WASHINGTON, DC -- In the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) first survey-based estimate of grain acreage for the 2017 crop, all rice planted acres is set at 2.56 million, 19 percent less than the 2016 figure, and two percent less than reported in the March Prospective Plantings.
“Today’s report on the surface is better than we expected – area is down from last year, which we knew, and the numbers are only two percent less than the March Prospective Plantings. But this is not the whole or most important story,” said Keith Glover of Producers Rice Mill and chair of the USA Rice World Market Price Subcommittee. “We need to focus on the estimate of harvested rice area in Arkansas this year. Normally, the spread between planted and harvested area for the state is 5,000 to 6,000 acres. For 2017, the gap is 60,000 acres. This reflects the negative impact of this spring’s flooding, and the harvested number is a more accurate measure of the crop in Arkansas right now.” The estimate for harvested area in Arkansas is down 27 percent from the 2016 level.
Rice area in all states fell from what was reported in Prospective Plantings except for area in Texas. Area in California, the state with the second largest rice area, fell eight percent to 499,000 acres because of a wet spring.
This year’s planted rice area is the lowest since 2013, with the bulk of the reduction occurring in long grain area, which is expected to fall 23 percent to 1.88 million acres. Reduced Arkansas long grain area led the decline, and area dropped in each state. Medium grain area, at 637,000 acres, was off as well, but only by four percent because an increase in area in Arkansas offset a nearly 10-percent drop in California.
“Our producers and marketers are facing a tough beginning as we look towards the 2017/18 year. Prices are weak and overseas demand is not as strong we need, so we have our work cut out for us,” concluded Glover.
USDA will use today’s area numbers in publishing the first 2017/18 supply and demand estimate for U.S. rice in the World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate published on July 12.