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More medium-grain rice in Delta because of West water shortage?

With water concerns in the Far West, could Delta farmers be planting more medium-grain rice this year?

Higher medium grain rice prices due to drought and lack of irrigation water in California’s Sacramento Valley could push medium grain acres higher in the Delta this season, says USDA. Here’s more:


Reduced prospects for 2014-15 medium- and short-grain production in the Sacramento Valley of California due to drought and reduced irrigation supplies have significantly raised medium grain prices in California, said USDA in its March 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Additionally, old-crop supplies of medium-grain rice in California are drawing down thus tightening the current supply situation. Australia’s drought is also increasing medium-grain prices as Australia is a primary U.S. export competitor.

Meanwhile, USDA says long-grain rice prices have strengthened as producers in the Delta in 2014 are expected to increase plantings of medium-grain rice and plant less long-grain area, according to trade reports, due to an advantageous price differential between the two rice classes.

However, there are reports that supplies of southern medium-grain rice seed are fairly tight which could restrict this expansion.

USDA also forecast rice imports 1 million hundredweight higher for 2013-14, to 22 million hundredweight, all in medium- and short-grain rice. The rice export forecast was unchanged at 100 million hundredweight, however 1 million hundredweight was shifted from rough rice to the milled- and brown-rice export category.

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U.S. rice ending stocks for 2013-14 were projected at 28.3 million hundredweight, up 1 million from a month ago, all in medium- and short-grain rice. Long-grain rice ending stocks were projected at 16.3 million hundredweight, the lowest stocks since 2003-04.

The forecast for global 2013-14 rice consumption was raised 700,000 tons to a record 474 million tons. World 2013-14 rice trade was raised slightly. Global 2013-14 ending stocks are projected at 111.7 million tons, up 6.7 million from a month ago, and up 700,000 tons from 2012-13.


U.S. soybean exports for 2013-14 were raised 20 million bushels to a record 1.53 billion reflecting continued strong sales and shipments through February. Soybean stocks are projected at 145 million bushels, down 5 million from last month.

Brazil soybean production is projected at 88.5 million tons, down 1.5 million tons mainly reflecting hot, dry weather in the south when much of the crop was in the flowering and filling stages. Soybean production was also reduced for Paraguay due to the extended period of hot, dry weather.


The cotton export forecast was raised to 10.7 million bales based on strong activity in recent weeks. Ending stocks were reduced to 2.8 million bales, resulting in a stocks-to-use ratio of 20 percent. World ending stocks are now forecast at 96.8 million bales.


There are no changes to the 2013-14 U.S. all wheat supply and use projections this month. A 15-million-bushel increase in projected hard red spring wheat exports was offset by a decrease for soft red winter wheat.

Global 2013-14 wheat supplies were raised slightly with an 800,000 ton increase in world production. European Union exports were raised 1.5 million tons.


U.S. corn exports are projected 25 million bushels higher on stronger world imports and the rising pace of shipments in recent weeks. Projected corn ending stocks were lowered 25 million bushels.


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