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Serving: Central

Southern Arkansas farmers await rain

Farmers in south Arkansas are running irrigation pumps while waiting on rain that may not appear for some time.

Mid-June prospects for significant moisture were dim, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service in North Little Rock.

The last rain came with the upper-level low that brought deadly flooding to Montgomery County in west Arkansas. The low provided minor relief to some of Arkansas’ dry southeastern farmland.

“We got a sprinkle in places last night,” said Robert Goodson, Phillips County Extension agent for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, on June 11. “But there’s still irrigation going on in places.”

Bradley County received about a quarter-inch of rain east of Warren. However, Lincoln and Chicot counties went without.

Even so, Chad Norton, Lincoln County Extension staff chair for the UA Division of Agriculture, is looking on the bright side. “If you remember last year we were getting all of that rain. We would much rather have this year compared to last. At least we can irrigate.”

In Jefferson County, the warm weather has been just perfect for hungry worms and horseflies.

“We have a mix of worms in soybeans now: grass feeding fall armyworms, yellow-striped armyworm and bollworms,” said Don Plunkett, Jefferson County Extension staff chair for the Division of Agriculture.

“Nothing serious, but growers and consultants along with county Extension agents need to keep heads up and scout fields.”

Worms have also plagued home gardens, seeking out corn and tomatoes.

“Judges at the annual Farmers Market Festival Day on June 5 had a good exhibit of sweet corn until they opened the ears and found worms,” said Plunkett. “However, the ears still got the best ribbon it could get though.”

Crop conditions were looking good, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Seventy percent of corn, 67 percent of cotton, 70 percent of rice, 62 percent of sorghum and 67 percent of soybeans were rated in good to excellent condition.

The winter wheat crop was 57 percent harvested. Soybeans were 92 percent planted and 82 percent emerged. Rice was 100 percent emerged, while cotton was 99 percent emerged. Corn was 56 percent silked.

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