Although May has traditionally been considered the last chance to late plant rice, University of Arkansas rice performance trials show that hybrid rice seed planted or replanted into June can still make a crop for growers.

Rice performance trials by planting date conducted at the Rice Research and Extension Center of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture in Stuttgart over a three-year period show that hybrid rice planted into June can still net a profit for growers.

“Of the current available varieties that have been tested in seeding date studies, [three conventional varieties] and the hybrids are recommended for late planting,” wrote Chuck Wilson, interim director of the UofA Rice Research Center at Stuttgart, in a May 16 post on Arkansas-Crops.com. “In general, our best varieties are our best varieties planted late.”

Additional RiceTec trials show that hybrid rice planted in June out-yields varietal rice by as much as 45 bushels per acre.

“As the floodwaters recede, Arkansas farmers have options beyond the May 20 deadline that many in agribusiness are promoting as the last chance to plant rice in the state,” said RiceTec’s Dr. Brian Ottis. “Hybrid rice seed planted into June can make a crop and a profitable crop, at that.”

RiceTec researchers and agronomists also report that hybrid rice seed offers an alternative following a winter wheat crop, much of which has been under water for weeks, could not be harvested and is likely ruined. Hybrid rice after wheat that was harvested before the floodwaters is also a viable alternative.

“Our data from studies conducted over multiple years prove that hybrid rice performs well when planted directly behind a wheat crop,” says Ottis. “Whether it was harvested before the floodwaters came in or is being disked under after the floodwaters recede, hybrid rice seed is a profitable planting option.”

Ottis added that hybrid rice after wheat was viable under either type of rice-irrigation practice – flood or furrow/pivot.

RiceTec maintains that there are still options for farmers in the Midsouth, even as others in the ag industry speculate that as many as 1 million acres have been ruined by floodwaters and the economic impact will be greater than $500 million.

In fact, RiceTec has established a toll-free “Rice Hotline” at 877-580-RICE (7423) for growers wanting input and information about options for late planting.

“We’ll have one of our rice experts come out to your farm to help assess your situation,” Ottis said. “Our experts will prescribe your best options for late planting then work with you step-by-step through the challenges of a late-planted rice crop to help ensure a profitable yield.”

There are several factors to be considered when late planting any crop, Ottis explained, such as managing through a much shorter growing season and coping with increased weed pressure, disease potential and plant stress, all of which can be more prevalent in a late-planted row crop.

“RiceTec is armed with the data and knowledge to help the Midsouth ag industry recover and to assist growers in maintaining yields to produce a crop that will keep them in business and benefit the entire industry,” Ottis said.