Regional Producers Enjoying Favorable Weather
Weather has been a mixed-bag for producers across the state of Arkansas, although warm and fairly-dry conditions have paid benefits. Statewide last week about 94 percent of corn and 95 percent of rice was rated fair to excellent condition, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Locally, corn is progressing rapidly and much of the rice is being flooded. Rain was moderate in the past week, with the majority here in Northeast Arkansas while the statewide average was about 1.84 inches.
“The corn has really taken off this past week. Much of the corn was fertilized and plowed then irrigated,” reported Allison Howell, Clay County Extension Agent, Agriculture. “We measured 16 inches of growth over the past week in our Corn Research Verification Field located on Tyler Huckabay’s farm near Knob.”
She indicated the weather has been helpful to some extent, although other issues have been identified.
“The atmosphere has been very unstable with afternoon pop-up thunderstorms, hail, high heat, humidity and wind. It makes it very difficult to make necessary herbicide and fertilizer applications.”
On the other hand, Howell noted there are many areas which could use additional rain.
“Parts of the county have been extremely dry causing irrigation on crops. There was also significant hail damage around McDougal and Knob last week,” she explained. “Most of the crops recovered, but plant losses in some fields occurred. The unseasonably warm temperatures have caused rapid growth for most crops and weeds.”
Winter wheat harvest started on a limited acreage last week in southern Arkansas. Preliminary results indicate good grain quality and average yields despite a tough growing season highlighted by too much rainfall during winter and spring months. Howell noted most of the wheat in the state is still a week or two from being ready to harvest, but producers will be anxious to get wheat harvested so that double crop soybean can be planted timely.
The experts noted warm dry weather is needed for harvest to progress much this coming week, and luckily the forecast is calling for those conditions.
Grain sorghum had a productive week with planting up 20 percent from the previous week, and emergence up nearly 30 percent. Meanwhile, the officials estimate about 87 percent of the state's peanut crop has been planted with about 48 percent emerged.
Howell observed that a lot of producers have enjoyed early success with their rice crops.
“A lot of the rice has received pre-flood Nitrogen and is now being flooded with the permanent flood,” she explained. “The flood is necessary for the first three weeks to allow the plants to take up all of the nitrogen fertilizer. We also have several fields of rice being grown on beds and irrigated like corn, also known as furrow irrigated or row rice. Rice can be grown like an upland crop, but it requires a different management program for control of weeds.”
Producers of soybeans have also enjoyed the favorable spring weather, and the benefits.
“The soybeans that have been planted seem to be doing pretty well. Farmers have been moving right along in between the wild pop-up showers trying to get everything planted,” Howell offered. “I’d say we’re around 92 percent planted on soybeans now. Won’t be long and we will be completely done because we’ve got good soil moisture now.”
She indicated last week's showers helped increase the soil moisture, something which had slowed soybean farmers in recent weeks.
Coming off a record year of cotton production, area farmers are hoping to see high yields again this fall.
“Cotton has been taking off too. As soon as it turned warm the cotton came up quickly where it was planted into good moisture and has experienced little stress. Many fields are beginning to square and are ready for their sidedress nitrogen.:
Howell did indicate that the fast start has also brought with it some unexpected benefits for cotton farmers.
“Most cotton farmers haven’t had any issues with thrips this year. The cotton has been growing so quickly that the thrips just aren’t bothering it like they usually do,” she offered. “Some farmers are mixing metolachlor and glufosinate together and spraying on cloudy days, causing the smaller cotton to burn up. It looks like it will come out of it, but it was definitely hard on it and set it back a little.”
Howell noted there may be a few issues, but overall things were positive.
“The thrips will be harder on this cotton because it is injured and will have less leaf tissue. Thrips will choose to go after that cotton over bigger, healthier, faster growing, cotton. Other than that, farmers have been battling with their fields either being too wet or too dry, but that’s the usual. Overall, the cotton is looking fantastic and I can’t wait to see what this season holds.”
Those wanting additional information on current crop conditions may contact Howell at the Clay County Extension Service Office in Piggott at 870 598-2246 or visit the website www.nass.usda.gov
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
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