Mississippi State, Mississippi
July 6, 2007
Mississippi’s rice may be on track
for another strong yield, but it will be on fewer acres.
Nathan Buehring, rice specialist with the
Mississippi State University
Extension Service, said the 2007 crop has “good to excellent
yield potential” as it enters the heading stage.
“This year, everything has worked like a charm,” Buehring said.
“The crop has had good moisture levels to help herbicides work
and stay activated. By the time we reached the dry period, it
was time for flooding the fields.”
Mississippi growers planted 175,000 acres of rice this year,
down 15,000 acres from last year, but significantly fewer than
in 2005 when they planted 265,000 acres. Last year, growers
harvested a record average yield of 7,000 pounds per acre, just
above the previous five-year average of 6,620 pounds.
Buehring said several factors have impacted rice plantings.
“Corn’s popularity took some of our acres, and soybean prices
have been good,” he said. “In some cases, growers were not able
to get the rice varieties they wanted, so those acres went to
Buehring said there are some areas where sheath blight pressure
has been a little higher than normal. While growers have access
to effective fungicides, the additional treatments will cause
growers to spend more on this crop than in the past.
“This will probably be one of the most expensive crops we have
ever had. That seems to be the case every year,” the rice
Steve Martin, agricultural economist at MSU’s Delta Research and
Extension Center in Stoneville, said the rice production costs
at this point have been similar to last year. Although some
growers may have had to spend more on fungicides this year,
water costs have not been as high as in 2006.
“By the time the year is over, fuel prices will drive production
costs higher,” Martin said.
Unfortunately, rice prices have not offered much relief.
“This year has been a disappointing year in the rice market. We
have the potential for increased prices in the future, but it
looked good a year ago, too,” Martin said. “There have been some
export problems related to GMO (genetically modified crops)
issues and also larger carryover stocks. Last month, Europe
indicated a willingness to accept some GMO crops, but that
hasn’t materialized yet.”
Martin said the high prices of soybeans and other crops may
eventually help the rice prices.
“The primary factors that will impact prices will be fall
harvest levels, foreign market acceptance and the relative
prices of competing crops,” he said.