Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
Subscribe to Post Updates from Arkansas Row Crops
Sign Up for Newsletter Updates
Subscribe to SMS Updates from Arkansas Row Crops
Listen to Our Latest Crops Podcast
Delta Farm Press
by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - August 5, 2022
“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never
A lot of rain dancing was going on leading up to last weekend’s long-awaited statewide
rain event. Some got a little more than they bargained for, and some got less than
was needed to make a major impact, but the majority of the rice growing areas received
2-5 inches of rain from Thursday through Sunday.
The extended forecast is a real beauty. More rain chances with highs in the upper
80s and lows around 70 with additional rain chances. Often the first two weeks of
August are some of the most brutal, but since we started our extreme heat this year
roughly three weeks early, it seems as though are general decline from those extremes
may start early as well. It was only a couple years ago that we made it through a
mild summer before seeing a late summer with 90s kicking up in September into October.
Ultimately, we never know exactly what we’re going to get. The milder conditions
with increased rainfall / humidity could increase disease pressure on later rice so
keep an eye out for those developments.
Also, next week on Aug. 12 – we get to see the first of the USDA-FSA acreage numbers.
This is the first report of actual planted acres for the year and gives a more accurate
picture of where acres are as opposed to earlier survey data. FSA acreage data is
updated monthly until finalized in January. Often, so long as planting progress isn’t
extremely delayed, there is no major change in acres reported in August compared to
those in January – but the only way they can change is to climb, so next Friday we’ll
know a minimum amount of acres we have.
Let us know if we can help.
Fig. 1. NOAA 7-day precipitation forecast.
Some of the earliest planted rice fields in the state have already been drained with
the first fields hopefully to be harvested sometime next week. Given the demanding
effort required to keep up with irrigation through this season’s drought, draining
can’t come fast enough.
The weather for the upcoming week looks mild, but the longer-term outlook calls for
higher than normal temps with lower than normal precipitation, meaning we need to
drain with care. In milder, wetter conditions we can a little early with no penalty
as soil moisture remains high. In years with warmer weather an no rainfall, early
draining can lead to early plant death and reductions in yield and milling.
As a general rule, we recommend draining fields 25 days after 50% heading for long-grains
and 30 days after heading for medium-grains. The DD50 Rice Management Program builds
this number of days into it’s drain timing recommendation. However, as temperature,
rainfall, and humidity can impact how quickly kernels actually mature, it’s important
to do more than just count days and drain.
It’s preferred to look a the number of recommended days as a guide, but then to look
at the relative maturity of the crop from a visual standpoint. Fig. 2 shows a general guide for determining relative grain maturity for drain decisions:
Left, nearly all kernels are straw-colored – safe to drain regardless of soil type.
Center, 2/3 of kernels are straw-colored – safe to drain on a silt loam soil.
Right, 1/3 of kernels are straw-colored – safe to drain on a clay soil.
Assume it’s never going to rain again when you’re draining your fields. If the rice
couldn’t make it safely to maturity under those conditions, hit the pause button and
wait. Stay on the side of caution to protect yield and quality. Use a combination
of the days after 50% heading guideline (25-30 days) and the relative grain maturity
in the field to make your drain decisions.
Fig. 2. Rice panicles at different maturity levels described by kernel percent straw
color: (L) 100%, (C) 67%, and (R) 33%.
There have been several questions the past few weeks regarding the nutrient content
of crop residues commonly grown in the Arkansas delta and what the overall value would
be. With the persistent drought threatening to lower the productivity of pasture
and hayland even further, more and more livestock producers are interested in crop
residues as a potential hay/roughage source. The following information has been updated
from an article posted in the fall of 2012. Just like Dr. Rick Norman said “If you
stay in this game long enough everything cycles back around- even the fashion…”
Anyone who has grown rice or corn knows that there is plenty of straw and stubble
out there following harvest and with the recent droughts there have been a lot of
people looking to purchase hay/straw/stubble- anything they can get their hands on.
The statement that needs to be made in this situation is “SELLER BEWARE!” The thought of making extra money from selling straw and stubble that is a hassle
to roll down and work up is a very hard bargain to pass up, but few producers truly
understand the value of the straw that they are sending to the far corners of the
earth. When I sat down to write this article I thought - “If I was a producer, what
would I want to know about baling straw and stubble?” I would like to know what my
straw and stubble is worth - what is the true value of all that mess? The best way
to approach this is to consider the amount and value of the nutrients that are contained
in the straw and stubble. The amount of plant essential nutrients contained in rice
straw is easy to put a price tag on especially with current potash prices near $880/ton.
How Much Are Straw and Stubble Worth in Terms of the Nutrients it Contains?
With the current drought there are many people looking for any type of forage or hay
possible and the thought of not having to deal will all of the stubble and straw following
harvest is very appealing. The question of the day is - “how much is my straw and
stubble worth in terms of the nutrients it contains?” My first approach was to tell
producers what the value of the straw is on a per acre basis, but that approach is
way too simplistic. A well-maintained rice or corn crop can produce between 6,000
and 12,000 lbs of “straw or stubble”, but that doesn’t mean all of that biomass can
be baled and removed following harvest. Cutting height, moisture, and whether or
not you mow following harvest all play a role in determining the amount of stubble
that can be baled. Therefore, the best approach to use when selling straw or stubble
should be to estimate the tonnage being removed and calculate the relative value of
the straw. Most rice straw contains roughly 1% K and 0.125% P, which may not seem
like a lot, but when you consider the amount of stubble that can be cut, baled and
hauled off it starts to add up real fast. On a per acre basis, it is safe to say
that there will be 10,000 lb rice straw following harvest.
At the average values listed above that relates to roughly 120 lbs of K2O per acre and 25 lbs of P2O5 contained in 10,000 lbs of rice straw.
At current market prices for potash and phosphorous that relates to about $115 of
nutrients (potash and phosphorous) per acre that could be removed in 10,000 lbs of
The next issue that makes this discussion complicated is the number of bales per acre,
which is often how the producer is being paid. If you remove the straw immediately
following harvest you will make a lot more bales per acre due to the increased weight
of the straw than if you waited and let the straw dry before baling. What a producer
needs to focus on is the tonnage of straw or stubble being removed and the relative
cost of nutrients on a tonnage basis to make sure that you are getting paid for the
nutrients that are being removed not the number of bales. Few people consider the
value of the straw that is being rolled/tilled back into the soil following harvest,
but when a producer sells straw those are nutrients leaving the farm that will have
to be replaced, most likely through the purchase of fertilizer. When straw is rolled
and tilled back into the soil following harvest the majority of the nutrients contained
in the straw will return to the soil and help to maintain soil nutrient levels. In
fact, potash can actually leach out of the straw and back into the soil while the
straw is laying on the soil surface. In order to keep things fair and prevent producers
from losing money we have established the following guidelines to help aid producers
when considering whether or not to sell straw and stubble following harvest.
Estimating Value of Straw and Stubble
Estimate the quantity of straw and stubble removed on a tonnage basis.In order to prevent ‘giving away” straw and stubble try and calculate the tonnage
of stubble that is actually being removed not the number of bales per acre. By asking
the buyer the weight of bales or calculating this yourself you can get in the ball
park. The average rice and corn crops will produce between 6,000 and 12,000 lbs of
stubble per acre. Peanuts and soybean produce somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000
to 4,000 lbs of stubble.
Determine the quantity of nutrients that are being removed.The following table provides some guidelines for phosphorous and potassium concentrations
in common crop stubbles.
Determine the “value” of nutrients that are being removed.Once you have determined the quantity of nutrients that are being removed you can
begin to place a value on those nutrients using the following data which estimates
that current cost of potash and phosphorous. At current market prices, potash is roughly
$0.73 per lb K2O ($880/ton potash) and phosphorous is $0.90 per lb P2O5 ($828/ton TSP). These values are for two nutrients and does not take into account
the many other plant essential nutrients that are contained in crop stubble and are
being removed with the P and K. Although nutrient value is important, there are many
other intangibles that cannot be easily measured such as the value of the organic
matter that is returned to the soil in crop stubble or the potential habitat for feathered
friends that we love so much in the Mid-South.
(2,000 lbs of rice straw) x (24 lbs K2O per ton) x ($0.73 per lb K2O) = $17.52 per ton
(2,000 lbs of rice straw) x (6 lbs P2O5 per ton) x ($0.90 per lb P2O5) = $5.40 per ton
$17.52 (value of K2O per ton of rice straw)
+ $5.40 (value of P2O5 per ton of rice straw)
$22.92 per ton of rice straw
Forage Analysis and Additional Considerations
If you are really interested in knowing the exact value of nutrients contained in
your crop stubble there are several diagnostic labs that can analyze crop stubble.
Much like forage analysis, these reports can provide you an exact nutrient concentration
for each field etc and take out the “guesswork”. When sampling crop stubble take
15-20 handfuls of straw randomly per field and chop or cut with scissors to roughly
6-inch sections and mix. After chopping and mixing take a 1-gallon sealable plastic
bag and fill with a subsample. The University of Arkansas Agricultural Diagnostic
Lab (1366 W. Altheimer Dr., Fayetteville, AR 72704) can perform the analysis for $18.00
per sample. Taking straw samples for analysis will give you a precise quantity of
nutrients and ensure that you are not “giving” nutrients away. When selling straw
or stubble the best approach should be to consider the nutrient value that is going
to be removed on a tonnage basis and make sure you are being compensated for the nutrients
being removed. Producers should let the buyers know up front that they would like
to be compensated at least for the nutrients they are selling and that way the producer
can at least recover the cost of the nutrients that they are selling and lowers the
risk of getting left holding the bill. Another item to consider is the “unknown”.
The prices quoted above are current market prices for potash and phosphorous, but
who’s to say that prices won’t go up-especially with the uncertainty in the global
markets right now.
Final Thoughts on Baling Straw and Stubble
Baling rice straw and selling it may seem like a very lucrative deal, because it makes
the ground easier to work up for soybeans and you may get a little money in your pocket.
The analysis that we present here has attempted to put a price tag on the value of
stubble based on the amount of potash and phosphorous that is contained in the straw
and is being removed from the farm. Although the value of potash and phosphorous
are very significant there are many other factors that should be considered, which
are much harder to put a price tag on. Rice stubble may seem like a hassle to mess
with, but the organic matter that rice straw returns to the soil helps to improve
soil structure, increases water holding capacity and returns a number of plant essential
nutrients to the soil. Many times decisions are made based on immediate benefit/cost,
with little foresight as to the long-term impacts. When selling rice straw remember
that there is a significant value to that straw, and although it may seem beneficial
in the short-term it may actually end up costing you money in the long-term when your
soil test reports start calling for 120 lbs of potash rather than 60.
Chicago rice futures made strong gains this week. As of Thursday’s close, the September
‘22 contract traded at $17.32 ½. This is the highest trade for the contract since
Early week trading found support on the 100-day moving average (green line) and resistance
at the 50-day moving average (red line). However, trading turned sharply higher Wednesday,
closing 28 cents better and well above the key 50-day moving average. The market
gained support mid-week from a Bloomberg story on India rice production. The comments highlighted a shortage of rain in key production areas that has resulted
in a 13% year-on-year decline in rice acreage.
Fig. 3. CME Rough Rice Futures, September 2022, daily chart.
Other fundamental news was sparse this week. In Monday’s Crop Progress, NASS reported Louisiana’s rice harvest at 11% complete, compared to 12% last year
and the five-year average of 21 percent. Texas harvest was 12% complete, compared
to 6% last year and 10% on average.
With the 21/22 marketing year at a close, there was little in the way of old crop
reporting in Thursday’s Export Sales. A small amount of new crop long-grain rough rice business was done last week, with
300 tons sold to Guatemala and 796 tons sold to Mexico. There were no new crop long-grain
milled rice sales last week.
USDA’s next World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report with be
released next Friday, August 12 at 11:00 a.m. central.
Crop Inputs: Fuel and Fertilizer
NYMEX diesel futures have closed lower in 5 of the last 6 trading sessions. The retreat
below $3.40 this week is surprising as distillate fuel inventories are historically
low. Watch for a retest of the April lows near $3.20.
Fig. 4. NYMEX ULSD NY Harbor, nearby daily chart.
More European ammonia capacity has gone offline due to high gas prices. Europe’s
fertilizer industry closed or curtailed output at 10 plants in July as natural gas
costs have increased. Russia is restricting gas supplies to Europe in response to
Western sanctions. Expect the cost and availability of natural gas in Europe to be
the most significant driver of nitrogen prices over the next four to six months.
Global potash inventory appears to be comfortable, except in China. Industry observers
indicate China’s potash inventories are near the strategic-reserve level, which could
be a signal for upcoming purchases in the third quarter of 2022.
In phosphates, China export restrictions appear likely to be extended through the
remainder of this year and into 2023.
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 email@example.com.
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