Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 12 Rice Crop Condition and Progress

As of July 12, the USDA reports that 16% of the crop is heading. This compares to 8% last week, 5% this time last year, and a 5-year average of 3% for this week. Arkansas rice does not normally begin heading in June but we saw that happen in 2010. The crop was seeded earlier and we had 8 straight weeks with temperatures above normal. Thus, the crop has developed much sooner than normal. As of July 12, 21% of the crop is reported to be in excellent condition, 43% good, 30% fair, and 5% poor and 1% very poor.

Average temperatures for the week ending July 12 were near normal for the first time in several weeks. The temperatures ranged from 2 degrees below normal at Hot Springs to 3 degrees above normal at Keiser. The temperatures ranged from a low of 58 degrees at Batesville to a high of 97 degrees at Camden. Rainfall for the week ending July 12 ranged from a trace at Stuttgart and DeQueen to a high of 6.1 inches at Mountain Home. Overall, soil moisture supplies were 14% very short, 36% short, 50% adequate, and 2% surplus. These data are collected as of Friday and do not reflect the rainfall that has occurred in much of Eastern Arkansas. The extended heat and dry weather have caused a significant strain on the irrigation capacity across the Delta. Rice fields have spots (some large, some small) that are burning because the well is unable to keep up with the dry weather. Officially, most of Eastern and Southern Arkansas is “abnormally dry”, which is effectively a mild drought. These data are collected as of Friday and do not reflect the rainfall that has occurred in much of Eastern Arkansas.

The USDA acreage report indicates that we have planted record rice acreage in Arkansas in 2010. The planted acreage is estimated at 1.681 million acres, up 13% from last year’s planted acreage of 1.486 million. The 1.681 million acres is also 38,000 over the previous record acres of 1.643 million planted in 2005. If the forecasts for good yields are realized, record production is likely. However, the heat and drought coupled with the amount of rice planted on marginal soils are not likely to allow us to harvest a record yield. 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 (17%), and Jupiter (12%). These numbers are preliminary and may change as we get more information available.

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