Rice harvest continues to hit delays in southwest Louisiana and Texas after more rain fell over the last week. In places, growers were able to nibble away at some acreage during breaks in the weather.


So far, no Texas yield reports, and only 1% of the crop has been harvested. That's based on Friday’s Texas A&M online rice survey page. In the same period in 2016 harvest had been completed on 6% of the crop, which also is in line with the state's long-term average for the week.


Louisiana Rice Specialist Dustin Harrell has collected a scattering of early yield reports from the southwestern parishes. See his comments for more details.


A small amount of draining has started in Mississippi.


Now that it’s mostly sunny again, will Midsouth yield potential rebound after all the overcast weather in June? See comments by Arkansas Rice Specialist Jarrod Hardke.


Rice stink bugs are still hot and heavy in the early heading rice in parts of the Midsouth.


The U.S. and China signed an export agreement that is supposed to open the Chinese market to American grown rice. Connect to more information in our Links section.


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Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana

“Some draining will actually start in 10 to 14 days. On the other end of things, 150 acres of our crop still haven’t gone to flood yet. Generally, though, most of my rice is just now heading. Where rice is far enough along,


“I’m having to spray for rice stink bugs (RSB) and we’ve treated 100 acres twice (as of 7/17). RSB are certainly here but still aren’t as bad as what they’re reporting in Arkansas.”


Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas

“We’re trying to keep rice watered. Temperatures are running around 95 to 96, so rice is really taking in a lot of it. Most of our crop is in the early to full boot stage, but certain fields are 50% or more headed.


“We’re beginning to see a lot of stink bugs on edges. We haven’t treated any yet (as of 7/18) but expect to make some applications later this week or next week. We made most of our fungicide treatments at early to mid-boot, both for sheath blight and kernel smut.”


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

“About 80% of our rice crop is heading or beyond. Some harvest is going on now (7/19). Still no reports of problems from the field. It has been intermittently wet, with scattered thunderstorms. In places, it’s rained 2 to 3 inches, although in other locations it’s nada. We had our 70th annual field day here last Thursday. It didn’t rain, so the field tours operated. It was a great event and a nice turnout.”


Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

“Rice stink bug (RSB) numbers are still increasing in some areas. In places, though, counts are beginning to taper off as more rice heads and populations disperse across the landscape. But growers are still battling them in other fields with less headed rice in the vicinity. In extreme cases, people are picking up 30 to 50 in 10 sweeps – with 5 per 10 sweeps being threshold in the first 2 weeks of heading. A big batch of RSB treatments have already gone out.”


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

“We probably would have tried to cut a sample today (7/19) or tomorrow but it rained 1.5 to 2 inches last Saturday (7/15) across the general area, so fields are wet and water is still running out of them. We continue to drain rice, but that rain has delayed that process.


“Our ratoon crop is so important that we’ll avoid rutting fields unless a storm is coming. If we have to wait a few days so that we can harvest on dry ground and properly manage the ratoon crop, that’s the route we’ll take.


“We’re just about finished with rice stink bugs (RSB). This has been the lightest pressure I’ve seen in 30 years. Normally, we have to spray every acre once. This year, though, we only treated 33% to 40% of the rice – that’s all.


“We’re not in an area with a lot of grain sorghum to host RSB. Our main source is pastures and such, and we expected more RSB this year because we only had one really cold snap this winter where it dropped into the 20s. It was a warm enough winter that our small peach orchard didn’t set much of a crop due to lack of chill hours. But despite a warm winter, RSB never amounted to much.”


Curtis Fox, Consultant, Gillette, Arkansas

“Some fields and varieties are fully headed but a few varieties haven’t really started yet. All of the fields that headed first had to be sprayed for stink bugs. Numbers weren’t huge but high enough to treat.


“We’ll start draining some of the earliest rice in 3 weeks (from 7/20).


“We’ve probably watered all of our corn for the last time and are waiting for harvest. In soybeans, we’re starting to pick up quite a few bollworms in beans that are at late R3 and early R4, and we’ve been treating some. Luckily, we don’t have many acres in those stages right now. Redbanded stink bugs are turning up very occasionally and we’ve treated one field for them. Several of our earliest bean fields will probably be watered one more time.”


Wayne Dulaney, Dulaney Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi

“Rice stink bugs are basically everywhere. If you haven’t sprayed them yet, you will be – based on what I’m seeing in this area now (7/20). We’re also picking up a few armyworms in rice – nothing major but they are there.


“Our rice ranges from hitting 100% headed to some that’s been headed for almost 2 weeks. We got an early start, but not a lot of rice was planted in this area, so there’s not much late rice like we normally see.


“We’ll probably wait another week and then start draining our earliest fields.


“In corn, everyone has made the last watering or is finishing it up. Harvest may start in the earliest corn around August 1 where growers have dryers. Bollworms built quickly in soybeans. You couldn’t find anything in our May-planted beans last Thursday (7/13) but by Monday they were at or above threshold in places. By Tuesday, we were counting 9 to 11 per 25 sweeps, and we started treating. Where we’re finding bollworms, it’s mostly in MG V beans that are just into R1.


“Stink bugs vary. Out of 1,100 acres on our own farm, I found 4 whole stink bugs on my last check. But a grower’s field in Tallahatchie County was full of green stink bugs. It’s in a fairly isolated location and the beans are at R6. That’s the only one I’ve found like that so far. I’ve heard of one hot spot around Moon Lake in Coahoma County with redbanded stink bugs.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist

“It’s sunny and hot – finally. People are asking if the upsurge in sunlight will be enough to bring the crop out of the funk it’s been after weeks of rain and overcast skies. In other words, will it recover some of the yield potential it lost?


“The answer is no. I’m trying to be realistic.


“The fact is, we didn’t receive enough sunlight during a key point in the rice plant’s life. We went through similar conditions in 2015 and we noted indicators that plants weren’t receiving enough light. The same things are turning up now.


“In 2015, we noticed that plants were a little shorter. Leaf lengths also were abnormally long. That’s a physiological response by the plant. In reduced sunlight, the plant generates more leaf area to gather whatever sunlight is available. How much of this has occurred varies, but in some places the long-leaf effect is quite exaggerated this year.


“I don’t think conditions were as overcast this year as in 2015, but cloudy skies certainly were with us at the wrong time. Sunlight amounts fell off at the very end of May and through much of June. That’s when plants were determining panicle sizing and the number of kernels, among other things. So, that yield component already has been locked in.


“Sunny conditions now could help fill out kernels more completely, but plants will be carrying fewer kernels, overall, and there’s no getting around that. To be a little more specific, factors like panicle size, the number of kernels and related things are determined 2 weeks on either side of joint movement, and joint movement started in June. As a result, we won’t see overly impressive panicle lengths.



“How much all of that effects yields is hard to say, but I’m still thinking our statewide average will settle out in the 150s (bu/acre). That’s not the only cause for low yield expectations this year, and we’ve had plenty of factors that worked against rice. And we now have really hot days and correspondingly hot nights, and plants need a break from that. The forecast calls for some relief, which could help us avoid chalk issues.


“Chances for disease are still with us. That will partly be influenced by humidity, dews, fog and how long canopies remain wet in the mornings. At times, some canopies are wet until noon. With that, some leaf blast reports are cranking up. In some of our Stuttgart research plots more blast has developed than usual. Typically, low water levels predispose rice to blast, but those plots were watered well. We tend to see at least some blast at the center every season, but in certain plots it’s pretty rough this year.


“Reasoned decisions need to be made about which fields to spray for blast prevention, and several points have to be taken into account. Were fields planted with susceptible cultivars? Does the field have a history of blast? Also, is the canopy prone to staying wet longer in the mornings? That tends to be the case with tree lines on the eastern side that cast long shadows in the morning. Fields near or along rivers also would remain wet longer in the mornings.


“Neck blast makes a bad situation worse, although leaf blast is not a perfect indicator of how much risk neck blast poses. A lot of that depends on the variety. Jupiter can easily get leaf blast but not so much neck blast. On the other hand, Roy J may develop minimal leaf blast but can take a hit later from neck blast.


“The more you know about all this, the better you can pinpoint which fields to spray. Blanket sprays don’t pay off because you probably won’t have problems in every field. So, treat the ones where it seems more likely. We don’t have any extra money to throw at this crop.


“One point regarding rice stink bugs (RSB) – when you apply a fungicide, avoid the temptation to throw in an insecticide when rice isn’t heading yet, even if you see RSB in the field. You’ll likely kill beneficials that are needed later. Spending a buck or two for a pyrethroid now could cost you more if you take out your natural allies.”


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

“We’ve had rain someplace every day for the last 8 days (from 7/20). Over 7 inches have fallen in spots. But it’s mostly been frequent popup showers, just enough in places to keep combines parked for part of the day.


“All that has slowed harvest progress. Today was actually the first day here at Crowley that we haven’t had a rain event.


“Up until now, yield reports have mostly just trickled in, although I’ve received more feedback late in the week. Most reports so far have been about earlier varieties like CL 111 and Mermentau. On average, those seem to be in the mid 40s (barrels/acre). A couple went over 50, so that’s looking pretty good. I’m also being told about yields at 40 or well below that.


“Just scanning through yield reports people have sent me by text messaging, I’m seeing some in the range of 48 to 54 barrels. When people tell me about bad yields, it tends to be by word of mouth, not something put into a text. So when I talk about overall averages, I’m figuring some of those lower yields in my estimates.


“Keep in mind, too, that the best yields tend to be the earliest yields.


“It looks like the weather will clear up for the next couple of days, and we should see more combines running. Chances for rain do go up over the weekend, but next week looks more open. Hopefully, we’ll have good drying days so we don’t rut up a lot of fields at harvest.


“The big news is that the U.S. signed the phytosanitary agreement with China, which opens the way to sell American rice into that market. That news hit today and prompted plenty of excitement in the industry. We hope those Chinese inspectors get here soon and inspect our facilities so we can start selling their country Louisiana rice.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist

“I got a report yesterday (7/20) that draining had started in a limited amount of March-planted rice. Overall, we’re in the range of 70% of the crop headed.


“Unfortunately, we’re now into hot weather, both in the daytime and at night – and that’s not good for rice that’s flowering. Most of our rice isn’t to that point yet, but where it is, we’re finding situations that aren’t pretty. Blanks are turning up, whether due to excessive wind, heavy rain or these extreme temperatures.


“Rains haven’t been widespread but certainly have been intense where some popup showers appeared. At one point it rained 1.5 inches at my house but a half-mile away no rain fell at all. Some of these storms have been the high-intensity type, which could account for some of this pollen sterility and blanking. I’m getting just a few calls about stink bugs ramping up.”




U.S. Rice Producers Celebrate Chinese Protocol Signing – Commentary   7-20


U.S. Milled Rice Now Permitted into China – Perdue Signs Agreement   7-20


Exports Shine Amid Tough Market Situation   7-19


Organic Texas A&M Plant Pathologist Working with 10 Varieties -Video   7-19


Arkansas Stinkgrass – A Potential New Weed That’s Hard to Control 7-18


Arkansas Heat Speeds Up Development; Rice Stink Bug Reminders 7-17


Louisiana Flood Assistance Available for Growers 7-17


Mississippi: Rice Producer Field Day, Stoneville, Aug. 2



 More Rice News And Analysis





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