On April 15, Arkansas’s farmers were assessing their fields and buildings after a line of intense storms spawned funnel clouds, high winds and hail across the state and killed seven people.
High winds caused damage to wheat fields, trees and farm structures, according to Extension agents with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Parts of the Arkansas Delta also received more than an inch of much-needed rain.
Lonoke County, just east of Little Rock, sustained plenty of damage. “We had some wheat fields that were flattened,” Keith Perkins, Lonoke County Extension agent said. “Some looked like you had run a roller over them. This will reduce yield in those fields but we will have to wait to find out how much yield will be lost.
“We had lots of trees and limbs down and Highway 31 south was closed down due to trees and down power lines. Looks like it rained green leaves last night.”
Perkins urged care when running chainsaws and to watch out for downed power lines to avoid injuries from storm cleanup.
“There was a little bit of wind damage, limbs some wheat blown down and a few power units sheds moved,” said Brent Griffin, Prairie County Extension staff chair. “We had 1 to 2 inches of rain across the county, but we’re getting behind on rice planting and corn.”
Eugene Terhune, Woodruff County Extension agent, said local crop consultants were not seeing any storm damage to crops. The area received between 1 to 1.5 inches of rain.
In Lee and Phillips counties, rainfall ranged from over 1 inch to more than 2 inches.
“Some fields have water standing on them, but since the drainage ditches were low it should run off soon,” said Robert Goodson, Extension agent for both counties. “The only way that I foresee any damage is if the drains get stopped up.”
Goodson said that late in the week the sun was shining and farmers should be able to get back into the fields by April 18.
Herb Ginn, Lawrence County Extension staff chair, said his county saw high winds and a little more than an inch of rain.
The National Weather Service’s preliminary storm report included funnel cloud sightings in Saline and Yell counties, 1.75-inch hail in Saline County, 1-inch hail in Polk and Montgomery counties, and damage to chicken houses in Stone and Polk counties.
For more information on agricultural economics and risk management, visit www.uaex.edu or contact your county Extension office.