UACES Facebook Arkansas Rice Update 8-5-22
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Arkansas Rice Update 8-5-22

by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - August 5, 2022

Arkansas Rice Update 2022-19

August 5, 2022

Jarrod Hardke, Scott Stiles, and Trent Roberts

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end…”



Happiness is a July Rain

Jarrod Hardke

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.

NOAA 7 day precipitation forecast


Drain Timing Considerations

Jarrod Hardke

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%.

Rice drain timing by kernel maturity


Nutrient Contents in Common Crop Residue

Trent Roberts

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 rice straw.

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

  1. 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.

  2. Determine the quantity of nutrients that are being removed.
    The following table provides some guidelines for phosphorous and potassium concentrations in common crop stubbles.


Crop Stubble

lbs K2O per ton stubble

lbs P2O5 per ton of stubble







Grain Sorghum










  1. 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.

Example Calculation

(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.


Rice Market Update

Scott Stiles

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 June 7th.

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.

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.

NYMEX Diesel, nearby daily chart

Fertilizer Markets:

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.


DD50 Rice Management Program is Live

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.  


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.




Phone Number


Jarrod Hardke

Rice Extension Agronomist


Tom Barber

Extension Weed Scientist


Nick Bateman

Extension Entomologist


Tommy Butts

Extension Weed Scientist


Ralph Mazzanti

Rice Verification Coordinator


Trent Roberts

Extension Soil Fertility


Scott Stiles

Extension Economist


Yeshi Wamishe

Extension Rice Pathologist