As of Oct. 31, the Arkansas rice crop was “probably over” 90 percent harvested, according to Chuck Wilson, Arkansas Extension rice specialist. After hurricane-spawned weather swept through the crop, many producers have had a slow harvest.
Among Wilson’s comments:
“Everyone I speak with seems to have the same question: is everyone else’s yield as off as mine? Most everyone says they’re off 10 percent, minimum.
“Yields will definitely be down. The USDA October report went down to 153 bushels from earlier estimates of 160. I don’t know if that’s a big enough drop. My opinion is the state average will be below 150.
“Shattering reports have calmed down, although there are still some complaints.
“We’ve had pretty good harvest weather since the hurricanes came through. Only a few rains, here and there. Most growers have been able to get their crop out.
“It’s been really cold recently and the rice left in the field doesn’t want to dry down. Salt isn’t working like it normally does. The biggest complaint is typically ‘the rice is 23 percent moisture and won’t come down any more.’
“But when it gets cold, it takes the crop a lot longer than we’re used to. That’s certainly an adjustment. Many producers are cutting at higher moisture than they’d like.”