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Delta Farm Press
by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - May 12, 2023
“Just rain down over me, just let it rain down, let it rain down.”
Most of our rice-growing area received welcome rains the past two days. The suddenly
dry conditions we’ve been concerned with over the past week should be mostly resolved
now, of course with an eye toward drying out so we can take the next step forward
Opinions will vary up and down the state, as the southeast area received rainfall
last week that stopped some of their progress while much of the rest of the state
was developing dry, crusting conditions. The recent rains were variable as usual
with anywhere from a half inch to 2 inches. While that may have been a little more
than some were bargaining for, it will hopefully set us up for positive gains.
After a warm weekend, temperatures are expected to fall back into the lower 80s, but
the lows should remain in the 60s meaning crop progress will still remain positive.
The forecast is pretty variable for next week at this point, so there’s not a guarantee
that things will clear up again quickly.
Some replanting of rice fields occurred this past week. Fortunately, most of the
conversations I had over the past week were stands possibly weak, but still at a level
that we would want to keep and avoid a replant situation. Flushing was also happening
on a limited basis early in the week which had those fields really taking off. And
the earliest fields have even been pushed to flood.
With more rice squeezed in over the past week we should be north of 90% planted at
this time. I feel like our overall acreage outlook continues to be around/over 1.3
million but less than 1.4 million acres. Recent market shifts do appear to have the
potential to cause some further shift in acres still not planted – that is rice prices
are starting to look even more attractive compared to soybean, but those will come
down to individual scenarios and planting date opportunities.
Let us know if we can help.
Fig. 1. NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.
Table 1. U.S. Rice Planting Progress as of May 7, 2023 (USDA-NASS).
Fig. 2. 2012-2023 Arkansas rice planting progress by week (USDA-NASS).
Fig. 3. Dry conditions were reaching out to grab much of our rice this past week
(h/t Andrew Jackson).
Fig. 4. Some rice fields received a much needed flush.
Fig. 5. A few rice fields even went to permanent flood.
Defoliators: Cutworms and Armyworms in Small Rice
Weeds AR Wild Series, S3 Ep8: Rice Weed Control Discussion with Dr. Connor Webster
As mentioned earlier, there have been some replants made and other replant discussions
continue. Since we’re in a rain delay, now is the time to evaluate plant stands and
formulate a plan to keep or punt on existing stands.
We develop seeding rate recommendations on new cultivars each year, which can help
guide us not only to optimal seeding rates but can also give us insight into what
happens with lower than optimal stands. Typically, the plant stands are well within
“keepable” range for the seeding rates evaluated.
Several years ago (2017-2018) we looked at LaKast and XP753 for suboptimal stand densities
to give us a better understanding of what really low stands will give us.
Fig. 6 shows LaKast at various stand densities and supports the recommendation to keep a
variety if the average plant stand is 5 plants/ft2 or greater. Fig. 7 shows similar data for XP753 and supports the recommendation to keep a hybrid if
the average plant stand is 3 plants/ft2 or greater.
Walking these trials each year, the sporadic and variable stands seemed representative
of what is often encountered when walking commercial fields with stand issues. But
certainly every field and situation is unique. Fields with a large range of stands,
and if they include areas with a lot of 0s for stand, are going to be more difficult
to gauge and depend on.
But there’s more to determining a replant than stand alone. The date of replanting
is a major factor. As a general rule, mid-April planting dates produce 10% higher
yields than mid-May planting dates. This is certainly not always true, but the trend
is true over years of data. The idea here is that with a replant that produces an
optimal stand (no guarantee), you may only make the same yield you would have in keeping
the suboptimal stand you have now (assuming 5 plants for variety and 3 plants for
hybrid). Then add in the costs associated with replanting and it becomes a lot easier
to keep the existing stand if it’s in range of these recommendations.
The other consideration is of course to change crops entirely, usually to soybean.
What is the yield potential for this field for soybean and would you be better or
worse off swapping to beans at that planting date with expected yield and price?
These are questions that have to be answered by individual operations.
Fig. 6. Percent of optimum grain yield for LaKast at suboptimal stand densities across
5 site-years in 2017-2018.
Fig. 7. Percent of optimum grain yield for XP753 at suboptimal stand densities across
5 sites-years in 2017-2018.
The good news is that we have a lot of our crops planted. The bad news is that we
have a lot of our crops planted – at the same time. Traditionally our different crops
end up staggered in planting order. This has allowed us to make multiple safe herbicide
applications to one crop without risk to an adjacent crop. This year, now that everything
is really starting to take off, we have rice, corn, and soybean emerged all around
each other, and things are going to get tight.
For rice, plan well ahead of events so that wind speeds and directions can be worked
around by applicators. It may be that more fields have to be sprayed split over different
applications or days depending on the wind. The same is also true for our other crops.
It’s a crazy year, let’s help each other out where we can!
We need the weed control – but we need healthy crops first for the weed control to
The DD50 Rice Management Program is live and ready for fields to be enrolled for the
2023 season. All log-in and producer information has been retained from the 2022
season, so if you used the program last year you can log in just as you did last year.
Log in and enroll fields here: https://dd50.uada.edu.
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