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Rain-weary east Arkansas farmers bracing for more water

July 17, 2014

Fast Facts:

  • Flash flood watch issues through Friday for parts of Arkansas
  • Rain expected to taper Friday afternoon

(400 words)

STUTTGART, Ark. -- Arkansas’ abundant rainfall looks good on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map, with less than 14 percent of the state in the least intense drought category, however the rain-filled forecast for Thursday and Friday is heaping more worry on the state’s farmers.

The National Weather Service in Little Rock issued a flash flood watch in effect through Friday evening for Arkansas, Clark, Conway, Faulkner, Garland, Hot Spring, Johnson, Logan, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Polk, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Scott and Yell counties. The weather service said that through Friday evening, rainfall for central and east central Arkansas could range from 1-3 inches, with locally heavier amounts.

“We’re just kind of bracing to see how much rain it’s going to bring,” said Van Banks, Monroe County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Banks’ county was hit hard with the rain that fell June 29, flooding farm fields and parts of the city of Brinkley.  

Banks said that “one of my farmers has been running six pumps day and night to get water off the fields and he’s still got 150-200 acres under water.

“He’s trying to get in there and replant,” he said, adding that with anymore water this week, is “going to set him back 10 days and the planting window’s closing now.”

Banks said the most grown type of soybeans takes 120 days to mature and if planted now, that will have them maturing around the time of the first frost.

“The numbers are beginning to work against us,” he said, “but you never know.”

“While people are concentrating on soybeans, we had a lot of corn that’s silking and it has a foot of water on it and corn doesn't like wet feet,” Banks said. “We have rice that was knee high that’s been under water for five to six days. It’s affecting all of our crops.”

Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said that I rice, “the heavy rains could lead to more submerged rice, some of it as
heading begins.  

“Submerged rice that is beginning to head could negatively impact pollination and grain fill, ultimately leading to direct yield losses,” he said. “In other situations where water depth is increased but not to the point of submersion, levee washouts will be the primary concern.”

Hardke said that increased water levels could also increase disease progress, mainly moving sheath blight higher in the plant canopy, which could lead to more fungicide applications to control the disease.

For more information about crop production, visit,  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 Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


By Mary Hightower
Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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