Rice market update for the week ending Sept. 3, 2021

• By Scott Stiles •

Hurricane Ida did not provide the anticipated boost to the rice market this week. Rice futures followed the path of corn and soybeans, trading lower Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

November rice did settle 6 cents higher Thursday, closing at $13.30. Cash rice bids at mills around eastern Arkansas were 20 cents under November futures at $5.78 per bushel Thursday. Cash bids at driers ranged from $5.65 to $5.72 per bushel.

The November contract found support this week at $13.20 and could trade in a narrow range next week ahead of the Sept. 10 U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.

Impacts of Ida

The most bearish impact from Ida has been the interruption of exports. This has also negatively impacted corn, soybean and sorghum basis this week at river terminals. At many locations along the Mississippi River, the cash basis has weakened 60 to 70 cents per bushel since last Friday (Aug. 27). For some facilities along the Gulf Coast, it could be several weeks before loading of grain resumes.

The adjustments in basis this week seem to indicate logistical backlogs for the next 60 to 90 days.

Rough Rice Nov ’21 (ZRX21)

rough rice futures chart

There is a tremendous effort underway to restore power at the Gulf and clear waterways of grounded barges and debris. The Mississippi River was closed from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico for five days following Ida’s landfall.

Parts of Mississippi River reopen

On Thursday, vessel traffic above Mississippi River mile marker 167.5 near St. James, Louisiana, and south of mile marker 105 near Bridge City, Louisiana, reopened but is restricted to daylight hours only. The river remains closed between mile markers 105 and 167.5.

All interstates are now open in Louisiana, except for two sections of I-55 — a major north/south artery to access LaPlace and New Orleans. State officials have asked to keep these arteries clear for the use by emergency personnel. Railroads report widespread power outages, fallen trees and major flooding have closed lanes.

The next USDA supply/demand report and National Agricultural Statistics Service crop production report will be released Sept. 10. It will include updated acreage estimates for rice that incorporate certified acreage data from the Farm Service Agency along with survey data from farmers, satellite data and other sources. Depending on how much additional acreage has been certified over the past month, the updated September acreage could be supportive to the rice market.

The table below includes long-grain acres that were certified as of August 1st. For comparison, the planted acres from NASS’ June Acreage survey are also included. Note there are some stark differences in the August certified acres and the June Acreage survey results that have been used to estimate rice production in July and August.

Long-grain certified acreage as of August 2021.

long-grain certified acres as of august 2021

Crop progress:

In Monday’s crop progress report, USDA estimated that 19% of the U.S. rice crop had been harvested; 1 percentage point ahead of last year but 3 points behind the five-year average.

Arkansas’ crop was 6% harvested as of Aug. 29, up from 2% the previous week. As Ida arrived, Louisiana was at 74% complete as of last Sunday.

Texas’ harvest was at 68% complete. Mississippi and Missouri were at 6% and 5% harvested, respectively. With Ida’s eastward shift, harvest advanced rapidly this week on warm, dry conditions, particularly in Arkansas and Missouri.

usda rice harvest progress

Scott Stiles is a University of Arkansas Extension agricultural economist. He may be reached at sstiles@uaex.uada.edu.

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