Rice Crop: Texas Crop Heading; Arkansas Recovering From Heavy Rains

    About 75% of the Texas crop is headed. There are a few fields almost ready to drain. The crop is still behind by a week or 10 days. We’re are told it’s looking fairly good at this stage.

    Stinkbugs are a problem and are now being sprayed – in some fields for the second time. The recent weather has brought on some disease pressure. There have been no new crop prices since the green contract of a few weeks ago, and that was limited to previous growers who had sold the mill and their previous amounts. The numbers that growers will need seem to be in the range of $8.00 to $9.00 per cwt over loan fob farm.

    South Louisiana is still reporting a very good looking crop in the field, with some cutting expected in the next couple of weeks. That’s about a week to 10 days behind a normal harvest schedule.

    For the most part, weather has been good, but there is some small concern about how some of the pollinating rice has been affected. We are told that all of the medium grain has been booked at $25.00 per bbl fob farm, but long grain prices are not in such a good spot at present. Some rice was booked quite a while back at $23.50 per bbl fob farm and then later some at $22.50 per bbl at the farm – we understand small quantities in both instances. Now we hear that the mills have withdrawn due to an Iraqi purchase not taking place as expected.

    Bidding should return fairly soon, and when it does, growers are looking for something close to $24.00 per bbl fob farm to cover both their costs and their risk. If buying levels are under this benchmark by much, farmers are going to have a very difficult time breaking even or making a profit. There is a good bit of confusion about the coverage offered by the new farm bill, but most agree that whatever it is – it’s not enough. This is going to be a year where the rubber will hit the road, where the absence of payments and supports for growers will be directly felt by the industry.

    Parts of the Delta/Arkansas/Missouri region have seen a good bit of rain and unseasonably cool temperatures. Mississippi has seen an improvement in the weather, but rain is predicted for the weekend.

    Photo by ©Debra L Ferguson

    Photo by ©Debra L Ferguson

    The grass and weeds that were brought on by the early rains don’t seem to be a problem at this time, and not much in the way of disease pressure is being reported. Harvest is expected to be a week or 2 late up here, too, for most of the crop. Quality is expected to be good, assuming conditions continue to improve. There are no new crop bids, or at least any bids of interest to growers at this time.

    Arkansas is still recovering from the heavy rains in some areas, with other areas continuing to get intermittent (and not necessarily) welcome showers bringing as much as 20″ or more in the past few weeks. Daily highs were also very low this week, and that has some worried about the late planted rice and their yields at harvest time. The small portion of the crop that got planted early or on time is looking good, but grass is said to be a problem in some of the late planted fields.

    There is no old crop left to speak of, and new crop bids are still low, with basis bids at 30 to 40 cents under the Sep futures for early 2015 delivery being reported. Very cool daily highs have been seen in Missouri, too, but growers don’t seem to think they will have much effect on the quality and yield at harvest. The growers do say, however, that they need more heat and sun units to get this crop moving a bit faster. Harvest will be later than usual up here. Current new crop bids are too low for consideration at $5.60 per bu delivered river.

    The Rice Advocate

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