Rusty Bergstrom, Rice Marketing Association, reports that the local rice market is non-existent. There are only a handful of lots that have not been sold. At this time, the local pricing has not increased since last week. Reports from Arkansas are worse than first reported. The consensus is that more than 150,000 acres will be lost due to the recent floods. The chance of these acres being replanted are slim for several reasons; timing, damage to the fields, and short supply of seed. There are reports that some in other states are increasing their acres slightly with the hope of prices increasing from the overall shorter crop.
The futures market has shown some positive movement since the floods. The announcement that supplies are down, a 10 % drop in domestic production, and slight increase in consumption has had a positive influence on the futures market.
Locally most of the conventional rice is planted. All that remains is organic and a little RiceTec seed. The majority of the rice is moving toward flood stage. There have been a few problems with resistant grasses and weeds to several chemicals in the area. A change in type of chemicals have helped with the control, but challenges still exist. The winds have curtailed from 10 to 14 days ago, enabling fertilizer and chemicals to be applied. The rain has disappeared causing some to fall behind on flushing.
Irrigation wells are pumping not only on rice, but on the area row crops. Overall, the area rice crop is off to a good start. Weed and grass control has been better than normal except for the problems mentioned above.
Fuel prices increased up to 16 cents in late March to early April. As of today, prices have retreated back to the mid-March levels. The smart guys predict we may see an upward spike as usual around Memorial Day. That increase may hang around throughout the summer. Overall, prices are expected to remain at the current level through the year with lower prices after the first of the year. That being said who really knows what will happen.