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Delta Farm Press
by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - October 1, 2021
“Here comes the rain, falling down on me.”
It’s been a good run up to this point with harvest, but a rainy window has finally
arrived to bust up the game and slow things down. I feel like harvest progress is
generally trending ahead of actual reported progress this year, but that’s just an
opinion. After Sunday it looks like we may get another good run for a week, but you
never can tell if the extended forecast will hold.
Table 1. Harvest progress by week, 2016-2021.
Fig. 1. NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.
Preliminary results from the Commercial Rice Trials (CRT) small-plot testing are now
available. We still have a few sites left to harvest, but planting decisions are
already looming for next year. Note this data is subject to change as we finish analyzing
the data. Final results will be published around Dec. 1.
2021 Arkansas Rice Cultivar Testing Preliminary Summary (10-1-21)
Jarrod Hardke and Trent Roberts
Urea prices up. Phosphate prices up. Potash prices up. Diesel prices up. Rice
So, there’s at least one highlight in that list. A number of conversations are coming
up about how folks are going to deal with their rice fertility program next year –
or not deal with it by skipping phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) applications entirely.
Not so fast, my friend.
A quick review of input costs from 2020 Enterprise budgets using conventional hybrid
rice as an example:
That’s an increase in cost of $91.33. Ouch. But with an increase in rice prices
from $5.70/bu to $6.00/bu that brings it to a difference of only $34.33. Suddenly
that’s not quite the change from year to year it might initially appear. The difference
that’s left is similar to the increase in irrigation cost ($30.12) and you’re not
going to skip out on irrigating rice.
Projected returns are still going to be less than last year, so input decisions will
have to be very tight. There’s also no guarantee where prices will be for 2022.
However, completely skipping out on input costs like P and K sets us up to underperform
in 2022 which could have far greater hits on our bottom line.
Please remember that there are several traditional and new tools at your disposal
to help with these decisions! First off, DON’T FORGET TO SOIL TEST. We have some
of the most reliable fertilizer recommendations for P and K that you will find in
the county and understanding how deficient or sufficient your soil is will go a long
way in helping you decide where things can be cut and where they can’t. Secondly,
our new Potash Rate Calculator (https://agribusiness.uark.edu/decision-support-software.php) has been developed for precisely this scenario where constantly fluctuating fertilizer
prices and rice values make it hard to identify the exact rate needed to maximize
your profitability. The last tool is in-season preventative tissue testing, especially
for K. Our newly developed tissue-K interpretation tool can help you identify potential
hidden hunger or diagnose K deficiency in rice from panicle initiation through early
In a prefect scenario, you could take soil samples, input that information along with
rice and fertilizer prices to determine your most economical K rate and apply it preplant.
Once your rice hits panicle differentiation you can take a Y-leaf sample to determine
if more K is needed to maximize yield and whether or not that makes sense as fertilizer
costs and rice prices will almost assuredly be very different in June 2022 than they
Rather than skipping these fertilizer inputs entirely, it is much better to use the
tools at your disposal to figure out how much P and K you can stand to put out based
on your budget and GET SOMETHING OUT THERE. If the soil test calls for an 0-40-60
rate (N-P-K) and you can only fit an 0-30-50 into your budget, go with it. Listen
to the Texas Tornados: “a little bit is better than nada.”
After touching $14/cwt. in trading Monday and Tuesday, November rice futures turned
lower to finish the week. Renewed strength in the U.S. Dollar may have played a role
in the rice market’s weakness. In trading Tuesday, the U.S. Dollar closed above key
resistance at the August 20 high of 93.75. The Dollar rally continued on Wednesday
and Thursday, eventually stalling at 94.52—a one-year high. November rice futures
lost a combined 28 cents/cwt. from Tuesday to Thursday this week. Chart support for
November rice is currently at $13.62.
Rough Rice Nov '21 (ZRX21)
Cash basis for rice around eastern Arkansas is showing some harvest pressure this
week. Also of note, barge freight was reported to have increased again this week.
In late August, NYMEX diesel futures were trading at $1.90/gallon. Following Hurricane
Ida, diesel has been on steady climb, trading up to $2.36 this week. This is adding
costs for trucking, rail and barges. Rice basis at mills this week for September/October
delivery was 23 cents per bushel under November futures. Basis at driers was in the
range of 29 to 36 cents per bushel under November.
In Thursday’s Export Sales, long-grain rough rice shipments were a marketing year low of 1,845 tons—all to Mexico.
However, long-grain milled shipments hit a marketing year high of 46,243 tons, with
43,146 of the total going to Iraq. There were no sales or shipments to Haiti for
a second straight week.
Update: All Gulf elevators are now said to be at least partially operational. Cargill’s
Reserve elevator is still undergoing repairs, but it can receive rail cars. Shipments
of corn, milo, and soybeans out of the Gulf are showing improvement—although cash
basis along the Mississippi river has strengthened very little if any since Hurricane
Ida. There are a number of basis headwinds from rising fuel costs, tightening storage
and fewer barges moving north from the Gulf.
Check out these podcast episodes by following the link or by listening to them on
Arkansas Row Crops Radio wherever you listen to podcasts.
Rice & Advice, Ep. 06: Rice Harvest Aids (9/25/21)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information will also be posted to the Arkansas Row Crops blog (http://www.arkansas-crops.com/) 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 http://www.uaex.uada.edu/rice.
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.