UACES Facebook Arkansas Rice Update 5-21-21
skip to main content

Arkansas Rice Update 5-21-21

by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - May 21, 2021

Rice header

Arkansas Rice Update 2021-10

May 21, 2021

Jarrod Hardke and Scott Stiles

“Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”

Swing and miss

Better Lucky Than Good

Jarrod Hardke

This week’s weather turned out to be much ado about nothing.  It wasn’t a complete miss, but compared to what we expected to happen, it was a welcome letdown.  The only real problem with not getting much of the rain, was that many management decisions were made trying to work around it.  Now we’re picking up some of the pieces of those decisions this week.

Drift complaints have been on the increase, and there’s not much discussion to have other than to say “stop spraying in 20 mph winds.”

Monday’s report had us at 87% planted for the state (Fig. 1).  The push at the end of last week has that about right and with the opportunities we’re being afforded this week and through the weekend we should be at 95% planted by Monday.  Then it’s all over but the shouting.

These few late opportunities likely assured us of reaching 1 million acres in the state, though not necessarily by much.  The high end of my expectation is 1.1 million acres total.  Very tough guessing game this year with the weather bouncing folks between crops and having to change crop plans on the fly based on what fields we can get into.  Now, we’re looking at the potential of a warm, dry run that will have us looking for a rain again before too long to activate more residual herbicides, wind permitting that we get them applied.

Fig. 1.  AR Rice Planting Progress, 2010-2021.

2021 AR Rice Planting Progress

Fig. 2.  NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.

NOAA 7 day Precipitation Forecast


Fertilizing and Flooding Begins

Jarrod Hardke

Don’t call it a heat wave.  Conditions are finally working up to where we should be for late May and it’s time for rice to kick it into gear.  If you haven’t re-run your DD50 reports in a while I suggest you do, as the prolonged cool conditions have had rice progressing more slowly than the program would’ve predicted based on long-term weather averages.  Now that we’re warming up, these dates will come up faster, but given that some rice is already hitting these predicted dates, it’s time to roll.

The first comment from many is that rice short.  The cool, wet, cloudy weather has stacked the nodes on a lot of rice and it just hasn’t gained much height.  At some point we will have to do a little dance with this rice in order to fertilize and flood on time and not lose yield potential.

For rice that is reaching the end of the nitrogen timing window, and is still short for your liking, it may be time to go with a bump flood or a baby flood to get it kicked off.  Get a shallow flood across the field and by the time you’ve made it the rice will be taking off and you can pump the field up.

Zero grade or extremely shallow sloped fields can go to flood earlier on small rice.  Just be sure to maintain a shallow initial flood to not stretch the rice and allow for optimal tillering potential.  Steeper contour levee fields may have to push the back end of the window to strike a balance between fertilizer timing and flood depth versus plant height.

Remember that it’s perfectly alright to go out to the final N timing.  You have a little time to get it flooded after the date, but we don’t want to press that too far.  For fields that take longer to flood we need to get started on the early side, use multiple inlet irrigation, and maybe even get some help from a rain to stay on time.

Table 1.  Final recommended date to incorporate preflood nitrogen for selected cultivars based on emergence date in Arkansas County.

Final N Date Selected Cultivars Arkansas County

Table 2.  Final recommended date to incorporate preflood nitrogen for selected cultivars based on emergence date in Poinsett County.

Final N Date Selected Cultivars Poinsett County


Rice Market Update

Scott Stiles

There were good reasons for rice futures to trade higher this week, but none could outweigh the drag over in the soybean, wheat and many other commodity markets.  River traffic resumed on the Mississippi River.  The US Dollar traded to 3-month lows this week.  Thursday’s Export Sales results were decent at least for rough rice.  All price supportive.  Focusing on exports for the week ending May 13, long-grain rough rice sales hit a four-week high of 58,900 MT.  Nearly all of the total was to Mexico and Venezuela.  After a month-long absence, last week’s sale of 28,500 MT to Venezuela brings their YTD purchases to 271,083 MT; nearly all of which has been shipped.  Long-grain rough rice sales to Venezuela are up 396% over last year making them the second largest export market for the U.S. behind Mexico.  Overall, rough rice sales are up 12% compared to last year.  The first new crop rough rice sale showed up in last week’s USDA reporting (749 tons to Guatemala).  Weekly long-grain milled rice sales were the highest since February 4 at 19,940 MT; 15,200 of that was to Haiti.

The daily chart below provides a year-to-date look at the September 2021 contract.  The September contract traded to low of $11.58 last December.  The recent high was $14.21 made on May 5th.  After reaching overbought territory, trading is finding technical support at the 40-day moving average (red line) at $13.44/cwt.

CBOT September 2021 Rough Rice Futures, Daily Chart.

CBOT Rought Rice Futures Daily


Cash Market: Bids / Basis

New crop rice basis was steady this week at 16 to 23 cents per bushel under September futures.  Fall delivery (Aug. – Oct.) bids at driers / local elevators were in the $5.84 to $5.91 per bushel range as of Thursday’s close.  Basis at mills was 9 cents under September futures with bids near $5.98 per bushel.

Crop Progress:

U.S. rice planting progress rose from 74% to 87% complete as of May 16; ahead of the 5-year average of 81% and last year’s 79 percent.  Arkansas’ planting progress advanced 10 points in a shortened week to 87% complete.  Planting for the state is ahead of last year’s pace (75%) and slightly ahead of the 5-year average (84%) for the week.  Week-to-week changes in planting progress this year have been a function of weather, the calendar, and market prices for a range of competing commodities.  The current weather outlook for the upcoming week should provide an opportunity to wrap up rice planting.

Rice:  Percent Planted as of May 16.

US Rice Planting Progress


Crop Condition:

NASS estimated Arkansas crop emergence at 68% compared to 56% last year and the 5-year average of 72 percent.  The state’s rice crop was rated at 74% good-to-excellent.  The U.S. rice crop overall is rated 74% good to excellent compared to 63% last year at this time.


The crop insurance Final Planting Date for rice in Arkansas is May 25th.  The Late Planting Period extends 15 days after the Final Planting Date.  For insured acres planted during the Late Planting Period, the production guarantee for each acre will be reduced by one percent for each day planted after the Final Planting Date through the fifteenth day.  The Late Planting Period ends June 9th for rice in Arkansas.

Futures Prices


Row Crops Radio Podcasts

Check out these podcast episodes by following the link or by listening to them on Arkansas Row Crops Radio wherever you listen to podcasts.

Weeds AR Wild, Ep. 12:  Expectations for Loyant Coated on Urea (5-20-21)


DD50 Rice Management Program is Live

The DD50 Rice Management Program is live and ready for fields to be enrolled for the 2021 season.  All log-in and producer information has been retained from the 2020 season, so if you used the program last year you can log in just as you did last year.  Log in and enroll fields here:


Use the Arkansas Rice Advisor Internet App!

The Arkansas Rice Advisor site functions like an app on your mobile device.  There you can readily access the DD50 program, rice seeding rate calculator, drill calibration, fertilizer and N rate calculators, publications, and more.


Additional Information

Arkansas Rice Updates are published periodically to provide timely information and recommendations for rice production in Arkansas.  If you would like to be added to this email list, please send your request to

This information will also be posted to the Arkansas Row Crops blog ( where additional information from Extension specialists can be found.

More information on rice production, including access to all publications and reports, can be found at


We sincerely appreciate the support for this publication provided by the rice farmers of Arkansas and administered by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board.

The authors greatly appreciate the feedback and contributions of all growers, county agents, consultants, and rice industry stakeholders.


Specialists Contact