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Delta Farm Press
by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - March 25, 2022
“I’d bet it all on a good run of bad luck.”
There’s nothing good to say about the rice acreage outlook as of late. Continued
changes in the market related to commodity price competition and input prices still
have things in turmoil. At this point in time, it seems easy to say that (my) earlier
predictions of ~1.3 million rice acres in Arkansas are likely a pipe dream now.
Given the strength of soybean and cotton prices, and more recently improvements in
corn prices, rice has a difficult road. Rice prices have improved to return to more
competitive levels (similar to January and early February compared to other crops),
but now fertilizer and fuel input price increases appear to be washing those gains
At this moment, a top end rice acreage expectation for Arkansas may be 1.2 million acres (long and medium grain
combined). This would likely be in the neighborhood of 1.1 million acres of long-grain
and 100,000 acres of medium-grain. If I had to argue with that split, I would send
the medium-grain higher and long-grain lower.
Over the past 10 years, in even numbered years, we have grown rice acres of 1.28M
(2012), 1.48M (2014), 1.52M (2016), 1.42M (2018), and 1.44M (2020). What seems likely
now is the first time we will have consecutive years below 1.28M acres since 2011-2013.
Note that from 1997-2010 we never had acreage below 1.33M. All this means a massive
reduction in acres when we normally achieve 1.4-1.5M acres and we may end up with
Next week on March 31, the USDA’s Prospective Plantings report will be released. This will be our first official estimate of acreage intentions
for the 2022 season. Certainly markets will move and things will change following
Jarrod Hardke and Scott Stiles
Certainly the biggest topic is the economics of the competing crops for this year.
Every situation is unique, and all inputs are variable for every operation, but we
can work from some generalities. As one farmer told me the other day, “I’m not sure
I’m going to be a rice grower this year.”
When we look at the Operating Costs (aka Returns over Variable Costs) for the different
crops, certain things stand out to be sure. I have taken the enterprise budgets currently
available and adjusted them for $700/ton urea and $3 per gallon diesel for Table 1
and used the most recent enterprise budgets for Table 2 – they are drastically different.
Input prices have obviously increased very recently (Table 2), but some growers have
secured those inputs at or below those levels and are better represented by Table
1. Again, this is a conversation point, it’s all constantly changing.
Using a 25% crop rent structure, cotton (1200 lb/ac), soybean (55 bu/ac), and corn
(190 bu/ac) stand out in terms of profitability. Another way to look at things is
through the lens of break-even yields.
One element to consider in budgeting and economics is the total farming budget – there
are costs inherent to every operation which would not be covered by a shift to all
soybeans. For those in rice rotations there are management and labor costs that can’t
be automatically covered on a soybean budget, making cropping decisions even more
Break-even yield ranges:
Corn – 157-177 bu/ac
Cotton – 821-896 lb/ac
Rice FP Hybrid – 176-196 bu/ac
Rice Hybrid – 170-190 bu/ac
Rice Variety – 154-174 bu/ac
Rice CL Variety – 161-182 bu/ac
Soybean E3/Xm – 42-45 bu/ac
If you had no inputs booked at this point in time, to make the same profit margin
as 60 bu/ac soybeans, hybrid rice would need to achieve 223 bu/ac. Not every farm
makes 60 bu/ac soybeans, but very few fields make 223 bu/ac rice crops. However,
if you have some fertilizer and fuel inputs booked earlier when prices were lower,
the situation does improve to 209 bu/ac hybrid rice to make the same as 60 bu/ac soybeans.
But the point is every operation is going to be unique and those with higher soybean
yields make sense to shift more that way while farms with stronger rice yields may continue to pencil as favorably or more favorably (maybe) than soybean.
Get ahold of the Enterprise Budgets on your computer and pencil in your expected input costs and your reasonable yield
expectations. Let that guide your final cropping decisions. Grow the crop mix that
gives you the best shot for 2022.
Table 1. Budget comparison using Jan-Feb 2022 fertilizer and fuel prices.
Table 2. Budget comparison using March 2022 fertilizer and fuel prices.
Jarrod Hardke and Tommy Butts
With product availability issues – notably glyphosate – there could be issues with
our tank-mixes for rice. Any herbicide being aerially applied with clomazone must
have a specific state registration to allow the tank-mix. The full spreadsheet containing
all approved mixes with clomazone products can be found on the Arkansas Dept. of Agriculture
(ADA) website here: https://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/plant-industries/pesticide-section/registration/.
Ultimately, as you purchase and secure glyphosate, keep in mind what you have and
when you’ll use it. Some glyphosate products may not be approved for clomazone tank-mixes
and might be best used in earlier burndown applications or saved for use in other
cropping systems. Glyphosate products approved for tank-mix with clomazone should
be reserved for at planting applications on our rice acres. The table below provides
the approved glyphosate + clomazone tank-mix options based on those provided in the
file from the ADA. While we have done our best to capture the information in the
below table, the ADA file and product labels should be checked to confirm accuracy.
Table 3. Approved tank-mixes with clomazone and glyphosate for aerial applications
Roundup PowerMax II
Roundup PowerMax II + Firstshot SG
Roundup PowerMax II + FirstShot SG + Facet L
Envy Intense + Sharpen
Showdown + Sharpen
Honcho Plus + Permit Plus
Buccaneer Plus + Sharpen
Cornerstone Plus + Sharpen
Envy + Sharpen
Honcho Plus + Sharpen
Makaze + Sharpen
Tomahawk + Sharpen
Willowood Clomazone 3ME
Cornerstone 5 Plus
Helosate Plus Advanced
Mad Dog Plus
Cornerstone 5 Plus + Sharpen
Glyfos X-tra + Sharpen
Glystar Plus + Sharpen
Helosate Plus Advanced + Sharpen
Mad Dog Plus + Sharpen
Tomahawk 4 + Sharpen
Roundup PowerMax II + Sharpen
Tomahawk 5 + Sharpen
Envy Six Max
Civic 3 ME
Roundup PowerMaxx II + Sharpen
Mad Dog + Sharpen
Glyphos X-tra + Sharpen
Roundup PowerMaxx + Sharpen
GlyStar Plus + Sharpen
Helosate 5 + Sharpen
Sunphosate + Sharpen
Credit 41 + Sharpen
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 Series, S2 Ep 6: Herbicide Resistance Concerns for Arkansas Rice (3/24/22)
Rice & Advice Series, S2 Ep 1: Rice Preplant and Early Season Fertility (3/21/22)
Weeds AR Wild Series, S2 Ep 5: Rice Weed Control: Traits, Residuals, and Programs
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 email@example.com.
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 Soil Fertility
Extension Rice Pathologist