Volume 17, Issue 09
March 5, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Rice Market Update: Gulf Coast Farmers Planting New Crop
  • Texas Rice Update
Rice Market Update: Gulf Coast Farmers Planting New Crop
The rice market has remained rather quiet over the past week, although from a global standpoint there seems to be a bullish trend emerging, particularly for old crop demand. Export sales for the week were predictably lower than the previous weeks’ volumes. As was indicated in the prior report, the dearth of old crop inventories will likely keep this number consistently low until new crop harvest. Vessel loadings was higher in the current report. This was also anticipated as old sales continue to move into the export market. Future reports should note strong volumes until either old sales have been shipped or coronavirus concerns begin to constrict shipping. 

Asian pricing saw stronger than average increases in prices over the week. The benchmark origins noted higher prices against a weaker exchange rate. This is a result primarily from weather problems in Southeast Asia (particularly a drought in Thailand). Underlying softness in the price matrix is minimal in the short run although the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak are still undetermined. 

USDA held its world market price outlook unchanged over the past week. Next week’s installment will likely reflect some price increases due to stronger market fundamentals. 

Domestically, there are very few changes in the market. Old crop purchasing has been very slow due to thin supply and will only become tighter as the year progresses. New crop plantings have gotten underway along the Gulf Coast. While still early in the process, more acres will be put in the ground over the next week. Preliminary indications support the speculation that there will be significantly more rice acres in 2020 than were planted in 2019.

The futures market has seen a lot of trading action this week as the commodities have all been responding to the financial market turmoil. Rice saw old crop contracts contract the most with losses ranging between 2.79% and 3.55%. New crop contracts were less impacted with posted losses ranging from 0.29% to 0.42%. Interestingly, the spread between the May and July contract has collapsed to zero, which is very strange. Also, the volume in the deferred contracts has been higher over the past week or two than has traditionally been seen. There is some indication that buyers are resorting to taking delivery off the board for some rice which underscores the volatility and tightness in the current market environment.
Texas Rice Update
For this article I want to talk about the value of Student Interns/Workers to rice research. I know I have talked about this before, but I want to re-emphasize this subject because we scientists at the Beaumont Center are now interviewing and hiring students for the upcoming spring/summer rice field season. These students are absolutely essential to collecting and processing samples from the many and varied experiments we conduct in the field and lab/greenhouse annually. For example, my project routinely conducts research on the rice water weevil, a key pest of rice in the US. This insect attacks the roots of rice plants, so in order to evaluate pest management options, my project routinely collects and processes thousands of rice root samples every year. This job is laborious and time-consuming, but crucial to generating sound data to help register novel insecticides, determine relative varietal susceptibilities and identify cultural practices that ameliorate damage. 

Most of the Student Interns I (and other scientists at the Beaumont Center) hire, come from Dr. Jim Armacost’s Environmental Science program at Lamar University. Jim is an ornithologist in the Department of Biology at Lamar University. Students in the Environmental Science program are required to complete an Internship to graduate. In addition, Beaumont Center scientists have hired Student Interns/ Workers from other institutions such as Texas A&M University, Sam Houston State University, Stephen F. Austin University, University of Texas, Auburn University and recently Brigham Young University. Many of these Interns have gone on to successful careers in biological, medical, engineering, and agricultural sciences.  

Last week, one of my Student Interns, Peter Adams, from many years ago dropped by to say hello. I am happy to say Peter is now a high school science teacher who loves his job and is clearly making a positive contribution to our society. Another of my Student Workers is Dr. Sebe Brown who now is employed by LSU doing the kind of work I do for Texas A&M. 

So, hats off to these Student Interns/Workers who help rice researchers make US rice production profitable and sustainable! 
Peter Adams, High School Science Teacher and ex-student worker in Mo’s project
Morgan Weiblinger and Veronica Hobbs, Lamar University Student Interns in Mo’s project in 2019
Kelly Bean, Lamar University Student Intern in Dr. Omar Samonte’s project in 2020
Dr. Jim Armacost, Lamar University Professor in charge of the Environmental Science program
Ella Nysetvoid, Brigham Young University Student Intern in Dr. Shane Zhou’s project in 2020
Tyler Malone, Lamar University Student Intern in Dr. Omar Samonte’s project in 2020
Upcoming Events
March 15, 2020
Deadline to Enroll in ARC or PLC for 2019 & 2020 at the country FSA office

May 19-21, 2020
 Rice Market & Technology Convention, Panama

June 30, 2020
Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Rice Field Day
David R. Wintermann Rice Research Station, FM 202 just north of Eagle Lake, Texas. Field tour in late afternoon, then move to the Eagle Lake Community Center for dinner and a business meeting. More details to come.

July 1, 2020
H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station Annual Field Day
Crowley, Louisiana. Tours early in the morning, followed by presentations inside. Check back later for more information.

July 9, 2020
73rd Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Rice Field Day
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1509 Aggie Drive in Beaumont, Texas. More details to come.
Peru's corn imports are forecast to continue to grow due to demand from the booming poultry industry. U.S. exports of corn fell in marketing year 2019/ 2020, but should rebound in marketing year 2020/2021 
FAO Rice Price Update 
The FAO All Rice Price Index (2002-04=100) rose by 1.4 percent during February 2020 to an average of 228.0 points.
Cornerstone Trade Update
Cornerstone Comments:
Besides crunching numbers on the COVID-19 response, the Trump Administration continues its laser-focus on the trade deficit, ramping up pressure on countries like Vietnam to expand imports of goods from the U.S. and resolve market access restrictions related to agricultural products, among others. Vietnam has been one of the principal beneficiaries of the diversion of export manufacturing from China during recent tariff skirmishes, spurring economic growth. Vietnam also benefits from new market access in the 11-nation CPTPP and a new trade agreement with the European Union.
Food & Agriculture Regulatory & Policy Roundup
Tuesday, March 3 : Hearing: Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Hearing: Member Day. House Appropriations Committee
Tuesday, March 3 : Hearing: Subcommittee on Science, Oceans, Fisheries, and Weather Hearing: "Securing U.S. Leadership in the Bioeconomy." Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee

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