Rain slows row crop planting again, but boosts NW forage growth,‘skeeters
By Mary Hightower
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Monday’s rain has been a boon for dry hay meadows in northwest Arkansas, but will keep row crop growers out of the field again, county extension agents for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture said on Tuesday.
Berni Kurz, Washington County Extension staff chair, said cattle producers in his area had been spending much of the last two weeks getting fertilizer out in their fields.
Northwest Arkansas was the only place in Arkansas that had any drought rating in last week’s Drought Center map. The area was at the center’s lowest drought intensity rating, “abnormally dry.”
“We had a good soaking rain yesterday,” Washington County Extension Staff Chair Berni Kurz said Tuesday. Got about .75 of an inch of rain, which was sorely needed. The pastures and hay meadows will benefit greatly.”
The rain has been a plus for another Arkansas crop: mosquitoes, said Calhoun County Extension Agent Jaret Rushing.
“Down here, we’ve had high water levels for so long and with the warmer weather we have an influx of mosquitoes,” he said. “The only thing that we are recommending down here right now is to make sure that producers remove all standing stagnant water sources from their houses such as water standing in buckets, water in old tires, and most importantly, changing water sources in pet pens often.”
Slow steady rain
In northeast Arkansas, Craighead County received more than two inches, “but it came fairly slowly, so no major flooding and fields seem to be rapidly draining,” said Branon Thiesse, county staff chair. However, “we will wait and see what the Cache River does as water comes in from the north.”
Thiesse said that farmers working the sandier land in the eastern part of the county could be back in the fields within two to three days, “assuming no rain and maybe Sunday in the other parts of the county.”
At Stuttgart, where the National Weather Service reported a record daily rainfall of 1.48 inches, “we have rice levees that have been washed out on the lower ends of some fields near sloughs and ditches,” said Chuck Capps, Arkansas County extension staff chair at DeWitt. “There are areas carrying a lot of runoff water. There’s nothing drastic yet but the week is not over.”
The week ahead offers least a 20 percent chance of rain through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service at Little Rock.
Planting behind 5-year average pace
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that as of Sunday, corn planting in Arkansas was 51 percent complete, off the five-year average pace of 58 percent. Rice planting was 21 percent complete, off the five-year pace of 27 percent. Sorghum was way behind at 14 percent planted compared to the 29 percent five-year average.
For more information about crop production, visit www.uaex.uada.edu or contact your county extension office.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service