Arkansas Rice: Planting Finally Makes Good Progress, Emergence Is Another Story

    Crop Progress

    “Get busy flushing, or get busy dying…” So maybe that’s not the exact line from Shawshank Redemption, but it would have been if they were growing rice right now. Arkansas weather: wait a minute and it will change.  A week ago we were still lamenting too much rainfall, now we are sorely in need of a rain. Go figure.

    As of last Monday the state was listed as 60% planted (Fig. 1). By now (5-4) we should be in the range of 85% planted. Depending on the area of course that number will really range from near 100% to 60%. With very little to no rain in the extended forecast rice planting should mostly wrap up in the next week or so.

    There will still be some bottom ground acres and fields that need leveling work prior to planting that will be outliers, but we should be near completion in the next week to 10 days.

    Fig. 1. AR Rice Planting Progress 2007-2018. Click Image to Enlarge

    Crop Emergence versus Planting

    We may be finally staying with or getting out in front of 2007 and 2011 in terms of planting progress, but our emergence progress tells a different story (Fig. 2).  The cool weather has clearly been holding our emergence back.

    We are beginning to pick up a solid number of heat units finally so if we can get the crop on out of the ground we should be off and running.  Long range forecasts through the next few months call for slightly above average temperatures, so maybe we won’t end up as far behind as we seem to be starting out.

    Fortunately the later window of July and August looks like moderate temperatures to keep us out of heat issues when we need them least.

    Fig. 2. AR Rice Emergence Progress 2007-18. Click Image to Enlarge

    On The Next Episode of Crust Busters…

    I find myself staring at the radar at the moment.  Theirs is a massive system currently over southwest Arkansas moving east-northeast.  It looks like it’s set to drop a much needed rain on a good portion of the state.  At this point, most could really use 0.5-1.0 inch of rain.

    Fig. 3 shows rice plants struggling, and failing, to emerge through a severe crust in a rice field earlier this week.  The only answer was to flush and hope for the best but not to wait on the rain.  Many other fields weren’t in this severe of a situation earlier in the week but are now.

    Flushing is not a fun recommendation to make, though it’s even harder to be the one told it’s necessary to do so.  For many I can say that if you don’t get rain today it’s time to fire up the power units and getting flush going because there is a major lack of rain in the extended forecast.

    Fig. 3. March planted rice starting to finally green up and show a good stand. Click Image to Enlarge

    Fig. 4. Blackbird depredation causing severe stand loss in a field. Click Image to Enlarge

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