In the first survey-based estimate of grain acreage for the 2017, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), all rice cultivated acreage is calculated at 2.56 million, 19 % less than the 2016 figure, and 2 % less than what was reported in the March Prospective Plantings. The Chairman of the USA Rice World Market Price Subcommittee, Mr. Keith Glover said, “We need to focus on the estimate of harvested rice area in Arkansas this year. Normally, the spread between planted and harvested area for the state is 5,000 to 6,000 acres. For 2017, the gap is 60,000 acres. This reflects the negative impact of this spring’s flooding, and the harvested number is a more accurate measure of the crop in Arkansas right now.” The estimate for harvested area in Arkansas is down 27 percent from the 2016 level.
All states except Texas, reported fall in rice acreage than what was estimated in Prospective Plantings. California, the second largest paddy producer, saw the fall of 8 % to 499,000 acres because of a wet spring. “This year’s planted rice area is the lowest since 2013, with the bulk of the reduction occurring in long grain area, which is expected to fall 23 percent to 1.88 million acres. Reduced Arkansas long grain area led the decline, and area dropped in each state. Medium grain area, at 637,000 acres, was off as well, but only by four percent because an increase in area in Arkansas offset a nearly 10-percent drop in California. “Our producers and marketers are facing a tough beginning as we look towards the 2017/18 year. Prices are weak and overseas demand is not as strong we need, so we have our work cut out for us,” concluded Glover.