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By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
(Newsrooms: with downloadable art at: www.flickr.com/photos/uacescomm/25566770753)
LITTLE ROCK — It may be Monday or Tuesday before some row crop farmers are able to
resume planting in the wake of strong storms that raked the state with large hail,
funnel clouds and record rainfall.
On Thursday, hail from .75 of an inch to 1.5 inches was reported in Lonoke, Monroe
and Prairie counties and high winds were blamed for toppling trees and damaging a
home in Camden, according to a report compiled by the National Weather Service.
According to the National Weather Service, Wednesday’s storms broke many daily and
monthly records, and that was before another round of storms moved through on Thursday
morning, the final day of the month:
Meanwhile, northwest Arkansas was expecting patchy frost by Saturday morning with
temperatures forecast to dip to near freezing on Friday night.
“My rain gauge read right at one-tenth of an inch. We could use more rain,” said Berni
Kurz, Washington County Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System
Division of Agriculture.
“We are expecting freezing temperatures early Saturday morning which is Fayetteville
Farmers Market grand opening for this season,” Kurz said. “Market gardeners’ fields
are in pretty good shape. They have been using floating row covers a lot this late
winter to protect those cool season crops.”
Washouts and re-dos
Row crop farmers in the Arkansas Delta were assessing the damage after a Wednesday
evening interrupted by tornado warnings. Thursday was no better, with a second round
of thunderstorms with high winds and large hail blowing through parts of the Arkansas
River Valley and the Delta.
“Probably over 10 percent of Arkansas’ rice acreage has been planted to date,” said
Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division
of Agriculture. “The areas where most of that has been planted received between 4
and 7 inches of rain over the past 24 hours.
“The biggest concern for those fields will be the potential for destruction of new
levees that wouldn’t withstand the intense flooding brought on by the heavy rains,”
he said. “The rice seed itself, as long as not exposed by erosion from moving water,
will likely be fine and emerge normally for this time of year once the water recedes
and warm temperatures set in.
“However, levees seeded with rice that are destroyed and have to be re-pulled will
need to be re-seeded and that rice could potentially be out of sync with the rest
of the rice in the field creating management and harvest issues,” Hardke said.
Rain hit a corn verification field hard in Lincoln County, said Kevin Lawson, extension
area agronomist for corn and sorghum for the University of Arkansas System Division
“We had 5 inches of rain and lost about a half-inch of soil on the beds,” he said
In Phillips County, County Extension Agent Robert Goodson said that after 3-4 inches
of rain, “there was some water on fields, but most drains fairly quickly. We may be
back in the field on Monday or Tuesday.”
Lonoke County Extension Agent Keith Perkins doesn’t expect there to be any major setbacks
in his county. In many cases, flooded fields have not yet been planted.
“We are still early in the planting window and this has just delayed us a few days
depending on how fast the water gets off and the soil type,” he said. “This rain actually
helped activate the herbicides on rice and corn.”
To learn more about crop production, contact your local cooperative extension agent
or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
By Mary HightowerThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com