UACES Facebook Arkansas Rice Update 6-18-21
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Arkansas Rice Update 6-18-21

by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - June 18, 2021

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Arkansas Rice Update 2021-14

June 18, 2021

Jarrod Hardke, Trent Roberts, Tommy Butts, Tom Barber, Nick Bateman, Gus Lorenz, and Ben Thrash, and Scott Stiles

“How high’s the water, Papa?  Six feet high and rising.”

Hello Darkness

Moving into Midseason

Jarrod Hardke

We’re still dealing with the aftermath from the flooding events in South AR and that’s driving most discussions these days.  With the hot and dry conditions, we’re at an odd stage where we’re trying to drain and salvage rice but also needing to keep rice irrigated as the crop shifts into reproductive growth.  In addition, there will be a meeting in Dumas on Monday evening Post-Flood Crop Management Meeting beginning at 5 p.m.  We hope to see you there to answer questions you may have about rice and other crops following the flooding events of last week.

Beyond that, it has been a very busy week throughout the state with the warm and dry conditions.  A large amount of rice that has been late getting to flood is now finding its way there.  Remember to keep with recommended preflood N rates even if delayed, and for varieties, be mindful of waiting to apply a midseason N shot until at least 3 weeks, preferably 4 weeks, after preflood N is incorporated.  This allows us the greatest chance for N uptake, which can still be maximized well after ½” internode elongation.

Given how warm and dry this week has been, expected rainfall this week may actually be welcome.  We’ll hope that it’s a light round and that the system in the Gulf continues to spin off to the east and keep us out of large rainfall events.

Fig. 1.  NOAA 7-day Precipitation Forecast.

NOAA 7 day precipitation forecast


Managing Rice After Submergence and Flood Loss

Jarrod Hardke and Trent Roberts

This article is focused on rice fields impacted by last week’s flooding events.  Some was written on these topics in last week’s Rice Update, but we’ll try to cover a little more here.

While in many instances we have no control over how deep much of this water is or how long it will stay, there are some general expectations of rice response to it.

Rice near Green Ring or Later

Large rice near midseason or later is most sensitive to submerged conditions.  When rice is submerged for 7 days or less, it often survives.  However, when submerged for 7-10 days it starts heading downhill fast with plant death increasingly likely and when submerged 14 days or more we typically see complete crop loss.  These are based on general observations from previous years.  The heat experienced since last Thursday on mostly stagnant water has sped that timeline up and rice is surviving for fewer days in some cases.

The goal is to get the rice out of the deep flood but still keep a shallow flood to a muddy state.  This will allow the plant to catch its breath, rid itself of excess water, and possibly stand back up but also prevent it from drying stuck to the ground.  The larger the rice, the less likely it will stand itself back up after several days completely submerged.  Unfortunately, you can often tell that it’s not oing to make it by the obvious rotting tissue smell as plants lay over when the flood goes away.

Rice from Seedling to Preflood Stage

Smaller rice at seedling to early tillering typically survives much longer.  However, under deep submergence in hot, stagnant water, it can go quickly as with larger rice.  As the rice comes out of being submerged it has a much easier time standing up and similar steps should be taken to prevent it from drying stuck to the soil surface.

**Note that it is probably best for rice recovery to completely remove any flood at all, but as the ground begins to firm we need to be chasing a flush across the field to keep rice from sticking and help it remain healthy.  It is a delicate balance but considering chasing a flood down the field just days after the unwanted flood leaves the field.**

Some rice that was submerged but not too deep has stretched trying to reach out of the water.  This rice can still do well but will maintain that extra height to harvest and will be prone to lodge early.  Keep in mind that depending on the degree of stretching, flood management changes.  When rice has “stretched” due to submerged conditions it will be taller than normal and keeping the field flooded will help the rice stay upright, whereas removing it now may make it go ahead and collapse.  In some cases of minimal stretching, we could help ourselves with the removal of the flood to stimulate root growth to handle the taller plant.  This is a difficult decision that has to be made on a field-to-field basis and previous experience looking at the height of rice in relation to the typical height based on the relative growth stage (DD50) can be very helpful.

Nitrogen Management Considerations

If submerged fields had already received preflood N, then farm as normal and watch the crop for changes that would suggest inadequate N.  When the rice has not received preflood N, attempt to dry the field to fertilize and reflood as normal.  If conditions dictate the rice needs to remain with some flood to ensure full recovery (to prevent lodging or sticking to the ground), then keep that flood present and begin spoon-feeding N, but only start applications once new green growth is apparent.

Field levee issues are another concern.  Some fields that have been submerged have levee issues, and many fields weren’t submerged but have major levee issues.  The comments generally remain the same about managing levee loss.  If you had preflood N out prior to levee breaks, remember that flood loss itself is not a major N loss mechanism.  It is the reflooding later that could trigger major losses.  If you are restoring the flood and it has been 3 weeks or more since preflood N was incorporated, then the risk of N loss is minimal to non-existent.  If you are reflooding within 3 weeks of having originally gone to flood, then there is a risk of N loss.  However, in all of these situations, unless the crop has taken on a noticeably N deficient look, do not apply additional N at this time.  Potential N deficiencies can be addressed during midseason.  Many years of work have shown that when additional N is needed, applications as late as 2 weeks after ½” internode elongation (IE) can still provide maximum yield response.  Do not add extra N just assuming that a significant amount was lost as this can continue to increase rice height and exacerbate the stretching from submergence, almost guaranteeing lodging prior to harvest.

Fig. 2.  Rice recovering from submergence for 7 days.

Rice recovering after submergence

Fig. 3.  Dead rice from submergence for 7 days.

Dead rice from 7 day submergence

Fig. 4.  Repairing levee washouts from flooding.

Repairing levees from flooding


Weed Control Thoughts

Tommy Butts and Tom Barber

Rice fields subjected to submergence and flooding events will have weed control issues.  In particular, whatever residual herbicides were in place prior to these events should now be considered gone.  At this point we either need to plan for another round of residual or be prepared to make a POST application very soon if the water has fallen enough to do so.

Be sure to check labels regarding different herbicides and their use rates and limitations.  Much of this rice has nearly received or already received the maximum labeled rates of some herbicides.  Making additional applications of these herbicides will not only put you over the legal limit, but also greatly increase the risk of injury to already sick and recovering rice.  Even if we still have options available, they may not be appropriate given the health of the rice at this point.  Choose wisely when making herbicide selections on these acres and lean toward not aggravating the rice further.  See the MP566 Application Cut-off Timings for Common Herbicides and the MP567 Max Use Rates per Application and per Season for Common Herbicides.

For more discussion on weed control after the flood, check out this podcast by Jason Norsworthy and Tom Barber:  Weeds AR Wild, Ep. 16: Catching Up and Salvage Weed Control Options (6/16/21)


Rice Water Weevil Getting Worse

Nick Bateman, Gus Lorenz, and Ben Thrash

Phone calls on rice water weevil adults (Fig. 5) moving into rice have picked up tremendously over the past two weeks.  A few weeks ago, we made the comment that it was too early to predict what kind of weevil year we would have this year and based on what we have seen the past few days it’s going to be bad.  So, the thing to keep in mind about weevil control is application timing.  Typically, an application would be made within 5-7 days after permanent flood establishment.  For a lot of the rice that is just now going to flood, we expect to see weevils show up immediately.  We are still seeing some cases where rice has been flooded for a couple of weeks and adults are just now moving into the field.  In these cases, we are still suggesting you spray if there is a large amount of scarring and adults.  When scouting for weevils, we are looking for 40-50% scarring on new leaves and adults present before we make a foliar application.

Some of the questions we have gotten around weevil control here lately have been should I still spray if I have Fortenza or Dermacor seed treatments.  The answer is no, these products don’t have adult activity so you will still see the scarring occur, but they are great for larval control which is the damaging stage.  CruiserMaxx and NipsIt will provide some adult control, but for a lot of the rice that is just going to flood is ranging from 40-60 days after planting.  CruiserMaxx and NipsIt are only going to last 28-35 days, and we need to be prepared to have to treat these fields with a foliar for weevils.

We have also gotten questions about replanting rice and whether or not it needs a seed treatment.  The bottom line is we suggest all acres of rice in Arkansas receive a seed treatment regardless of planting date.  This late in the growing season, rice is going to come out of the ground growing rapidly.  It’s going to be possible to use a CruiserMaxx or NipsIt and be able to get to flood within that 28-35 day window.  Keep in mind that, like with most insect pests, the later we plant the higher the rice water weevil populations will be.

Rice water weevil is the number one insect pest of rice in the midsouth.  As we flood more rice over the coming days, we need to be scouting these fields within 3-4 days after permanent flood establishment so we can make decision on rice water weevil.  Feel free to contact us if there are any questions.

Fig. 5. Rice water weevil adults moving into rice after flood establishment (Kurt Beaty).

Rice water weevil adults


Rice Market Update

Scott Stiles

Pick your poison.  You could find any number of reasons and excuses why ags were annihilated this week.  Several traders mentioned China’s efforts to curb speculation in commodities.  Most importantly on that front, China announced plans to release some copper and other metals from its state reserve.  That could be the news that killed the yearlong uptrend in copper.  The same thing is happening in lumber.  Its’ crashed exactly 50% since May 10th.  As we all watched in horror, CBOT grains collapsed this week.  As of Thursday’s close, November soybeans had dropped almost $2/bu. IN A WEEK.  The US dollar has traded sharply higher this week following the Fed meetings.  Since getting close to its two-year lows in mid-May, the Dollar has rallied about 200 basis points; 138 of that in the last two days.  This is a major headwind for commodities.

Looking at the rice market, the chart below reveals the technical weakness in the September contract.  Currently, prices are sitting on 62% retracement of the move from the late December lows to the May highs.  The 62% retracement level is $12.585; where the market trades Friday morning.

CBOT September 21 Rice Futures, Daily Chart.

CBOT Rice Sept 21 Futures Daily

As mentioned, outside factors are driving price direction to some extent.  From a purely fundamental view, the rice market really needs a surprisingly low acreage number from the June Acreage report to help turn around and recover.

Another thing to point out on the technical side of the rice market is the increasing volume and open interest.  As background, open interest in the July contract peaked around mid-May and started a slow decline.  About the second week of June, the open interest in the July contract start to drop fast as traders head for the exits.  As the trading volume and open interest shifts to and builds in the September contract, this tends to accelerate price trends.  This is especially true when trading starts to break through key support, like $13.40.  From there, momentum picked up.

One other point to make about rice futures is the spec longs have been exiting their positions.  The managed money (non-commercials) had held a net long futures and options position in rice for 78 straight weeks—from December 3, 2019 until May 25, 2021.  Their position flipped to net short two weeks ago.  A spec net long position has oftentimes been the key to higher prices.

Again, an important support level in the September contract right now is $12.585.  If that support fails, the risk of returning to the December lows at $11.58 becomes real.  The June 30 Acreage will be key in stabilizing the rice market.  However, a lot still depends on outside markets and how they behave over the coming weeks, particularly the US dollar.  A continued runup in the dollar will make it difficult for commodities as a whole to regain their upward momentum.

Fertilizer Market:

The graph below provides at look at Gulf (NOLA) barge price trends over the past year.  Prices are updated through June 11th.

Fertilizer Price US Gulf

Gulf urea prices have been on 5-week run higher, trading back to 2014 levels.  Spot prices stabilized this week on the sharp decline in corn futures.  The more deferred month urea values declined some.  In addition to metals, the Chinese government has also expressed concerns over rising fertilizer prices.  There is some speculation that China could announce a urea export tax as soon as next week.


Row Crops Radio Podcasts

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, Ep. 16: Catching Up and Salvage Weed Control Options (6/16/21)

Rice, Soybean, and Cotton Insect Update (6/15/21)


DD50 Rice Management Program is Live

The DD50 Rice Management Program is live and ready for fields to be enrolled for the 2021 season.  All log-in and producer information has been retained from the 2020 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:


Use the Arkansas Rice Advisor Internet App!

The Arkansas Rice Advisor site 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.


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.


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