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Crop Drought Effects

Edge of a corn field in Arkansas showing signs of drought stress with dry yellow leaves at the bottoms of the plants.
STRESSED — Stressed corn in a field near Clover Bend, Arkansas, in Lawrence County. Taken July 13, 2022. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo by Bryce Baldridge)

Drought of 2022: Row Crop News

The drought conditions of 2022 brought additional hardship for Arkansas producers in an already difficult year. Our crop specialists work to provide recommendations and resources for farmers making difficult decisions during drought conditions. Find resources and press releases below for updates from our specialists.

Resources and Recommendations

2022 | Mitigating Irrigation Fatigue and Drought Stress

Press Releases

July 14, 2022 | Drought forcing Arkansas farmers to make hard choices between crops

July 14, 2022 | Robertson: Drought situation in cotton ‘could get real ugly before it is over’

July 14, 2022 | Cotton market conundrum: Prices collapse as drought prompts dryland growers to abandon acres

August 3, 2022 | Last weekend’s rain was helpful to Arkansas farmers, ranchers, but more rain would be welcome

Drought of 2012: Review

Dry, baked rice field 2012 in NE Arkansas.
THIN STAND -- Young rice struggles in the baked clay soil of northeastern Arkansas. (University of Arkansas System 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.  

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.