Overnight storming in northeastern Arkansas may slow harvest in some counties
By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Sept. 26, 2019
- Northeastern, northwestern Arkansas counties saw as much as six inches or rain Wednesday night
- Although much of the state’s rice has already been harvested, cotton harvest is just beginning
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JONESBORO, Ark. — Heavy wind and rain that blew across much of northeastern Arkansas and surrounding areas Wednesday night and Thursday morning will likely impact both rice and cotton harvests, as growers try to make the most of otherwise favorable conditions.
The National Weather Service reported Thursday morning that more than half a dozen counties in the northeast corner of the state had received between 1-4 inches of rain as of 8 a.m. Thursday, with as much as 5 inches concentrated in central Jackson County. Heavier rainfall averages, spanning 3-6 inches, were also recorded in northwestern counties, where the agriculture is primarily dominated by cattle, poultry and the grazing acreage needed to support ranching.
Branon Thiesse, staff chair for the Craighead County Cooperative Extension Service office in Jonesboro, said the western half of his county received about 2 inches of rain Wednesday night.
“The system that went through last night had some pretty significant winds,” Thiesse said Thursday morning. “There’s not a whole lot of rice left — they’ve gotten the bulk of it out. But the fields that are left, they could see some lodging.”
Thiesse said he was more concerned about cotton in his county, however, most of which remains to be harvested.
“Heavy wind and rain will pull the lint right out of the bolls if this continues,” he said. “We’re right on the front end of harvest, so we don’t need any more of this stuff — it needs to get out of here, so we can get to pickin’.”
Jarrod Hardke, rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said damage to unharvested rice acres was visible as he toured areas in northern Arkansas throughout the day Thursday.
“Wind and rain did a number on remaining rice in the field,” he said. “Fields ready for harvest have anywhere from small patches to large swaths of downed rice. This will definitely slow down harvest in these fields and increase wear and tear on combines.”
Jeffrey Works, agricultural agent for the Poinsett Cooperative Extension office, said Wednesday night’s rain broke a nearly month-long dry streak for the county, during which growers have done much to reclaim the calendar from nearly a year of ongoing, intermittent rains.
“These farmers have been going at it non-stop, cutting,” Works said. “It’s a lot different than last year, for sure.”
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 to all eligible persons 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.
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Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service