Volume 17, Issue 28
July 16, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Gulf Coast Rice Harvest Should be in Full Swing Next Week
  • Agriculture in the Presidential Election
  • Texas Rice Update
  • 2020 USAEDC Goes Virtual
Gulf Coast Rice Harvest Should be in Full Swing Next Week
The lower delta has initiated harvest, albeit very slowly. Despite many growers becoming eager to harvest, high moisture is still being discovered which is keeping them from doing so. According to the USDA, rice headed in Arkansas is 12% behind the 5-year average, while the other states are mostly in line with their historical averages. Furthermore, sources on the ground continue to be quite positive in regards to their yield expectations for the 2020 crop. As to be expected with the tight supplies through the overall summer doldrums, the cash market has been relatively quiet. There are some reports that early, good quality rice will command a premium, especially in Texas and Louisiana where harvest is imminent, but other than that, the market is stagnant. However several inquiries are being made with regards to gulf coast rough rice by mills in Arkansas needing paddy by truck.  

For the past 3 weeks, export sales have been lower than the preceding week; this week’s export sales were down another 14%, as were loadings. Of course, this is to be expected since the entire old crop is practically spoken for.  As rice is shipped against outstanding sales moving into harvest, new sales will likely continue to move lower. This can only change when the new crop arrives and is dried and ready to sell. The obstacle to seeing net sales increase following harvest relates to heavy global competition from both South America and in Asia. Fortunately for U.S. exports, the U.S. Dollar has softened against other major global currencies which is perhaps best seen in the U.S. Dollar Index on ICE futures where the Dollar is down more than 7% since March. 

Last week, the USDA also released its July World Agriculture & Supply Demand report which contained some bullish changes to old crop and some bearish changes to new crop. For old crop, total use was increased by 2 million cwts, ultimately shaving another 2 million cwts from the carry out stocks. Despite the change, the USDA lowered the 2019 season average farm price to $12 per cwt. In terms of new crop, acre projections were up in the June acre report which added more supply to the balance sheet. While the USDA also increased the usage forecast, it was not sufficient to offset the increased production, leaving the agency to increase stocks by 2.3 million cwts, up to 25 million cwts.   

In Asia, Thai 100% B export prices slid for the fifth consecutive week and were quoted at $465 FOB. Other Asian origins were mixed but all are down from last month. There is rising concern among Asian exporters that global demand may remain depressed in the near future as they struggle to secure export contracts amid softening prices.  

After a several week period of aggressive volatility, the futures market drama seems to be winding down, and unfortunately, that includes trending down. This week the September contract ended lower again as the market continues to wait for new crop. Open interest also declined by 1.7% but the average trading volume was up considerably from last week.
The rice variety CL153 has become popular among paddy buyers in Mexico and Central America due to its grain quality and whole milled rice output. This field belongs to Justin Jenkins who farms near Hankamer, Texas east of Houston. For more information about this variety, go to www.horizonseed.com
Agriculture in the Presidential Election
An examination of these policies will inform producers regarding Biden’s agriculture and rural development priorities which he will pursue if elected President. An excerpt of a portion pertaining to sustainable agriculture and conservation follows, however, the plan includes many other related policies such as agriculture labor:

  • Mobilizing the next generation of conservation and resilience workers through a Civilian Climate Corps. Biden will put a new, diverse generation of patriotic Americans to work conserving our public lands, bolstering community resilience, and addressing the changing climate, while putting good-paying union jobs within reach for more Americans, including women and people of color. This initiative will be complemented by a new generation of scientists and land managers committed to ecological integrity and natural climate solutions. These workers will use sound, science-based techniques to thin and sustainably manage our forests, making them more resilient to wildfire and enhancing their carbon intake and habitat integrity; restore wetlands to protect clean water supplies and leverage greater flood protection; repair dilapidated irrigation systems to conserve water; plant millions of trees to help reduce heat stress in urban neighborhoods; protect and restore coastal ecosystems, such as wetlands, seagrasses, oyster reefs, and mangrove and kelp forests, to protect vulnerable coastlines, sequester carbon, and support biodiversity and fisheries; enhance the carbon intake of natural and working lands, wetlands, reefs, and underwater mangrove and kelp forests; remove invasive species; improve wildlife corridors; build hiking and biking trails and access to other recreational amenities; and reinvigorate landscapes and seascapes, unlocking economic and climate resilience in places like the Great Lakes, the Everglades, our nation’s great river systems including the Colorado River, and the Gulf of Mexico. 
  • Creating more than a quarter million jobs immediately to clean up local economies from the impacts of resource extraction. Biden will direct a front-loaded investment to immediately address the backlog of remediation, reclamation, and restoration needs left behind by the CEOs whose corporations failed to meet their responsibilities to the communities where they operated. Across the country, there are several million unplugged, orphaned, and abandoned oil and gas wells that pose ongoing climate, health, and safety risks in communities. The oil, methane and brine that leaks from these wells contaminates the air and water, and the problem is only getting worse. In addition to these wells, tens of thousands of former mining sites for extraction of coal, hardrock minerals, and uranium are causing ongoing environmental damage including to local surface and groundwater supplies. By making an immediate up-front investment, Biden will create more than 250,000 good jobs with a choice to join a union to plug these oil and gas wells and to restore and reclaim these abandoned coal, hardrock, and uranium mines. This program will create jobs for skilled technicians and operators in some of the hardest hit communities in the country, while reducing leakage of toxic chemicals, methane, and other wastes and preventing local environmental damage. Biden will also hold companies accountable for the environmental damage of their operations, including by clawing back golden parachutes and executive bonuses for companies that shift the environmental burdens of their actions onto taxpayers. 
  • Standing up for our farms and ranches. Our family farmers and ranchers were already fighting an uphill battle because of Trump’s irresponsible trade policies and consistent siding with oil lobbyists over American growers, but COVID-19 has placed new pressures on that sector and the rural economies it sustains. Biden will bring back America’s advantage in agriculture, create jobs, and build a bright future for rural communities by investing in the next generation of agriculture and conservation; providing opportunities to new farmers and ranchers, including returning veterans and minorities, to enter the economy; and making it easier to pass farms and ranches onto the next generation, and:
  • Helping farmers leverage new technologies, techniques, and equipment to increase productivity and profit – including by providing low-cost finance for the transition to new equipment and methods, funding research and development in precision agriculture and new crops, and a establishing a new voluntary carbon farming market that rewards farmers for the carbon they sequester on their land and the greenhouse gas emission reductions, including from methane, that they secure. These efforts to partner with farmers will help them tap into develop new income streams as they tackle the challenge of sequestering carbon, reducing emissions, and continue their track record as global leaders in agricultural innovation. Instead of making things harder for farmers, Biden will stand with them as they fight against the threats of climate change, droughts, flooding and extreme weather, while partnering with them to make American agriculture the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions.
  • Pursuing smarter pro-worker and pro-family-farmer trade policies – knowing the difference between strong and effective trade enforcement and the self-defeating strategy Donald Trump has pursued. Biden will help farmers compete instead of crushing them.
  • Bolstering the security and resilience of our food supply, including by leveraging precision agriculture through regional demonstration projects to minimize the impacts of drought.
  • Making sure small and medium-sized farms and producers have access to fair markets where they can compete and get fair prices for their products – and requiring large corporations play by the rules instead of writing them – by strengthening enforcement of the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts and the Packers and Stockyards Act.
  • Investing in diverse farmers to make our agriculture sector stronger and more resilient. American agriculture is strong in part because of our incredible range of farm types and sizes — and we’ve got to make sure that anyone who wants to serve our country as a farmer can get assistance from USDA. As President, Biden will ensure the U.S. Department of Agriculture ends historical discrimination against Black farmers in federal farm programs and that all socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers have access to programs that support their family farms. 
  • Expanding protections for farm workers. Farm workers have always been essential to working our farms and feeding our country. As President, Biden will ensure farm workers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, regardless of immigration status. He will work with Congress to provide legal status based on prior agricultural work history and ensure labor and safety rules, including overtime, humane living conditions, and protection from pesticide and heat exposure, are enforced with respect to these particularly vulnerable working people.
  • Building on Biden’s rural plan, which includes proposals to re-invest in land grant universities’ agricultural research so the public, not private companies, owns patents to agricultural advances. 
The growing scientific evidence for masks to fight COVID-19, explained.
It’s true the evidence for masks was weak before. That’s changed.
By  German Lopez @germanrlopez german.lopez@vox.com   Jul 15, 2020, 11:50am EDT

Texas Rice Update
By: Dr. M.O. Way, Prof. of Entomology, Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Ctr.
For this article, I want to talk about the South American rice miner, Hydrellia wirthi, which I observed last week infesting fields of Cheniere and XL753 near Nome, TX. This species is exotic and originated in its namesake. I first observed this insect feeding on rice in fields west of Houston in 2004/2005. This is a minor and miner pest (a little joke there…very little!). Around this time, it was found in Louisiana attacking a field of seedling rice. In this case, the farmer had to replant. The adult fly lays an egg on rice foliage near the junction of the leaf sheath and blade. The egg hatches and the larva bores into the leaf and begins feeding. It continues mining the leaf until it pupates and emerges as an adult fly. The signs of damage are tattered, ragged leaves. Sometimes the larva will mine the leaf when it is furled; when the leaf “unfurls”, the damage is something like when you made a snowflake as a kid. You would fold up a piece of paper, then cut random holes in the edges, then when you unfolded the paper a snowflake appeared! With this insect, when the damaged leaf unfurls, the damage runs up and down and across the leaf. Often the end of the leaf drops off leaving yellowish mines or stripes running up and down the leaf. Sometimes the end of the damaged leaf will hang onto the rest of the leaf by a small piece of leaf tissue. So, the plant takes on a ragged appearance. Damage I have observed in Texas has always been minor (there we go again!) usually after flood when rice is tillering. It takes a lot of defoliation at this time (about 20%) to affect yield. Also, I have most often observed damage where stands are low next to levees or water boxes. Go to the following LSU AgCenter link to learn more about this insect https://www.lsuagcenter.com/topics/crops/rice/insects/presentations/16south-american-rice-miner.

So, if you see this type of damage, don’t be alarmed unless the damage is really bad throughout the field. You can always contact me at 409-239-4265 or moway@aesrg.tam.edu.

I also want to make you aware of the Beaumont Center Virtual Field Day. You can access the videos of our scientists giving talks on their 2020 research by clicking on this link https://beaumont.tamu.edu/RiceFieldDay/?fbclid=IwAR04VrNpcECHPv1bp6Gl3hzN_i97E1TMOYt4ydfMYBVEVE51_I3_mNgV5yU.

Ok…all for now! Stay safe and healthy!
Adult fly of South American rice miner (the fly is about the size of a common house fly); photo from the internet
South American rice miner damage; photo by Dr. Mo Way
South American rice miner damage; photo by Dr. Mo Way
2020 USAEDC Goes Virtual
Due to the COVID-19 epidemic that continues making live meetings a risk, the USAEDC 2020 Attaché seminar went virtual. The seminar consisted of a two-hour daily program, July 7-10. Sony Perdue, USDA Secretary of Agriculture and Ted McKinney, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs were part of the selected group of speakers. 

Immediately after, USRPA staff met with the FAS Officers of China, Mexico City, Guatemala, Panama, Taiwan, Peru, Colombia, and the FAS Africa Strategy round-table as well.
Upcoming Events
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.

August 20, 2020
Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council Field Day
More Information Coming Soon.
Rice Outlook July 2020
U.S. Rice Import Forecasts Raised for Both 2019/20 and 2020/21 to New Records
This monthly report includes data on U.S. and global trade, production, consumption and stocks, as well as analysis of developments affecting world trade in grains. Covers wheat, rice and coarse grains (corn, barley, sorghum, oats and rye).
Posts raises its milled rice production estimate for market year (MY) 2019/20 (April 2020 – March 2021) to 7.48 million metric tons (MMT), based on year-over-year reduced area offset by record yields in the major production region.

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