KANSAS CITY — The cool, wet spring that has frustrated corn producers eager to get their new crop in the ground also has stirred concerns about crop quality and planting delays among rice farmers in the southern tier of the United States.
Oryza, a source of daily information on world rice markets, said May 6 that U.S. rice producers were grappling with planting delays because of excessively wet weather. The situation was sufficiently dire that analysts were becoming increasingly concerned that the quality and yield of the new crop may be compromised.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its latest Crop Progress report that 55% of the new rice crop was planted as of May 5, down from 77% planted at the same time a year ago and down from 66% as the 2008-2012 average. In Texas and Louisiana, the rice crop was almost completely planted at 97% and 92%, respectively.
Top-producer Arkansas was significantly behind in planting because of recent heavy rains, the state’s most recent Crop Progress and Condition report said. Topsoil moisture was 40% in surplus while subsoil moisture was 29% in surplus. A total of 48% of the rice crop was planted as of May 5, down dramatically from last year’s 96% at the same time and 78% for the five-year average. The crop was rated 36% good to excellent and 11% poor to very poor, the state’s report said.
Mississippi was the rice-producing state that was most behind at only 14% planted, down dramatically from the same time a year ago (98%) and for the five-year average (80%).
The Mississippi Delta, where most of the state’s rice crop is cultivated, has been plagued by excessive rains and unseasonably cool temperature that have limited available days for field work.