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Delta Farm Press
by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - July 8, 2022
“Weatherman stands there waving his arms, there’s no more bales of hay, down in the
barn, corn crop’s dead on my old man’s farm, he says we’re one day closer to rain.”
Well it appears the time for the 4th of July rain is passing without event. It looks as though we’re in for real problems
for the remainder of the summer.
Without any relief in the next couple of weeks, some very tough choices will have
to be made. Water availability and how far we can stretch things is starting to reach
a very problematic point. Rice usually gets first priority, but it may turn to a
“can we just keep it wet” situation as we try to divert water to corn and soybean
to keep them alive and productive. Ultimately something will have to give, or go
without irrigation, if a rain doesn’t turn up soon.
If there’s any upside to the short-term extended forecast, it’s that it appears we
will see a slight reduction in daytime highs and more importantly nighttime temps
as rice moves into flowering and grain fill stages. Highs above 100 are a point of
serious concern for flowering rice. Nighttime temps remaining at or above 75 are
a serious issue for flowering and grain fill. As long as we can continue to periodically
drop below these levels and avoid prolonged stretches, rice can manage. However,
5 or more consecutive nights of these conditions can really punish us.
You don’t even want to know what some of the long-term models are currently throwing
out there. I regret having looked.
I had sincere hopes that I would have something good to say this week, but I’ll have
to continue waiting.
Let us know if we can help.
Fig. 1. NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.
Jarrod Hardke and Trent Roberts
Unlike for varieties, we do not recommend a true midseason nitrogen (N) application
for hybrid rice. We recommend a preflood N application dependent on soil texture
(generally 120 lb N/acre on loam soils and 150 lb N/acre on clay soils) followed by
a late boot application of 30 lb N/acre.
What is late boot timing? Once the flag leaves on main stem tillers are fully emerged to where you can see
the leaf collar, up until boot-split / first heads emerging.
Why the late boot and not a midseason application? The preflood N rate for hybrids is sufficient to supply season-long N needs for
hybrids. Any potential shortfalls during the season can be resolved by the hybrids
taking up additional native soil N to bridge the gap. So a true midseason is not
needed to drive overall yield potential.
The late boot N application to hybrids serve to reduce lodging potential, slightly
improve yields, and slightly improve milling yields. If you were to make this application
earlier at a true midseason timing (i.e. ½-inch internode elongation), I would still
expect similar benefits, but some negative consequences could occur such as increased
plant height and increased rank (excessive) growth. Stick with the late boot timing
to get the positives while minimizing the negatives. I continue to hear of folks
pushing the application earlier into midseason, and I can only wonder if that’s a
historical idea that “rice needs a midseason N app” but it isn’t based on any research
data from the past 10-15 years of growing hybrids.
Table 1. Net Return from late boot nitrogen applications to hybrid rice ($850/ton
No Boot N
30 lb N Boot
The late boot N recommendation is to be applied as urea. There continue to be pushes
for “piggy-backing” a liquid foliar N product with a fungicide at the late boot timing
instead of applying N as urea. The reasoning is always that it’s cheaper to add in
a foliar N product with a trip you’re already making. There is no evidence that a
foliar N product can supply the needed amounts of N that urea application can.
After rice enters reproductive growth, it is capable of taking up urea N with high
efficiency (90% uptake) when grown under a continuous flood. Foliar N applications
cannot supply these N rate levels. A foliar N product containing 32% N can only deliver
3.2 lb N per gallon. Even if applied at 3 gallons per acre and similar efficiency
to urea, you’re only getting 8.6 lb N versus 27 lb N from urea.
Charts continue to be sent around suggesting that 1 lb N applied foliarly is equal
to 5-10 lb N applied to soil. This is false – a pound is a pound.
Additional issues are that the more you try to increase that foliar N rate, the greater
likelihood of crop burn from the liquid N which can be detrimental late in the season
especially if the flag leaf is severely burned. Running that many gallons of liquid
N also puts you in the neighborhood of the cost of urea that is giving you many more
units of N.
Jarrod Hardke and Yeshi Wamishe
Preventing kernel smut and false smut is a battle every year. There continue to be
discussions about “automatic” fungicide applications to prevent or suppress these
diseases. In many cases there is little justification for these applications.
Decision-Making Checklist for Fungicide Applications to Prevent Kernel and/or False
Field History of Kernel Smut or False Smut
Late Planting Date (mid-May and later; varies by season conditions)
Excessive Nitrogen Rate
The more factors you can “check”, the more beneficial a fungicide application may
be. Apply a minimum of 6 oz/acre of Tilt (or equivalent) for adequate suppression
of smuts. If Amistar Top is used, higher rates are preferred at least 12-14 oz/acre
When making these fungicide applications, it is preferred that higher water volumes
(5+ gal/acre) are used. Coverage is everything for making these fungicides work.
Timing during the day can also impact these applications. Very early morning applications
where dew is heavy may actually negatively impact applications as the dew prevents
direct leaf contact of the spray and some may “roll off”. Mid-morning as dew is drying
off, or late evening may be best. Mid-day applications have the risk of not all droplets
falling to the target as heat and humidity are high above the crop canopy.
For more on kernel and false smut management in rice: https://arkansascrops.uada.edu/posts/disease/kernel-false-smut-management-rice.aspx
The rice market took a sharp turn lower following the June 30 USDA reports, as did
soybeans. By the way, November soybeans traded to $15.07 ¾ on June 30th (report day) and to $13.04 this past Tuesday. So, basically a $2 swing in just three
(3) trading sessions.
Since Wednesday, both rice and soybeans have turned higher. It’s never easy to pin
down the exact drivers of the futures market. For certain, the September rice contract
had moved well into “oversold” territory. The bottom graph (black line) of the futures
chart includes the 14-day Relative Strength Index, which dipped into the mid-30s earlier
Fig. 2. CME September ’22 Rough Rice Futures, Daily Chart.
At the time of this writing (Friday) CBOT September rice is up 1 ½ cents at $16.40.
A close this week above $16.40 would be encouraging. Looking at the daily chart for
the September contract, note the red 100-day moving average, which currently sits
at $16.39. That is currently a key resistance point. Further up, the 20-day moving
average (green line) at $16.57 would be the next level of resistance.
With trading turning higher mid-week, we can surmise the heat and dryness in the Midsouth
has put some worry in trader’s minds. Parts of northeast Arkansas have now gone one
month without rainfall, not to mention the triple digit temperatures that have accompanied
the drought. This is a concern as NASS indicated in this week’s Crop Progress that some of the Midsouth rice crop had reached heading. As of July 3rd, Arkansas was at 2% heading, Mississippi at 18% and Louisiana and Texas both at 50
Also, midweek there was talk about Iraq. Although it may be nothing, there was some
speculation that Iraq was in the market for rice. Recall under the current memorandum
of understanding, Iraq’s buying authority agreed in principle to buy 200,000 mt of
US rice annually. Thus far in the 21/22 marketing year, only 120,000 mt has been
The significant price difference between U.S. and Thai rice has been the key reason
U.S. sales to Iraq have stalled. Currently, U.S. #2, 4% broken white rice, bagged
FOB Lake Charles, is at a $276/mt premium to Thai 100% Grade B white rice. Plus,
Thailand has a freight price / shipping time advantage. From January to May, Thailand
has shipped around 415,000 mt of rice to Iraq, with 150,000 mt more scheduled to be
shipped in the coming weeks.
USDA released updated export sales data Friday morning. The slow demand for long-grain
continues to be a major concern. However, last week’s sales of milled and rough rice
were the best seen in the last three weeks. Decent volumes of rough rice were sold
to Honduras (5,000 mt) and Nicaragua (6,000 mt). Haiti was in for 15,142 mt of milled
rice. With total long-grain sales still trailing last year by 10%, the trade is wondering
if we may see another cut to the old crop exports in next week's July 12th WASDE.
Regarding the July WASDE, the June Acreage data may be shifting the rice market’s mindset to a tighter supply scenario. With
38,000 fewer acres, it’s possible 2022 long-grain production could be trimmed down
to 138.2 million cwt., compared to 140.9 million in the June forecast. Lower 2022
production is very likely in next week’s USDA estimates. Uncertainty remains in old
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the price pullback in diesel futures. The most recent
peak in futures occurred in mid-June at $4.64/gallon. Currently, the August contract
trades about $1/gallon below the June 17 highs. Like many commodities, diesel has
retreated well into oversold territory. That may now be generating some technical
buying. Also, from a fundamental perspective, U.S. distillate fuel inventories are
over 27 million barrels below last year and over 33 million barrels below the 5-year
average. The $3.35 to $3.40 area is near term price support for diesel futures.
Watch for a breakout above resistance at $3.70 to $3.75.
Fig. 3. NYMEX Diesel Futures, Nearby Contract, Daily Chart.
The DD50 Rice Management Program is live and ready for fields to be enrolled for the
2022 season. All log-in and producer information has been retained from the 2021
season, so if you used the program last year you can log in just as you did last year.
Log in and enroll fields on the DD50 website.
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