UACES Facebook 2021 corn, rice planting progress stronger than 2020, but still behind average
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April 16, 2021

2021 corn, rice planting progress stronger than 2020, but still behind average

By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture 

Fast Facts:

  • Corn, rice planting progress double 2020 numbers, but still half of 5-year average
  • Periodic rain makes progress stop-and-go

(353 words)

LITTLE ROCK — Corn and rice growers were off to a strong start, planting 24 percent and 13 percent of total planned acreage, respectively. While the numbers were still well behind the five-year average for those crops at this point in the season, they still made for a marked improvement over 2020, nearly doubling year-to-year progress for mid-April.

The progress data was published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service on April 12.

Jason Kelley, extension wheat and feed grains agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said periodic rains are the No. 1 obstacle to steady planting in Arkansas at this point.

“Some areas of the state have made really good planting progress while others seem to always get the rain that keeps fields too wet to plant,” Kelley said. “Rain Wednesday looked to be light, so I’m hopeful that we can get back in the field within a couple of days and make better progress on corn planting.”

Total planned Arkansas corn acreage jumped about 13 percent this year, from about 620,000 acres to about 700,000 acres, according to the USDA.

Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, said much of the planned rice acreage throughout the state is ready for planting — even if the forecast isn’t.

“While next week looks cool and dry, we may only get a couple of days back in the field before the next rain is expected,” Hardke said. “A good amount of ground is ready to be planted when we can get to it, so any kind of wider window of consecutive working days will lead to a major jump in planting progress. For now, we continue to hope that window comes sooner rather than later.”

Planned rice acreage in Arkansas fell about 14 percent this year, from about 1.46 million acres in 2020 to about 1.25 million acres in 2021, according to the USDA.

Overall, Arkansas averaged more than five rain days over the past four weeks, about 25 percent higher than the average established between 1981-2010, according to NASS.

To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us 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.

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Media contact:
Ryan McGeeney
Communications Services
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2120