UACES Facebook Arkansas Rice Update 10-1-21
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Arkansas Rice Update 10-1-21

by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - October 1, 2021

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Arkansas Rice Update 2021-28

October 1, 2021

Jarrod Hardke, Trent Roberts, and Scott Stiles

“Here comes the rain, falling down on me.”


Harvest Progress

Jarrod Hardke

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.

Year Sept 5 Sept 12 Sept 19 Sept 26 Oct 3
2021 18 33 48 61 ??
2020 10 24 44 57 70
2019 23 44 61 72 82
2018 33 47 70 77 88
2017 18 41 59 78 88
2016 31 52 73 84 91


Fig. 1.  NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.

NOAA 7 day precipitation forecast


Preliminary Cultivar Testing Date

Jarrod Hardke

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)


Rice Fertility Amid Rising Input Costs

Jarrod Hardke and Trent Roberts

Urea prices up.  Phosphate prices up.  Potash prices up.  Diesel prices up.  Rice prices up.

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:

Rice input cost comparison 2021 vs 2022

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 ( 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 boot.

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 are now.

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.”


Rice Market Update

Scott Stiles

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)

Rough rice Nov 2021

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.


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.

Rice & Advice, Ep. 06: Rice Harvest Aids (9/25/21)


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.


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