The weather this spring has allowed rice to be planted across most of the state at record pace. As of June 13, all of the rice has emerged. This compares to 99% last week and 95% this time last year. Our planting progress has proceeded about 2-3 weeks ahead of the 5-year average and a month ahead of last year. As of June 13, 19% of the crop is reported to be in excellent condition, 51% good, 26% fair, and 4% poor.
Average temperatures were above normal ranging from 3 degrees above normal at Conway and Hot Springs to 7 degrees above normal at several locations for the week ending June 13. The temperatures ranged from a low of 56 degrees at Calico Rock to a high of 99 degrees at Stuttgart and Keiser. This completes three straight weeks and 4 of the last five weeks with temperatures significantly above normal. In addition to early planting, the warm temperatures have allowed the crop to progress much quicker. Rainfall for the week ending June 13 ranged from none at several locations to a high of 3.23 inches at Dardanelle. Overall, soil moisture supplies were 2% very short, 28% short, 60% adequate, and 10% surplus.
While some rice is just emerging, the early rice is at early boot stage. Keep a close watch for rice blast and do the best you can to keep susceptible varieties flooded. Leaf blast has been reported in rice counties from North to South.
Very early estimates suggest that CL 151 is the most widely planted variety so far (about 23% of the acreage). The next most widely planted varieties are Rice Tec CL XL 745 (18%), Wells (16%), and Jupiter (12%). These numbers are preliminary and may change as we get more information available.