond, Texas:

“We’re frantically trying to get all the pre-flood work done. We started yesterday (4/24). Rain set us back some. A pretty big amount fell in the middle of last week, which we really didn’t need. Before then, rains had been timed about right.


“It’s kind of drying up now, and we’ve had a lot of wind, so we’ve been working around that to apply herbicides and fertilizer. A lot of acres are ready to go to flood once we get all that done.


“Our stands aren’t fantastic, but hopefully we’ll have a good stretch of dry weather so we can get things done. That was the big challenge at this point in the year in both 2015 and 2016. I’ll feel much better if it stays dry for the next 10 days.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“Rain will be the biggest factor this week. I’m thinking we got 85% of the crop planted as of last Friday night (4/21), but the northern half of the state was tagged by one weather system on Friday night, then another system came through the southern half of the state on Friday night and into Saturday. Some areas were actually dry enough ahead of the rain that farmers were back in somes field today (4/25), even after 1.5 inches of rain out of those systems.


“However, more rain is supposed to develop tomorrow afternoon. Up to this point we’re running close to the planting progress we saw in 2012, which was the runaway year for planting. At this point in 2012 USDA estimated that 85% of the crop was in the ground. USDA put it at 84% as of last Friday. With this week’s weather, though, we’ll fall behind that number.


“After any rain we receive on Wednesday, the models call for solid rain Friday through Sunday, with yet another chance in the middle of next week. If the forecast holds true, we could be 2 weeks out from further planting. At that point we might see a falloff in how much more rice our growers will still plant.


“The rice market has slipped 80 to 90 cents (per cwt) over the last several days, so that could shift some of those remaining rice acres to soybeans by the time farmers do return to the field. Guys who still have unplanted hybrid seed will most likely finish that out since the seed already has been treated. But any rice seed that hasn’t been treated may be swapped out for soybean seed if it remains wet for an extended period.



“We’re also facing the prospect for flooding. All this is subject to change, of course, but the models are showing we could receive 5 inches of rain starting later in the week. That might contribute to some flooding. But the models also say that areas in the upper Mississippi River basin might receive twice that much, so all that water has to come through here on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.


“Plenty of rice and other crops already have been planted in river bottoms. If that kind of flooding develops, we could lose 50,000 acres of rice, not to mention other commodities. Forecasts, of course, can change. But the disturbing thing about these current forecasts is that the models have been consistently showing that it will rain a lot for several days. Any alterations for the last several days have been slight.


“Rice will fare okay if totals are in the low end of the forecast ranges, plus the moisture will keep herbicides activated. But if we get 5 inches of rain and more rain to our north, we’ll have enough flooding that we’ll lose herbicides.


“On a separate note, I want everyone to know that we’ve scheduled another rice college like the one we did in 2015. Last year Extension held a soybean college, so this year we’re rotating to rice again. It’s set for August 3, the day before the Rice Expo. This will include a good deal of in-field training and cover all areas of production. We’re still fleshing out the program and will have more information available later. But please go ahead and put that date on your calendar.”


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

“I have not received any complaints or questions from farmers, except for a farmer in Chambers County who is having problems with root growth. I will take a look at this field this week. Winds have interfered with aerial applications and untimely rains have hindered emergence.”


Curtis Fox, Consultant, Gillette, Arkansas:

“We’re essentially finished planting rice. My rice acreage is down quite a bit. Some people say it’s off by 15% to 20%, but one local dealer said his rice seed sales were down 50%, so the reductions are more in certain areas than others. Everything my growers have planted is up, and I think we’re in front of normal as far as planting and emergence goes -- certainly compared to last year. Some guys in 2016 didn’t have a single soybean in the ground until April 24 or April 25. One of those farmers is 100% finished now with everything.


“Rice is mostly at 2 to 3 leaves and our corn is at 3 to 5 collars, although I know of some that’s a little farther along than that.”


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

“Rice planting has been moving along between showers in northeast Louisiana. No big rains have fallen (as of 4/26) but enough hit-or-miss showers developed to keep people out of the field in places for a couple of days.


“In south Louisiana things are moving fast. I’ve heard a couple of reports of fields reaching green ring. That’s amazing. A big portion of south Louisiana’s rice is flooded and more is going to flood every day. People are calling about drift problems here and there or red rice or weedy rice, although it’s nothing major or statewide.”


John Wilson, Semo Agronomy, Sikeston, Missouri:

“Rain is moving through this part of the state (late afternoon, 4/26) and it’s at least east of Poplar Bluff and probably is within 20 minutes of where I am at the moment.


“My clients have planted 85% to 90% of their expected rice acreage. I’ve been checking stand establishment today. So far, they’re lining out to the point that these look like solid stands – unless we get 5 inches and get into drainage problems. The forecast calls for an inch overnight and 2 to 3 more inches over the weekend.


“We’re actually pretty close to dry ahead of this rain. I have about 160 acres that haven’t been planted yet, and that’s some of the wetter ground I manage. It’s still wet enough that the farmer wouldn’t have been able to plant today, even if he’d wanted to.”


Wayne Dulaney, Dulaney Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi:

"Rice is all in the ground and looks good. Plenty of soybeans have been planted for this time of the year, too. Rain is supposed to arrive tonight (4/26), and we could use a shower at the moment.


“Overall, there isn’t much rice around here this year. I would be hard pressed to find 2,000 acres of rice in our county right now. Coahoma County isn’t a big rice county, but even for us this is a really small crop. 


“I think all the rice is pretty much planted. If any intended acres still haven’t been planted, it’s probably in cases where farmers haven’t been able to work out financial issues with their lenders.


“After this rainy spell we’ll be ready to go to flood on our own farm. We have some 3-leaf rice now. Last year we also were able to plant early, but conditions weren’t as warm, so rice didn’t grow out as well as what we’re seeing this year. Realistically, we could start going to flood by May 5.”  




Low Farm Prices Impacting Ag Economy – Will Executive Trade Policy Help?   4-27


Farm Bill: No Budget Increase Expected; Hope to Fix Cotton and Dairy – DTN   4-27


DTN Fertilizer Trends: Will New Iowa Plant Effect Imports? – DTN   4-27


Rice: Planting Nearly Finished Through Midsouth – Horizon Ag News   4-27


Arkansas Field Reports: Rains Delay Field Work   4-24


Mississippi Field Reports: Good Week for Planting Despite Rain Interruptions   4-24


Louisiana Field Reports: Scattered Showers Slow Planting, Some Areas Very Dry   4-24


Arkansas Rice: 7 Considerations for Using Starter N Fertilizers 4-24


 More Rice News And Analysis Here



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