Rain may slow harvest by up to a week
A storm that dumped up to 3 inches of rain in parts of south Arkansas is putting winter wheat planting and summer crop harvesting on hold, but making for some nice spots for southbound ducks.
In Chicot County, where flood warnings were in effect there and in neighboring Ashley County on Oct. 31, “We have had more rain and delays this year since the wet harvest season in 2009,” said Gus Wilson, County Extension Staff Chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “I just hope that we don’t have to replant a lot of acres of wheat and hope we can get more wheat planted by late November.
“Right now all we can do now is hope for the best,” he said.
In Central Arkansas, where amounts averaged under an inch, there was still enough rain to slow field work.
“Looks like this rain has delayed our harvest at least three days depending on the sun and wind,” Keith Perkins, Lonoke County Extension agent. “We have been blessed that we have not had more at this time, but the verdict is still out until the front passes.”
Next door in Prairie County, Extension Staff Chair Brent Griffin said most of the .75 inches has soaked into the ground, and growers would welcome a bit of dry weather.
“We still have 25 percent of the beans in the field with a few late patches of rice,” he said.
“Five to seven days of dry weather would be welcomed especially if we do not have to harvest in the mud. Producers here would still plant some wheat, but will have to see what this last round of rain brings midday.”
The winds that accompanied the rain mean folks who want to enjoy the autumn color will have to look fast.
“Trees have really started to change for fall,” he said. “The wind is really blowing the leaves off.”
The rain “will definitely slow logging,” said Jaret Rushing, Calhoun County Extension agent. “Many timber harvesting crews were in lowlands trying to harvest some end-of-the-year tracts in low bottomlands with loamy and sandy soils. However, this rain will move them out, especially if they have any type of no-rutting clause in their timber deeds.
“On a positive note, some of the wildlife management areas and refuges that rely heavily on rainfall in order to flood for the upcoming duck season will have ample amounts of water,” he said.
In northeastern Arkansas, Clay County Extension Staff Chair Andy Vangilder said Oct. 31 that “We had a half inch already this morning and still raining here. Our cotton crop is not even half out and we need sunshine to finish trying to get the rest of the cotton open and ready for harvest.
“We just barely dodged the bullet on a bad freeze last week and we need to get a break so we can get this cotton out,” he said. “ We still have several acres of soybeans to but they can take the rain a little better than cotton. Two weeks of good weather would put us a long way toward finishing up.”
To learn more about crop production, contact your county extension office or visit www.uaex.edu.