Total U.S. rice plantings in 2010-11 will reach 3.41 million acres, up 9 percent from a year earlier and the third-highest on record, according to the March Rice Outlook report from USDA’s Economic Research Service.

Long-grain accounts for all of the indicated expansion in U.S. rice acreage. Growers indicated expanded 2010-11 plantings of rice in all reported states, with Arkansas — the largest rice-growing state — accounting for more than half the increase.

There were no supply side revisions to the 2009-10 (August-July) U.S. rice balance sheet. Total U.S. supplies of rice remain projected at 271.3 million cwt (rough-basis), almost 8 percent more than a year ago and the highest since 2005-06. Carryin, production, and imports are all estimated larger in 2009-10 than a year earlier, with the larger crop accounting for most of the increase in total supplies. Total use of U.S. rice in 2009-10 is projected at a record 239 million cwt, up 8.5 million cwt from the previous month’s forecast, and almost 8 percent more than last year.

Projections for both exports and total domestic and residual use were revised upward, with total domestic and residual use the highest on record. Data from the March Rice Stocks indicated stronger domestic disappearance than previously projected.

The revisions resulted in a 21 percent reduction in the 2009-10 ending stocks forecast to 32.3 million cwt, with long-grain accounting for most of the reduction. The season-average price forecasts for both classes were raised. However, prices for both classes remain well below the 2008-09 records.

The 2009-10 global rice production forecast was revised up 500,000 tons to 440.8 million tons (milled basis), still 1.4 percent below the 2008-09 record. Production estimates were increased for Pakistan, Peru, Ecuador, and North Korea. The 2009-10 global ending stocks forecast was decreased 1 percent to 90.2 million tons due to reduced estimates for Burma, Iran, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States.

The global trade forecast for 2010 decreased 2 percent to 29.97 million tons. Export forecasts for Pakistan and Burma decreased, while the U.S. forecast increased. Trading prices for Thailand’s high- and medium-quality grades of non-specialty rice decreased 5 percent to 8 percent from the first week of March due to a lack of fresh import demand. U.S. and Vietnam’s trading prices declined as well, with Vietnam’s prices quoted at more than $150 below Thailand’s.