Rice Farming Update

Marketing Update & Crop Outlook Rice Farming Update

REMEMBER the blood drive for Clayton Bruton on Friday, June 16 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the El Campo Volunteer Fire Department Training Field off of North Wharton Street in El Campo.  Clayton was scheduled for a very lengthy surgery on Monday. He is improving at a very slow rate.  He has a very long recovery ahead.

Market News from Rice Marketing Association’s Rusty Bergstrom.

There is not any 2016 rice left unsold.  The last of the 2016 crop was sold last week.  Riviana Foods (ARI) did purchase some of the early 2017 crop with their offer.  RMA members sold approximately 160,000 cwt. with the total in the 400,000 cwt. range.

In the June 5 edition of the USA Rice “The Daily” article by Sarah Moran, she reports that U. S. rice exports to Mexico have increased 23% for the first four months compared to last year.  The increase is in rice paddy (rough rice) driven by milled rice exports to Venezuela and an increase in consumption of U. S. rice in Mexico.

Crop Outlook

Rice is this area is progressing along without many problems.  The majority of the rice in the area is at panicle differentiation (PD) stage or later.  There is a small amount of the rice heading.  Heading should increase substantially through the next five to ten days.  Sheath blight was starting to show up last week.  The cooler and dryer weather slowed it down over the weekend.  Now that we are experiencing normal June weather scouting should be done on a regular basis to monitor the progress of the sheath blight.  Kernel smut is another problem that should be given attention to.  Kernel smut is a fungus that is hard to detect.  If you have had the problem on certain fields in the past there is a good chance that it will show up on susceptible varieties.  If you have a history of kernel smut you should apply propiconazole at the rate of 4 to 6 ounces before heading (late boot).  This treatment has shown some benefit, but it needs to be proactive.  Once you see the kernel smut it is too late.  Another fungus that needs of concern is narrow brown leaf spot or cercospora.  This disease is more prevalent in ratoon crop than main crop.  Treatment should be at the mid to late boot stage.  Check with your consultant and/or chemical rep.  More information is available in the 2014 Texas Rice Production Guidelines pages 44 through 56.

The following are summaries of what Heath Bush, Wilbur-Ellis is seeing in cotton, sorghum, and soybeans in this area:


For the most part, the cotton is looking good around the area except for low spots in fields or on ends where water stood.  Heavy rates of growth regulators have helped to keep cotton from getting too vegetative, and foliar feeds have helped where cotton has yellowed due to wet conditions.  Square retention has been good so far.  Cotton is at full bloom this week, and fields need to be monitored for egg lays, stinkbugs and bollworms as the insects are moving out of corn and milo as they finish out.


Grain sorghum is fast approaching hard dough stage and we’ve treated most fields for midge, headworms, and stinkbugs.  Sugarcane aphid pressure has been light due to the rains across the area, and beneficial populations remain intact.  Sugarcane aphids can flourish in hot dry weather, so even though the milo may be close to finishing out, aphids can pose a problem when it comes time to harvest if left unchecked.


Most of the beans are at R3 or close to R4 and have good plant height.  We’ve been spraying fungicides, foliar feeds, herbicides, and insecticides at R3 to protect the pod set and to promote plant health during the wet conditions.  Monitor closely for alfalfa hoppers and stinkbugs, as well as loopers. 

Another source most of you may know about is from Kate Harrell, County Extension Agent- Integrated Pest Management for Wharton, Jackson and Matagorda County.  She has a blog covering various crops and pests at http://uppercoastipm.blogspot.com/.

Chris Supak took a picture of some interesting critters near his rice farm outside of Louise.

This a family of river otters, mom and her three pups, one pup is behind the weeds, is enjoying the flowing water.  The male leaves after he does his job.  River otters are not an endangered species but very scarce.  The otter adapts to various climates in North America from the Gulf Coast up the east coast into Canada to the upper west coast into Alaska.  In Texas, they have been spotted from Gonzales to Wichita Falls, but primarily in East Texas.  This sighting by Chris is the first that I have ever heard in this area.  In discussing the river otter with some of our more mature farmers, they remember seeing these guys many years ago.

The rice otter primarily feeds on fish, but is known to enjoy insects, frogs, crustaceans, birds, oysters, shellfish, rodents, turtles, and aquatic invertebrates.  They can dive up to sixty feet and stay under water for up to eight minutes.  In 2010, it was estimated that there were 100,000 river otters in North America.  This is a rough estimate because they are one of the hardest mammals to census.  They like streams, lakes, reservoirs, and marine coastlines with quality water and abundant food supplies.

We lost another matriarch of a Rice Farmers Coop member.  Mrs. Andrew (Ruby Jean) Rod passed away Monday, June 12, 2017.  Mrs. Rod was very active in the family farm along with her husband, Andrew.  Her sons, Glen and Stan, sons-in law, Anthony Doritik and Mark English are members of Rice Farmers Coop.  Her funeral services can be viewed at www.triskafuneralhome.com.  Please keep the Rod family in your prayers.

– Bobby Little

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