With the window closing for much of Arkansas’ early planted rice in 2019, an acreage shift is an open question.
Jarrod Hardke, Extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, says rain has affected the outlook: “Until a week ago, I’d maintained my expectation that we’ll remain close to flat, at 1.4 million acres of rice,” Hardke said. “But we’ve seen what’s happened with this spring. After a week of dry weather, we saw rains again over the weekend, with more pointed our way.”
“1.4 million acres is still the target, but if this pattern doesn’t give, we’ll possibly head down toward 1.2 million acres,” he adds. “At this point, we’re staring at a downward trend, but we have a while to go yet before we start losing rice acres.”
An April 4 NASS report notes significantly higher production in 2018 Arkansas rice production than in any of the three prior years. (Spring flooding in 2017 hammered growers for roughly $175 million in damaged acreage and lost production.)
The NASS report cites 2018 improvements in yield, production and harvested acres in Arkansas. In particular, Phillips County saw rice production more than double from 1 million hundredweight to about 2.13 million hundredweight, and similar proportions were reported in Lawrence, St. Francis, Ashley and Desha counties.
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