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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CA Rice harvest stalled
Harvesters began lumbering through Glenn and Colusa County rice fields this week, but green rice from cooler temperatures has stalled production.

According to USDA’s latest progress report, only 12 percent of the nation’s rice crop had been harvested by the end of August, down 23 percent from the same time last year.

Area farmers are harvesting, but say cool weather could extend the growing season by as much as 10 days, with rain in the forecast for this weekend.

“It’s pretty much stop and start,” said Arbuckle farmer George Tibbitts. “We’re just sort of pecking around. Hopefully we won’t get rain this far south and we expect a southwesterly breeze to dry up the (morning) dew so we can harvest in the afternoons. But we’re not anywhere near full swing.”

Glenn County grower John Amaro said some farmers believe extensive forest fires in the area over the summer could have something to do with the longer growing season.

“The smoke we had could be a factor,” Amaro said. “We’ve grown the same variety and had the same conditions the last couple of years, but instead of a 132 day season we’ll be going to 140 days.”

USDA reports that 71 percent of the U.S. rice crop is listed in good to excellent condition, and local farmers project the same for their crops.

“The quality is good,” said Willows resident Brad McGeoghegan, a North Colusa County rice grower. “Of course, rain and a northwesterly wind could have an impact on quality.”

Amaro agrees that rice in his neck of the woods is good, as well, but not the record-breaking quality of last year.

“It’s a little bit more spottier than last year and there’s a few more weeds,” Amaro said.

Rice quality may be down, but it’s the price of rice that has reached a record high, up from $8 over government loan to about $18, due in part to a reduction in global competition for medium-grain rice.

Medium-grain, grown both in California and the South, accounts for more than one-fourth of total U.S. production and forms nearly California’s entire rice crop.

“Australia, our major competitor, is experiencing a drought year,” McGeoghegan said. “They are pretty much out of the running.”

McGeoghegan said Egypt, another big producer of medium-grain rice, has temporarily banned importing rice to bring down prices for its own citizens.

That’s good news for local farmers.

When world supply goes down, prices go up, McGeoghegan said.

Unfortunately, so have expenses.

Local farmers say the combination of high operating costs, such as fuel, fertilizer and irrigation expenses have presented tough challenges for the rice industry.

High fuel and energy costs will continue to challenge growers and warehouses over the next few years, since rice is a high-cost crop to grow in the United States, but the most critical impact on local growers could be water.

A water shortage, from drought and federal water cutbacks, could spell disaster for the local rice industry and the economy it generates in Glenn and Colusa County.

Although the impact of a water shortage varies from crop to crop and community to community, a report from the University of California Agricultural Issues Center estimates the lower-income rural communities that depend on rice production would be hurt the most from a water crisis.

“Let’s hope for a lot of rain this winter,” McGeoghegan said.
MGR Archive 25.9.2008
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