UACES Facebook Arkansas Rice Update 4-2-21
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Arkansas Rice Update 4-2-21

by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - April 2, 2021

Rice Information | University of Arkansas System | Division of Agriculture | Research and Extension

Arkansas Rice Update 2021-03

April 2, 2021

Jarrod Hardke and Scott Stiles


“It’s time for a windfall and not a single moment too soon, I’ve been too long overdue now I’m gonna shoot the moon.”


Slow Progress is Still Progress

Jarrod Hardke

With only a few scattered acres planted in the latter part of March, we certainly haven’t gotten off to a tremendous start.  Some of that could begin to change now.  Planting has begun again in a few spots over the past couple of days with many more looking to get rolling as we head into the weekend.  Conditions look warm and dry until the middle of next week where small rain chances are lurking.

Still, there are many acres that have field preparation left to go before drills can run, so there is greater expectation of a lot of dust flying to get things ready before a bigger planting push will happen.  Hopefully this is the start of more frequent windows of fieldwork opportunity.

Fig. 1.  7-day precipitation forecast, NOAA.

Map of the United States indicating the 7-day precipitation forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Thoughts on Prospective Plantings Report

Jarrod Hardke

There’s a lot to unpack in the USDA Prospective Plantings report released on 3/31 (more details in the Market Update below).  Arkansas is looking at a 14% drop to 1.251 million acres (compared to 1.461 million planted in 2020).  California acreage projections continue to fall based on their water situation and seems like a “how low can you go” situation.  It’s somewhat surprising to see Missouri and Texas acres flat from 2020 to 2021.  Then Mississippi is expected to go much lower than 2020 and some think the report may still be too high.

For Arkansas, the acreage estimate is in line with expectations for this year.  However, the month of April will have a lot to say about whether we’re able to get to that 1.251 million acres.  Favorable planting conditions in April would likely allow us to get there, but if weather slows planting progress it will be easy to see more acres shift to soybean.  Once we hit May, the thought of yield decline in rice, pushing rice harvest later into the fall, and soybean prices will play roles in final acreage decisions.


Water-Seeded Rice Information Sheet

Jarrod Hardke

Some questions have started to come in about water-seeding rice in fields that aren’t drying out.  To help answer those questions, last year an information sheet was developed:  Managing Water-Seeded Rice in Arkansas.


Market Update

Scott Stiles

March Prospective Plantings:

The major piece of market news this week was the March 31 Prospective Plantings report.  Ahead of the report industry analysts expected total rice acres to drop 10% or 303,000 acres.  Total rice acres in 2020 were 3.036 million.  The trade guess for 2021 was 2.733 million.  The actual survey result from NASS came in at 2.71 million for a 11% year-on-year decline.  Not a big surprise given what soybean prices have done over the past year. 

The table below provides a state-by-state breakdown of long-grain 2021 planting intentions and 2020 final acres.  Arkansas is expected to have 54% of the US long-grain acres this year.  Per the NASS survey, all states except Missouri and Texas will reduce acres this year.  Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi all plan to increase corn and soybean acres.  After the limit up moves and new highs in both those crops following the Prospective Planting report, those plans will most assuredly stay in place.

U.S. Long-Grain Planted Acres.

U.S. Long-Grain Planted Acres


Outlook for 2021 production

Looking ahead, the 2021 planted acreage used in the May WASDE will be based on the March Prospective Plantings.  As a result, we may see a slightly larger 2021 production forecast for long-grain than shown in USDA’s February Ag Outlook.  See table below.

Adjusted for March 31 planting intentions, long-grain harvested acres could be 76,000 higher than the February Outlook.  Using USDA’s projected US average yield of 7,450 pounds would equate to a crop size of 151.7 million hundredweight—5.7 million larger.  This is still well below 2020’s 170.9 million cwt. crop.  However, USDA looks for much lower long-grain demand in 2021/22 with expectations for total use to slip from 190 million cwt. this year to 178 million in 21/22.  The first official 21/22 balance sheets from USDA will be released May 12TH.

Outlook for 2021 Production

Crop Progress:

Crop Progress



Good Friday, Commodity Markets Closed (4/2)

1st U.S. 2021 Crop Progress Report (4/5)

April WASDE (4/9)


Row Crops Radio Podcasts

Check out these podcast episodes by following the link or by subscribing to Arkansas Row Crops Radio wherever you listen to podcasts.

Rice & Advice, Ep. 01: Rice Seeding Rate Decisions (3/30/21)

Rice and Soybean Seed Treatment Considerations for 2021 (4/2/21)


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.


UADA Specialists Contact Information


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