UACES Facebook Arkansas Rice Update 8-6-21
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Arkansas Rice Update 8-6-21

by Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist - August 6, 2021

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Arkansas Rice Update 2021-20

August 3, 2021

Jarrod Hardke, Tommy Butts, Tom Barber, and Scott Stiles

“Hey I’m just an old chunk of coal, but I’m gonna be a diamond some day.”

Don't Rock the Boat


Increasingly Positive

Jarrod Hardke

The majority of the crop has now moved into heading with the earliest fields already being drained.  The cool spell around Memorial Day seems to have set overall maturity back by several days, but harvest is finally coming into view.

Rice stink bugs continue to reach treatment levels in scattered fields, but generally many fields have low levels below the need to treat.  Likewise, fall armyworm is still around but for now most of the battle seems past us.  Keep scouting for both!

Surprisingly, disease reports have been very mild.  Even sheath blight, while active in the lower canopy, has not often moved up the plant to threatening levels.  We’re always hoping to outrun sheath blight and it seems like we’re doing more of that this year, but we still need to keep a close eye on later fields in case the disease does start to pick up and progress more as conditions change.

Certainly, hopes at this stage are for a very good rice crop wit the majority of fields appearing to have very good potential.  The upcoming week of expected high temperatures, both daytime highs and overnight lows, is concerning.  Should we experience more than a few consecutive nights with lows around 75 or above, quality and even yield could be impacted depending on where fields are in maturity.

Fig. 1.  NOAA 7-day Precipitation Forecast.

NOAA 7 day precipitation forecast

Fig. 2.  NOAA 6-10 day Temperature Outlook.

NOAA 6-10 d Temp Outlook


2021 Virtual Rice Field Day

While the in-person event was cancelled, there is some good news.  On August 20, the 2021 Rice Field Day will be available virtually at this site:  Videos will be available on-demand covering all topics originally planned for the live, in-person event.  There will also be CEU credits available.


Time to Drain Some Rice?

Jarrod Hardke

Draining season is finally upon us with the first fields releasing water over the past week.  As a general rule, we recommend draining fields 25 or 30 days after 50% heading for long-grain and medium-grain cultivars, respectively.  However, environmental conditions will affect grain maturity so adjustments to those approximate timings may be needed.  The DD50 Rice Management Program has those dates built into the program, but this year due to some unseasonable cool snaps, you may see the need to wait several more days to drain past the date on the DD50 report.

Beyond just using days after 50% heading to guide draining efforts, it’s important to look at the relative maturity of the crop from a visual standpoint.  Fig. 3 shows a general guide for determining relative grain maturity for drain decisions:

  • Left, nearly all kernels are straw colored (field is safe to drain regardless of soil type).
  • Center, nearly 2/3 of kernels are straw colored and it is safe to drain on a silt loam soil.
  • Right, nearly 1/3 of kernels are straw colored and may be safe to drain on a clay soil.

When draining rice, assume it’s never going to rain after draining.  If the rice couldn’t safely make it to full maturity under those conditions, then hold the flood on the field.  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. 3.  Rice panicles at different maturity levels described by kernel percent straw color:  (L) 100%, (C) 67%, and (R) 33%.

Rice Drain Timing


Application Cut-Off Timings for Common Herbicides

Tommy Butts and Tom Barber

The table below provides the application cut-off timing for common herbicides used in rice in Arkansas determined from herbicide labels in 2021 (see MP566 for publication with all crops).  Trade names of herbicides are primarily used throughout.  Trade names and labels are subject to change; always read and follow the latest label instructions.  PHI is the abbreviation for pre-harvest interval.  The timings presented in the table do not represent University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture recommendations; they are simply the application cut-off timings per the herbicide label.  Remember, herbicides are always more effective when applied timely and earlier in the season on small, actively growing weeds.  Please check the MP44 Recommended Chemicals for Weed and Brush Control for the latest research-supported recommendations.

Table 1.  Application Cut-Off Timings for Common Herbicides in Rice.

Rice Herbicide Cut-Off Timing


Rice Market Update

Scott Stiles

Mostly lower trade this week as September rice futures lost ground Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, giving up a combined 48 ½ cents in three days of trading.  Corn and soybeans offered no spillover help as the milder weather and scattered rains in key states pressured those markets.  It was also a week of positioning ahead of the upcoming August 12 USDA supply/demand and Crop Production reports.

Rice futures found some support Thursday, closing 9 cents higher at $13.28 ½.  The weekly Export Sales report confirmed more of last week’s announced sales to Iraq of 120,000 mt.  New crop long-grain milled sales are off to a good start at 145,979 mt v. 1,390 mt last year.

New crop long-grain rough rice sales now total 50,300 mt with a sale of 33,800 mt to Mexico added last week.  Total long-grain sales (rough, milled and brown) for the 2021/22 marketing year are now 121,433 mt ahead of last year.  Nearly all of the increase can be attributed to the recent sales to Iraq.

Turning to old crop (20/21), there were no net sales of long-grain rough or milled rice reported last week.  With just two days of data left to report in the 2020/21 marketing year, total long-grain shipments are 2% ahead of last year.  This could indicate a slight adjustment higher is ahead in USDA’s old crop export estimate.

September rice futures now trade very near the 100-day moving average at $13.32 and also in the middle of this summer’s trading range between $14.21 and $12.50.  The contract also seems to be consolidating in a wedge pattern, which it is unlikely to break out of before next week’s August 12 WASDE.  This “wedge” provides trendline support near $13.10 and trendline resistance around the $13.78 to $13.80 area.

Rough Rice Sep '21 (ZRU21)

Sept 2021 Rough Rice Futures

To see an upside breakout from the wedge, the market needs some confirmation that current acreage estimates are too high.  Some insight on that may begin to show up next week in FSA’s certified acreage reporting.  Also, it’s no mystery that crop development is delayed in the long-grain states.  In Monday’s Crop Progress, Arkansas’ was at 49% heading—15 points behind the 5-year average of 64 percent.  Also, Louisiana was at 13% harvested and Texas at 7% against their respective 5-year averages of 25% and 14% harvested.

Next week there’s likely to be more discussion on tropical weather.  The NOAA Hurricane Center issued a statement this week expecting the tropics to be more active than previously thought, with 15 to 21 named storms and 7 to 10 hurricanes, of which 3 to 5 are supposed to be major ones.  There’s plenty to keep the rice market nervous until the 2021 harvest winds to a close.


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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