What about planted acres in 2013 compared to what’s expected in 2014?

“One thing that jumps out at me is the small crops we’ve had the last three years. Arkansas, in particular, raised almost 1.8 million acres in 2010. (In 2013, that number had dropped to under 1.1 million acres). That was a big shift due to the corn and bean prices rallied.”

Brothers showed the top varieties and yields grown in the United States in 2013. “One of the things that’s disturbing to me about this is there were 25 different varieties. … We keep talking about IP in rice. If we continue to grow this number of varieties I think it’s almost impossible to IP to a great extent.”

The most popular 2013 variety grown: CL XL 745 with 24.5 percent of the class. The highest milling yield variety was CL 152 with a 63.4/69.1.

Brothers paused to explain milling. “You take 100 pounds of rice. Using the example of CL 152, you end up with 63.4 pounds of whole-grain, the most valuable part of the rice we can sell. The difference between 63.4 and 69.1 is the fractions that occur in the milling process. The difference up to 100 pounds is about 20 pounds of bran and about 10 pounds of hulls. Bran and hulls have more limited value.”

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The good news is 2013 was “a wonderful quality crop. We didn’t have record milling yields but did have very strong milling yields. Our whole-grain yield was up 6.5 percent. … There was low chalk, low peck and excellent milling yields.”

Are the USDA numbers accurate?

For 2012, Arkansas producers had 166 bushels per acre, a number that increased two bushels in 2013. For the Louisiana the numbers were 143 and 162 bushels. Mississippi producers saw a rise from 160 in 2012 to 164 in 2013. All were records.

Brothers finds the Louisiana numbers suspicious. “We’ve been questioning the National Agricultural Statistics Service and whether they’ve been picking up the second ratoon crop. I think they’ve been pressing farm communities more to include that second crop. I don’t know the numbers have jumped that much.”