Rice Farming Update

Holidays Approach as Second Crop is Harvested Rice Farming Update

First of all, there are 41 days before Christmas!!! Time is flying by, please do not procrastinate like yours truly.  That makes for a tough Christmas Season and New Year.

Second crop harvest has had a hard time getting any traction, figuratively and literally.  The cold spell a couple of weeks ago really slowed down the maturing process.  The rains have slowed down harvest.  Seems like every time the ground starts to get firm it rains again.  Quality and yields are all over the spectrum as well as the causes for the variance in both.  Hurricane Harvey’s wind and floods caused yield loss to more acres than we expected.  The wind to the early crop and floods to the early to mid-season crop.  There were reports of a frost in several areas on October 22 that will cause some yield reduction in the later rice.  In Matagorda County, black birds are playing havoc with the second crop.  One producer suffered a minimum of 75% to 90% damage.  The major quality problem is field damage or fungi, mainly, narrow brown leaf spot (Cercospora).  Insect damage seems to be above average.  The high yielder so for is a field of Presidio that came in at 27.56 bbls. or 44.65 cwt. dry followed by a CL 153 field that yielded 26.8 bbls. or 43.41 cwt.  The same two fields are the highest total crop performers at 80.09 bbls. or 129.75 cwt. and 78.72 bbls. or 127.52 cwt. respectfully.  The average second crop dry yield is 18.52 bbls. or 30.01 cwt.  As of today, we are close to 70% harvested.  Weather permitting, second crop harvest should be finished by Thanksgiving.

Rusty Bergstrom of Rice Marketing Association and Rice Farmers Coop reports that 70 % of the first crop is sold.  Very little of the crop has been shipped at this time.  Market remains at $6.00 premium for good quality rice including high milling hybrids.  Lower quality and millers are receiving bids ranging from $5.50 to $5.75.  

The 2016 PLC payments are being processed and possibly in the mail.  The rice payment is $4.36 per cwt.  The net payment will be $4.07224 per cwt.   It is too early to estimate what the 2017 payment will be.  At current market prices the payment will be substantially lower.  

The area is still trying to recover from the floods of Hurricane Harvey.  The impact on rice was minimal compared to the cotton crop.  It is estimated that 50 % of the crop was still in the field the time the storm hit the area.  The gins could not pick up the modules fast enough before the rains started.  Many of the farmers that had picked cotton, picked enough to eliminate the possibility of insurance payments.  Much of the cotton that was picked a day or two before the rains was too high of moisture causing the cotton to deteriorate in the modules.  Many of the modules that were in the fields suffered water damage.   The water soaked and high moisture cotton causes major problems at the gins.  If it can be ginned, the process is slow and hard on the gin equipment and the employees.  The gins are working hard to finish the crop, but it will take some time.  Jimmy Ropollo reports that United Ag hopes to finish ginning by the middle of December.  Our cotton growers have experienced a large disappointment.  The year was shaping up to be a record for yields along the Gulf Coast.  In a matter of days that hope turned into despair.  If you have been around agriculture for any length of time, you have experienced that type of swing.  Farmers are as resilient as anyone.  They will pick up the pieces and recover.  

I want to thank you all for the business that you have blessed Rice Farmers Coop with in the past.  August, September, and October were some of the best months for the auto service, tire, and fuel divisions in the past several years.  The Bay City store is improving monthly.  The volume at the dryer is down some 20% compared to last year.  We are hoping for a slight profit at our year-end which is January 31, 2018.

In closing, HOW ABOUT THOSE HOUSTON ASTROS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you, and May God bless you and your families,

Bobby Little

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