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Mississippi Rice Crop Update – August 23, 2013

The 2013 rice harvest may be one of the most anticipated harvests in recent years due to the long season.  Let’s hope that growers are rewarded for their anticipation.  As a recap, to my knowledge, the earliest rice in the state was planted on March 14.  This however is not the rice that is being harvested.  In commercial fields as well as research plots, the first rice planted is running behind rice that was planted three to four weeks later.  The loss in seedling vigor after taking 30+ days to emerge coupled with continued cool and wet conditions the first month of growth really slowed the earliest planted rice.  I am anxious to see how it performs compared to the April planted rice.

Most of the rice that is being cut right now is hybrid and is running around 18% moisture which is perfect for hybrid.  Some pure-line rice (Rex and Hidalgo) is also being harvested.  The Rex was running 21%.  Yield monitor yields are exceptional.  Hopefully, next week we will have a better idea of yield potential for our earlier planted rice.

With favorable weather forecasted, it will be tempting for many growers to apply sodium chlorate to bring the moisture down more rapidly.  Sodium chlorate is a good tool, but my advice is to not get carried away with it.  The number of combines and the number of acres one can harvest in a two to three day period should be the determining factor in how many acres to treat at one time.  Also, rice should be 21% before treating with sodium chlorate.  Yield loss, increased chalk, and milling can be compromised if rice is too green when sodium chlorate is applied.

I looked at the preliminary FSA certified acres on Monday.  As I expected, the Mississippi acres were well below the USDA planted acreage report of 160,000.  As of Monday, Mississippi had certified 114,800 acres, which falls right in the middle of my projection of 110 to 120K acres.  Not only is Mississippi very low on rice acreage, but reductions in other states suggest that USA long-grain acres are around 1.6 million acres.  There have been years where Arkansas alone has planted nearly that many long-grain acres.  An additional note to the 1.6 is that several thousand acres, especially in Texas, are devoted to seed increase and thus will not be available for domestic consumption or export.  Hopefully this will bode well for rice prices now and through the 2014 marketing year.

Rice planted in the early part of June still has a week to 10 days until heading based on what I am seeing.  There is a considerable amount of rice that falls into that window.  September temperatures will determine the rate of progress for this portion of the state’s crop.  Hopefully the temps will be enough to move this rice along to a mid to late October harvest.  A few cool spells could easily push this crop into November.

Best wishes to all growers or company customers for a successful and bountiful crop.  I will begin posting yield information in the next update.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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