Volume 17, Issue 20
May 21, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Market Update: Delta Rice Planting Continues to Battle Weather Conditions
  • U.S. - China Phase One Agreement
  • Washington DC Update - Congressional Schedule & Focus
  • Texas Rice Update
Delta Rice Planting Continues to Battle Weather Conditions
Throughout the Delta growers have been consumed with planting and battling poor weather conditions. As a result, there was very little selling interest this past week. It also didn’t help that some of the early buying interest seems to have slowed, especially in Louisiana where cash prices have softened more than $1.50 per cwt from previous new crop sales. At the current levels, the spot market is proving uneventful. 

Given the weather conditions and the difficulty in getting the crop planted, the volume of acres is becoming increasingly dynamic. The prevented planting subject is being widely discussed, and while we are told that the rice will get planted, there are plenty of growers seriously weighing their options. Of course, moving into the new marketing year on fumes and with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, rice farmers want to plant. Rice has been one of the most resilient and even most rewarded commodities throughout the pandemic.  

Arkansas is well ahead of last year in regards to planting, but lags the 5-year average by 12%. At 76% planted, the story in Arkansas is far from over, especially for medium grain where acres are projected to be down from early intentions. 

Asia rice prices were mixed this week with Thailand prices trading up $5 per ton at $495, Vietnam trading sideways and Myanmar prices resurfacing $15 per ton lower than the most recent quote. Logistical issues in India continue to hamstring the country’s rice industry, in many cases causing shipping delays or cancellations. The USDA further corroborated this information in a report which showed a sharp decline in year over year shipments from key India ports.  

In Latin America, Uruguay and Argentina are generating strong exports throughout the region and even into Mexico.  Brazil is largely tied up with confronting a worsening coronavirus situation, as is Mexico. Brazil hit a record high new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, signaling that the country is far from flattening the curve. As this situation develops, Brazil will need to ramp up food imports to provide food security. This is made difficult due to the value of Real, which is one of the world’s worst performing currencies in 2020.  

Futures action this week was relatively light, as the July contract only gained $0.08 per cwt from last week to end Thursday’s session at $16.04 per cwt. Volume fell 57% against last week to 279 and while open interest was only down 1.8%.  
Popular among consumers in Mexico and in short supply, the variety Milagro Filipino is being grown under contract with farmers in Southwest Louisiana for shipment by rail to the Mexican market, giving growers another alternative.
U.S. - China Phase One Agreement
This week, USDA and USTR announce continued progress on implementation of the U.S.-China Phase One Agreement. Recent actions include:
  • U.S. blueberries and California Hass avocados can now be exported to China.
  • U.S. barley for processing, along with the forage products Timothy hay, alfalfa hay pellets and cubes, and almond meal pellets and cubes can now be exported to China.
  • China updated its lists of U.S. facilities eligible to export beef, pork, poultry, seafood, dairy, and infant formula products to China. China’s lists now include 499 beef, 457 pork, 470 poultry, 397 seafood, and 253 dairy and 9 infant formula facilities.
  • China published on May 15 a new domestic standard for dairy permeate powder for human consumption that will allow imports of this product from the United States in the future. In 2019, China imported nearly $12 billion of dairy products from around the world. 

These actions build upon a number of actions China has already taken including updating lists of approved facilities, updating product lists, and lifting bans on poultry and poultry products.

“China is a market of tremendous potential for U.S. agriculture and these actions will help U.S. exporters expand their sales there. We look forward to continued cooperative work with China on implementation of Phase One commitments, and immediate increases in U.S. exports of all manner of agricultural products,” said Sonny Perdue.
Washington Update - Congressional Schedule & Focus
The scheduling of Congress this week highlighted the different approaches between the Senate and House in conducting legislative business. The Senate continues to work on nominations and conduct committee business which includes COVID-10 response and FY21 appropriations bill. The Senate has scheduled the following State Work Periods:
May 25 - May 29, State Work Period, Memorial Day - May 25
Jul 3 - Jul 17, State Work Period, Independence Day - Jul 4
Aug 10 - Sep 7, State Work Period, Labor Day - Sep 7
Sep 28 - Sep 29, State Work Period
Oct 12 - Nov 6, State Work Period, Columbus Day - Oct 12
Nov 11 - Veterans Day
Nov 23 - Nov 27, State Work Period, Thanksgiving - Nov 26
Dec 21 - Dec 31, State Work Period

The House is anticipated to return May 27-28 and expected legislation is FISA, small business reforms to the Paycheck Protection Plan bill, and possibly another COVID-related bill. On May 20 th, Speaker Pelosi activated a 45-day authorization for proxy voting after the House approved an Emergency Rules Change on May 15 (217-189). The rule change authorizes the Speaker, in consultation with the Minority Leader, to temporarily implement remote committee proceedings and remote voting in the House. The authority lasts for 45 days and can be extended or renewed if the public health emergency persists or there is a resurgence.

  • It authorizes remote committee proceedings (hearings, markups and depositions) during the pandemic (Members voting remotely count toward a quorum)
  • It implements remote voting on the House floor during the pandemic (Members voting remotely count toward a quorum, allows 10 proxies per Member)
  • It provides for remote voting through technology during the pandemic, after a system is developed and certified.

Current leadership scheduling scenario is for House Members to be back about every two weeks with committee work happening in-between. According to sources the plans for future floor consideration is to pair a COVID-related bill with other work that needs to be done. House Members will get 72 hours’ notice to return to DC for additional votes. The House priorities are to complete markup of the FY21 NDAA, a transportation bill, and WRDA. FY 21 appropriations also remains a priority.

The HEROES Act passed by House on May 15, 208-199 is estimated to cost $3T. Senate Majority Leader McConnell will not bring up the bill and the President threatened a veto. Majority Leader McConnell said after meeting with President Trump that the Senate will wait a couple more weeks to determine the next steps for the economy as it evaluates how the first bills have been implemented. Therefore, while the Senate will likely consider another supplemental bill, no date has been set. Factors that could speed up the process includes requiring funding for the Payment Protection Plan, unemployment, liability agreement, fixes to previous legislation, and/or economic impacts.
Texas Rice Update
By: Dr. Mo Way, Prof. of Entomology, Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Ctr.

For this article, I want to highlight the student award winners of the 2020 Rice Technical Working Group Meeting (RTWG) held February 24-27, 2020 at Orange Beach, AL. The meeting was a big success and we (US rice scientists) applaud the efforts of our Mississippi colleagues, in particular Drs. Jason Bond, Bobby Golden, and Jeff Gore, who did a lot of the organizational work putting on this biennial conference. We also thank Dr. Wayne Ebelhar for heading up the student oral/poster competition.

For the poster competition:
  • 1st Place: Mason Castner; “Efficacy of Benzobicyclon on Weedy Rice at Different Growth Stages”; University of Arkansas
  • 2nd Place: L. Connor Webster; “Do Group 15 Herbicides Have a Fit in Louisiana Rice Production?”; Louisiana State University
  • 3rd Place: Rodger B. Farr; “Evaluation of Fullpage Rice Systems Containing Preface and Postscript”; University of Arkansas

For the oral competition:
Plant Protection Panel
  • 1st Place: Tameka Sanders; “Rice Response to Postemergence Herbicides Following Paraquat”; Mississippi State University
  • 2nd Place: Chase Floyd; “Evaluation of Strategy and Efficacy of Insecticide Options for Control of Rice Billbug in Furrow Irrigated Rice Production”; University of Arkansas
  • 3rd Place: Lawson Priess; “Field Evaluation of Barnyardgrass Accessions to Loyant and Other Rice Herbicides”; University of Arkansas

Rice Culture Panel
  • 1st Place: Justin Chlapecka; “Nitrogen Management in Furrow-Irrigated Rice”; University of Arkansas
  • 2nd Place: Mary Jane Lytle; “Impact of Rice Planting Arrangement on Stand Density and Grain Yield”; University of Arkansas
  • 3rd Place: Linda Martin; “Starter Nitrogen Source and Pre-flood Nitrogen Rate Effects in Rice Grown on Clayey Soils”; University of Arkansas

Weed Control and Growth Regulation Panel
  • 1st Place: Tristan Avent; “Evaluation of Seed Treatment for Safening Rice to Formulations of Soil-Applied Acetochlor”; University of Arkansas
  • 2nd Place: Jake Patterson; “Benzobicyclon for Weedy Rice Control in a Provisia System”; University of Arkansas
  • 3rd Place: Mason Castner; “Does Dicamba Exposure During Rice Reproductive Development Affect Maturity and Grain Yield?” University of Arkansas

These students are recognized for advancing rice science in the US. They represent the next generation of rice scientists who will help provide answers to future problems to keep our industry sustainable, productive and successful.
Mason Castner
1st Place Poster
Tameka Sanders
1st Place Plant Protection Oral Competition
Chase Floyd
2nd Place Plant Protection Oral Competition
Rodger Farr
3rd Place Poster
Connor Webster
2nd Place Poster
Lawson Priess
3rd Place Plant Protection Oral Competition
Follow #OurFarmers During #Plant2020
It’s planting season, and our team is closely following spring planting across the country. We encourage you to follow along with our  #plant2020 campaign , or even better, send us photos of how planting is going on your farm.
Upcoming Events
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 (Virtual)
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.

July 23, 2020
University of Arkansas Row Crops Field Day
Rohwer Research Station
140 Experiment Station Loop, Watson, Arkansas – check back later for more information.

August 5, 2020
University of Arkansas Row Crops Field Day
Northeast Research & Extension Center
1241 W. County Road 780, Keiser, Arkansas – check back later for more information.

August 7, 2020
University of Arkansas Rice Field Day
Rice Research & Extension Center, Stuttgart, Arkansas – check back later for more information.
How Many Midsouth Acres? Who knows? People Keep Planting.
USDA Announces Details of Direct Assistance to Farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 
Legislative Update
Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Dr. Trent Roberts, & Scott Stiles

25722 Kingsland Blvd.
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