Rice harvest has restarted on a spotty and limited basis in parts of Arkansas and Mississippi. Farmers are finding at least a few areas that are dry enough to hold up equipment or they are running tracks.


Rain is still in the forecast in the Delta states, although chances have slimmed down to varying degrees. Rains over last weekend and early this week will delay harvest into next week across a wide area.


A small amount of sprouting has been noted in some Midsouth rice, although our contacts say that sprouting has been more obvious in soybeans in certain areas.


Large portions of the coastal crop in southwest Louisiana and Texas have been cut.


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Wayne Dulaney, Dulaney Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi

“We haven’t gotten a deluge through here, but it’s rained enough to keep us from doing anything. With this last system, we maybe received 2 inches and much of that came over the weekend and on Monday (8/14). But with some cells to the south, it rained 5 or 6 inches.


“We had planned to start cutting rice last week and finally caught a window Friday to put out sodium chlorate but never had a chance to combine anything. If it’s sunny today and tomorrow, we might be able to sneak in and start cutting. It’s overcast right now (morning, 8/16), although the forecast calls for at least partly cloudy skies today.


“Maybe some rice has been cut in this area but I haven’t heard of any. On a positive note, rice prices are up. Some soybeans were cut in the south Delta, I’m told, but then the rain held that up, too.”


Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas

“We’re draining several fields right now (8/15) and will begin draining quite a bit more next week. Probably 40% to 50% of our fields are all headed out, with a lot of it in soft dough to hard dough stages.


“We’re still finding a few fields with rice stink bugs (RSB) and armyworms. We’re treating just a few fields here and there for RSB. Since last Friday (8/11), it’s rained from 2 inches up to 4.5 inches in different areas.”


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

“About 50% of our main crop has now been harvested. Rainfall was excessive last week in places. It rained over 10 inches at the Beaumont center and heavy amounts fell around Houston, too. I have seen some blast on Jupiter.


“A crop consultant west of Houston said today (8/15) that rice yields are exceptional so far among his growers. Hybrids are yielding 9,000 to over 10,000 lbs/acre dry. Also, conventionals were yielding quite well.”


Curtis Fox, Consultant, Gillette, Arkansas

“It sounds like more rain fell in areas to the south of us but we have received plenty, just the same. In a couple of places it got dry enough for people to harvest corn for a couple of days last week, but then by the weekend (8/12-13) it rained them out, too.


“None of my rice has been cut. Some was harvested around Gillette, I heard. They seemed pleased with how it was turning out but no direct word on yields. Most of our rice is ready for harvest. Between rice and corn, there’s no shortage of places to run a combine when anyone finally can.


“I’m not detecting any sprouting in rice but have seen some in soybeans. So far, both rice and corn are standing well. If I’m seeing any spots where rice is leaning or down, it’s just grassy patches or on edges where rice was over-fertilized.”


Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana

“Rice harvest is at a standstill. The rain has varied greatly, from as little as 1.5 inches to as much as 8 inches. But it’s raining every day, so even small amounts put you farther behind. At my home, it’s probably rained 5.5 inches in the last 7 days (from 8/14) and it’s raining a little right now.


“Water is standing in drained rice and also in soybeans. It looks pretty bad and is shaping up a lot like 2016. People finally hit a point last year that they put tracks on their combines and grain carts and started sloshing around. Then, of course, the weather shifted into a drought.


“So far, very little has been cut. Hybrids are going something over 200 bu/acre, from what I’m told. However, not enough rice has been cut to make an educated guess about how yields will trend.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist

“It’s still wet and we’re mostly in a holding pattern on harvest, although a few combines have been running. Nothing is going full bore. Growers are finding spots and working where they can. So far, this has mainly been in central Bolivar County.


“I drove through Tunica County yesterday (8/16) and did not see anything from the highway that had been cut. I’ve heard just a scant number of reports about rice sprouting – nothing to the degree of sprouting that is happening in soybeans.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist

“We’re seeing a slight improvement in our harvest situation. Some areas in southeast Arkansas missed a couple of rains, and farmers started making a little progress. Since then, at least some harvest also has cranked up on the south end of the Grand Prairie.



“Based on rough estimates, yields are mostly turning out well in the early going. In places, hybrids appear to be averaging 200 bu/acre dry on the top end of things. That’s in southeast Arkansas. Those are fields planted in late March and maybe into early April. We started cutting plots at Stuttgart that fell into that same planting period and those averages track closely with what people are reporting from the early fields.


“Typically, you need to see strong early yields because averages almost never trend upward as harvest progresses. People also are reporting averages in the 180 to 190 bu/acre range in some fields. With certain varieties that we don’t expect as much from, I got a 160 and a 170 (bu/acre) among the reports. Those farmers were pretty pleased with that compared to prior years.


“I’m hearing reports now about combines running in Chicot, Desha, Jefferson, Lincoln, Arkansas and Lonoke Counties. So, it’s pretty spread out, although cutting is on a fairly random basis, depending on where farmers can make any headway. No milling yield reports yet from where people are harvesting this week.


“The forecast still calls for intermittent rainfall, so let’s use caution with harvest aids. If you apply a harvest aid, you must be able to cut that rice in 3 to 4 days. If rains push that out to 7 days or more, you could see a serious drop in yield, primarily due to shattering. Milling yields could take a serious hit, too.


“Harvest aids are very useful tools. But like any tool, they can do harm if used improperly.


“Rice stink bugs (RSB) are very much concentrating now in some of the late fields that are just now heading and flowering. In places, you can stand still in a field and see a 4X to 5X threshold in front of you. Some people say they don’t want to spend any more money on this crop and will let RSB ride. That’s not the best idea with these late fields that are still susceptible – and with the stink bug numbers we’re finding in places.


“I’m still receiving a fair number of pictures of what appears to be random stalk borer injury, those blank panicles popping up. This sometimes freaks people out and they immediately think it’s neck blast. You can, in fact, find an occasional plant right now that has neck blast. But when you see these white blank heads this year, it’s probably due to stalk borers. This is a ‘buggy year’ and they seem to be a bit more prevalent.


“This isn’t happening to any degree that would raise concerns. And for that matter, we don’t have any control tactics for borers, anyway.”



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