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Optimal Harvest Moisture Content for Maximizing Mid-South Rice Milling Yields and Returns

Optimal Harvest Moisture Content for Maximizing Mid-South Rice Milling Yields and Returns

Agronomy Journal 108(2): 701-712

ISSN/ISBN: 0002-1962

DOI: 10.2134/agronj2015.0408

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is unique from other major row crops in the United States in that it requires postharvest milling before pricing. As a result, profitability is based on mass yield (paddy yield) and kernel integrity, or head rice yield (HRY). A common dilemma rice producers confront is the selection of a harvest moisture content (HMC) to begin harvesting. Although harvesting with a high HMC can improve HRY, it also increases drying costs at the mill. Conversely, harvesting with a low HMC can save in drying costs but decreases HRY due to fissuring. This study determines the optimal harvest HMC that maximizes net value, accounting for both HRY and drying costs per megagram of rice, considering genetic differences across cultivars and the effects of exposure to nighttime heat stress during the growing season, which is known to reduce overall yield and quality of milling. The effects of imbedded genetic technology and high nighttime temperatures on HRY were estimated via multiple regression analysis using 522 paddy/milling yield observations across the Mississippi and Arkansas Deltas as well as corresponding location-specific weather data from 2003-2013. For the nine most commonly produced cultivars in Arkansas and Mississippi in 2013, the optimal HMC for maximizing HRY ranged from 17 to 22%, and the optimal HMC for maximizing net value ranged from 16 to 20%. The results show that, on average, conventional cultivars experienced larger decreases than their hybrid counterparts in net value per hectare when producers deviated from the optimal HMC for maximizing net value.

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Accession: 066314367

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