WASHINGTON, DC - Rice plantings in 2017 were down significantly and many industry watchers were expecting an acreage bump in 2018. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service's Prospective Plantings report
released today, acreage will be higher, but not by very much.
Area planted for rice in 2018 is expected to total 2.69 million acres, 208,000 more than what was actually planted in 2017.
The greatest gain is seen in the top rice producing state of Arkansas, projected to have 1.33 million acres, up from 1.11 million, but still below the 1.5 million acres planted in 2016. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri are projected to collectively plant 54,000 more acres of rice than those states did in 2017. Surprisingly, Texas and California are projected to be below 2017 levels by 11,000 and 55,000 acres respectively.
Long-grain, representing 75 percent of the total rice acreage, is expected to be 210,000 acres above 2017 totals. Medium-grain, now 23 percent of the total rice acreage, is down two percent to 609,000 acres - 63 percent of which is reported to be planted in California. Area planted for all short-grain varieties, representing less than two percent of production, is anticipated to be up 24 percent from last year's total.
The USDA report is based on information supplied to USDA by growers, and though generally accurate within 5 percent, actual planted acres could vary. The Rice Acreage Report, based on actual planted acres, will be published at the end of June.