Rice approaches harvest in Mississippi with increased prices


RAYMOND, Miss. (WJTV) – According to the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service, this year’s rice crop in the state is in good condition as harvest approaches.

In late June and early July, farmers across the state growing multiple row crops, including rice, could not reach acceptable levels of control for fall armyworms with pyrethroids. This problem led Extension crop specialists to ask the Mississippi Bureau of Plant Industry to request a Section 18 crisis exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency for the insecticide Intrepid 2F. On July 28, it was granted.

“Fall armyworms have been much worse this year than we have ever seen in rice, pastures, lawns and other crops, at least in my career,” said Jeff Gore, Mississippi State University Extension entomologist and researcher. “From a rice standpoint, we typically spray a small percentage — less than 10% — of the acres every year in Mississippi. This year we have probably already sprayed much more than 50% of rice acreage.”

While some row crops have multiple alternative insecticide choices to treat fall armyworms, rice has only one: diflubezuron. With an 80-day preharvest interval, growers could not use diflubezuron, as rice harvest begins in August.

The Specific Exemption is still under review, but growers can use Intrepid 2F until the EPA makes a final decision. If approved, growers can continue its use throughout the growing season. If a similar situation with fall armyworms occurs next year, the Bureau of Plant Industry will again need to apply for a Section 18 exemption.

Crops are not quite ready for harvest, which takes place in August and September in Mississippi.

According to USDA, by Aug. 9, 89% of rice is headed with just 5% mature. The report shows 70% of the crop is in good condition, 17% is in excellent condition, and 8% is in fair condition.

Exports are forecast to be lower for the 2021-2022 marketing year because of reduced supply and less competitive U.S. prices, which may result in lowered prices.

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