Arkansas Rice: Wet Weekend Expected; Scouting for Blast

    Crop Progress

    Continued favorable weather conditions over the past week look to give way to a rainy 4th of July weekend.  Must of the state is expected to receive heavy to scattered showers Friday through Monday.  This will hopefully give some irrigation efforts a break and allow everyone to enjoy the holiday a little more.

    After this round of weather, sunny skies and temperatures in the 90s are set to return.  This should help to keep the majority of the crop on track for heading in our traditional window – mid-July.  Hopefully temperatures will remain out of the extremes during that time, especially at night.

    The big story of this past week was the release of USDA’s acreage report.  Full details can be found later in the report, but Arkansas acreage is predicted to be 1.391 million total acres with 240,000 of that in medium-grain.  This represents a 6% decline in total acreage with a slight increase in medium-grain acreage.

    According to DD50 enrollment, the majority of the crop is past midseason.  Also included for reference are the projected dates for 50% heading (Table 1) with the earliest fields already there before the 4th of July.

    2015-19 Table 1 50 heading

    Scouting and Field Diagnosis of Rice Blast Disease

    Leaf blast can be difficult to properly identify in the field without previous experience with the disease.  Leaf blast mostly occurs between seedling and tillering stages of the crop.  Initial symptoms start as small grayish or bluish spots (Figures 1 & 2)

    2015-19 Fig 1 Blast

    Fig. 1. Grayish or bluish early blast lesions.

    2015-19 Fig 2 Blast

    Fig. 2. Grayish or bluish early blast lesions.

    As the disease progresses darker-reddish border with whitish center show (Figure 3).  At this stage, the spots can often be confused with brown spot (Figure 4) or herbicides such as Gramoxone (paraquat) (Figure 5) damage.

    Older lesions turn into spindle shape (diamond-shape or lens-shape) with white-grey center surrounded with a red-brown margin; i.e. wide center with pointed ends (Figure 6).

    Favorable conditions allow multiple infections and lesions to join (coalesce) producing bigger lesions (Figure 7).

    2015-19 Fig 3 Blast

    Fig. 3. Darker reddish-border blast lesions with whitish centers.

    2015-19 Fig 4 Brown Spot

    Fig. 4. Brown spot lesions that are often confused with blast lesions.

    2015-19 Fig 5 Gramoxone Drift

    Fig. 5. Paraquat drift lesions that are often confused with blast lesions.

    2015-19 Fig 6 Blast

    Fig. 6. Older blast lesions with diamond or spindle shape.

    2015-19 Fig 7 Blast

    Fig. 7. Blast lesions joining to produce bigger lesions.

    Light yellowish outside with reddish inner border may be seen as in Figure 3 as lesions develop.  Severe leaf blast results in severe leaf burn and death of rice seedlings (Figure 8).

    Early leaf blast is best detected on the lower leaves (Figure 9).

    2015-19 Fig 8 Blast

    Fig. 8. Severe leaf blast resulting in leaf burn and plant death.

    2015-19 Fig 9 Blast

    Fig. 9. Early leaf blast on lower leaves.

    2015-19 Fig 10 Blast Report Map

    Fig. 10. Counties and cultivars reporting leaf blast to date (7/2/15)

    Weekly Market Summary

    Rice futures traded this week at the highest levels since early May.  Sharp higher trade in the entire grain complex and confirmation of lower rice acreage provided fuel for very strong gains Tuesday and follow-through gains on Wednesday.  The Chicago Mercantile Exchange closes at noon Thursday (7/2) and will re-open Sunday night.  September rice futures are higher Thursday morning ahead of the early close.

    CBOT Rough Rice futures settlements ($/cwt)

    2015-19 Rough Rice Futures Settlements

    Note: Commodity markets are closed Friday July 3 in observance of the July 4th holiday.

    CBOT September 2015 Rough Rice daily futures

    2015-19 CBOT Rough Rice Futures

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    In a news release Tuesday, Iraq is still considering a recent tender to purchase at least 30,000 tons of rice from the U.S., Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and India.  The tenders closed on June 28.  India was the low bidder at $431.50/ton.  The U.S. bid was $589.50.  All other bids were above $600/ton.

    The U.S. and Cuba have agreed to open embassies in each other’s capitals.  The agreement was reached on Wednesday.  Embassies could be opened on July 20 or later.

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