Dry weather helps as Ark. cotton, soy harvest wind down
Harvest time is winding down in Arkansas with row crop growers capitalizing on the dry weather, agents for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service said Friday.
The state's rice harvest was complete, according to Wednesday's hurricane-delayed report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Cotton wasn't far behind with 90 percent of the crop harvested and soybeans were 84 percent out of the fields. Meanwhile, winter wheat continues to be broadcast, with 55 percent of the crop planted and 34 percent of it emerged.
"Harvest is going well, though with some rain delays along the way," said Keith Perkins, Lonoke County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The biggest delay was caused by the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. "Even though we started our crops early, the harvest is a little later than average."
Still, "the crops turned out well and everybody's pretty satisfied," he said.
This season's crops may have another satisfied customer: "one Prairie County grower commented on Hurricane Isaac's effects and all the lodged rice, saying, 'At least the sky carp -- snow geese -- will eat good this year'," said Brent Griffin, Prairie County extension staff chair. The grower added, "Hope they stay out of my wheat."
Many growers done for the 2012 season are doing fieldwork for 2013 spring planting and "farmers are beginning to total crop receipts and paying off crop loans, ordering needed machinery for next year and purchasing inputs accordingly," Griffin said.
While the string of sunny days has helped row crop growers, it has also staved off drought recovery. According to Friday's U.S. Drought Monitor, drought has reclaimed a tiny area of Arkansas. Areas of no drought declined from 6.52 percent last week to 6.44 percent this week.
The most intense drought area has stubbornly clung to existence, remaining at .63 percent of the state and including the same parts of eastern Searcy, western Stone and a sliver of southern Baxter County. High winds earlier this week drawn by Hurricane Sandy's tremendous pull helped keep things dry, and with only a slim chance for rain this weekend, dry areas could expand.
For more information about crop production visit www.uaex.edu, Arkansascrops.com, or contact your county extension office.