Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
Australia Medium Grain Rice #1 $ N/A    Egypt 101 #2 $760    Egypt 178 #2 Rice $730    EU Prices Baldo €660    EU Prices LG-A Ariete 5% €550    EU Prices MG Lotto 5% €500    EU Prices RG Balilla 5% €500    Russia Rapan $ 700    USA Jupiter Paddy $375    USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480    USA Jupiter Rice $630    USA Calrose #1 $830   

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Rice Industry Gathers Steam
The weak dollar and a serious drought in Australia are helping bring California's rice industry to a boil.

The state's growers are shipping thousands of metric tons of Calrose rice to Israel, Jordan and New Guinea, countries that bought almost none of the grain last year. Canada has about doubled its purchases of the California grain and old-line customers such as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are buying more.

All told, exports and overseas orders for medium- and short-grain rice have risen 38% this year compared with 2004, to 785,000 metric tons, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released last week. And virtually all of the medium- and short-grain rice sold for export from the U.S. — the sticky kind of rice typically used in sushi — are grown in California.

"In the last couple of months we have seen a big jump," said Andy Aaronson, a rice analyst at the USDA. "We are picking up business in areas where Australia is the usual supplier."

Hampered by a persistent drought, Australian production has fallen to about a third of what's typical. Adding to the luster of California rice are favorable exchange rates, which make it more competitive globally.

The state trails Arkansas as the nation's second-largest rice producer, growing $468 million worth in 2003, the last full year for which statistics are available, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Still, though they might be selling more overseas, California farmers aren't getting much money. Prices are depressed this year — many farmers say rice sells for less than it costs to produce — because a surplus of the stuff was grown in 2004.

That was a big turnaround from the previous season, when a small crop led to high prices. Farmers reacted predictably by planting wall-to-wall rice in Colusa and Glenn counties and other Northern California rice paddies. They sowed 600,000 acres of the grain in 2004, a 20% increase.

At the same time, favorable weather led to record yields and pushed the state's output to 51 million hundred weights, a 31% gain.
(Domestic rice production is measured in hundred weights, based on the now-defunct practice of storing the grain in 100-pound burlap sacks at harvest time.)

"It's a huge amount," said Charlie Mathews, who farms 4,000 acres in Marysville, Calif. "The most we have ever exported and sold domestically before is maybe 43 million."

Prices plunged to an estimated 7 to 8 cents a pound in the current 2004-2005 season from the approximately 12 cents paid out last year, farmers say. Prices are set through a combination of government supports and what the Farmers' Rice Cooperative and a group of private pools can get in the open market. The final returns for this year won't be in until after the July 31 end of the marketing season.

Most of California's crop is sold through two types of organizations. The Sacramento-based rice cooperative, which accounts for about a quarter of the state's production, collects rice from its 900 members, then mills and packages the crop and finds customers such as breweries, food processors, retailers and overseas clients. It deducts the cost of its operations from the rice revenue and allocates what's left to its grower-owners.
MGR Archive 20.3.2005
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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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