Volume 17, Issue 24
June 18, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Rice Market Update: All Eyes on New Crop Harvest
  • Texas Rice Update
  • Lawmakers Call for WTO Reform in Trade Hearings
Rice Market Update: All Eyes on New Crop Harvest
There still appears to be buyers of old crop seeking immediate delivery, but they continue to struggle to secure the inventory. It looks like the best cash price at the moment is found in Arkansas where even July futures are being floated. As for new crop, the market is still relatively opaque as both buyers and sellers are slow to converge. The cash market throughout the delta is considered flat from the prior week.

After last week’s export sales report which contained a net reduction to the new sales line item, this week’s report boasted 14,800 MT of new sales. Haiti was the key contributor to the rebound, more than offsetting a reduction to Mexico which appears will be rolled over to new crop. While this is still down from the 4-week average, it is certainly more positive news than what was reported last week.

Net Sales spiked 29% against last week, and were recorded at 63,700 MT. In fact, this week’s shipments were up 16% from the 4-week average. The largest destinations were almost split between Calrose and long grain as the main destinations for Calrose were Japan and South Korea, while long grain went to Honduras.

Looking at new crop, with the exception of Missouri where the rice emerged trails the 5-year average by 7%, the other states are all within range of their averages. It’s not entirely uncommon for early harvested rice to command a premium, and with the tight supplies from the 2019 crop and the later 2020 plant, this year’s premium may be extraordinary. The one caveat to this theory is the additional 30 million cwts of long grain expected to be harvested this fall; the extra production should alleviate some pressure shortly after harvest commences, most likely making the premium a relatively short-lived anomaly. However, weather and increased demand from traditional buyers in Mexico and Central America along with such destinations as Iraq can certainly alter the situation. Until this crop is harvested, dried and in the bins there are no guarantees.

In Mexico, government officials continue to assess consumer prices and apparently are not leaning towards opening a new duty free quota from Asia or other origins at least for the time being. The effects of COVID-19 on the market continue to cause a higher than normal consumption of rice throughout the Western Hemisphere. We are still looking for that crystal ball.

Export prices out of Asia traded sideways this week as Vietnam and Pakistan prices retreated $10 per ton while the origins were flat to slightly up. As the region remains hamstrung with labor constrictions and logistical issues, both new sales and shipments have become increasingly difficult. This is especially the case where inland trucking costs have risen significantly, and migrant laborers left in droves to return to their home states. Fortunately, the situation does appear to be improving and the trade expects strong shipments during the second half of 2020.

In the futures market, volatility is ongoing, which can be clearly seen in the nearby contract which has shed another $1.50 over the past 7-days. Open interest has steadily declined since last week, unlike volume which saw a wider range of activity. There may very well be more volatility ahead as the July contracts seek convergence with the September contracts. New crop contracts all saw minor gains against last week.
The U.S.-Mexico border closure for non-essential travel has been extended for another month. Both countries announced the decision ahead of Monday’s deadline to extend or modify restrictions as they deal with an increased number of covid-19 cases. Mexico has over 160,000 cases and more than 20,000 deaths.

Southwest Louisiana rice farmer Dustin Watkins is looking for an exceptional crop, anticipating the harvest to start around July 6-10. Pictured are fields of CL-111 and the new hybrid “Full Page”.
Texas Rice Update
By Dr. M.O. Way, Prof. of Entomology, Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Ctr.

Just want to alert you farmers and crop consultants to be on the lookout for the rice planthopper, Tagosodes orizicolus . It’s about the size of a leafhopper but has a spine on each of its hind legs which leafhoppers lack. These critters are not from around here; they are native to Central and South America where they are very serious pests. They suck the juices out of rice plants to cause hopperburn and can also transmit the Rice hoja blanca virus (RHBV).

Hopperburn causes plants to turn brown/tan and die if damage is severe enough. Really high populations of the planthopper can develop quickly. Frequently, hopperburn is associated with a black fungus that grows on the sugary honeydew that the insects excrete. RHBV causes a disease of rice called hoja blanca. Leaves become yellow and discolored with stripes running up and down the leaves. Hoja blanca can severely impact yield.

We have found this exotic insect attacking Texas ratoon rice fields in recent years. It was found this year in a greenhouse and possibly in a rice field in Victoria Co. You can apply Endigo ZC or Tenchu 20SG to control it. Data show both these products are effective.

If you think you have this insect in your field, please contact me at 409-239-4265 or moway@aesrg.tamu.edu.
Rice planthopper adult
(photo by Mo Way)
Rice planthopper nymph
(photo by Mo Way)
Hoja blanca disease showing yellowing, striping and spotting
(photo taken in Colombia by Mo Way)
Severe hopperburn caused by rice planthoppers in Texas in 2015
(photo by Cliff Mock)
Rice damaged by hopperburn; note some leaves with black sooty mold fungus
(photo by Mo Way)
Lawmakers Call for WTO Reform in Trade Hearings
Capitol Hill was abuzz this week with talk of reforming the global trade referee, the World Trade Organization as Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the Trump Administration’s chief trade negotiator, testified before both Congressional trade committees of jurisdiction, the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance.

Among the topics discussed at the hearings highlighting the President’s 2020 trade agenda were ways America can lead the way to a fairer playing field in world trade through WTO reform.

Earlier in the week, Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) penned an op-ed calling for America to act quickly on WTO reform. “Since its creation in 1995, building upon decades of prior multilateral trade negotiations, the WTO has…eliminated disguised protectionism in agriculture,” Grassley wrote. He continued: “U.S. agricultural exports increased from $56.2 billion in 1995 to $140.47 billion by 2017. Moreover, the WTO’s dispute settlement system helped tear down a number of other barriers for American farmers and businesses.” Grassley went on to point out weakness in the WTO structure, including the failure of its negotiating function, demonstrated through its inability to confront China’s industrial subsidies and state-owned enterprises that distort trade, and the broken WTO dispute settlement system.

The WTO appeals process was paralyzed last December when the U.S. blocked new nominations to the panel in protest of the broken system. As a result, WTO members like the European Union have established an alternative dispute mechanism that the U.S. has rejected. Ambassador Lighthizer told lawmakers in the hearings yesterday, “I don’t think the Appellate Body was working well. I think it was working against the United States. I think it was hurting our workers. It was non-representative and from my point of view I don’t feel any compulsion to have it ever come back into effect.”

At the height of the organization’s crisis, the current WTO director-general, Roberto Azevedo of Brazil, has announced he is stepping down at the end of August, a year earlier than anticipated. Stakes are high for a replacement, who will take on an organization that lacks stability and long-term vision for dealing with state-owned enterprises, dispute settlement, and preferences for developing countries.

USRPA will be closely monitoring WTO developments and advocating for the best interests of the U.S. rice farmer.
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 8, 2020
Horizon Ag Louisiana Field Day, 5:00 p m
Richard Farm Shop, 5632 Louisiana Highway 700, Kaplan, Louisiana
For more information, please call Horizon Ag at 866-237-6167.

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.
June 30 Last Day to Complete Enrollment for 2020 Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11, 2020 – Agricultural producers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2020 must do so by June 30.
Legislative Update
Coastal Harvest Fast Approaching, More Midsouth Fields Going To Flood 

25722 Kingsland Blvd.
Suite 203
Katy, TX 77494
p. (713) 974-7423
f. (713) 974-7696
e. info@usriceproducers.com
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