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Sept. 1, 2023
By Sarah CatoU of A System Division of Agriculture
(491 words)(Newsrooms: Download photo of rice harvest)
LITTLE ROCK – Despite early challenges and mid-season hiccups, Arkansas rice harvest
is ahead of schedule with a promising outlook that may see yield approach 2021’s record.
Combines were rolling this week in Arkansas rice, with more fields being harvested
earlier than usual. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural
Statistics Service, 11 percent of Arkansas rice had been harvested by Aug. 28. That’s
up from the 4 percent harvested this time last year and the five-year average of 5
percent. Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System
Division of Agriculture, credits good conditions in early April.
“We had a dry, warm start to April of this year,” Hardke said. “We’re coming off of
a spring where we finally made substantial early planting progress for the first time
in several years. A lot of rice and many other crops were planted fairly early this
A head start is good, but good mid-season conditions are even better. Arkansas was
lucky to see both this year. But that’s not to say this season went off without a
“The majority of the summer, from a production standpoint, we had really good conditions,”
Hardke said. “For most of it, temperatures ranged in the mid- to low-90s – those are
the temperatures that drive progress. We got some rain in the middle of the summer
that really helped with irrigation efforts. But like with any crop, those mid-summer
rains never come without penalty and that penalty was increased disease pressure.”
In addition to increased disease pressure, early season weed control proved to be
difficult, and high temperatures stressed some rice.
“I wouldn’t say May and June went particularly smoothly — we had plenty to fight,”
Hardke said. “In late April, conditions turned cool and wet, and the rice didn’t like
coming out of that. “Consistent issues with weather conditions weren’t great for weed
control as the north wind and dry conditions were stressful on rice in May,” he said.
“But once we got to the point where we could fertilize and flood, everything took
It did indeed take off. With mostly fair conditions, Hardke said he anticipates coming
close to the record 170 bushels per acre set in 2021.
“Last year’s state average was 165 bushels per acre, and in 2021 we set a record with
170 bushels per acre,” he said. “As good as the crop looks, the expectation is that
yield would be somewhere between those last two years. I won’t be surprised if it
ends up closer to the record. Milling yields remain a question mark as high nighttime
temperatures in July may have impacted portions of the crop.”
With combines out this week, Hardke expects harvest to keep rolling ahead of schedule.
“The next NASS report will probably show 25 percent of acres harvested,” he said.
“There’s not much in the forecast that could slow us down at the moment and most are
very pleased with their early yield.”
Learn more about rice production in Arkansas at uaex.uada.edu.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division
of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu/. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture,
visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
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: Sarah Cato firstname.lastname@example.org 870-815-9035