Thursday, February 16, 2017

16th February,2017 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Rice basmati extends losses on fall in demand

New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) Rice basmati prices drifted further lower by up to Rs 400 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today on considerable fall in demand against adequate stocks position.

By PTI Feeds | Published: February 15, 2017 2:42 PM ISTEmail
New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) Rice basmati prices drifted further lower by up to Rs 400 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today on considerable fall in demand against adequate stocks position.However, other grains held steady in thin trade.Traders said fall in demand against ample stocks position along with weak exports enquiries mainly kept rice basmati prices down.

In the national capital, rice basmati Pusa-1121 and rice basmati common variety dropped by Rs 400 and Rs 200 to Rs 5,600-7,000 and Rs 7,100-7,300 per quintal respectively.
Following are today’s quotations (in Rs per quintal): Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,730-3,030, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,970-1,980, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,980-2,010, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 285, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 285, Roller flour mill Rs 1,070-1,080 (50 kg), Maida Rs 1,160-1,170 (50 kg)and Sooji Rs 1,250-1,260 (50 kg).
Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,700, Basmati common new Rs 7,100-7,300, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,600-7,000, Permal raw Rs 2,200-2,250, Permal wand Rs 2,300-2,400, Sela Rs 3,000-3,100 and Rice IR-8 Rs 2,000-2,025, Bajra Rs 1,460-1,470, Jowar yellow Rs 1750-1800, white Rs 3,500-3,700, Maize Rs 1,610-1,620, Barley Rs 1,800-1,820.
This is published unedited from the P

USA Rice Members to State Department:  "Keep Pressure on Middle East" 

WASHINGTON, DC -- Yesterday, USA Rice members met key Iraq policymakers at the State Department to get an update on the Iraqi rice tendering process under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. and Iraq.  Members reminded officials of the priority the industry places on Iraq as a future market.
The group was hosted by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq Joseph Pennington, who provided details on the current political and economic situation in Iraq, and also briefed members on the status of current negotiations, and prospects for moving forward on export sales of U.S. rice.  

The most recent tender was pulled and never filled, but State Department officials are hopeful it will be reissued soon as negotiations are ongoing on price and payment terms.  The last time U.S. rice was sold in Iraq was early 2016 when Iraq purchased 90,000 MT.  

"Iraq is a crucially important market for us," said USA Rice Chairman Brian King who attended the meeting.  "Our members were able to impress upon Secretary Pennington and his team how important it is to have a fair, open, and transparent tendering system in Iraq so that the U.S. rice industry can compete and be successful in Iraq.  We greatly appreciate the strong support of the State Department in Washington, as well as Ambassador Douglas Silliman in Baghdad, in our continued efforts to press the case with Iraq for a successful tender that leads to sales of U.S. rice."   Also participating in the meeting was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran Christopher Backemeyer, who said that while the outlook for Iran was less than optimistic, there appears to be interest in U.S. rice from private traders and that, with future improvements in the political environment, the potential for trade is there.  

Stress-resistant Green Super Rice developed at IRRI
posted February 16, 2017 at 12:01 am by Ferdie G. Domingo
SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija—Researchers at the International Rice Research Institute have developed a rice variety found resistant to drought, salinity, alkalinity, iron toxicity and other multiple stresses.Rc480, also known as GSR of Green Super Rice, was one of 25 new varieties approved recently by the National Seed Industry Council. 
The other 24 were developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute or PhilRice, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippine-Sino Center for Center for Agricultural Technology or PhilSCAT, Syngenta, and LongPing Philippines.
Dr. Oliver Manangkil, NSIC coordinator and head of the Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division of PhilRice, said GSR stands out among these varieties for its unique qualities. He said this variety can grow under saline and drought-prone environments, and has high and stable yields despite lesser input requirements.
The super rice, Manangkil said, offers a maximum yield of 4.4 tons per hectare, matures in 107 days after sowing or DAS, and has intermediate resistance to pests, such as yellow stem borer and brown plant-hoppers.
“The Super Rice is super in every sense of the word. It is super-resistant to all types of threats,” he stressed.
Manangkil added that of the 25 varieties, six are bred by PhilRice: Rc440 (Tubigan 39), NSIC Rc438 (Tubigan 38), and hybrid Rc446H (Mestiso 73) for irrigated lowlands, Rc472 (Sahod Ulan 22) for rainfed lowlands, and Rc462 (Salinas 21) and Rc470 (Salinas 25) for saline environments
NFA urged to extend arrival period for rice imports
FEBRUARY 15, 2017
Farmers’ cooperatives and private companies are asking the National Food Authority (NFA) for a one-month extension of the arrival period for rice imported under the so-called minimum access volume (MAV).According to NFA Spokesman Marietta J. Ablaza,  farmers’ cooperatives and firms need more time to bring in rice imported under the MAV scheme of the World Trade Organization.
“The import permits were distributed only last December and with holidays, farmers’ cooperatives and firms had very limited time to prepare the necessary paperwork,” Ablaza said.
She said NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino has yet to approve the request of the importers.Last December the NFA allowed 210 farmers’ organizations and private firms to import 692,340 metric tons (MT) of rice, 110,160 MT less than the country’s annual MAV of 802,500 MT.
The NFA list available on its web site also showed that 194 qualified rice traders, including AgriNurture Inc. and Pilmico Foods Corp., will import 642,340 MT of rice under the country specific quota (CSQ). Of the total rice to be imported under the CSQ, 293,100 MT of rice will be bought from Thailand
and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, 16 qualified applicants will import a total of 50,000 MT of rice under the “omnibus origin” category, according to the NFA list.Under NFA guidelines, rice imports under the MAV must arrive in the Philippines not later than February 28. The NFA administrator may also approve any extension of the arrival period.
As of February 10, only 108 qualified traders have used their respective import permits for 290,946.90 MT of imported rice, according to NFA data available on its web site.
Under the importation guidelines released by the NFA, rice traders are allowed to source from countries with specific quota and from omnibus origin or from  any country.
Rice traders and farmers’ groups can import 293,100 MT of rice from Thailand and Vietnam. They can also import 50,000 MT of rice from China, India and Pakistan; 15,000 MT from Australia; and 4,000 MT from El Salvador. An additional volume of 50,000 MT is allowed to be imported from any country.
The NFA said it allows each organization or firm to import 20,000 MT.
Currently, the government allows rice imports within the MAV scheme to enter the country at a lower tariff of 35 percent. Imports in excess of the MAV are slapped a higher tariff of 50 percent

Rice farmers relate experiences with carbon credits


Jim and Sam Whitaker, right and center, talked with Ron Chastain, left, staff aide to Sen. John Boozman, at the Arkansas Rice Annual Meeting.




Can carbon credits help rice farmers navigate the current period of low prices? Three growers are exploring the potential. Description: Jim Whitaker, Sam Whitaker and Ron Chastain at Arkansas Rice Annual Meeting
Forrest Laws | Feb 15, 2017
They say they haven’t received any checks in the mail yet, but three Arkansas rice farmers experimenting with carbon credits say they’ve seen enough positive benefits to convince them to continue their pursuits.
Mark Isbell, Jim Whitaker and Mike Sullivan participated in a panel discussion on the carbon credit market during the Arkansas Rice Annual Meeting held by the Arkansas Rice Council and Arkansas Rice Farmers in Stuttgart.
All three acknowledge rice farmers face a number of challenges, not the least of which are the low prices being offered for their crop. They hope carbon credits will help their bottom lines at some point, but until then they’re learning about practices that are providing other benefits for their farms.
To watch video of the panel members, visit:
“I don’t know when prices will be better,” said Isbell, a producer who lives in North Little Rock and farms in Lonoke County. “Whether prices are good or whether prices are bad, we have to look for every opportunity out there to become more efficient and find new ways to make a profit.
“Whether or not carbon credits are that, we don’t know yet,” he said. “But what I think those of us on this panel have come to see is that by exploring these it opens up a lot of other opportunities that we believe will be beneficial to the rice industry as a whole.”
Carbon markets expanding
No matter what readers may think about climate change, “the truth of the matter is carbon markets are expanding globally,” said Isbell. “The global marketplace is putting a price on what emissions are.
“As an industry, we can engage in that in one of two ways: We can sit back and potentially be regulated or forced to do things we don’t want to do, or we can try to shape that narrative in a way that lets us potentially profit from that. It may be some time – we haven’t seen any checks in the mail, but we’ve learned a lot and gained a lot of ancillary benefits.”
What are carbon credits? Isbell said they are a way of assigning a price tag to the greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by energy suppliers, industry and others, including agriculture, in the course of their daily activities.
“Those greenhouse gases that are produced, obviously, are a significant issue to some in the world,” said Isbell. “The carbon market emerged as a way to price what that emission is, and so those organizations can either find a way to diminish their emissions or they can find someone else who can diminish or sequester their emissions, and they can pay them to do that.”
Some countries already require industries, such as power plants, to participate in a compliance market; i.e., they either have to reduce emissions or find someone who can produce less than their amount.
$50 billion a year
Canada currently is paying $10 per ton and that market will continue to grow until it reaches $50 per ton in 2022. California also has a compliance market in which power plants and others must go into the marketplace and find credits so they can offset their emissions. Globally, the carbon market was valued at $50 billion in 2016.
“The good news is that agriculture is not being asked to produce less to meet those compliance or regulatory markets,” said Isbell. “We’re being looked at as a possible solution because we all know that farmers have always been conservationists; are those who have found ways to do things more efficiently; and care more about the ground where we grow our crops than anyone else.”
The drive to be more conservation-minded or sustainable has produced tangible benefits for Whitaker, who operates Trinity Farms in partnership with his brother, Sam, in McGehee in southeast Arkansas.
Working with the University of Arkansas Extension Service and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Whitaker has reduced the amount of water used in their rice crop by about 50 percent.
“It’s been a five-year journey to get to this point,” said Whitaker. “Like Mark said we haven’t seen a check, but we got a nice plaque out of the deal so far.”
50 percent savings
Whitaker worked with Merle Anders, a now-retired University of Arkansas agronomist, on watering techniques, land leveling and fertilizer utilization to improve the efficiency – and sustainability – of his farming operation.
“Our two-year data shows we can get by with somewhere between 10 and 15 inches of irrigation water a year, which is very, very low,” he noted. “You’re also using less fertilizer. The California compliance market encourages you to use under 150 units of total N for rice. We found we can grow good rice crops with less fertilizer.
“Using 10 to 15 inches less water saves a lot of money and makes us more sustainable.”
One of the keys to participating in the carbon market as a rice farmer is the practice of alternate wetting and drying or AWD.
“You put on your initial flood at, let’s just say, 4 inches; hold that water for probably 10 to 12 days to let your nitrogen stabilize; and then let it naturally evaporate,” says Whitaker. “I grow zero-grade rice on heavy clay soils in southeast Arkansas so, if I have a 4-inch flood and with a typical evaporation rate of .25 inch a day, I have 16 days of available water in my field.”
Allowing the field to dry down to what Whitaker and others call a “muddy soil,” that is, it’s dry enough to walk on and leave a shallow footprint, is important because that’s when the rice field stops emitting methane gas.
Microbial activity stops
“Flooded environments, whether they’re swamps or anything flooded, have these microbials in the water that emit methane gas,” he said. “As we dry the soil, that microbial community goes dormant, and plants release less methane gas.
“So we’re stretching out our irrigation, and, what I have found is that over time it becomes hard to achieve a dry-down. I don’t know how it is in central Arkansas, but I know in South Arkansas the last two years every two weeks we’re getting 1- to 2- to 10-inch rain events so our fields are continuously reflooding themselves. That’s how we’re getting by with so much less water.”
Sullivan, who farms with his son, Ryan, near Burdette in northeast Arkansas, said he believes he has also benefitted from working with researchers with the University of Arkansas and the USDA Agricultural Research Service at nearby Arkansas State University.
“We’ve pretty well turned over 1,500 to 2,000 acres of our rice farming operation for research to Dr. Michele Reba and Dr. Joe Massey at the ARS Water Resources Research Unit at Arkansas State,” he said. “They’re taking small-scale research to a whole-farm approach. Dr. Reba likes to refer to Ryan and I as her guinea pigs.
“We’re happy to cooperate because I think the key to what we’re trying to do is to be proactive instead of reactive,” he said. I went to the (Arkansas Soil and Water) Resource Conference in Jonesboro, and they spent a whole day talking about how water is a finite resource, and we’ve got to figure out a way to do things differently than we have in the past.”
Sullivan said his son, Ryan, is “a conservation-minded young man, like many of those in his generation,” and that will become increasingly important in the years ahead.
“If we’re not in the forefront of this, cooperating with the researchers and helping them, we’re going to have problems,” he noted. “I hate to think of Ryan having to deal with regulators telling him he has 20 inches of water, and he has to figure out a way to make it work.”
The Sullivans have also worked with alternate wetting and drying on their farm. “It’s almost become comical with us because for years we told our employees they had to make sure they kept a flood on our rice fields. So you can imagine the reaction when you tell them not to turn on the irrigation pump for 10 days.

Sun-smart rice varieties more productive

By FoodProcessing Staff 
Thursday, 16 February, 2017
Australian scientists have improved rice productivity by selecting rice varieties that are better at capturing sunlight to produce grains, instead of reflecting it as heat.
Rice is the most important crop for global food security. It is currently a staple source of food for four billion people worldwide, and this number is increasing rapidly, making the improvement of rice yields an urgent focus for plant scientists.
In a study published in Plant Physiology, a team of scientists focused on rice’s natural diversity by using traditional breeding techniques to select cultivated varieties — or cultivars — that are better at converting sunlight into food.
“We studied hundreds of plants from five rice cultivars and found that there is variation between these varieties in relation to the quantity of light they use for growth or dissipate as heat. Some of them are capable of converting more sunlight into chemical energy, producing greater leaf area over time,” said lead researcher Dr Katherine Meacham, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis.
When leaves intercept sunlight, this sunlight is either absorbed by the leaf and converted via the process of photosynthesis into the plants own components (leaves, grains, roots, etc); dissipated as heat as a strategy to protect the proteins of the plant from sun damage (photoprotection); or re-emitted as fluorescent light. In this study, the researchers measured fluorescence to infer the quantity of energy that is either converted into food or dissipated as heat.
“Recently, scientists in the US found that they can produce transgenic plants that are better at catching sunlight without getting sun damage. Our work shows that this is also achievable by taking advantage of the natural variation of rice plants,” said Professor Robert Furbank, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis and one of the authors of the study.
“We found that there is room for improvement in some cultivars that can result in more photosynthesis, without risking the plant’s protection strategies against sunlight damage,” said Dr Meacham.Traditional breeding for photosynthetic traits has not been a common strategy in any major cereal crop, in part due to the difficulty in measuring photosynthesis in thousands of plants. However, rapid screening tools are now available to study the interaction between the genes and the way they interact with the environment.

Oroville Dam: Evacuation order disrupts farming in affected area


Issue Date: February 15, 2017
By Kevin Hecteman, Christine Souza and Ching Lee

Description: flows over the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam. A few hours after this photo was taken, officials ordered evacuations below the dam because of concerns the spillway might collapse. 
Photo/Kelly Grow, DWR
Evacuation of a large swath of land downstream from Oroville Dam during the weekend caused logistical headaches for farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses within the affected area, while Department of Water Resources crews worked to head off a feared failure of the emergency spillway at the dam.
Officials ordered evacuation of low-lying areas near the Feather River on Sunday, after water in the reservoir eroded the emergency spillway. The evacuation order was lifted Tuesday.
Butte County Supervisor Bill Connelly said DWR officials feared a collapse of the spillway, "which would send a tidal wave down the mountain, through the diversion pool, over the diversion dam and to town."
Jamie Johansson, California Farm Bureau Federation first vice president who grows olives near Oroville, said local officials acted quickly.
"You kind of see the power of the water behind the dam should there be a catastrophic failure as they were describing it (Sunday) around 5 o'clock," he said. "I can't tell you how important local officials become."
Johansson said there was enough concern among the county sheriff and supervisors that they enacted the county emergency contingency plan, which included mobile text alerts. 
Colleen Cecil, executive director of the Butte County Farm Bureau, said flooding was nothing out of the ordinary so far.
"There hasn't been extreme flooding," she said. "I think it's normal flooding along the Feather River that folks are experiencing right now."Cecil said it was too early to assess damage."Right now, there's standing water in orchards," she said. "Almond bloom has started. It's in the very early stages. These sunny days in between these rainstorms get bees really happy, and we're going to see almond bloom here much sooner rather than later. Hopefully, pollination won't be impacted, but that is definitely an area that we're watching."Crops that could potentially be affected if the situation worsens include cling peaches, prunes, walnuts, almonds, olives, kiwifruit and possibly rice.Kulwant Johl of Yuba City, who grows orchard crops and whose farm is located along Highway 70, said the affected region includes a number of processing, packing and fruit drying companies, such as Sunsweet, Pacific Coast Producers, Cal Fruit International and Sacramento Valley Packing.
"We have so many farms, agricultural facilities and equipment. We've got packing facilities and dehydrators and dryers, so if something happens, for agriculture it will be a disaster," Johl said.
Steve Freeman, vice president of field operations for Pacific Coast Producers, which handles tree fruit and processing tomatoes, said the company temporarily shut its facility in Oroville, which includes a warehouse and canning and packaging plant."This is a moment-by-moment situation," Freeman said. "Everybody's situation is a little bit different, but I'm telling (employees) to make sure they have food, water and clothing, because they might not be able to get into town."
Sutter County Supervisor Mat Conant, who grows walnuts in Rio Oso, said of his fellow farmers and community members, "Everybody is just concerned. We don't know what to expect; we just don't know what is going to happen," adding that local irrigation districts are monitoring levees in the area.
Asked to describe how floodwater could affect orchards, Sutter County walnut grower Davin Norene said, "A wall of significant water rushing through an orchard would cause significant erosion and maybe topple trees, and standing water for a significant period would impact of the health of the orchard, since (trees) would be more prone to root fungal diseases."Butte County Agricultural Commissioner Louie Mendoza said his department is receiving updates from the Office of Emergency Services, adding, "As long as the water can continue to be safely released from the spillway and the Feather River can handle the water and not cause any flooding issues downstream, then hopefully we can get through this."
Butte County rancher Steve Lambert, who lives in Oroville, said most cattle in his region are in the foothills this time of year and out of danger. Lambert resides north of Thermalito Afterbay and said he has not moved any of his cattle, which are not along the river or canal.
"There's opportunity for us to get wet, but I don't think it's the wall of water that some areas are looking at," he said.As a county supervisor, Lambert said the region's levees "are in the best shape they've ever been in," noting recent improvements made to the Feather River West Levee.Northern California ranchers and landowners have taken to social media to offer help to anyone needing to move livestock or a place to put them.
Tara Brocker, a rice farmer and rancher in Sutter County, was one of those offering the use of her stock trailer, though she said no one has taken her up on it yet."I think most people have gotten their animals out," she said. "Calling around and talking to my friends, I don't have anybody that's in a bad situation that has animals that need to be moved."
Brocker lives and farms south of Nicolaus at the confluence of the Feather and Sacramento rivers, a high-risk flood area. But her house sits above the floodplain, so she didn't have to leave. She has, however, moved all of her livestock to property in Newcastle "because I didn't want to risk it."
"The agriculture community where I live is pretty on the ball about getting out and trying to be prepared, because we live in such a high-risk flood area anyway and we take it very seriously. We don't usually mess around," she said.Yuba County rancher Henry Smith, who lives in Marysville, said he and his family are paying close attention to the news and watching the level of Oroville Dam. He said he's not concerned about his cattle, as they are in the foothills of Browns Valley.
"Most people with livestock in Yuba and Sutter counties have them on higher ground, except for a few, so that's not a problem," he said.
Meanwhile, in San Joaquin County, vineyard and orchard farmer Joe Valente was seeing a virtual rerun of last month's flooding. Valente, operations manager for Kautz Farms of Lodi, once again saw farmland in his care inundated.
"We're back at it again," he said, noting that his farm has about 800 acres of vineyards that are underwater, "anywhere from a couple of feet to 6 feet," and has almonds underwater, too.
All that water was throwing Valente and his crews seriously off schedule."Our pruning is getting way behind," Valente said.University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor Paul Verdegaal said winegrapes tolerate floodwater better than nut and fruit trees do."Vines are pretty tolerant during dormancy of flooded conditions," said Verdegaal, who is based in San Joaquin County. "They'll easily tolerate 30 or 40 days, even maybe a little more if it's cold and/or running water."
But nut and fruit trees can begin to develop problems with root rot after a few days, even if the water keeps moving, he said.
Forecasters predicted more rain for Northern California this week."Right now, the seven-day total precipitation forecast for (the Oroville) area looks to be around 4 to 8 inches, and this will be late Wednesday through at least Monday," said Idamis Del Valle, a National Weather Service forecaster in Sacramento. Snow levels were predicted to start at 7,000 feet and drop to 5,000 to 6,000 feet Saturday and as low as 3,000 feet Sunday, she added.
(Kevin Hecteman,Christine Souza and Ching Lee are assistant editors of Ag Alert.)
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item

Evacuation lifted for 200K Californians living below dam

Police officers watch the Oroville Dam's main spillway from a lookout point Tuesday in Oroville, California. Crews working around the clock atop the crippled Oroville Dam have made progress repairing the damaged spillway, state officials said Tuesday. [Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press]
Police officers watch the Oroville Dam's main spillway from a lookout point Tuesday in Oroville, California. Crews working around the clock atop the crippled Oroville Dam have made progress repairing the damaged spillway, state officials said Tuesday. [Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press]

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities lifted an evacuation order Tuesday for nearly 200,000 California residents who live below the nation's tallest dam after declaring that the risk of catastrophic collapse of its eroded emergency spillway had been significantly reduced.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea announced that people could return home immediately. Officials said they have drained enough of the lake behind Oroville Dam so that the emergency spillway will not be needed to handle runoff from an approaching storm.
But, the sheriff said, the region 150 miles northeast of San Francisco would remain under an evacuation warning, meaning that residents must be ready to flee again if conditions worsen.
Residents returning home "have to be vigilant," and "there is the prospect that we will issue another evacuation order ... if the situation changes," Honea said.
Rod Remocal of Biggs, west of Oroville, said the announcement "took a big load off" of him. He called it "the thrill of relief."
The decision to lift the order came abruptly, just as the evacuation order Sunday night came shortly after officials said there was no threat.
The sheriff said water was being released through the dam's damaged primary spillway without further harm to the concrete structure. Work to cover the earthen emergency spillway with rocks and cement was on pace to beat the next rain, and those storms would be less potent.
"As a result of these actions, the risks that we faced when we initiated those evacuations have significantly been reduced," Honea said.
"This reduction to an evacuation warning properly balances the need for people to resume their daily lives while at the same time being prepared to deal with future increased threat," he added.
The decision came as helicopters carried giant sandbags and cement blocks from a staging area on the south side of Oroville Dam toward the stricken spillway on the north side. Crews operating heavy equipment loaded rocks and boulders into dump trucks, which carried them over the dam and dumped them on damaged portions.
Bill Croyle, acting director of the state Department of Water Resources, said that as of noon Tuesday, water was flowing into the lake at a rate far lower than the water being released.
"That means we're continuing to make significant gains," Croyle said.The surface of the reservoir was 12 feet lower than at its height, and the water release, described as the greatest in the dam's nearly half century, will continue to lower the surface a total of 50 feet.
The National Weather Service's Sacramento office said the incoming rain would move through late Wednesday and Thursday morning, with 2 inches to 4 inches expected in the foothills and mountains. But the storm was looking colder than initially projected, meaning less snow and less runoff than last week's storms.
Officials had ordered residents to flee to higher ground Sunday after concluding that the never-before-used emergency spillway was close to failing and sending a 30-foot wall of water into communities downstream.
Over the weekend, the rain-swollen lake spilled down the unpaved emergency spillway for nearly 40 hours, leaving it badly eroded. The problem occurred six days after engineers discovered a growing hole in the dam's main, concrete spillway.
Officials defended the decision to suddenly call for mass evacuations Sunday, just a few hours after saying the situation was stable, forcing families to rush to pack up and get out.
"There was a lot of traffic. It was chaos," said Robert Brabant, an Oroville resident who evacuated with his wife, son, dogs and cats. "It was a lot of accidents. It was like people weren't paying attention to other people."
Oroville, a Gold Rush town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, is nestled near the foot of the dam, which was completed in 1968 and at 770 feet is the nation's tallest. Houses and churches are perched on tree-lined streets near the Feather River. Ornate Victorian homes sit alongside smaller bungalows.
Local businesses, including one that sells supplies for gold-panning, dominate a downtown area that spans several blocks. A wide range of chain stores sit a short distance away along the main highway.
The region is largely rural, with its politics dominated by rice growers, orchard operators and other agricultural interests. The region is dogged by the high unemployment rates endemic to farming communities. There are large pockets of poverty and swaths of sparsely populated forests that are popular with anglers, campers and backpackers

Description: rice combine harvestWhat are Arkansas rice producers considering for 2017 season?

David Bennett | Feb 15, 2017
What might Mid-South rice acres look like in 2017?
From an Arkansas perspective, “as long as soybean prices remain as strong as they currently are — and rice prices stay as low as they currently are — we’re probably looking at around 1.2 million rice acres,” says Jarrod Hardke, University of Arkansas Extension rice specialist. “That’s close to a 20 percent decrease from 2016 when we were at about 1.5 million acres.
 “I’m a rice guy and want that crop planted,” says Hardke. “But with soybean prices where they are, I’ve been strongly encouraging growers to book some. We don’t have to book a lot and want to leave some options open. But I’d book some soybeans now to cover the cost of production. Lock that good price down while you can.”
The past few years, the state’s rice acreage “has 
really been see-sawing. In 2016, we were up around 18 percent over 2015 acreage, which was down 13 percent compared to 2014. “We’ll probably be close to 50 percent of our 2017 rice being hybrid. That isn’t a big jump — recently, we’ve been in the 40s.
“Last year, we were somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 percent planted to medium-grain. That’s likely to rise in 2017 because of the yield stability last year and some market demand which should increase acreage to around 15 percent.”
That leaves 35 percent of Arkansas’ rice acreage split among Clearfield and conventional varieties.
Common threads
Asked about current questions and concerns from rice producers during winter meetings, Hardke says, “There are definitely some common threads. As belts tighten, growers want increasingly more specific guidance on their options.
“Individual growers have very different mindsets entering 2017. That’s because things were so ‘all over the board’ in 2016, mostly in a bad way. You hear everything from ‘we did fine’ to ‘the environment for rice wasn’t so good’ to ‘my crop was horrible.’
“More or less, though, the hybrids and medium-grain rice were off up to 20 bushels below expectations. The varieties were more like 40 bushels off.”
Hardke says it isn’t likely the same environmental conditions will happen again. “But people are moving to a defensive crouch, and rightly so. That means they want more hybrid rice, but there isn’t more to be had. There were all sorts of difficulties on the Gulf Coast — RiceTec had as much trouble as many of our growers did with seed production.
“Some will grow whatever hybrid seed they can get and plant nothing else. Some have been asking me about filling in with medium-grains even if they aren’t traditional medium-grain growers.”
The biggest question: after hybrids and medium-grains, what do I plant? What varieties will work?
“We have a few recommended conventionals and a few Clearfields. There won’t be a large acreage of a lot of any newer, first-time-commercially-available varieties this year.”
On the conventional front, “Diamond is our most recommended. Since it’s the first year out, plant it with caution. Look at history and there are plenty of examples where, despite rigorous testing, true field conditions expose weaknesses. We really work at it, but it’s impossible to expose varieties to everything, every environment in the state, during testing. Always use caution when planting any new cultivar for the first time. Put a toe in the water, don’t do a cannonball.”
There will likely be around 75,000 to 100,000 acres of Diamond. “That’s a pretty big jump for a new release.”
More producers will be familiar with LaKast, because it has been out for several years. “It was released into the teeth of 2015 and 2016, so there were wide result variations from individual growers. Some guys loved it, some had no luck with it. However, compared head to head, it was the most stable variety in the face of the tough environmental conditions.
“I think growers will shift away from Roy J after what happened in 2016. The rains came in late and caused some pretty bad blast on it. In some cases with a lack of blast disease being found, fungicide applications weren’t made or were minimized and the disease came back to bite us late.”
Taggart, meanwhile, “has very limited availability with most phasing it out. It’s still one our more dependable varieties, though.”
Clearfield considerations
On the Clearfield side, “the new CL153 looks like it has high-end yield potential. It’s similar to CL151, which has been a staple for us over the years. However, CL153 brings a much-improved disease package over CL151 including increased resistance to blast and bacterial panicle blight. It has a lot of positives and, with any luck, it’ll be a big player. I’m guessing there may be enough seed to plant around 50,000 acres this year.”
Another new Clearfield, CL172, “will likely also have limited acreage — maybe another 50,000. This variety can sometimes reach the same yield heights as the other Clearfields. Typically, though, it places between CL151 and CL111.
“Like CL153, CL172 has a great disease package. The yield just lags a bit although the grain quality is phenomenal.”
Regarding medium-grains, “Jupiter has been our staple since about 2010. It’s been fantastic with high yields but has some blast and lodging concerns. Growers are looking for some improvements and Titan is a new release that looks to be competitive with Jupiter.”
Hardke is waiting on some market approvals before recommending Titan over Jupiter. “Those approvals may come in the next month or two. Assuming that happens, I’d tentatively make that recommendation because the data says it yields more than Jupiter on average, has an equal-to-slightly-better disease package, stands up better, and heads five to seven days earlier

Rice auction attracts 73 bidders

By Thai PBS
 Description: Thailand News - 15-02-17 2 PBS Rice auction attracts 73 bidders 1
The government’s first rice auction of the new year held at the Foreign Trade Department on Tuesday has attracted 73 bidders who are mostly rice millers and rice exporters.

FTD deputy director-general Adul Chotenisakorn said Wednesday that altogether 2.87 million tonnes of 17 rice varieties, including 100% Hom Mali, Grade 2 Hom Changvad, 5% white rice and 5% Pathum Thani rice would be put on public auction.
He said, however, that FTD officials would have to check the qualifications of the 73 bidders to make sure that they are qualified and will be allowed to submit their sealed bids on February 16.
The government is expected to release a substantial amount of rice from its stockpiles should this auction go through, said Mr Adul, adding that this auction will not impact on domestic rice price as demand of rice remains high.
Regarding the unsold rice stock from the previous government’s rice pledging scheme estimated at between 5.2-5.3 million tonnes, the FTD is expected to unload them to the industrial sector in May before the harvest of the second rice crop

PNG lucky to import rice from Indonesia: Consul

15th February 2017 |
Merauke, Papua (ANTARA News) - Papua New Guineas (PNG) Consul General to Indonesia, Geifrey Wiri, said his country was very lucky to import rice produced by the Indonesian farmers in Merauke, Papua province."Indonesian rice is very cheap compared to the rice produced by other countries," Wiri said here on Tuesday.

According to him, PNG imports rice from Thailand and Vietnam.

"The launch of Indonesian rice export to PNG is quite surprising to me, because this is the first time we import rice from Indonesia," he stated.

Wiri added that the Indonesian rice export plan will be submitted to the government of Papua New Guinea.

Wiri and two other PNG officials attended the launch of the Indonesian rice export by Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman in Merauke on Monday (Feb 13).

Earlier, at the launch of the rice export, the minister invited the PNG government to import rice from Merauke.

The minister advised Merauke district administration to not only launch the export but also continue to increase rice exports to other countries.

He added that the central government will continue to provide supports for agricultural infrastructure in Papua, especially in Merauke.(*)
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-February 15

Nagpur, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices firmed up again in Nagpur Agriculture Producing
and Marketing Committee (APMC) auctions on increased buying support from local millers amid thin
supply from producing regions. Notable rise in Madhya Pradesh pulses and reported demand from
South-based millers also boosted prices, according to sources.


   * Desi gram raw recovered in open market on renewed seasonal demand from local traders
     amid weak arrival from producing belts. 
   * Tuar varieties ruled steady in open market here on subdued demand from local traders
     amid ample stock in ready position.
   * Rice varieties reported strong in open market on good festival season demand from
     local traders amid tight supply from producing regions Madhya Pradesh and
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 4,400-4,500, Tuar dal (clean) – 7,000-7,300, Udid -
     6,400-6,800, Udid Mogar (clean) – 9,000-9,500, Moong Mogar (clean) 6,700-7,100,
     Gram – 5,300-5,350, Gram Super best bold – 7,500-7,900 for 100 kg.

   * Wheat and other commodities moved in a narrow range in scattered deals, settled at
     last levels in thin trading activity.
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close  
     Gram Auction                     4,600-4,930         4,600-4,900
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                4,000-5,050         3,900-5,000
     Moong Auction                n.a.                6,400-6,600
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Gram Super Best Bold            7,500-8,000        7,500-8,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            6,500-7,000        6,500-7,000
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            5,900-6,200        5,900-6,200
     Desi gram Raw                5,250-5,450         5,200-5,400
     Gram Yellow                 8,000-8,500        8,000-8,500
     Gram Kabuli                11,600-12,800        11,600-12,800
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             7,200-7,500        7,200-7,500
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        6,400-7,000        6,400-7,000
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        6,000-6,300        6,000-6,300
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        5,500-5,900        5,500-5,900
     Tuar Gavarani New             4,500-4,700        4,500-4,700
     Tuar Karnataka             4,700-5,000        4,700-5,000
     Masoor dal best            5,600-6,000        5,600-6,000
     Masoor dal medium            5,500-5,700        5,500-5,700
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        6,900-7,200         6,900-7,200
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,200-6,600        6,200-6,600
     Moong dal Chilka            5,900-6,500        5,900-6,500
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            6,400-6,800        6,400-6,800
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 9,500-9,900       9,500-9,900
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    7,800-8,500        7,800-8,500   
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        5,100-5,400        5,100-5,4S00    
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        5,400-5,800        5,400-5,800
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          3,700-3,900         3,700-3,900
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            3,000-3,100        3,000-3,100
     Watana White (100 INR/KG)           3,200-3,400           3,200-3,400
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,800-4,300        3,800-4,300  
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    2,050-2,200        2,050-2,200  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         1,900-2,100           1,900-2,100        
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,500-2,600        2,500-2,600   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   2,200-2,400        2,200-2,400
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,600-4,000        3,600-4,000   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,700-3,000        2,700-3,000          
     Rice BPT best New(100 INR/KG)    3,100-3,600        3,000-3,500   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        2,700-2,800        2,600-2,700   
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,500-2,900        2,400-2,800
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,600-2,800        2,500-2,700  
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      2,400-2,500        2,300-2,400  
     Rice HMT best New (100 INR/KG)    3,900-4,400        3,800-4,300   
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,300-3,600        3,200-3,500   
     Rice Shriram best New(100 INR/KG)    5,400-5,800        5,200-5,600
     Rice Shriram med New(100 INR/KG)    4,800-5,200        4,600-5,000  
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    9,200-13,500        9,200-13,500    
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    4,800-6,500        4,800-6,500   
     Rice Chinnor best New(100 INR/KG)    5,900-6,100        5,800-6,000   
     Rice Chinnor med. New (100 INR/KG)    5,300-5,600        5,200-5,500   
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        2,000-2,300        2,000-2,300   
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)         1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000

Maximum temp. 32.1 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 16.7 degree Celsius
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Generally cloudy sky with light rains. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around
and 32 and 17 degree Celsius respectively.

Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but
included in market prices)
Causes and effects of rice import deluge

15 FEBRUARY 2017
Description: The importation of rice is a heavy drain on the country’s foreign earnings
The importation of rice is a heavy drain on the country’s foreign earnings
Ghana is presently experiencing phenomenal rice imports to meet the rapidly growing demand, particularly in its bustling cities. The total annual import of milled rice at the end of 2016 stood at 558,000 tonnes on the order of US$500 million.
It is not difficult to appreciate the burden of the heavy rice imports on Ghana’s economy as you shop along the commercial city streets decked with a panorama of colourfully packaged and predominantly luxury rices (e.g. aromatic and long grain rice) from many South-East Asian countries.
The present status of rice as a major food was predicted by the West African Rice Development Association (WARDA) in the 1970s, that rice demand would grow rapidly based on the following factors:
• Increasing population and per capita demand rate;
• Rapid rural-urban drift;
• Dietary shift from coarse grains (e.g. maize) to fine grains (e.g. rice) as a sign of enhanced welfare and social class;
• The excellent storability of rice as compared to some of the local traditional foods;
• The convenience of serving rice as fast food at dinners, funerals, weddings and institutional feeding.
Aside from the above, the situation has been exacerbated by the following factors:
• Ghana’s trade liberalisation policy under its Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) and Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in the 1990s;
• The persistent constraints in the local production sector are continuously expressed in low rice self-sufficiency levels (i.e. 30-40 per cent) spanning over three decades.
Ghana’s rice self sufficiency
Rice self sufficiency represents the percentage of the annual rice demand that is locally produced. On the basis of the annual per capita rice consumption rate of 32kg and an estimated population of 27 million, the total annual demand of polished rice stands at 864,000 mt, which includes both the imports and the local supply.
The conversion of the latter to paddy, based on the average national yield of 2.6 (tonnes per hectare) t/ha and milling recovery of 55 per cent translates into 1.7 million tonnes of paddy, which will require a total of 604,196 hectares rice area to produce. The present rice area, 216, 000 ha thus represents 33 per cent rice self sufficiency.
For Ghana to achieve 100 per cent rice self-sufficiency, an additional 400,000 ha (approx.) rice area must be developed. It is also worthy of note that the present rice area has been achieved over a period of six decades with several government interventions, indicating that the road map to rice self sufficiency in Ghana is daunting, considering also the fact that the major factors which drive the demand (i.e. population growth rate and the per capita consumption rate) are not static.
Linked to the low self-sufficiency are major constraints (including production, processing and marketing), which affect the expansion of the rice industry and these are discussed hereunder.
Average paddy yield (t/ha.)
The national average paddy yield of 2.6t/ha is essentially controlled by the Rainfed Lowland Hydromorphic ecology (2.5t/ha), which constitutes 75 per cent of the rice area in Ghana.
The irrigated ecology which is, however, the most technically advanced production system with the highest national average yield (4.5t/ha) accounts for only about 5 per cent of the rice area and, therefore, does not impact strongly on the national average yield.
The key to increasing rice output in Ghana, therefore, lies essentially in improving the production system of the Rainfed Lowland Hydromorphic ecology.
Rice crops per year
(cropping intensity)
Two rice crops in a year (i.e. 200 per cent cropping intensity) will hasten Ghana’s desire to achieve rice self-sufficiency. However, this is not achievable for many reasons. The ecologies which are rain-dependent, that is (1) Rainfed Upland and (2) the Rainfed Lowland Hydromorphic ecology, cannot risk a second rice crop because of uncertainties in the rainfall.
Furthermore, the 75 per cent of the rice area which is mostly found in northern Ghana is subject to one long rainy season (mono-modal pattern) that imposes one crop per year on production.
The irrigated ecology on the other hand, which has control over the most important production factor, water, is only able to achieve an average of 150 per cent cropping intensity for myriads of reasons.
The best opportunities to increase rice output in Ghana occur in the Rainfed Lowland Hydromorphic ecology through: (1) increased national average yield from 2.5t/ha to 3.5t/ha; (2) rapid rice area expansion programme; (3) improved water management systems, and (4) the possibility of ratooning.
Improved varieties
Presently, there is dearth of improved varieties for the three major production ecologies. The improved varieties should answer the following needs: (1) must be high yielding; (2) must be tolerant to a wide spectrum of pests and diseases and; (3) must meet the rapidly changing consumer preferences.
Between 1970 and 1990, Ghana’s National Agriculture Research System (NARS) benefited immensely from hundreds of germ plasm donations for collaborated trials initiated by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI, Philippines) and WARDA (Benin) in the following programmes: WARDA Coordinated Trials, the International Network for Genetic Evaluation in Rice (INGER) and the International Rice Testing Programme (IRTP).
These programmes generated several promising lines which were never released for commercial production. It will be expedient for NARS to request from the Gene Centres of the International Research Institutes, (i.e. IRRI, IITA, WARDA) some of the known and the latest promising nurseries for further testing and release to farmers as the quickest way of achieving the national goals.
Fragrant rice
Fragrant rice is currently a fad in Ghana as a result of importation of luxury aromatic rice from South-East Asia. Local farmers cannot wait on researchers to also enjoy the good marketability and the high premium prices of fragrant rice on the market today. Many of our rice farmers, particularly those on the irrigation projects, switched to the cultivation of fragrant rice (e.g. Jasmine 85, Togo Marshall, Pusa Basmati, KRC Baika etc) from their own collections without the assistance of research scientists in most cases. The humid tropics, however, are not the ideal environments to cultivate fragrant rice because the aromatic essence volatilises profusely under the prevailing high temperature conditions, leaving the rice only mildly fragrant. Researchers will need to come to the aid of the aromatic rice farmers to help them achieve the best out of their efforts.
Grain quality
Grain quality issues are important for the development of the industry as they affect the marketability of the local product in the face of stiff competition with some high-quality rice imports. When rice is harvested at the optimum time and processed, it mills with high per cent head rice (i.e. whole grains), appear white, translucent, sparkling and very attractive.
To meet the international standards on the other hand, the product must be graded and should be devoid of extraneous materials (i.e. undehusked grains, stones, red rice, weed seeds etc), and the variety in question should be of high purity (i.e. over 95 per cent). In the past three decades, about 70 per cent of the local product could not meet the international standards due to either lack of knowledge or the absence of the appropriate equipment.
The situation has since changed for the better. Consumer grain preferences include the following features: Length (medium-long grain), whole grains (i.e. 75 per cent - 95 per cent), high swelling and flaky upon cooking remaining in soft gel condition upon cooling.
Long storage (i.e. minimum three – four months) also improves the cooking qualities (i.e. flakiness and swelling characteristics) of non-waxy rices but our local farmers could ill afford the storage time. Local rice therefore enters the market with higher grain moisture content (i.e. eight-12 per cent) than that of imports (i.e.five per cent or less), due to short storage resulting in poor cooking qualities compared to imports.
Import effects
The importation of high-quality and well-packaged rice products has compelled local farmers to be quality conscious in order to be competitive. The farmers now endeavour to seek the services of modern mills with high recovery rates (60-65 per cent) and also with grading and destoning facilities to enable them to reach the niche market for higher income.
Processors, on the other hand, have responded to the market demands and are now importing high-grade mills. Ghana Rice Inter Professional Body (GRIB) for example has introduced ultramodern colour sorter equipment into the industry, which improves the uniformity and aesthetics of the milled grains. The huge rice imports, however, are a big drain on the country’s foreign earnings.
Again consumers, who used to relish the US No.5 non-aromatic rice brand, now spend fortunes on Thai luxury fragrant rices for sheer fragrance, which could be easily created with kitchen condiments.
Aside from its heavy drain on Ghana’s scant foreign earnings, one positive aspect of the imports is that it has compelled the local producers to expand their farms and improve product quality. On the other hand, governments also realise the urgency to raise the production above the present low 33 per cent self sufficiency. The enormity of the task to achieve 100 per cent self sufficiency as often demanded by many consumers is clearly indicated.
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Govt sees record foodgrain output at 271.98 mt for 2016-17
Description: Govt sees record foodgrain output at 271.98 mt for 2016-17
 India's foodgrain output is likely to hit a record 271.98 million tonnes in the 2016-17 crop year ending June, buoyed by good monsoon after two years of drought. | 1 Comments India's foodgrain output is likely to hit a record 271.98 million tonnes in the 2016-17 crop year ending June, buoyed by good monsoon after two years of drought.
Wheat, rice, pulses, coarse cereals and oil seed production are all set to surpass previous record, as per the agriculture ministry's second estimate. Foodgrain production had declined to 251.57 million tonnes (mt) last year because of drought while the previous record was 265.04 million tonnes in 2013-14. "As a result of very good rainfall during monsoon 2016 and various policy initiatives taken by the government, the country has witnessed record foodgrain production in the current year," the ministry said in a statement.
As per the second estimate, rice output is pegged at 108.86 mt for 2016-17 crop year (July-June) as against 104.41 mt last year. The previous record was 106.65 mt in 2013-14. Wheat output is projected to be 96.64 mt this year as against 92.29 mt in 2015-16. It may be noted that last year's wheat output has been revised downwards from 93.50 mt. The previous record was 95.85 mt achieved in 2013-14 crop year. In the case of pulses, the output is projected to be all-time high at 22.14 mt this year as against actual output of 16.35 mt last year. The previous record was 19.25 mt in 2013-14. The output, however, is still short of the country's estimated demand of 23-24 million tonnes.
But the likely rise in output will reduce the country's dependence on imports. Coarse cereal output is estimated to be a record 44.34 mt this year as against 38.52 mt last year. The previous record was 43.40 mt in 2013-14. The foodgrain basket comprises wheat, rice, pulses and coarse cereals. Oilseed production is also pegged at a record 33.60 mt this year with soyabean output likely to be 14.13 mt, groundnut 8.47 mt and castorseed 1.74 mt. Last year, oilseed output was 25.25 mt and the previous record was 32.75 mt in 2013-15.
Among cash crops, cotton output is estimated at 32.51 million bales (of 170 kg each) this year, as against 30 million bales last year. However, sugarcane output is likely to be lower at 309.98 mt this year as against 348.44 mt last year, while jute and mesta output is estimated to be lower at 10.06 million bales (of 180 kg each) as against 10.52 million bales last year. The government releases total four estimates on foodgrains production before the final one at different stages of production and harvesting period