Here is our first issue of AgFax Rice for 2018.


This marks the start of our 20th season covering rice in the Midsouth and the coastal rice belt of Louisiana and Texas.


Our thanks to the Southern Rice Team of Dow AgroSciences for once again sponsoring our coverage. This is the 13th season that Dow has been the report's exclusive sponsor.



Cold weather and rain have held back planting and/or emergence across much of the Midsouth.


In southwest Louisiana, a big portion of the crop is tillering but is too short to take to flood. Farmers made an early, smooth start with planting and rice pretty well emerged. But a couple of cold stretches kept plants from gaining enough size for pre-flood nitrogen and normal flooding. It’s a quandary, for sure. See comments by Dustin Harrell.


Much of the Texas crop west of Houston has been planted, while weather delays east of Houston have stalled the process.


Herbicide applications are on hold on a wide basis, several of our contacts noted this week. Where rice already looks stressed from below-average temperatures, growers are waiting for plants to strengthen a bit ahead of spraying.


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DeWayne Dopslauf, Crop Production Services, Wharton, Texas:

“We’re 65% to 70% planted and rice is still going in the ground right now (4/17). Herbicide spraying has started on a little rice. But with the cold weather, we’ve held back a lot of things to keep from stressing the plants. The rice really is just sitting there. Between that and some pretty stiff winds at times, we’re afraid to hit it with any hard herbicides yet.


“Of the rice planted, probably 60% is up. We still have a ton of acres on the east side of Houston that haven’t been planted yet. On the west side, about all they lack would be organic acres. The only rice that any of my growers have had to replant was a small field where red rice got bad, so the farmer took that out and started over.”


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

“We’ve planted a lot of rice, maybe 65% of our expected crop. As of right now (4/17), zero is up. Very little, in fact, has much more than a sprout and most is still just seed in the ground.


“Most of what we’ve planted only went in the ground last week when we had a pretty good run. Very little was planted before that. We’ve been looking at corn, rice and beans all day and are seeing where black birds have been active. So far, we’ve found 3 corn fields that will have to be replanted, although I expect we’ll find some more tomorrow.


“Rice acres in the area are generally up. Some ground may rotate out of rice this year but I have a lot of heavier ground that has been in a cotton-corn-bean program for years but will go into row rice this year.”


Jarrod T. Hardke, Arkansas Extension Rice Specialist:

“The most recent NASS estimate put us at 27% planted, but a tremendous amount of progress was made last week in north Arkansas, mostly from Jonesboro to the state line. I feel like we were closer to 40% before rain moved in last Friday (4/13).


“That weather put a lot of things on hold. From the Interstate 40 corridor south, it rained 3 inches on a wide basis, with 5 to 6 inches in isolated areas. Things are drying up again and the next real chance for rain has been pushed back to Sunday. So, we could have a pretty good planting window in most areas from Thursday through Saturday (4/18-21).


“The forecast says we may only get an inch of rain, so we could more past that in a couple of days and resume planting. People are sitting on go, waiting for drier soils. With bigger equipment now, they could cover plenty of acres in a short time.


“Very little rice is up yet, and cold conditions stalled development. The National Weather Service at Little Rock said the first two weeks in April set a record for the coldest average low for that period – less than 41 degrees. That broke a record set in 1975.


“Rice I planted on March 21 at Stuttgart just sat there and I wasn’t able to call it a stand until 25 days after planting. Some rice at the Pine Tree station may be up by the end of this week, which would be 30 days after planting.


“The crop is progressing but maybe not enough that you can always tell. One thing I know is that rice gets busy living or it gets busy dying, with not much in between. So, if it’s growing at least some, we should be okay. Where that rice made a stand in 25 days, it looks good. Some fields planted pretty early were hit by birds, although only a few fields were worn out. Otherwise, the birds have just been pecking here and there.


“Decisions are being made about herbicides and also about how to avoid doing anything too aggressive that would affect rice that’s not growing. We’re looking forward to warmer weather.”


Harold Lambert, Consultant, Innis, Louisiana:

“A little of our rice has been planted. Although they’re not a consistent problem, we’re coming up to the period where armyworms might be an issue. Their host at this time would be annual grasses but those aren’t taking off in most cases due to the cold weather. I can find an armyworm in wheat if I look hard enough but it’s nothing threatening.


“A few early soybeans are up but the weed and grass development has been slow, as well. We’ve had two cold fronts now on those few acres of early beans and both the crop and the weeds are moving in slow motion. Most corn is up and looks healthy but also is growing slowly.”


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

“Rice is moving very slowly due to cold weather and very little is up. We had 300 acres planted on March 20 and it took all of 3 weeks for it to come up to a stand. It really had it tough up front, but it was up enough last week to be considered a stand.




“Growers got in the field again last week and ran as hard as they could before it rained again. We’ve had 2 to 3 inches of rain every week, which isn’t conducive to making progress. It’s still not late, but if we get another couple of rains and cold fronts, that could put us later than we want to be. We need a good 10-day spell to catch up.


“I do have corn up. As bad as conditions have been this spring, we have had no replants in corn. We questioned stands in bottoms in certain fields but then finally decided they were good enough. Before the rain last Friday (4/13) we had a warm period, which perked up the corn. Some guys are planting beans on sandier ground and ridges. No cotton planted yet.”


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

“The season in southwest Louisiana got off to a pretty quick start, with about a two-week window with dry weather. A big part of the crop went into the ground all at one time. But after the rice was planted and it had emerged, cold conditions set it.


“We’re seeing some symptoms of cool temperatures and wind damage. Beyond that, we have plenty of rice that’s tillering and should be ready for its pre-flood nitrogen application. However, with these cold conditions, plants are too short to go to flood. It’s not just that they’re short, but we’ve had a lot of wind, which can stack water against field edges and submerge small plants if fields do go to flood.


“This is a fairly unique situation, I think, and we’re seeing these short tillering plants across multiple varieties and hybrids. Some of these tillering plants are less than 4 inches tall or at least the newest leaf isn’t much taller than that.


“This was actually one of the smoothest starts to planting down here in a number of years. Typically, we start flooding rice about 4 weeks after emergence. But this year we’re beyond that on a good many acres. With rice being this short, people are questioning whether they should put on a flood. But with rice tillering, it’s critical to apply fertilizer.


“In north Louisiana it’s pretty wet. Some rice was planted up there, but they’ve received more rain than in southwest Louisiana. Between that and their heavier clay soils, a lot of planting has been on hold. Rain is in the forecast up there for the weekend. But if they miss that, they should be able to plant on a wider basis.”


Bobby Golden, Mississippi Extension Rice and Soil Fertility Agronomist:

“Rice is moving slowly due to cold conditions. I would expect that we’re 25% to 30% planted, which is much more than USDA estimated this week.


“Some rice is peeping its head above the soil line now. That would be rice planted during a window in the last week of March, so it took 20 days to emerge. A small amount of rice may have been up when we had that last frost, but it ought to start growing again. We’ve had a couple of warm days (as of 4/18), and we expect to see more rice coming up.


“I’m getting calls from people who don’t have full stands yet and who want input on whether to replant. When we look at some of that rice, it’s still trying to come up, and we have a few more days, I think, before anyone might have to start pushing into replanting.


“Early in the winter, my initial estimate for Mississippi’s rice acreage was up a fairly good bit from 2017. I was thinking maybe 140,000 acres. But since February we’ve had some retractions on what people thought they would plant. Now, I think, it’s more in the 125,000 to 130,000 range, plus or minus 5,000 acres.”



Arkansas Rice: Northeast Planting Steams Ahead, Elsewhere Sputtering Along   4-16


Louisiana Field Reports: Rains Dampen Planting Progress 4-16


Mississippi Field Reports: Late Week Planting Stalled by More Rain 4-16



 More Rice News And Analysis




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