Market Update: USDA Planting Report Indicates a 2.3 Million Acre Long Grain Crop for 2024

April 5, 2024
A lot is happening on the ground with planting underway across most states. The April 1 Crop Progress report gives a solid indication of where things are at kicking off the second quarter. Louisiana is far and away the leader of the pack, with 51% registered as planted as of March 31. Texas follows with 32%, Arkansas with 3%, Mississippi with 1%, and Missouri and California both still at 0%. Rice emerged is right on pace with last year, with Louisiana coming in at 38% and Texas at 14%.
The prospective planting report also came out over the Easter holiday, and pegs total acres at 2.931 million. This is broken down with 78% of the crop being long grain, 21% being medium grain, and 1% registering as short grain. Overall, this is very close to industry expectations, though most expect acres to crest 3 million by the time planting is done.

The milled market has been steady without any fireworks. The problems on the horizon are the gangs in Haiti and Iraq’s lack of access to the U.S. dollar to procure U.S. rice. Prices on the ground in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri are $17.50/cwt if there’s anything left in first hands. Louisiana is at $18.52/cwt, and Texas is at $19/cwt.

A recent GAIN report on Peru shows that rice imports in 2024/25 are forecast at 100,000 metric tons. Uruguay was the primary supplier in 2023, accounting for 52% of the market share, with Brazil following at 39% market share. U.S. rice has been priced out of the Peruvian market in recent years, but a strong supply creates the opportunity to access this market again. A challenge for U.S. rice is grain quality particularly cooking quality as consumers are considered the most demanding in the Americas. Rice is a staple food in Peru, with per capita consumption coming in at 163 pounds per year. That puts total consumption stable at 2.7 MMT in 2024.

GAIN report on Saudi Arabia was also released. Saudi Arabia is unique because it produces no rice of its own and procures both medium grain and long grain (largely parboiled) from the United States. The growing tourist economy means that U.S. rice exports are targeted for growth in the coming years. From this year to last year, consumption has increased by 6% on account of increased tourism and a growing labor force, up to 1.6 MMT. Proximity, price, and a preference for Basmati make India the largest supplier of rice to Saudi Arabia with at least 75% of the market share. Pakistan is second, and the United States is third with 6%. Post expects U.S. rice exports to Saudi Arabia to reach 100,000 MT by the end of the year.

The weekly USDA Export Sales report shows net sales of 112,700 MT this week, down 82% from the previous week and 36% from the prior 4-week average. Exports of 51,300 MT were down 62% from the previous week and 53% from the prior 4-week average.
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