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THIN STAND -- Young rice struggles in the baked clay soil of northeastern Arkansas. (University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture photo by Dave Freeze.)

While drought conditions plagued crops across the U.S. in 2012, field crop production in Arkansas has much more extensive usage of irrigation than other production regions. The result is that crop production in Arkansas is capable of withstanding drought conditions that are much more destructive for crop production in other states.

Warmer than normal temperatures that enabled early planting, coupled with the prevalence of  supplemental water, has resulted in good plant development for Arkansas crops. Information from field  reports indicates that field crops have required 1-2 additional irrigation applications due to drought  conditions. Rice required 5-10 additional acre-inches of water to maintain a desirable flood.  

Harvesting of the 2012 wheat crop was completed
before the occurrence of drought conditions. 

Within the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, crop, irrigation and ag economics  specialists have been working to develop new tactics for helping Arkansas' row crop growers cope with future droughts while conserving the declining aquifers that have protected Arkansas agriculture for more than a century. 


Publications and other resources

  • Impact of the 2012 Drought on Field Crops and Cattle Production in Arkansas

    A summary of how the 2012 drought affected row crops and cattle production in Arkansas.

  • Southern Risk Management Education Center

    Established in 2009, the center coordinates risk management education programs throughout the southern region primarily through a regional competitive grants program serving the states/territories of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Center strives to build networks and relationship throughout the region with growers and industry stakeholders that are diverse and grassroots based.  Our ultimate goal is to deliver results by educating producers.