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Serving: Central

Storms drown early-season optimism

Repeated rains weighing down early season hopes. Each day of delays accelerating decline in yield potential, cash flow.

Round after round of flooding rains, hail and tornadoes are weighing down early season high hopes borne from strong prices for cotton and other crops.

“Just as optimism was returning to the Arkansas row crop sector turbulent, weather returned,” said Robert Coats, professor and Extension economist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “It’s now late in the row crop planting season, and with each passing day late planting and poor growing conditions likely means reduced production at harvest.”

Since May 20, Arkansas row crop producers have experienced delaying rains. Four rainstorms passed through parts of the state on May 20, each producing significant excessive rainfall in some locations.

“If weather had remained favorable for Arkansas row crop planting and production from May 19 into mid-June, then previous wet conditions and flood damages would have remained significant and even catastrophic for some,” Coats said. “But in the aggregate, significant future improvements could be made in salvaging the production year and overcoming the historic flooding event.”

With a new round of severe weather expected on Wednesday, “the potential for a broader economic loss event grows with each passing day for the Arkansas row crop production sector because of excessive rain, wet soils, prolonged flooding, drainage, and backwater flooding issues.”

Taking into account this year’s previous weather related events and their negative planting, production, and property impacts to date, then every day beyond May 19 that producers are kept out of the field,  “it has been my experience to anticipate an accelerated daily decline in our producers’ yield potential and cash flow and balance sheets.”

For more of Coats’ analysis, visit

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