Tuesday, July 28, 2020

28th July 2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

BR Research 

Updated 28 Jul 2020

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Last week a list of (supposedly) top 100 exporting companies from Pakistan kept making rounds in business and economics circles. BR Research made a plethora of calls to find out the source, origin, and accuracy of that data in that list, but all leads led to a cul-de-sac. However, since a host of sources in corporate sector found that list by and large reliable, we thought best to take a quick look at the numbers and see what insights they have to offer.

Unsurprisingly, textile sector dominates the list with 69 out of top 100 exporting companies in FY20 being from that sector. The sector contributed about three-fourth (76%) of the total $8.8 billion worth of overseas earnings booked by top-100 exporters last year.

What is rather surprising though is that outside of textile, no other company from the so-called ‘export-oriented sectors’ – the ones that demand zero-rating every now so often – is part of the top-100 list. The likes of cutlery, surgical goods, leather, carpets aren’t in the top-100 list, save for a single sports goods firm that sells polo goods, such as horse saddles, polo sticks, etc.

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These statistics are indicative of the small and medium nature of the country’s export-oriented sector, which is also perhaps why firms from Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad dominate the list of top-100 where Karachi alone boasts 53 of the top-100 exporters accounting for 54 percent total exports of these top dollar earnings companies. This reiterates why when Karachi bleeds, or drowns (in rainwater), the political community and the state machinery must listen.

It's quite obvious that Karachi would also dominate the top-69 textile exporters from the list of top-100 exporters. With 33 textile exporters contributing nearly half of total textile exports of the top 69 players, Karachi has a clear lead. Lahore follows with 21 textile players contributing a third of total textile exports of the top 69 players, followed by 9 from Faisalabad.

In addition to textile, of the top 11 rice exporters included in the list of top-100 exporters, nine are from Karachi. In other words, one can say that top 9 rice exporters of the country that boast about 30 percent share in total rice exports of the country are based out of Karachi.

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It’s interesting to see that total exports of top-100 firms were about 41 percent of Pakistan’s total goods exports in FY20, where top-69 textile exports accounted for about 54 percent of the country’s total textile exports last year. This reading too points to the small and medium nature of the country’s textile sector, as does the fact that top 11 rice exporters account for only a third of total rice exports of the country.

Yet for many long years, SMEs in the country continue to face a long list of problems for which successive governments promise a lot but deliver very little.



What ails agriculture: sowing nothing, harvesting nothing


In the last 20 years, the contribution of agriculture to GDP has fallen by 8%. And without massive structural changes, our agrarian economy might be headed for much worse.

Description: Hassan Naqvi

ByHassan Naqvi

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Even as we battle in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, something most Pakistanis will not know is that we have been fighting another virus for more than a decade now. The ‘curl leaf virus’ is a pathogenic virus that affects cotton plants, causing its leaves to curl upwards and growth to become stunted, resulting in significantly lower yields. 

Despite cotton and textiles being a major export for Pakistan, successive governments have been unable to combat the virus, leaving cotton farmers frustrated and complaining. This inability is testament to the neglect that the agriculture sector has seen in the country. 

The government often describes Pakistan as an agrarian society, a fact that is repetitively drilled into our heads by social studies textbooks. Yet, the agricultural sector remains starved of attention. Even as the government announced a multi-billion rupee rescue and relief package for textile mills, the farmers who grow the cotton for those mills were conveniently ignored.

And without a powerful lobby like the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to back them and raise a ruckus in the media, is it any surprise that farmers do not get anywhere and remain largely ignored?

The latest news, however, has been hopeful, with reports surfacing that the government has announced the Prime Ministers Agriculture Emergency Program worth a whopping Rs277 billion. After decades, there is hope that a meaningful reversal in the fortunes of the agriculture sector might be on the cards. Naturally, the relief package has drawn attention, and was a subject of discussion along with the plight of agriculture at a recent webinar attended by people in powerful corridors. But the question remains, even with the money, how deep do Pakistan’s agricultural issues go?

The IPR webinar

The woes of the agricultural community and the issues that haunt this sector prompted the recent webinar held this week by the Institute for Policy Reforms’ (IPR), a pro-Establishment think tank run by Humayun Akhtar Khan and some other veterans of the Musharraf Administration. The webinar was supposed to get powerful movers and shakers together and ask them to be part of the conversation related to agriculture, which are usually left to farmers and the raw material users. 

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The conclusions were stark for the sector, though judging by what the participants of the webinar thought were problems, perhaps a bigger problem for the sector is one of mental framework even for those who mean it well. 

For starters, the participants – who were all experts on agriculture or agricultural economics – thought that one of the biggest problems facing the agriculture sector is that it is unable to attract enough foreign aid, a reflection of the old Pakistani bureaucratic beggar mentality that nothing can be done without a handout from foreign countries. As if Pakistan does not have the resources to better its own condition.

They pointed to the fact that of the grants that it does manage to get, it is rare that they are invested in a way that increases productive capacity to produce exportable goods. Pakistan’s research capabilities have lagged so far behind that it is often impossible for the government to be able to ascertain an appropriate policy course of action. 

Because of its large agricultural landmass and population, Pakistan has thus far managed to skate by with its existing natural resources. However, decades of ignoring the problems have brought us here, where the country as a whole is still unable to fight the ‘curl leaf virus’ in 2020. 

“We have been unable to adequately deal with the virus affecting cotton, or even the harm done to all crops by insects. Is it any surprise then that many indicators reflect the sector’s grim reality,” said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader and IPR Chairman, Humayun Akhtar Khan on the occasion. 

“The area under cultivation has stayed the same as it was two decades ago. Now, this would have been okay if productivity were on the rise, but our farms have gotten no more efficient and no more larger,” he added. 

The production of wheat per hectare has not grown, and cotton productivity has fallen. So far, there has not been a single meaningful discussion on the effect of climate change or food security. There has not been so much as a conversation about how to manage agriculture in a fundamentally changing world. 

“Agriculture suffers from underinvestment, flawed policies and a lack of connection between research and policy. In times of crises, we offer Band-Aid solutions, but avoid studying the systemic issues that affect agriculture. However, it is not a lost cause yet,” said Humayun Akhtar Khan. 

According to Syed Fakhar Imam, the federal minister for national food security, Pakistan needs another major breakthrough in agriculture. “Until the 1990s, Pakistan’s rates of growth were close to 4%, continuously on the average for nearly two decades,” he said. 

“Our major breakthrough in agriculture came when we had a paradigm shift both in our wheat production with the assistance of Dr Norman E Borlaug and with IRRI [International Rice Research Institute] in the cultivation of rice. That went up by two and half times our traditional,” he added. 

“After 1966 things changed because of two specific elements: the introduction of the short stature mexipak wheat breed, and the use of chemical fertiliser, and optimal use of application of water with the fertilizer. This changed the entire paradigm [and significantly increased crop yields]. And since then, there has not been a second shift in the paradigm.”

Five major crops

Essentially, Pakistan focuses on five major crops. Of these, the most significant one is wheat, which makes up 36% of agricultural land being used. The other four are rice, sugarcane, cotton and maize. The first four of these are all very traditional crops that grow well in Pakistan’s climate. However, the big breakthrough of the past few decades has been the growing of maize.  

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Maize only appeared on the scene somewhere in the last 12 years. About 12-14 years ago, it accounted for only 1.5 million tons. This number has now gone up to 6.7 million tons, primarily because the poultry industry depends on it. It is also worth remembering that Pakistan’s overall growth has not been this significant, so there has definitely been a change in focus among growers towards maize. 

However, while it is a bit of a success story, maize is also a great example of everything that is wrong with the growing process in Pakistan. For starters, most of the maize or corn seeds used by farmers are imported through multi-national companies (MNCs), and not necessarily indigenous to the areas they are planted. Domestic seed production has been one major area in which Pakistan has failed to make any progress

Even the curl leaf virus referred to in the beginning could have been solved using modern seed technology techniques. Many countries, including in both Africa and Asia, have managed to overcome this virus. But Pakistan’s antiquated, local seed technology and treatment has meant the disease persists and affects yields to this day. 

In total, Pakistan needs about 42-45 thousand tons of seeds a year. There was a time when the Punjab Seed Corporation was providing reasonably standardised seed. This met about 30-35% of Pakistan’s seed requirement.

“The federal government is encouraging the provincial governments in Sindh and Punjab to purchase the seed in partnership with the private sector to cover about half the requirements,” suggests Fakhar Imam. “The cost of this to governments is affordable. This way, quality seeds will be available for the next crop. The above is for several crops. We should also do the same with wheat.”

Imam believes that our entire research system needs to change. He said that international specialists will soon appraise, evaluate and analyze the government’s research systems in their areas of specialisation, with a particular emphasis on  the ability to generate data to analyse and solve local problems. Until Pakistan actually has cutting edge data that it can use to focus on problems and solve them, the agricultural sector will go nowhere.  

This is where the Catch-22 of all Pakistani problems comes in. The country needs our agricultural sector to be strong not just for food security, but because it is a significant export for us. However, to improve the sector, the country need machines, pesticides, and different kinds of fertiliser. Out of all these major inputs, very little is manufactured domestically, and all of them are imported. So to improve agriculture, until we can manufacture, we will be forced to import.

The heart of the problem 

Clearly there is much to be talked about in regards to how the agricultural sector has been treated in Pakistan over the decades. The neglect and the hodge podge, half-hearted attempts at fixing it have not made things better. We also have very little accurate data to determine specific, and technical problems that the country is facing in this regard. However, experts have weighed in on what we do know. 

For Dr Iqrar A. Khan, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan’s biggest challenge is small farm size and fragmentation. “The bulk of our present land holdings does not allow absorption of available technology. The research available cannot be utilized by small farm holders,” he said. 

“Due to large scale urbanization, parts of the country are threatened with desertification. Range lands are being overgrazed and salinity is a continuing threat to output. This is happening because of excessive groundwater mining.”

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Water is an endemic issue. Investment in on-farm water management and large storages have yet to show results on ground. The need of the hour is a high-efficiency irrigation system, what we have instead is the traditional gravity operated, analog irrigation system that is no longer enough, especially with smaller land holdings. 

Dr Khan suggested that high efficiency irrigation systems require pipelines and energy and on-farm storage. The water can be tendered and delivered on demand. “In Pakistan, we are still reliant on the ‘warabandi’ rotational water allocation system which is not linked to high efficiency,” he said. 

“There is plenty of information available in the form of agro ecological zoning, and it is time that we see a policy shift. We need to move out of the traditional mindset of having a rice-wheat system or cotton-wheat system or talking about mixed cropping. We have around a hundred different agro ecological niches which are available. Therefore, crop diversification can be incentivized.” 

On the infrastructure side, in addition to water storage, the government should construct at least two new canals. New canals should be designed and constructed and put to use according to the needs of a high efficiency irrigation system.

Currently, farmers have a difficult time in getting access to the market because of the size, efficiency, and proximity of the markets. “We need better market governance to build efficiencies. Markets are not competitive or facilitative. In the current system, they are structured to exploit the farmer and consumer instead of facilitating them. The farmer is the least served stakeholder in the market. Therefore, the market deserves attention in terms of hard and soft infrastructure development,” Dr Khan explains. 

“Then there is the issue of the political economy, and resource transfer and allocation. Enforcement of the Plant Breeders Rights Act, 2016 has not begun in earnest. Mechanization is lagging. We have tractors but we don’t have any agricultural mechanization. To reduce reliance on the five major crops we need higher productivity and diversification. There is no policy or on ground support in this regard. Political economy limits the option for farmers.” 

There are three crops in which stagnation can be broken with the current technology, provided we achieve the optimum plant population; wheat, rice, and cotton. Dr Khan stresses that Pakistan can achieve the optimum plant population with these three crops. If done correctly, he claims it would not only manage to break the stagnation, but also add an additional 4% to our GDP. 

“Pakistan needs to use the latest technology to reduce the post-harvest losses. Our current post harvest losses in grains are to the tune of 12-15 pc, and in perishable goods it amounts to 20- 40 pc. If we could target the reduction of losses in three to five years, this could also add 2% to our GDP growth.

Scarce water resources for agriculture

Every year, two key inputs in the agriculture sector, water and fertilizers, end up either being scarce or subject to large fluctuations. The former is the more alarming of the two problems, since water availability is in long term decline. We have not done much to augment its supply, nor have we improved efficiency of its use. The quantity of fertilizer available to the farmlands changes from year to year. Its production depends on gas supply, while imports are contingent on the health of the external account, which is often fragile. The fertilizers are a problem, the water shortage is a crisis. 

Pakistan still relies on the 1873 Canal and Drainage Act to manage and govern its fresh water resources. This is a huge problem and we need to problematize the fact that the entire functional basis of our water sharing across the Indus river basin is essentially outdated.

The structure of water supply is important. Just sixty percent of the watershed of the Indus river basin lies within Pakistan, through glacial melts. That means 40% of the watershed lies outside the country’s territorial control. So what happens outside the country is massively important.

Dr. Erum Khalid Sattar, Professor at Tufts University, said that Pakistan should think very carefully and seriously because we are an entirely river system dependent country. “We are 220 million people heading towards 320 to 350 million by the half century mark. We have a massive population on a landmass with a depleting resource base,” she said. “This should scare us and we should strive towards becoming a leader in global climate change initiatives.” 

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As she explains, Pakistan’s inter-provincial water accord of 1991 was a huge step forward. But instead of creating confidence in water sharing, it has led to provincial disharmony and mistrust. We should better operate the accord with a professionally driven agenda

“It is about time that our water management institutions work on actual problems that farmers face,” says Dr Sattar. “Essentially, all of these institutions work on things that have nothing to do with the actual problems or the problems we will suffer in the future due to an increasing population and depleting resources due to mismanagement.”

“We must allow sufficient water flow to the sea to prevent ingress of the sea. The livelihood of one million people depends on the delta ecosystem.”

Livestock and dairy – exploring other avenues 

Where we often get it wrong is that being an agrarian economy means Pakistan is all about growing crops. However, under the banner of agrarian also comes farming of livestock and its by-products. To this end, livestock actually makes up a bigger portion of Pakistan’s economy, accounting for 11.6 pc of the GDP compared to the 10.2% that the five major crops mentioned above make. These areas are ripe for government investment to accelerate further growth and productivity, since the current productivity is less than desirable. 

More than seventy million people depend on livestock for their livelihoods. Unlike cash crops, livestock generates income throughout the year, particularly with dairy products and egg farming. Most farmers run their households by selling animal by-products throughout the year. 

Syed Yawar Ali, Chairman of the Pakistan Business Council, pointed out that many modern farmers have imported breeds from Australia, the USA, and Holland. The yield of imported cows is three times more than the Pakistani breed. Productivity is based on breed improvement and genetics. Its genetics both in the seed as well in the semen.

“We have to adapt to new technologies, especially In Vitro Fertilization. We must also look towards other avenues,” he explained. “Pakistan’s poultry sector has been a success and is globally competitive. This happened through the improvement of knowledge in nutrition and genetic selection.”

“To increase our exports, we must first improve genetics, then rationalize feed cost, which is 70% of cost of production, and finally, build and improve the processing industry. Processing quality and volume makes a perishable commodity competitive.” 

Pakistan needs short- and long-term plans with enough resources and clearly defined roles for government and private sector. The government must support the private sector and not compete with it as it does now. Once again, there is also a dire need to focus on research and expansion. Without research, the basic needs of the market cannot be determined and all actions will be little more than shots in the dark. 

“We need to develop a new roadmap to increase productivity, reduce cost, and become globally competitive as the poultry industry in Pakistan has shown us,” said the business council chairman.


Description: Hassan Naqvi

Hassan Naqvi



Hurricane Hanna Impacts Texas Ratoon Crop 

By Steve Linscombe


MOUNTAIN HOME, TX -- Hurricane Hanna made landfall Saturday evening on Padre Island south of Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90 mph.  Fortunately, this is southwest of the major Texas rice-producing area west of Houston, and while a small amount of the crop had some lodging associated with storm winds, the storm's biggest impact is on the potential for ratoon or second crop production.


Storm bands dumped significant amounts of rain on some fields that had also received rains a few days earlier.  As a result, harvest in some fields happened under muddy conditions which leads to severe rutting by the combines and rice carts.  If a field has considerable rutting after harvest, it minimizes the potential for second crop production and often rice farmers will abandon the attempt to produce a second crop.


Almost all the rice fields west of Houston produce a second crop, if conditions warrant.  It is estimated that the rutting associated with the hurricane rainfall and earlier rains will reduce the potential ratoon production to 80-85 percent which in turn has a negative impact on the region's total production.


Approximately 15-20 percent of the crop west of Houston has been harvested and, for the most part, yields have been very good.  Terry Hlavinka, who farms near East Bernard in Wharton County, reported that 15 percent of his crop has been harvested and yields are 5-10 percent above average.  Hlavinka plans on producing a second crop on 100 percent of his acres, if possible.


"In our area, harvest results from farmers across the board have been outstanding," said Timothy Gertson, another Wharton County rice farmer, who reports that his family operation is about 10 percent harvested.  "Hybrids are yielding mid to upper 60 barrels dry, and these are not one-off fields -- everyone seems to have them so far.  It's looking like a 'bin buster' crop although I haven't heard any conventional yields yet."




In the bin just in time

Following the accepted wisdom on second crop conditions, Gertson said, "Second crop potential will be damaged somewhat by these storms because we will all be cutting in the mud next week and hybrid fields may not get shredded.  We would like to second crop 100 percent of our rice acres but may have to abandon some fields that are severely rutted."

East of Houston, wetter conditions earlier in the season resulted in later planting.  Harvest began on a scattered basis and most of that has been hybrids but some CL153 will be ready soon. 


Description: C:\Users\abc\Downloads\unnamed (2).jpgDorsey Jones, a crop consultant with Helena Chemical in Liberty County, does a thorough check on the rice in that region throughout the growing season.  "Most of the medium grain acreage was treated for blast, and sheath blight pressure has built up with recent rains on the long grains," said Jones.  "Stink bug pressure here has been light but weedy rice has become widespread probably because weather prevented summer plowing in those fields last year." Description: C:\Users\abc\Downloads\unnamed (1).jpg

About 25 percent of the fields near Raywood in Liberty County will be second cropped.  An increase in crawfish production, to 6,000-plus acres, has reduced the number of acres that are second cropped.

"I look at most of the rice in this area weekly and despite a few showers during flowering, I believe we will have an above average crop," said Jones.  "Even the organic rice looks healthier than normal."



S1 E11: Giants in the Rice Fields

Season 1 / By pagedesign

Head north of Sacramento along any of the major freeways, you’ve likely seen the lush green rice fields with ubiquitous wildlife such as herons, hawks and egrets. What may surprise you is just how diverse the rice field ecosystem is – and the unseen giants at home in those fields.

Nearly 230 wildlife species depend on Sacramento Valley rice fields for food and a resting place, including the giant gartersnake, a threatened species.

Although it has “giant” in its name, this creature is, at most, five-feet long. These snakes are heavily dependent on rice fields for their survival; having lost most of their earlier habitat – traditional wetlands, which have been lost over the generationsDescription: https://podcast.calrice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/GGS-Promo-Option-1a-71520-1024x768.jpg

Anna Jordan and Allie Essert of the 


U.S. Geological Survey are among those working to maintain and enhance the giant garter snake population. They work in rice fields, trapping and tracking the snakes. The more they understand about this species, the better chance it has at surviving. This is unusual work may not appeal to many, but these biologists love what they do.

“It’s really kind of funny. Whenever I tell people what my job is, the first question I get is ‘Why?’” Anna said. “It’s a hard question to answer. You don’t get that question when you’re an accountant or a doctor.  I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Those who don’t like snakes – and there are many in that category – may not realize how valuable they are.

“For all of the people who don’t like snakes, you probably don’t like pest species either,” Allie remarked. “Snakes do a lot to keep pest populations down. They help to regulate the ecosystem as an aquatic predator.”

Here are links to more information on this rice field giant: 

           USGS Article – Construction and analysis of a giant gartersnake population projection model

           Article – Conservation reliance of a threatened snake on rice agriculture

           Article – Behavioral response of giant gartersnakes to the relative availability of aquatic habitat on the landscape

           WERC Scientists Find that Threatened Snakes Depend on Agriculture


Download Episode


Episode Transcript

Anna Jordan: It’s really kind of funny. Whenever I tell people what my job is, the first question I get is, why? It’s kind of a hard question to answer, because you don’t get that question when you’re an accountant or a doctor. So,  it’s definitely really interesting and I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Jim Morris: Anna Jordan and her coworker, Allie Essert have really unusual jobs and I mean really unusual. But, what they and other colleagues are doing here in the rice fields of the Sacramento Valley, should pay big dividends for our ecosystem. Welcome to Ingrained, the California Rice Podcast. I’m your host, Jim Morris. Proud to have worked with California farmers and ranchers for 30 years. And today, I’m in the Natomas area at a rice farm, about a 15-minute drive from the state capitol. Sacramento Valley rice fields are home to nearly 230 wildlife species. And that includes millions of ducks and geese, more than a dozen types of raptors, and world-class habitat for shorebirds.

Jim Morris: In my travels, I’ve seen bald eagle parents teaching their young how to hunt in a rice field. I watched an epic grind of about 30,000 snow geese in one shallow flooded rice field in the winter. I had to stop while a river otter family crossed the road in Yolo County, that was awesome. And only yesterday in Colusa County, I watched a muskrat peek its head up from a small canal next to a rice field. One of the most unusual species we have is also heavily dependent on rice fields for its survival. It’s the giant gartersnake. I’m speaking with Anna Jordan with the US Geological Survey. And can I ask what your title is and how long you’ve been working with giant garter snakes?

Anna Jordan: I am a wildlife biologist with the USGS and I’m also one of the project managers on our giant gartersnake project. And I’ve been working at the US Geological Survey since 2014. Basically right after I graduated college, I started and never stopped. And I loved it enough to start managing the project.

Jim Morris: How important is it to maintain this habitat? We have a lot of urbanization in this area. It’s critical for the snakes, right?

Anna Jordan: So, the giant gartersnakes are a federally and state listed species. They are threatened. And the major reason for that is because of habitat loss. There used to be historically a lot of native wetlands, but like you said, with urbanization, a lot of those wetlands have been completely replaced by agriculture. And in some places that agriculture is orchards or sunflower fields, very dry crops, but giant gartersnakes are a wetland obligate species, which means they need water to survive. And, in the Sacramento Valley, which a lot of people may not know, we grow so much rice and this rice basically acts like a wetland for snakes, and it’s what allows their population to exist at all. And so it’s so important for them.

Jim Morris: So we’re right along Highway 99, checking out traps and Anna, how many do you look at in a given time that you’re out here?

Anna Jordan: So, our trap lines are made up of usually about 50 traps, but we can go upwards to a hundred, depending on how big the canal is because we want to get a good even sampling of the length of the canal. This one is only 50 and they’re are about 10 to 20 meters apart. And that really just makes it so that, if we have a snake, we know that we’re sampling the entire canal and where they could possibly be to get an idea of what the population is like there.

Jim Morris: Oh great. You have a very large pole and you’re going to see what we have here. So why don’t you go forward and do that please? And this is a trap that’s what, about three feet long, I guess? What do you have in there?

Anna Jordan: Look at that. Lucky snake number one in trap number one. And there’s also a crayfish with him, which is pretty common. There’s a lot of crayfish and these rice fields, so that’s a pretty common trap content. And here we go, this looks like an adult snake. I think it is a male, which you can tell by the length of their tail, but we do also probe them to check for the hemipene pockets.

Jim Morris: This one looks pretty lively and healthy to me, but you’re the expert. So tell me about the overall health here.

Anna Jordan: Yeah,  I would say the snake seems pretty healthy, rambunctious, lively, not super happy that I took him out of the water. But yeah, he looks great to me, no scars, nice full tail. Sometimes they will have blunt tails and that’s usually from predation or sometimes the crayfish will even chop them a little bit. And that happens even without us trapping. We will measure the mass of the snake. And we will also measure the length, both from the snout to the vent, which is this right here. And then the vent to the tail, to give us an idea of how big the snake is and can help us determine the overall growth rate of the population and how big the snakes are. We will also mark each snake. This actually looks like a new snake. So, this is a snake we’ve never captured before, which is awesome because we’ve been out here trapping for 20 years and we’re still catching new snakes, which means that the population is still growing.

Anna Jordan: And that’s really good to see. We will also give them a pit tag, which is the same as you would give a cat or a dog, a microchip. And that lets us know, in case the brand fades a little bit, that we know we have the same snake. Because they are a listed species, obviously we really care about how their population is doing. And one thing that we found actually is that the presence of rice fields not only increases the possibility of giant gartersnakes being present in an area, but it also increases the probability that they will stay in an area year after year. And that’s directly affected to the proportion of rice in an area. I’m really optimistic because, after that drought ended and farmers are able to grow rice and there’s more water available, we’ve seen that population start to bounce back. So, California will continue to have droughts, but as long as we’re able to keep that water available, then giant gartersnakes, I’m really optimistic about their population increasing.

Jim Morris: They are a key indicator of the ecosystem, I imagine, because they interact with so many other species.

Anna Jordan: They are a very important of the ecosystem. Almost every species in an ecosystem is important. And that includes the species that humans may not necessarily like, but giant gartersnakes are really important in keeping pest populations down. And if you remove one species, it affects everything else. So you really want to protect the entire community and not just the ones that you think are cute. Though personally, I think giant gartersnakes are very cute, especially for snakes.

Jim Morris: I have to tell you, I was slightly disappointed when I first heard the name giant garter snake, because as a fan of B movie monsters, Anaconda comes to mind, 1997, J-Lo, John Voight, Ice Cube and an Anaconda, the size of a Winnebago. And that’s not the case here, but are they still giants in their own world, if you will?

Anna Jordan: Honestly, I was a little bit disappointed the first time I saw a giant gartersnake as well, because you hear the word giant and you think these giant boa constrictors, they are giant for gartersnakes. They actually did used to get larger in the southern portion of their range. But due to habitat loss, they have been extirpated, which means they are no longer present in that southern portion. Up north, they do still get pretty big. They can be about three to five feet, but that’s not really as giant as you would think.

Jim Morris: Do you have friends that have disowned you or do they think it’s cool what you’re doing, or is it a combination?

Anna Jordan: I think it’s a combination. I’ve had friends who are super eager and are like, “Oh, I would love to come out with you and get out and see those snakes.” And I’ve had friends who, like I said, will go, “Why? I don’t understand what you’re doing, but as long as you keep them away from me.” And usually those people who don’t want to know about snakes, I take that as an education opportunity because a lot of people who don’t dislike snakes have never held a snake, have never seen a snake. Their exposure to snakes is these kind of horror movies or rattlesnakes, which are dangerous. But, especially in California, the only venomous snake we have is a rattlesnake and even rattlesnakes don’t want to bother you. They probably want to get away from you as much as you want to get away from them. So if you leave them alone, you will be totally fine.

Jim Morris: What do you like about them?

Anna Jordan: They are just a really cool species. And honestly, I think part of the reason that they’re unloved is like I said, that lack of education. And so the more I learn about snakes, the more I love them and especially giant gartersnakes, they are the sweetest, most docile snakes. And even their musk doesn’t smell that bad, which is kind of that smelly predator defense. I’ve had my first project manager when I joined the crew actually said she loved it. And once a guy gets perfume, which is their scientific name, I wouldn’t go that far, but they are just very lovable snakes. And they’re fascinating creatures that are kind of unlike anything else. And I think that’s what makes them my favorite animal.

Jim Morris: And you would be a big advocate, I suspect, for keeping rice in production?.

Anna Jordan: Yes, a hundred percent. Without rice fields and rice production, these snakes would go extinct.

Jim Morris: I’m also speaking with Allie Essert is with the US Geological Survey as well. And Allie, how long have you been working with snakes?

Allie Essert: I actually started working with giant gartersnakes when I graduated from high school. I started volunteering after that first summer, and it is a really, really strange job. Most people are shocked or sometimes even creeped out, when I say that I spend all day at work, trapping snakes and handling snakes, looking for snakes, but I love this job and I’m so happy I’ve been able to do it for so many years.

Jim Morris: It’s interesting too, because we’re not very far from Sacramento, yet we have rice fields which surprise people. And then we also have a threatened snake species out here. So you probably can have some great conversations with people.

Allie Essert: Oh, definitely. Even before I got this job, I had no idea that there were snakes even out here and I didn’t know snakes used rice at all, and being so close to Sacramento, it’s kind of crazy that they’re just next door neighbors with us. So, water for giant gartersnakes is super, super crucial. During the active season, they spend probably the majority of their time within five meters of water. So even having the water out here is really beneficial for them. And then once the rice fields are flooded and the vegetation grows in, they also are able to use that as kind of a surrogate wetland habitat.

Allie Essert: Rice helps support prey populations like bull frogs and other types of fish that the snakes eat. And, it also allows the snakes to move between the landscape more easily. They prefer to move in the water then moving across any large terrestrial space, because they’re kind of more susceptible to predators across the terrestrial landscape. So having the rice here allows them to get in between canals. It gives them more area for hunting and it really helps support their populations where wetlands are not available to them.

Jim Morris: Now, I believe your project coming up at school and explain this to me, involves telemetry with snakes. So tell me a little bit about what this is all about and how this will help the giant gartersnake.

Allie Essert: For my project. I am focusing mainly on telemetry of snakes. So studying kind of their movement behavior and how they’re using the landscape, what type of habitat features they’re selecting. And one thing that’s really helpful with telemetry is we also do a lot of snake trapping, but we’re only really seeing a snapshot of what the snakes are doing. And it’s not as natural of an environment because they’re caught in the traps and we don’t know how they got in there, when they got in there. But telemetry is nice because it allows me to kind of track exactly where the snakes are located before disturbing them.

Allie Essert: So I’m able to see what kind of substrate they’re using. Are they underground? Are they under a certain type of veg? It also lets me see how much they’re moving during different seasons of the year at different temperatures. So, it kind of gives us a look at their ecology and behavior that we really can’t get in any other kind of sampling scheme.

Allie Essert: They’ve been implanted with a radio transmitter. So it looks about the size of a double AA battery, and it actually goes inside the body cavity of the snake and has an antenna that kind of runs down. And each transmitter has a unique frequency, and that’s how I’m able to use this antenna and receiver later on to pick up on the specific frequency of the snake and help zero in and locate them later on.

Jim Morris: Interesting. So technology is really helping and you also mentioned GPS technology, global positioning system. Tell me a little bit about how that helps.

Allie Essert: So, we use GPS points at where the snakes are located and then we also will take GPS points around the surrounding landscape. And we ultimately use these points to kind of get an idea of the total home range of the snakes. So kind of how much space each snake is using.

Jim Morris: When you talk with your friends, do some disown you or do they think it’s cool that you handle snakes?

Allie Essert: Most think it’s cool, but they would agree that they would never want that to be their job. And it’s actually kind of comical because I love snakes. I’ve worked with them, I’ve had them as pets and I have absolutely no fear of them. But my husband is terrified of them and he agrees that he could never do the job that I do.

Jim Morris: So it sounds like this has been a passion for a long time. Have you always liked animals then?

Allie Essert: I’ve always liked animals. I was always the kid, just the young kid who was picking up frogs out of the ponds and showing weird bugs to my parents and relatives. So, I’ve always loved animals. And then when I got an opportunity to work with snakes, they’ve quickly become one of my favorite animals. I mean, even the mere fact that they do so many things with no legs, as weird as that sounds, it really fascinates me. I think snakes just have a really interesting, curious personality and I really enjoy working with them, especially giant gartersnakes. They’re one of the most docile, friendly snakes of the snakes in this area. And for all the people that say they don’t like snakes, I argue that point with you probably don’t like pest species, either. And snakes do a lot to kind of keep pest populations down and they help just to regulate the ecosystem as an aquatic predator.

Jim Morris: You can find out more about the giant gartersnake and all of the wildlife and rice fields at our website, calrice.org. We have hundreds of photos and videos available, and we will keep you posted on the latest developments and helping solidify the giant gartersnake population. That will wrap up this episode of Ingrained. Thank you so much to Anna and Allie for their time and fascinating comments, what interesting research they’re doing. A reminder to go to podcast.calrice.org, where you can subscribe and listen to past episodes. And we would love to hear from you. We invite your questions and comments. Thanks for listening.


Description: https://podcast.calrice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/GGS-71520-Preferredd-Promo-1024x768.jpghttps://podcast.calrice.org/s1-e11-giants-in-rice-fields/



DA yet to obligate, disburse 65% of RCEF for this year

Published July 27, 2020, 1:15 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

Seven months into 2020 and the Department of Agriculture (DA) is yet to obligate and disburse 65 percent, or nearly P10 billion, of this year’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), the tariff collected from rice imports and is supposed to help lower the production cost of Filipino rice farmers.

Based on data obtained from the Department of Agriculture (DA), RCEF has P15 billion that must be disbursed within this year, which included the P5-billion allotment for mechanization that weren’t touched last year due to bureaucratic issues.  

Hence, of this P15 billion, P10 billion is now supposed to go to mechanization, while P3 billion, as usual, will go to seed distribution. The rest would be for the provision of credit and extension services for rice farmers.

However, as of July 24, only P4.65 billion of the P15 billion has been obligated, while P606.8 million has been disbursed, of which P574 million was disbursed for seeds distribution, the same data showed.  

To recall, one of the conditions of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) or Republic Act (RA) 11203, which allowed unlimited rice importation in the country, is for the Philippine government to help Filipino rice farmers become more competitive by giving them access to free seeds and modern farm equipment to be funded by RCEF.

On top of the rice import tariff, RCEF is supposed to be injected with P10 billion annually from 2019 to 2024.

As the DA fell short in RCEF distribution, Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) National Manager Raul Montemayor is also looking for the excess in the rice import tariffs for 2019, which he said stood about P3 billion and should have been appropriated by Congress. 

Based on RA 11203, if the annual tariff revenues from rice importation exceeded P10 billion in any given year, the excess tariff revenues shall be earmarked by Congress and included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of the following year.

“In 2019, I understand total tariff collections was about P13 billion, so the extra P3 billion should be appropriated by Congress this year for additional support programs such as crop insurance, diversification, land titling, etc. I don’t think this has been done yet. And of course there is the issue of undervaluation of imports and lost tariff collections, which we estimate at P3 billion since 2019,” Montemayor told Business Bulletin.

Montemayor thinks that if tariff collections for rice importation will exceed again for this year, it will still take a long time for the government to release it and distribute it to farmers.
“For the tariff collections in 2019 in excess of P10 billion, BoC will first have to finalize its computations and then Congress will have to appropriate the money. If tariff collections exceed P10 billion again this year, the excess will also be appropriated by Congress. But we have to wait until the end of the year and up to early next year for BoC to determine the exact surplus before Congress can appropriate the money,” Montemayor said.

“If there are unused RCEF funds in a given year, it is not a problem because the money just stays in the fund. But for the excess over P10 billion that is appropriated every year, the money has to be spent during the year otherwise it will be lost. It may take until 2022 before we can use this excess tariff from 2019 and 2020,” he added.

Nevertheless, Montemayor said the DA is already slowly catching up in terms of the release of RCEF, especially with the rice seed distribution component.  
In a statement, the DA said it is on track in providing rice farmers appropriate machinery and equipment under RCEF.  
The agency said that to date, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) has already procured and is currently distributing 2,938 farm machinery and equipment worth P2 billion to 625 RCEF-accredited farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) nationwide.
The second batch of 4,996 units worth P3 billion is under a bidding process and expected to be completed by July 31, 2020, according to PhilMech Director Baldwin Jallorina.
Thereafter, the farm machines and equipment will be given to the second batch of 1,068 FCAs.

Jallorina also said that PhilMech has to date validate 2,587 FCA applicants, of which 1,259 FCAs have been shortlisted and qualified to receive 4,543 farm machineries.





Research paper by UA doctoral student named faculty editor’s pick


FAYETTEVILLE — A paper written by a doctoral student and faculty of the department of food science in the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the U of A's Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences has been named an “editor's pick” by the Cereals & Grains Association.

The paper, “Physicochemical and Functional Properties of Medium-Sized Broken Rice Kernels and Their Potential in Instant Rice Production,” was written by doctoral student Rebecca Bruce, associate professor of food processing and post-harvest system engineering Griffiths Atungulu, and associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering Sammy Sadaka.

Atungulu is on the teaching faculty of Bumpers College and the research faculty of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the Division of Agriculture. Sadaka is an extension engineer with the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, the teaching and outreach arm of the Division of Agriculture.

The study found the use of broken rice kernels for production of instant rice is feasible and can reduce the cost of raw materials, and improve cooked rice sensory characteristics. The authors recommend consumer sensory studies be conducted to determine product acceptability. The research provides information on the enhancement of the value of broken rice as a commodity through novel applications. It also provides sciencebased information on characteristics of medium-sized broken rice, which is useful in new product development.

The paper was one of two papers selected by Cereal Chemistry Editor-in-Chief Les Copeland for his June editor's picks, saying the research “describes a means to enhance the value of broken rice. The description of the characteristics of medium-sized broken rice will be useful for new product development.”

Bruce, who has created her own foundation in Ghana, earned a Doctoral Academy Fellowship from the U of A Graduate School and International Education. She was named Bumpers College's Distinguished Master's Scholar as well as the department's outstanding M.S. student in 2019. Bruce has won multiple awards at presentations and conferences, and is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Atungulu is Bruce's primary advisor and Sadaka is on her dissertation committee.

Cereal Chemistry is an international journal of scientific papers reporting significant and recent research in areas of genetics, composition, processing and utilization of grains, including barley, maize, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, triticale, wheat, pulses, oilseeds and specialty crops.


This 125-year old Kerala farm brought an extinct rice crop back to life. Here's how they did it

The Navara Eco Farm used a completely organic method and hours of manual labour to bring the 2000-year-old Navara Rice back to life

Azmia Riaz

Edex Live

By 2006, Navara Eco Farm had over 72 varieties of rice

The Navara variety of rice is almost 2000 years old. P Narayanan Unni is a third generation farmer on a piece of land in Palakkad that brought the crop back to life from the verge of extinction. The family farm, which is almost 125 years old, was inherited from his father and his brother who were the first rice specialists at the Rice Research Station in Pattambi.

Following the introduction of the Landfill Act, the family lost a sizeable part of the farm. With increasing prices and falling revenues, their crops began to fail and Navara rice grew increasingly rare in the state. Unni, who was working as a computer salesman in Kozhikode at the time, took over in 1995. He drew a long-term plan for the farm focusing on specialty rice varieties and converting it into an integrated one, adopting organic farming methods, biodiversity and ecology practices and environmental and conservation methods.



RICE BOWL: Navara rice has a lower yield than most others

He explains, “With each generation, the area was getting smaller and less economically viable. In my father’s days, people would work on the land for all 365 days of the year. But as agriculture lost importance, the workforce got fragmented and certain seeds started to grow extinct. I wanted to focus on saving Navara. It is a medicinal rice, which is known for building immunity and for Ayurveda.”

For a number of reasons,  Navara rice has a lower yield than most others. The first being its seasonal growth cycle, which means that it is only produced once in a year. In addition to this, the lack of any chemical pesticides or fertilisers being used results in a longer growing period. At the farm, pesticides have been banned from the premises since 1978 considering its impact on health. In 2003, Unni implemented a policy where all fertilisers used were also completely organic. Along with other farmers, he began working twice a day in shifts during the season where it grew.




FARM FRIENDLY: Over the past 12 years, the farm has been developing

By 2006, Navara Eco Farm had over 72 varieties of rice, vegetables, and fruit trees including Navara Rice within its grounds. At the same time, Unni began to work towards claiming geographical rights over the crop. He grouped together a cluster of farmers who had ownership of the land and claimed a commercial trademark based on the geographical location of its growth. He also enforced strong biodiversity initiatives that have led to a diverse population of birds, butterflies, animals and plants.

Unni began sharing the story behind Navara’s rebirth extensively. He received  to meetings and trade fairs where he would take samples. For the past 12 years, since his main aim has been to get the word out. He offers to train other farmers and the world on pest control, organic farming and everything that led to his success. He says, “When Navara is in season, you can see us slaving away through those 25 days trying to keep it alive. In the beginning, people thought it was a farce. Even I have felt embarrassed. But now, we are committed. This is our tribute to the soil that brought our dreams back to life.”



Nepal’s overall imports have gone down but agriculture import continues to expand, hitting record Rs 250 billion

Experts say import-promoting policies, high production costs, change in consumer behaviour and lack of restrictions on import are to blame as the government fails to support farmers. Description: Nepal’s overall imports have gone down but agriculture import continues to expand, hitting record Rs 250 billionA vegetable seller arranges onion sacks at a market in Kathmandu. Nepal’s vegetable import bill is increasing every passing year. Post file photo

Sangam Prasain

Published at : July 27, 2020

Updated at : July 28, 2020 09:12


Nepal's agricultural goods import bills continue to expand, ballooning to an all-time high crossing Rs250 billion in the fiscal year 2019-20 as a result of the country’s import-promoting policies, high production costs and change in consumer behaviour, among other factors.

While the country’s overall imports dropped by 15.63 percent to Rs1.19 trillion in the last fiscal year, ending mid-July, due to Covid-19 pandemic related restrictions, agricultural goods imports continued to increase. The share of agro products in the total import bill has swelled to 21 percent.

The agricultural goods imports bill in 2009-10 amounted to Rs 44.43 billion. In 10 years, it has grown by almost six times.

Agriculture economist Devendra Gauchan said that the government has been putting no restriction on imports.

“Although in a liberal economic policy curbing the imports of cheaper goods is against consumer rights, we could still make it more difficult for imports with strict quality check and imposition of quarantine,” said Gauchan, also the director of Nepal Agriculture Economic Society

Pawan Kumar Golyan, chairman of the Golyan Group, one of the leading private sector enterprises promoting agri business, agrees.

“The government had imposed mandatory quarantine at the borders to stop imports of vegetables that have high levels of pesticide residues,” he said. “But that has been lifted now.”

The problem is also factors that affect productivity in Nepal.

“There is high land fragmentation, and the cost of agricultural labour is high,” said Chandan Sapkota, an economist. “Absence of scientific land reform to enable proper utilisation and distribution of land is a factor. Smaller agricultural holdings are increasing but larger holdings are decreasing, and this obviously results in low production.”

According to the Department of Customs statistics, cereal tops the list of agro imports followed by edible oil, vegetables, fruits and nuts and seeds. Cereal import bill amounted to Rs56.88 billion, almost a fifth of the total agriculture import bill.

Nepal started importing cereals nine years ago, according to government statistics.

Of the total cereal imports, rice accounts for Rs22.23 billion and maize comes second with Rs14.75 billion.

Imports of maize have been growing at an alarming rate and it's due to the demand of livestock feed. Besides, Nepal spends Rs15 billion on the imports of animal fodder alone.

“The rise in the income mainly from remittance has given people a choice,” said Gauchan.

Choice is the reason behind the growth of rice imports too, according to Rameshore Khanal, a former finance secretary.

“Nepal is importing fine varieties of rice mainly due to the expanding number of middle-income Nepalis who prefer to eat basmati rice, and Nepal doesn’t grow such fine rice in sufficient quantities,” he said. “It’s a preference. People will buy what they like.”

Description: https://assets-cdn.kathmandupost.com/uploads/source/news/2020/news/ScreenShot20200728at91105AM-1595906866.png

After cereals, the biggest import bill is for vegetable fats and oils which stands at Rs50.24 billion, up from Rs37.12 billion in the previous fiscal year.

A significant share of this is taken by the import of crude palm oil which is then exported to India, taking advantage of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), according to government officials.

As the SAFTA agreement provisions zero tariffs on goods exported from underdeveloped countries like Nepal, Nepali traders have been importing crude palm oil from other countries paying minimum tariffs and then exporting the finished product to India with zero tariffs.

“It’s sad to know that the vegetable import bill is increasing every passing year. In vegetables, we can be self-sufficient within six months,” said Golyan, who has acquired 35 hectares (220 bighas) of land in Jhapa for commercial fruits, vegetables and cereal production. “The basic things that we lack are the basic infrastructure like processing zones, cooling centres and agriculture rural roads.”

Nepal is the third largest producer of ginger and fifth largest producer of lentils but it is yet to take full advantage, according to Golyan. “This is simply because there is a lack of attention to the agriculture sector.”

According to Gauchan, Nepal can learn some lessons from India which provides massive subsidies to farmers. “It has become cheaper to buy from India than produce inside the country due to high production costs,” said Gauchan. “Traders import in larger volumes, as a result it becomes cheaper as transaction costs are low.”

Meanwhile, in Nepal it is difficult being a farmer.

According to Sapkota, multiple factors, including timely unavailability of key inputs such as chemical fertilizers, seeds, irrigation, finance, labour, machinery/technology diffusion, and infrastructure like roads, energy and ICT, make productivity costs high in Nepal.

“So basically, it’s an import-promoting policy of the government that is stopping the country from being self-sufficient on its production,” said Gauchan, the agriculture economist. “Because the government is focused on making revenue–no matter from where it comes.”




High Quality Carbs Lower Risk of Diabetes

By Eliza Erskine


Lead Image Source : Chachamp/ Shutterstock.com

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A new study has found that eating high-quality carbohydrates like whole grains is linked with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Scientists from the Netherlands and Boston analyzed three existing studies, each with over 40,000 participants. Researchers found that participants that replaced fats and animal proteins with whole grains and other high-quality carbohydrates saw lower risks of type 2 diabetes.

“High intake of carbohydrates has been suggested to be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes,” said research team leader Dr Kim Braun. “We looked at whether this effect is different for high-quality carbohydrates and low-quality carbohydrates, which include refined grains, sugary foods and potatoes. These results highlight the importance of distinguishing between carbohydrates from high- and low- quality sources when examining diabetes risk. Conducting similar studies in people with various socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities and age will provide insight into how applicable these findings are for other groups.”

Whole grains are those presented in their whole form or ground into a flour that contains all parts of the seed. Items like buckwheat, brown rice or whole wheat flour are all examples of whole grains or high-quality carbohydrates. Other examples include oatmealbarleybulgur, and millet.

Read more about complex carbohydrates and type 2 diabetes in One Green Planet:

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some resources to get you started:

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!


Indian rice exports slow as coronavirus disrupts supply chain: trade


JULY 27, 2020 / Rajendra Jadhav


MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s rice exporters are struggling to fulfil orders due to limited availability of containers and workers at mills and the biggest handling port on the east coast after novel coronavirus cases jumped in the region, industry officials told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Farmers plant saplings in a rice field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, July 5, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

Slowing shipments from the world’s biggest rice exporter could allow rivals like Thailand and Vietnam to raise supplies in the short term, and also carries the potential to push up global prices.

“The vessel loading rate at Kakinada port has gone down by nearly 30%,” said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association.

Kakinada is located in East Godavari district of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh - a district that has been reporting more than 1,000 new virus infections every day - accounts for more than a quarter of India’s rice shipments.

“Labourers are working only on day shifts and not doing night shift,” Rao said.

In the next few months, India could export around 100,000 tonnes less rice per month as the labour shortage means rice mills are operating at lower capacity, Rao said.

Rice exporters operating outside Andhra Pradesh state have also been hit by limited availability of containers, said Ashwin Shah, director at Shah Nanji Nagsi Exports Pvt. Ltd, an exporter based in Nagpur in central India.

“There are logistical problems in executing export orders. Otherwise demand is good as Indian rice is cheaper,” Shah said.

India was offering 5% broken parboiled variety at around $380 per tonne on a free-on-board basis last week, while Thailand was offering the same grade at around $460.

African buyers were actively buying non-basmati rice, while demand is good for basmati rice from the Middle East, said Nitin Gupta, vice president of trader Olam India’s rice business.

“If logistical bottlenecks are fixed, India could export much more rice than last year,” Gupta said.



Copious monsoon rains spur summer crop sowing in India

Mayank Bhardwaj

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian farmers have planted 79.9 million hectares with summer crops so far, according to the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, up 18.3% from last year as robust monsoon rains spurred sowing in the world’s leading producer of farm goods.

Farmers generally start planting rice, corn, cotton, soybeans, sugarcane and peanuts, among other crops, from June 1, when monsoon rains typically arrive in India. Sowing usually lasts until July or early August.

Monsoon rains play a crucial role in agriculture, which employs 50% of India’s 1.3 billion people, as nearly half of the country’s farmland lacks irrigation.

The farm ministry provides updates on the provisional sowing figures as it gathers information from state governments. The planting figures are also subject to revision depending on the progress of the June-September monsoon season.

As of Friday, planting of rice, the key summer crop, was at 22 million hectares, against 18.7 million hectares at the same time last year. Corn planting was at 7.1 million hectares, up from 6.6 million during the same period last year.

The area planted with cotton totalled 11.8 million hectares against 9.6 million hectares a year earlier.

Sowing of soybeans, the main summer oilseed crop, stood at 11.4 million hectares, compared with 9.7 million hectares at the same time in 2019. Soybean output is set to jump by at least 15%.

Planting of the protein-rice pulse was at 9.9 million hectares, higher than 7.9 million hectares last year. Sugar cane sowing was unchanged at 5.1 million hectares.

India has received 6% above average rainfall since June 1.

The weather office defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96% and 104% of a 50-year average of 88 cm for the entire four-month season.

Water levels in main reservoirs were at 39% of their storage capacity, against 25% at the same time last year.



Enugu residents patronise local rice as price of foreign rice increases

Tell your friends  

The patronage of local rice has continued to increase as price of foreign rice soars in major markets in Enugu.
Description: Enugu residents patronise local rice as price of foreign rice increases. [PM News]

Enugu residents patronise local rice as price of foreign rice increases. [PM News]

A market survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in markets in Enugu on Saturday, showed that residents are switching from foreign rice to local rice.

At Ogbete Main Market, a 50kg bag of local de-stoned rice goes for between N17,000 and N21,000 depending on their duration.

The non de-stoned rice of 50kg goes for between N16,000 and N16,500 while its 25kg stands at N8,000.

A 4.5 litres painter of de-stoned goes for N2,000 while the non de-stoned local rice remained at N1,700 per painter.

In most major markets, the survey revealed that the price of foreign rice has increased significantly.

A 50kg of foreign rice now sold for between N27,000 and N30,000 while its 25kg goes for N13,000.

A rice dealer at Ogbete market, Mr Chuks Ibe, said that the increase in price of foreign rice was due to the ban placed on importation of foreign rice.

“Before this present government foreign rice was in abundance but usually costly only during festive period.

“Because of the ban and the price increase, many people have started going for local rice,” Ibe said.

Mr Julius Uzoh, a rice seller at New Market, also attributed the increase patronage of local rice to its availability in the state.

According to Uzoh, the Adani Rice in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area had flooded markets in the state and beyond leading to reduction in prices of the product.

Mrs Lara Egbuna, a resident of Achara Layout, said that because of the high cost of foreign rice, she had switched to local rice, saying that the local rice was more affordable and nutritious.



Will technical barriers imposed by the Philippines create difficulties for Vietnam’s rice exports?


28-Jul-2020 Intellasia | Vietnamnet | 6:02 AM

It will be difficult for Vietnamese businesses to keep stable rice exports to the Philippines in large quantities as currently seen, experts said.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) said the Philippines plans to tighten control over rice imports to ensure food hygiene.

The country is the biggest rice importer in the world and the No 1 export market for Vietnam. In 2019, the country imported 2.9 million tonnes of rice, including 2.132 million tonnes from Vietnam, worth $885 million, or 73.4 percent of total amount of rice imported by the country.

In 2020, the country plans to import 2.5 million tonnes.

Vietnam exported 87.828 tonnes to the Philippines in June, worth $42.768 million tonnes, a decrease of 44.62 per cent in quantity and 34.9 percent in export turnover.

The figures were 1.376 million tonnes and $634.26 million in H1, which represented increases of 12.89 percent in quantity and 30.06 percent in export turnover.

The Philippines initially planned to send it staff to Vietnam to examine rice production earlier this year, but it later postponed the plan because of Covid-19. The examination is expected to be carried out after the epidemic is contained.

Tran Tuan Kiet, deputy general director of Dung Nam Trade and Import-Export Services, warned that the technical barriers by the Filipino government would be a big obstacle for Vietnam, though Filipino consumers favour Vietnam’s rice.

Kiet said the technical requirements set by the Philippines are nearly the same as the requirements set by China, and it would be difficult for Vietnam’s enterprises to continue exporting rice to the Philippines in large quantities.

“The tentative requirements can be met only by large corporations, and it would be a big obstacle for small and medium enterprises,” Kiet said.

The Philippines initially planned to send it staff to Vietnam to examine rice production earlier this year, but it later postponed the plan because of Covid-19. The examination is expected to be carried out after the epidemic is contained.

It is highly possible that the Philippines will follow China and grant export licenses only to enterprises which have processing plants meeting their food hygiene requirements.

A rice market analyst said the Philippines’ decision to set barriers on rice imports will cause difficulties for Vietnam’s rice exporters.

Malaysia and Indonesia do not set food hygiene requirements on rice imports.

There’s a possibility that the Filipino government has set barriers to restrict import volume and protect domestic production. However, domestic production cannot satisfy domestic needs, and the rice from Filipino farmers is much more expensive than rice imports from Vietnam.

The decision would affect people’s purse strings. The Philippines currently is very short of rice, and it won’t find other supply sources that can provide delicious rice at such competitive prices like Vietnam’s products, the analyst said.




Thai Rice Exporters Lower 2020 Export Forecast By 5mmt

Posted on 0AuthorPaul Ogbuokiri Comments Offon Thai rice exporters lower 2020 export forecast by 5mmt

…after losing Nigerian market

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Thailand Rice Exporters Association has slashed rice export forecasts for 2020 by five million metric tonnes.


It is now projected that the country will export 6.5 million metric tonnes of rice in 2020, the lowest export projections in two decades which is also lower than the previous expectation of a seven-year low of 7.5 million metric tonnes.


Reuters quotes Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the association, as saying the previous record was in 2000 when the country exported 6.15 million metric tonnes of rice. The association said that its decision to slash the forecast is due to the coronavirus pandemic, drought and a strong baht.


The country has also lost its market share in Nigeria. Nigeria was ranked Thailand’s fifth-largest market as in 2014, importing 1.23 million metric tonnes of rice. However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) restricted forex for rice importation after the 2016 recession to encourage local production.


“Thailand’s rice exports are hampered by a host of negative factors, be it the coronavirus crisis that weakened global demand, a strong baht that makes Thai rice more expensive, or continued drought cutting into production,” Ophaswongse said. The association said that Thai rice prices are US$30- 80 a tonne higher than those of competitors because of the strong baht, while the widespread drought has cut the domestic rice supply by 20 per cent or five million metric tonnes of paddy rice this year.

 Thailand was reported to have exported 3.14 million tonnes of rice between January and June, about a third less than the same period in 2019. Charoen Laothammatas, the association’s president, said Thailand is expected to see a continuous drop in exports as the country’s current rice policy lacks continuity or a long-term development plan.

“Thailand’s production costs are relatively higher than those of competitors, while higher logistics costs and the strong baht have made Thai rice prices become more expensive than the grains of competitors,”said.


In the first half of 2020, India and Vietnam exported 4.53 million metric tonnes and 4.04 million metric tonnes respectively with Thailand been the thirdlargest exporter.

The top five rice importers from Thailand during the period were the US (338,769 tonnes), South Africa (231,412 tonnes), Angola (195,438 tonnes), China (120,207 tonnes) and Japan (116,338 tonnes).


Although Nigeria’s rice importation from Thailand dropped to 5,161metric tonnes between January and September 2018, imports to its neighbouring countries increased; lending credence to suspicions of rice smuggling through land borders from neighbouring West African countries.



Vietnam likely to export 6.7 million tonnes of rice this year

Chia sẻ 

Vietnam is likely to reach its rice export target of 6.7 million tonnes this year thanks to favourable market conditions and high global demand, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Rice was one of the few commodities to withstand the negative impact of the novel coronavirus epidemic in the first half of the year, with both rice export volume and value increasing by 5.6% and 19.3% to over 3.5 million tonnes and 1.73 billion USD, respectively.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade projected that Vietnamese rice firms would have an opportunity to increase their output and export prices in the near future.

Furthermore, the impending enforcement of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement in August is expected to offer fresh impetus for Vietnamese rice to penetrate into the demanding markets.

The ministry recently published a list of local rice export businesses as of July 15, with the total number of eligible rice traders in the country rising to 192./. VNA



Improved quality and higher demand boost Vietnam rice export outlook

In the first half of this year, rice export value jumped 18.6% year-on-year to US$1.71 billion.

Thanks to improved quality and higher demand, Vietnam’s rice export prices are set to be higher than the same period of last year. In terms of quantity, it is likely that there will be a year-on-year growth due to the opportunity of exporting to new markets, according to Viet Dragon Securities Company (VDSC).

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In the first half of this year, rice exports jumped 18.6% year-on-year to US$1.71 billion, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Meanwhile, the export volume increased by 5% year-on-year to 3.5 million tons and the average export price jumped by 13%, reaching US$488 per ton.

Higher export volume was thanks to increased exports to the Philippines (accounting for 39% of Vietnam's rice export) and China (accounting for 13%).

The US Department of Agriculture predicts that the Philippines will have to import approximately three million tons of rice (a slight increase of 3% year-on-year) in the 2019 – 2020 period. That amount will help  fulfill the domestic demand as local supply is estimated to meet only 77% of total national demand (14.3 million tons).

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Due to the relatively high price of Thai rice and interruption in the Indian logistic system, a result of the lockdown to control the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam has increased its exports to the Philippines. Exports to that country climbed by 13% year-on-year to reach 1.4 million tons.

Additionally, China also increased its imports from Vietnam as the quantity increased by 59% year-on-year to 458 thousand tons. One of the reasons was a decline in China's domestic rice production (forecast to drop by 1.8 million tons, to 146.7 million tons). Moreover, China has also raised its inventories due to the pandemic.

In contrast, export volume declined in some countries such as Malaysia (-5% year-on-year, to 342 thousand tons), Ivory Coast (-17%, to 214 thousand tons) or Iraq (-50%, to 90 thousand tons).

Overall, VDSC mentioned two other reasons that helped Vietnamese exports: (1) Vietnamese rice image is gradually improving- less pesticides on rice and the advent of the rice strain ST25: “The best rice of the world in 2019”. (2) Vietnam tended to export more high-quality rice as the premium rice accounted for over 60% of total exports, much higher than 10% ten  years ago.

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Fiercer competition in second half

The Vietnam - EU trade agreement (EVFTA) is expected to take effect from August, helping Vietnam take advantage of the 0% tax with an annual tariff quota of 80,000 tons per year (including 30,000 tons of milled rice and 20,000 tons of un-milled rice and 30,000 tons of jasmine rice).

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In addition, the EU will put a 0% tax on broken rice without quota (which is expected to help Vietnam export about 100,000 tons to the EU each year). Also, the EU committed to bring the tax rate to 0% after 3-5 years for rice products. Vietnam’s export volume to the EU in the first half was 13.4 thousand tons, so the remaining in the quota is 66.6 thousand tons (83%).

In the discussion with South Korea, the EU agreed to allocate 20,000 tons of rice to five WTO partners (including Australia, the United States, China, Thailand and Vietnam). South Korea offered a quota of 55,112 tons of rice to Vietnam. In the first half, Vietnam has not exported rice to Korea, so the remaining capacity for the rest of the year is significant.

Recently the Philippines (demand for 300,000 tons of rice), Bangladesh (demand for 200,000 tons of rice), China and Indonesia are also seeking rice to ensure their food supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, in India, the rainy season has provided a large amount of water and the government of India increased the purchasing price of rice. Thus, rice production in India is ample. Indeed, the US Department of Agriculture forecasts that India's export volume in 2019/20 will reach 11 million tons (+12% year-on-year).

In addition, the competition from Indian rice is now very high as the Indian rupee has been weaker, making their offered price much lower than Vietnam and Thailand prices.

In Thailand, the end of the drought has helped the country boost rice production as this year's rainfall is expected to increase. Larger production (export volume is expected to increase by 18% year-on-year) and a more competitive price compared to the first half as the value of the bath has tended to decrease since June. Thai rice is also expected to challenge Vietnam’s exports. Hanoitimes


Rice Prices

as on : 27-07-2020 02:37:47 PM

Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.














































































































































































































































































Rice tariff take seen 44% off 2020 targets


ByBernadette D. Nicolas

CITING the drop in rice import volume amid the pandemic, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is now eyeing to collect just P14 billion in rice tariffs in 2020—44 percent lower than what it initially hoped for early this year.

Customs Assistant Commissioner and spokesman Vincent Philip C. Maronilla told the BusinessMirror they would have been close to hitting the P25-billion mark in rice tariff collection this year if not for the decline in the rice import volume as rice-exporting countries decided to control the volume of exports amid local supply concerns.

Despite this, Maronilla still expressed confidence they could exceed the P12.3 billion in rice tariffs that they collected last year.

“We expect better volume in the succeeding months, so if our projections in volume hold true, we expect to exceed last year’s revenue performance,” he said.

Pressed on their projection on rice tariff collection this year, he said: “Hard to give specific figures at this time, but hopefully we reach P14 billion.”

As of July 17, BOC said it was able to collect a total of P10.728 billion in rice tariffs despite the rice import volume falling 24.6 percent year-on-year to 1,651.267 metric tons.

The rice tariff collected by BOC for the period is 8 percent higher than the P9.936 billion it collected for the same period in 2019.

BOC attributed the increase in rice tariff collection to its continuous effort to ensure correct valuation of goods and protect government revenue. It added it consistently conducts close monitoring of the declared value on rice importations in view of its strict adherence to global published prices for rice, which serves as a guide when the veracity of the declared values is under dispute.

Under the rice tariffication law, Filipino rice farmers are guaranteed with a P10- billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) annually until 2024 regardless of whether or not rice tariff collections hit P10 billion.

However, any revenue collections in excess of P10 billion would still be earmarked for other interventions aimed at boosting rice farmers’ yield and improving their global competitiveness.

To recall, the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee further slashed in May the collection targets of BOC and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to P520.4 billion and P1.744 trillion, respectively.

The new combined collection target this year of the BIR and the BOC—the main collection agencies of the government—is now P2.26 trillion, a 31.66-percent reduction from the original revenue goal set at P3.307 trillion.

The downward revision was done on the back of government’s expectations—as the pandemic gouged almost all sectors—of an economic contraction by 2 percent to 3.4 percent and lower imports, as well as a drop in tax base.

BIR’s collection target for the year is down by 32.3 percent to P1.744 trillion from the initial goal of P2.576 trillion.

On the other hand, BOC’s revised collection target is a 28.8 percent drop from its initial goal of P731 billion.




Department of Agriculture of Republic of P : DA aims to make Filipino rice farmers competitive

07/25/2020 | 09:06pm

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Author: DA Communications Group | 26 July 2020

The Department of Agriculture through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) is on track in providing rice farmers appropriate machinery and equipment under the Duterte administration's Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program.

'We will continue to boost farm mechanization to reduce production costs, enable our rice farmers produce more harvests, earn bigger incomes, and subsequently compete with their counterparts in ASEAN,' said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

To date, the DA-PhilMech has procured and currently distributing 2,938 farm machinery and equipment worth P2 billion (B) to 625 RCEF-accredited farmers' cooperatives and associations (FCAs) nationwide.

The second batch of 4,996 units - worth P3B under the P5-B RCEF farm mechanization component for 2019 - is under a bidding process and expected to be completed by July 31, 2020, said DA-PhilMech director Baldwin Jallorina. Thereafter, the farm machines and equipment will be given to the second batch of 1,068 FCAs.

For the 2020 P5-B RCEF farm mechanization budget, Jallorina said the DA-PhilMech has to date validated 2,587 FCA applicants, of which 1,259 FCAs have been shortlisted and qualified to receive 4,543 farm machineries.

'With the sustained and vigorous implementation of the RCEF program, coupled with our Rice Resiliency Project (RRP), we expect Filipino rice farmers to be at par with their counterparts in the ASEAN, in terms of cost efficiency and productivity, in the next three years,' the DA chief said.

Currently, Filipino farmers spend an average of P10 on labor, seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs to produce one kilogram (kg) of palay (paddy rice), while the country's average harvest is at four metric tons (MT) per hectare (ha).

Farmers in Thailand and Vietnam spend an equivalent P8/kg and P5/kg, respectively, to produce one kilo of palay.

Studies conducted by the DA-PhilMech and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) show that the country's high production cost is attributed to several factors, namely: heavy reliance on manual operations from land preparation to harvesting; high cost of farm inputs, notably fertilizers; lack of irrigation; inaccessible and inadequate credit; usurious loans offered by traders; and low productivity.

'We are confident that with appropriate interventions and assistance under RCEF and RRP, we can reduce our production cost to P8 per kilo and increase our national average yield to six tons per hectare, in the next three years,' said Secretary Dar.

'Further, to take optimum advantage of the Duterte administration's farm mechanization program, we will strongly encourage RCEF farmers to collectivize, and consolidate their farms into contiguous clusters of at least 50 to 100 hectares each,' the DA chief added.

In fact, Jallorina said the DA-PhilMech prioritizes provision of assistance to clustered FCAs.

'Farm consolidation and clustering is one of the major features of a modern, industrialized, market-driven, sustainable and resilient Philippine agriculture,' Secretary Dar said.

'In all, we need to raise the productivity and incomes of Filipino farmers to enable them to cope with the COVID-19 crisis,' he added said.

'Rest assured, the DA family will do its utmost to propel the agriculture sector as a major player in the nation's economic recovery efforts,' concluded Secretary Dar. ### (DA PhilMech and DA StratComms)


BOC hits 2020 rice tariff collection target 5 months early

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The Bureau of Customs (BOC) zipped past its P10-billion rice tariff collection target for 2020, taking in P10.728 billion as of July 17.

The collection was achieved despite the 24.6% year-on-year decline in rice import volume to 1,651.267 metric tons.

The January-July 17 collection was also 8% higher than the same period last year’s take of P9.936 billion.

For full year 2019, BOC likewise surpassed its target, bringing in cash revenues of P12.3 billion from 2.03 million metric tons of private sector imports.

BOC attributed the increase in rice tariff collection to the agency’s “continuous effort to protect government revenue and ensure correct valuation of goods.”

The agency said it has consistently conducted close monitoring of the declared value of rice importations “in view of its strict adherence to global published prices for rice which serves as a guide when the veracity of the declared values is under dispute.”

The tariff collection target is part of BOC’s commitment under Republic Act No. 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law, which took effect last year and shifted the country from quantitative restrictions to tariffs, leading to a surge in importation of the staple.

The P10 billion will be remitted to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and other concerned agencies. The RCEF is meant to improve rice farmers’ competitiveness and income amid liberalization of the Philippine rice trade policy.

This post was published on July 24, 2020



2020 Blast Update

Author: Luis Espino

Author: Luis Espino

Published on: July 27, 2020

I have been getting quite a few questions regarding blast, mostly from Glenn and Colusa counties. It seems that 2020 will be a year with significant blast pressure. 

Under California conditions, blast can be observed in fields before heading. This occurrence is referred to as leaf blast. Later, when panicles emerge, blast can infect the node right below the panicle, causing panicle blanking. This is referred to as panicle blast. Blast can also affect other nodes in the plant, causing lodging and panicle blanking as well.  The fungicides azoxystrobin and trifloxystrobin (the active ingredients in Quadris and Stratego, respectively), are labeled for blast control. In general, treatments for leaf blast are not recommended. Leaf blast should be viewed as a sign that the panicles need to be protected with a fungicide application at early heading. 

One question I frequently get is weather treatment of leaf blast will help reduce the severity of panicle blast later on. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer. The fungicides we use to manage blast inhibit spore germination. By spraying for leaf blast, the spore pressure in the field would be reduced. However, infections that occurred before the fungicide was applied will continue their cycle and will produce more spores. Additionally, blast spores are moved by air currents, and can come from neighboring fields. 

In a trial conduced in 2019, application of Quadris or Stratego at maximum label rates at the mid boot stage (4-inch panicle inside the boot) resulted in a 85% reduction in the number of blasted panicles, while application at 100% heading resulted in 60% reduction in the number of blasted panicles. In this trial, the heading treatment was applied a little too late, resulting in less efficacy than the mid boot treatment. Application early at 35 days after seeding had no significant effect on blast.


If you are seeing more leaf blast than previous years, a good strategy would be to do a fungicide application at the mid-boot to boot split stage, and a second application at 50% heading. If economics only allow for one application, shoot for early heading, when 20-50% of the panicles have emerged from the boot. Remember that even if you don't see leaf blast, neck blast can still develop in the field if blast is in the area. 

UCANR: Safeguarding abundant and healthy food for all Californians

Cold nighttime temperatures during booting and rice yields

·         Author: Bruce Linquist

Published on: July 22, 2020

The period between panicle initiation (PI) and heading is critical with respect to grain formation. During this time, cold temperatures can result in pollen sterility as the plants go through meiosis. Pollen sterility results in blanking. Nighttime temperatures below 58 oF can result in sterility. The Figure shows the relationship between average low temperatures during booting and statewide yields. Data are from 1992 to 2018. The data represent the average low temperature for a 15-day period beginning about one week after panicle initiation to one week before heading.

Varietal selection is important to minimize blanking. Varieties such as M105 and M206 are more cold tolerant than M209, for example. However, all varieties can be negatively affected by cold temperatures during this period. One way to help minimize the damage is to raise the flood water height in the field during this time to 6-8 inches (or more). The water acts as a blanket and protects the emerging panicle from cold temperatures.

This sensitive period during booting usually occurs in July. For rice planted in mid-May, the critical period is the last two weeks of July. I realize as I write this that it may already be a bit late for many growers. However, I am looking at the forecast and seeing nighttime temperatures in the mid-50s over the next few days in areas south of highway 20.


Public Value: UCANR: Safeguarding abundant and healthy food for all Californians

Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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UCANR: Safeguarding abundant and healthy food for all Californians

Weedy Rice Survey 2020

·         Author: Whitney Brim-DeForest

Published on: July 16, 2020


Weedy rice in a rice field in California.

The UCCE Rice Team will be starting a survey of weedy rice across the rice-growing counties in the next week. We are surveying fields that are known to have weedy rice infestations (from reports from the past 3 years). We will use this opportunity to update the extent of the infestation, collect samples, and pull out as many weedy rice plants as possible (from fields that have low infestations). 

If you are a grower or PCA with a field that has had an infestation in the past, we will be reaching out to you to let you know when we will be visiting. 

A big thank you to the California Rice Commission for providing the funding for this survey. For more information about weedy rice in California, visit caweedyrice.com

For questions regarding the survey, feel free to reach out to Luis Espino (laespino@ucanr.edu), Whitney Brim-DeForest (wbrimdeforest@ucanr.edu), or Michelle Leinfelder-Miles (mmleinfeldermiles@ucanr.edu). 

Public Value: UCANR: Safeguarding abundant and healthy food for all Californians

Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Tags: Rice (15), weed identification (2), Weeds Affecting Plants (4), weedy rice (5)

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Mid Season Disease Update

·         Author: Luis Espino

Published on: July 10, 2020

There are a couple of interesting issues I have noticed while looking at fields, mostly in the northern part of the valley. One is bakanae. Bakanae is a seed borne disease that is managed by soaking the seed in sodium hypochlorite or bleach. Levels are very low and is not going to affect yield. Affected plants are taller than the rest, tend to be lighter green and chlorotic. The tell sign that the problem is bakanae is the rotting of the crown. Affected plants will die before producing a panicle or will produce a blanked panicle.

Another interesting issue I found is young plants affected by aggregate sheath spot. Usually I don't see this disease being severe this early, but in this field a large patch seemed affected.

I have heard blast is present in the Willows and Maxwell areas, but I have not seen any yet. Usually, a tell sign of leaf blast is burned circular areas near headlands, where N overlaps are. But make sure to inspect closely. In one field, the dead circles were not caused by blast, but most likely by rats or muskrats that had cut the rice and created a sort of nest. 


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UCANR: Safeguarding abundant and healthy food for all Californians

New Rice Factsheets Available

·         Author: Whitney Brim-DeForest

Published on: July 6, 2020

Fact Sheet #2: Managing Potassium in Rice Fields

The UCCE Rice Team has developed a series of Factsheets to simplify and convey information about important topics that we find we are frequently discussing with growers and PCA's. Each fact sheet is 2 pages long, back to front.

There are 6 so far:

We are continuously in the process of developing more topics, so if you have suggestions, please reach out to Luis Espino (laespino@ucanr.edu) or Whitney Brim-DeForest (wbrimdeforest@ucanr.edu).

Public Value: UCANR: Safeguarding abundant and healthy food for all Californians

Focus Area Tags: Agriculture