Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
“There’s only so much storage at the elevators; only so much space,” said Hunter Biram,
extension economist with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“Elevators will turn farmers away when they don’t have anywhere to put it.”
By Mary HightowerU of A System Division of AgricultureOct. 12, 2022
(Newsrooms: With art of barges at Helena-West Helena, https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAaCQ7; portrait of Biram)
LITTLE ROCK — Farmers faced with high fuel and fertilizer costs this growing season
could at least look for consolation in relatively high commodity prices. However,
even that right spot may be slipping away as low water on the Mississippi River slows
shipping and keeps grain backing up at local elevators.
On Monday the U.S. Coast Guard reopened two stretches of the Mississippi River near
Memphis, Tennessee, and Stack Island, Mississippi, to one-way commercial traffic after
dredging the channel. The closures had stopped some 100 towboats and 2,000 barges
last week. By Tuesday morning, there were no queues, the Coast Guard said.
Harvest is underway in Arkansas. According to the National Agricultural Statistics
Service, 8 percent of the state's soybeans have been harvested as of Oct. 11. That
compared to 20 percent at this time last year and the 19 percent five-year average.
Harvest for corn was at 97 percent and 90 percent for rice.
On Monday, soybeans with nowhere to go were being piled high at the terminal at Helena-West
Helena, with trucks lined up waiting to unload. Forty-eight percent of Arkansas’ soybeans
The growing stockpile, coupled with uncertainty about when the traffic will be able
to move down the Mississippi through New Orleans, begins to erode prices farmers would
get at the elevator.
“In these instances, basis weakens when there’s a lot of grain on hand,” Biram said.
“With rising barge rates, it’s more expensive to ship grain downriver. Grain elevators
will bid lower and offer less for grain to account for the higher cost of shipping
grain down the river.”
Biram said that basis last week was down $1.30 for soybeans and was about the same
for corn. Basis is the difference between a local cash price and the futures market
price. There was a little bit of a rally as dredging of the river began to free up
some traffic, but basis was still down 75 cents. Last year, basis was down 25 cents
at the same time.
“With lower prices at the elevator, if farmers have storage, they should store their
grain and sell it later when they might be able to get a better price,” he said.
Harvest aside, the other worry with the low river is that while crops are headed toward
New Orleans for export, this is the time when fertilizer typically makes its way upriver
for next season’s crops.
“The biggest issue is planning for next year,” he said. With fertilizer, “that cost
is already high and we don’t know yet how much higher that could go. There could be
a big rain next week and alleviate all that.”
The Climate Prediction Center is showing a near-normal precipitation outlook for the
next eight to 14 days. The seasonal precipitation outlook is less optimistic, showing
Arkansas with a below-average chance for precipitation through December.
Outside of storing grain and hoping for rain, there’s not much more farmers can do
this year to protect themselves. However, now is the time for growers to take a deeper
look at their crop insurance options for improved risk management.
Farmers might consider purchasing revenue insurance.
“Currently, the USDA Risk Management Agency prices and administers a couple of revenue
products which could provide protection against price volatility: Revenue Protection,
or RP; and Revenue Protection Plan with Harvest Price Exclusion, or RP-HPE,” Biram
“RP offers downside risk protection against loss of revenue caused by a change in
prices, loss of production, or a combination of both,” he said. “With RP, revenue
guarantees are calculated with a farm-level yield history, the higher of a projected
price or harvest price determined by RMA, and a coverage level.
“RP-HPE offers similar price and yield protection but doesn’t consider the harvest
price when calculating revenue guarantees which is not as useful if you anticipate
crop prices to increase between planting and harvest,” Biram said. “When making the
RP vs. RP-HPE choice, the main question to ask is if RP will provide a greater revenue
guarantee than RP-HPE and will the indemnity net of premium be higher if I choose
Biram said with the deadline for growers to enroll for crop insurance being Feb. 28,
there are a few questions to consider before then:
Growers can find agents through the Risk Management Agency.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division
of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture,
visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
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.
# # #
Media contact: Mary Hightower, 501-671-2006