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Delta Farm Press
by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - April 1, 2022
“On the road again, like a band of gypsies we go down the highway.”
I don’t that anyone has sounded particularly excited about getting started planting
this year, but here we are. Officially as of Monday, Arkansas has 1% of rice acres
planted. The first couple days of the week saw some additional rice planted, but
corn and early soybeans were going in as well.
The coming week doesn’t look too promising either at the moment, with more rain forecast
for Monday and Tuesday. Aside from planting, there’s still a fair amount of field
work to be done around the state to prepare, and some areas still haven’t dodged a
rain this year to get in the field at all. The extended forecast does look to hopefully
open up after Tuesday’s rain, so fingers crossed for that.
Full details on the March Prospective Plantings report are in the Market Update below. As for Arkansas, estimates came in line with
expectations at 1.91 million acres total, with 1.080 million long-grain and 110,000
medium-grain. As stated in last week’s update, it’s the medium-grain number that’s
likely to see a northward shift from these estimates. Will that correspond with a
reduction in long-grain acres, most likely.
This projection does set us up to have the lowest back-to-back acreage years since
2011-2012. The last time we had acres this low in an even-numbered year? The early
90s, that’s when.
One of the major items to consider is that the one constant through this past fall
and into this spring, is change. Things have changed since this survey was conducted.
Fertilizer and fuel prices have increased, and commodity prices have shuffled. The
reality at the moment is that even with higher fuel and fertilizer prices, corn price
improvement means it pencils out very well. With where prices stand this morning
(4/1), corn at 190 bu/ac has a higher return than soybean at 55 bu/ac. If you have
fertilizer booked at lower prices, corn has a noticeable advantage, and 190 bu/ac
hybrid rice pulls close to soybean.
Ultimately, the variability for where each operation sits in terms of input prices
and yield expectations are huge. There’s no single bit of guidance anyone can give
in terms of cropping plan. Make the best plan you can for your operation, but do
so with the idea that things will continue to change, we just don’t know how.
The key focal point for the crop markets this week was the March 31 Prospective Plantings. Ahead of the report, the average trade estimate for U.S. rice acres was 2.465 million.
The actual total came in very close at 2.452 million. The rice market’s reaction
to the report was neutral with September ’22 rice closing a half cent lower Thursday
Total 2022 rice acreage is projected to be down 3 percent or 80,000 acres, due mostly
to a 60,000-acre reduction in California medium and short grain. At 2.45 million,
this year’s total U.S. rice acreage would be the lowest since 1987.
U.S. Rice Planted Acreage, 2021 and March 2022 Prospective Plantings.
Source: USDA NASS.
The table below provides a look at long-grain planting intentions by state. Given
the prices for alternative crops, especially soybeans, it is surprising southern states
didn’t indicate a sharper reduction in rice acres. Too, our 2022 rice budgets point
to 45 to 50% increases in production costs over last year. With long-grain acreage
expected to be down just 27,000 acres, growers are likely taking a long-term view
of the rice market.
U.S. Long-Grain Planted Acreage, 2021 and March 2022 Prospective Plantings.
U.S. Long-Grain Supply, Demand, and Price Outlook for 2022/23
With the March Prospective Plantings behind us now, what can we expect in terms of market direction? The short answer
might be: “more of the same.” First and foremost, the market now has a survey-based
acreage number to project 2022 production. Relying on USDA’s 2022 long-grain yield
projection of 7,497 pounds from the February Ag Outlook Forum, we could expect production
to come in at 142.7 or 1.9 million cwt. less than last year. The slightly higher
yield USDA expects in 2022 makes sense assuming normal weather. Rice production this
year will shift to fields with the highest yield potential and most efficient water
use. To complete the supply side of the new crop balance sheet, a carry-in of 21.4
and imports of 26 million give us a total supply that could be the tightest since
2019/20 at 190.1 million cwt.
Lower production in 2022 and historically high U.S. rice prices point to lower exports
and domestic use in the upcoming year. Using USDA February Ag Outlook as a baseline,
total use for 22/23 is projected at 173 million cwt.; down 4 from 21/22. Taken in
total, this leaves us with 22/23 ending stocks at 17.1 million and eerily similar
to 19/20 when comparing the 9.9% stocks-to-use ratio in both marketing years.
Obviously, there’s a full growing season ahead, but it’s apparent we could see wide
trading ranges in rice over the entirety of the 22/23 marketing year. Recall the
wide price ranges seen in the May and July 2020 contracts. A month before expiration,
the July 2020 contract traded to $23.56 as the market tried to ration supply. As
always, there are a lot of market unknowns, but a slight reduction (27,000 acres per
the March intentions) in long-grain acreage this year could create an environment
for extreme price volatility.
U.S. Long-Grain Rice Supply and Demand.
Planted (million acres)
Harvested (million acres)
Production (million cwt.)
Season Avg. Price ($/cwt.)
$15 - $23
1/ projections based on USDA February Ag Outlook and March 2022 Prospective Plantings.
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 Soil Fertility
Extension Rice Pathologist