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July 1, 2014
LITTLE ROCK -- At least 75,000 acres of row crops in five counties were under water
following record rain last weekend, according to estimates compiled by the Arkansas
According to estimates sent to Gov. Beebe’s office and the U.S. Agriculture Department
on Tuesday by state Agriculture Department:
For many farmers, it’s wait-and-see to learn the fate of crops buried by water.
“The soybean crop is taking the brunt of the flood,” said Brent Griffin, Prairie County
extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Griffin was among the county extension agents helping the state Agriculture Department
assess the damage.
Soybeans can normally withstand up to 24 hours of flood, he said, “but anything over
24 hours will likely not survive.” Although soybean fields in higher elevation areas
are likely to survive, the chance is very low for the ones in lower areas. Griffin
said the growth stages range from “just planted to knee-high beans.”
Griffin added that the summer heat and humidity also could factor in the loss of soybean
plants because hot temperatures cause “scalding”, meaning a lack of oxygen in the
Growers are deciding whether to replant, and it’s late in the planting season, Griffin
said. “July 1 is the general cut off date for planting.”
Research has shown that soybeans planted after June 15 lose 1 bushel per acre of production
per day of potential average yield and 2 bushel per acre per day after July 1.
The age differences between beans could create problems for growers trying to time
future irrigation, application and harvest. Replanted beans also tend to be more prone
to diseases, insects and frost.
Producers that have crop insurance will likely file claim for planted acres failed
due to the flood, he said. “Those without insurance will likely … cover the initial
loss knowing that they will likely only produce 50 percent of normal yields under
‘good’ growing conditions.”
Extension Soybean Agronomist Jeremy Ross said there is not a lot that can be done
right now. It’s hard for fields to drain because the rivers to which they drain are
still full. Field-by-field approach is the best way to go about doing this, he said.
Corn and grain sorghum
Jason Kelley, extension wheat and feed grains agronomist for the Division of Agriculture,
said that corn and grain sorghum aren’t as affected as badly as soybeans. He said,
“At this late in the season, no corn or grain sorghum will be replanted.”
Not all bad news for cotton
Bill Robertson, extension cotton agronomist with the Division of Agriculture, said
with good drainage, cotton can survive. “I think it will recover.”
It’s critical that water drain from the fields, he said, adding that producers were
quick to make sure drainage pipes were clear to let the water out as quickly as possible.
While plants need moisture, they also need oxygen, he said. When the soil is saturated
with water, they are deficient of oxygen because the soil air spaces are replaced
The worst areas were in St. Francis and Lee counties.
Not all fields are troubled with the recent rain. Robertson said this is good news
for fields in the northeastern part of the state, such as Poinsett County and Mississippi
County, since they only received 2 to 4 inches of rain, which was needed.
Rice levees washed out
The 4-8 inches of rainfall that hit the southern half of Jackson County washed out
rice levees and damaged soybeans significantly, said Randy Chlapecka, County extension
staff chair for the Division of Agriculture.
“The washing out of rice levees at this stage is obviously a major problem,” he said.
“Much of our earlier rice has reached the reproductive stage and it would be very
damaging to suffer drought stress at this stage.”
Rice farmers will be trying to repair the rice levees to hold or maintain flood for
plant growth and to avoid future drought stress. Right now, the ground is too wet
to get any equipment in the field.
The 7.5 inches of rain that fell at Augusta in Woodruff County and 4.75 inches of
rain that fell at Des Arc in Prairie County set records for highest 24-hour rainfall,
according to meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Little Rock.
For more information about crop production, visit www.uaex.uada.edu, http://Arkansascrops.com or contact your county extension office.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers its programs to all
eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age,
disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
By Kezia NandaFor the Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) firstname.lastname@example.org