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Delta Farm Press
by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - March 21, 2023
“I don’t know where we’re going but there’s no use being late.”
The 2022 season marked a second consecutive year of declining rice acres. The 2007
season was the last time that happened (and we were still over 1.3 million acres).
2022 marked only the second time we’ve fallen below 1.1 million harvested acres since
1987 (2013 was the other).
While 2022 ended up seeing strong enough rice prices to hold onto the acres we did
get, there seems to again be weak price support for rice acres at this point in the
year. Rice prices have fallen below $7 while soybean prices are in the $13 range.
While some input prices continue to improve, potential positive outlooks for 2023
are fading. Based on current commodity prices and input price estimates, break-even
169 bu/ac for conventional rice variety
190 bu/ac for conventional rice hybrid
173 bu/ac for Clearfield rice variety
194 bu/ac for FullPage rice hybrid
50 bu/ac for Xtend or Enlist soybean
177 bu/ac for stacked trait corn
This is the bushels needed to cover variable costs (operating costs) at current prices.
For these calculations I’ve adjusted the fertilizer and fuel costs (downward) currently
found in our Enterprise Budgets. I strongly advise you utilize those budgets adjusted for your own input costs for
Comparing various scenarios in 2022’s pricing patterns, these break-even yields for
2023 are higher than those in 2022 (that’s a bad thing). Commodity prices have fallen
much faster than the fertilizer and fuel prices have to this point, and then there’s
the interest rates. Is 2023 going to be a tougher year than 2022 or will things straighten
Rice acres still seem in line to rebound to a total of 1.3 million acres. However,
not long ago there seemed to be potential to exceed that number with a favorable early
planting window (April). Prices will continue to change and evolve for commodities
and inputs, but at the moment the outlook appears to be weakening instead of driving
toward more acres.
(Lack of) Progress
Regular rainfall events so far this year have allowed little to be accomplished in
the field. As we approach April, any dry window events will be all hands on deck
for preparing ground and hopefully getting some planting underway.
We had one smaller rain event already this week and a larger event expected Friday,
but a rise in temperatures to go with them. Next week looks largely unsettled with
some small rain chances and temps in the 60s. It’s kind of like winter and spring
have us locked in a custody battle. It’s time for the power of positive thinking!
Bring on warmer temps and sunshine so we can get this party started.
Fig. 1. NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.
Fig. 2. Rice planting began this week in isolated dry spots.
The 2023 Rice Management Guide publication is made possible by the rice growers of Arkansas through the Arkansas
Rice Check-Off administered by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board and
support from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. It contains
the most requested production recommendations for rice in a single, easy-to-reference
PDF. It is now available for download, and copies will soon be available at local
county Extension offices.
While medium-grain market opportunities appear to have increased dramatically compared
to the last few years, seed availability wasn’t quite prepared. My conservative estimate
based on seed acres was that we had 150,000 acres worth of medium grain to be planted
in 2023. We could, and I now believe we are, stretching the seed even further. Could
200,000 be attainable? Possibly.
Note that for Arkansas releases (Titan and Lynx) it is allowable to save your seed
for planting on your own holdings (land owned, leased, or rented). A sample still
needs to be sent into the Plant Board for GMO and quality analysis prior to planting.
Note: Jupiter is NOT an Arkansas variety, therefore we do not have the authority to allow
you to save the seed. Doing so would have legal ramifications. Also: A traited seed like CLM04 can never be saved.
California varieties are not an option in the Mid-South. I know some have made calls
and wanted to pursue, but it’s not an option for multiple reasons.
First, California Rice Research Foundation, which is grower owned, owns their varieties.
Legally, anyone growing and selling CRRF seed is required to only sell it to be grown
On top of that, any seed coming from California into Arkansas must be quarantined.
There are diseases present there which we do not have here. Only small amounts of
seed of rice from CA can come here, and only then under a strict quarantine policy
to ensure clean seed. This involves APHIS and the Plant Board and exists to protect
the Arkansas rice industry. Again, this is not an option for Arkansas growers looking
for more medium-grain seed.
Fig. 2. Arkansas medium-grain harvested rice acreage, 1990-2022.
As planting season is upon us, weather permitting, let’s talk planting date effects
on yield. For Tables 1 & 2, the selected cultivars chosen are the ones that have been in testing the past three
years. Others that have been included for fewer years aren’t included but can be
found in the results of the Arkansas Rice Performance Trials.
One thing that continues to stand out is that averaged over years and cultivars, general
yield expectations are highest in late March and early April. However, for some cultivars
and in certain years, expectations don’t change a great deal all the way into early
Weather is going to give us the planting date windows it will, and we’re better off
taking advantage of them from here on, whatever they may be. Early planted rice is
slow to emerge, but benefits from emerging the earliest and getting the most long
light days. Later planted rice emerges faster but gets fewer of those days and of
course gets harvested later.
Table 1. Average percent of optimum grain yield by planting date for selected cultivars
at the Rice Research and Extension Center, Stuttgart, 2020-2022.
RT 7321 FP
RT 7521 FP
Table 2. Average percent of optimum grain yield by planting date for selected cultivars
at the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center, Harrisburg, 2020-2022. **2020-2021
data at Pine Tree**
Amid the scattershot of rainfall events, herbicide burndown applications are getting
going. As the weather makes up its mind it can change our planting intentions on
the fly. While these notes are focused on rice, be sure to check out the MP44 for
intervals important for all crops. A few notable plant-back intervals to rice for
our burndown herbicides are included in Table 3. For additional information see MP519 Row Crop Plant-Back Intervals for Common Herbicides.
Table 3. Notable burn-down herbicides with plant-back intervals to rice.
Valor / Afforia
Zidua SC (3.25 oz)
1 Plant-back days are rate dependent, days presented are for lowest labeled rate.
Always read and follow label directions.
The Arkansas Rice Advisor site https://riceadvisor.uada.edu 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.
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.
Rice Extension Agronomist
Extension Weed Scientist
Rice Verification Coordinator
Extension Rice Pathologist
Extension Soil Fertility