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By Ryan McGeeneyU of A System Division of AgricultureOct. 01, 2019
(502 words)(Download this story in MS Word format here.)
LITTLE ROCK — The “store and hold” strategy employed by many rice growers in 2018
has finally paid off, as rice prices rallied in 2019, hinging largely on record prevented
planting acreage and general uncertainty about the year’s crop size.
According to a rice stocks report released in late August by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, rough rice stocks for five
of the country’s six largest rice-producing states, including Arkansas, California,
Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri, all rose over 2018 levels. Only Texas fell in
rough rice stocks from 2018 to 2019. Nationwide, August stocks rose from about 23.9
million hundredweight to about 38.6 million hundredweight year over year.
The report compared August stock positions, year to year. Arkansas increased from
about 12.4 million hundredweight to about 22.9 hundredweight. Scott Stiles, extension
economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the
change reflects both the size of the crops, year-to-year, as well as market prices.
“We saw a rebound in 2018,” Stiles said, citing a rise in Arkansas rice production
from 82.6 million hundredweight to 107.3 million hundredweight.
“Following a sharp cut in 2017 acres, rice prices started to rally,” he said. By the
time September 2017 contracts expired, rice futures had traded up to $12.90/hundredweight.
“From late 2017, futures prices were fairly stable into April and May, 2018.”
Prices helped spur a recovery in 2018 rice acreage, and a rebound in rice production
as well, with the second highest average yield on record — 167 bushels per acre —
and fifth-largest production total on record.
Naturally, the rice markets have been affected by external factors, including the
weather and global economy, as well. The same intermittent rains that delayed planting
— and eventually, harvest — in every other major Arkansas commodity had its way with
rice as well. Only this week has harvested rice acreage in the state, at 72 percent,
according to a Sept. 30 report from NASS, began to approach the five-year average.
Suppressed soybean prices and the ongoing trade dispute with China affected rice marketing
decisions as well, Stiles said.
Overall, rice acreage in Arkansas has seen a reduction over the past decade, however.
Jarrod Hardke, rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, said the state average
fell from nearly 1.5 million acres in 2000-2009 to about 1.35 million acres during
the past decade.
“The declining average acreage has somewhat stabilized our prices, but our production,
overall, within any given two-year period, is fairly consistent,” Hardke said. “The
yield averages have been mostly greater than 160 bushels per acre the past several
years — that’s been largely consistent, and so have our prices.”
“Rice futures have traded from a low of $9.80 in February to a high of $12.52 in July
this year,” Stiles said. “Keeping some of the 2018 crop in storage has been a sound
marketing strategy this year.”
To learn about row crop agriculture in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow the Cooperative Extension Service on Twitter at @uaex_edu.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Ryan MCGeeneyCommunication ServicesU of A System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com