By Bruce Schultz, LSU AgCenter
LAKE ARTHUR, La. – Rice prices have fallen because of a big jump in Arkansas rice acreage, an LSU AgCenter agricultural economist said at the Vermilion Parish Rice Field Day on July 8.
Mike Salassi said Arkansas acreage was approximately 1 million acres last year, but it increased by 500,000 acres this year.
The long-term price forecast puts the long-grain price at $20 to $22 a barrel ($12.80 to $13.80 per hundredweight), and $29 to $31 a barrel ($18.20 to $19.20 per hundredweight) for medium-grain.
Nationwide, the total rice acreage averages around 2.8 million to 3 million, Salassi said, but that total could exceed 3 million this year. But, he said, there has been a decline in medium-grain and short-grain acreage, as well as a reduction in carryover stocks from last year.
Louisiana’s total is estimated at 455,000 acres, compared to 420,000 for last year.
Salassi advised farmers to begin preparing for enrollment in the new farm bill after Jan. 1. He said several important decisions will have to be made in the next few weeks, and the LSU AgCenter will have material to assist farmers with the decision-making process.
Also at the field day, LSU AgCenter rice breeder Steve Linscombe said few acres of Jazzman rice are being grown in Louisiana this year because of sharp competition from other countries in the overseas market. Most Jazzman rice grown in Louisiana was destined for export markets, he said.
Linscombe said a new Clearfield Jazzman developed by the LSU AgCenter is being grown for seed this year, and it will be released for commercial production next year.
Linscombe said the new checkoff program approved by the Louisiana Legislature and signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal is a positive step for rice research. Without the checkoff program, he said, work at the Rice Research Station would be reduced. "I promise you if we didn’t have the checkoff, we wouldn’t be doing any work off-station," he said.
Linscombe said off-station trials at the Lounsberry Farm, where the field day was held, has been conducted for 30 years.
He said a new cereal chemistry lab at the Rice Research Station will mean experimental lines of rice will no longer have to be sent to out of state labs for cereal chemistry analyses. That new capability was funded by the Louisiana Rice Research Board’s allocation of checkoff funds.
Linscombe also said the bird repellent AV-1011 worked well again this year, but federal approval for the material will be requested in 2015, and farmer support will be needed. "It’s going to be a bigger struggle next year," he said.
Andrew Granger, LSU AgCenter county agent in Vermilion Parish, said he has received fewer complaints about herbicide drift this year.
Don Groth, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, said diseases are starting to show up in rice fields. The extent of sheath blight varies widely, he said, but the presence of blast and Cercospora is light so far.
Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, said he is testing the new herbicide to be used with the Provisia line of rice to determine if it can be mixed with other herbicides. He said a test at the LSU AgCenter Northeast Research Station showed that the Provisia herbicide was less effective when it was tank-mixed with RiceBeaux herbicide.
Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter agronomist, reminded farmers that they need to remember each rice crop removes potassium and phosphorus from the soil, and it needs to be replenished.
Harrell said he continues work to improve fertilizer recommendations.
Ron Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist, said the heavy rains this year interfered with the formation of nitrogen-fixing nodules on soybean plant roots.
"We have a lot of soybeans starting to yellow, but they are bouncing back from that," he said.
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