May 3, 2017
Powerful storms moved through Arkansas last weekend. The high winds and heavy rain were blamed for seven deaths and Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency.
Some of the higher 24-hour rainfall totals reported by the National Weather Service included 10.59 inches at Rogers, 10.12 at Elm Springs, 9.1 inches at Farmington, and 8.5 inches at Savoy, 7.85 inches at Guy and 7.82 inches at Georgetown.
“There is major flooding along Current and Little Black rivers in western Clay County and thousands of acres of rice and corn will be impacted,” said Stewart Runsick, Extension staff chair for Clay County at Corning, Ark. “I am sure replanting will be necessary in many fields. We had the best stand of corn that I had seen in many years.”
In several counties, the rain and flooding eroded or destroyed levees, washing out rice fields.
Read more about the damage in Mary Hightower’s Arkansas farmers awaiting impact of ‘big water’ and Flooding may turn accelerated planting into replanting.
100,000 acres lost
Approximately 100,000 planted acres of Arkansas rice have been lost to flooding, says Dr. Jarrod Hardke, the state’s rice Extension agronomist.
In his May 2 Arkansas Rice Update he says “the damage and losses will only increase beyond my estimate, not get lower.”
Arkansas farmers were off to an early, good start before the flooding, with nearly 90 percent of the crop planted.
Is there flooding in your area? Send us your photos of the flood to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How long will submerged rice live? Hardke writes the answer is difficult because many factors are involved, including growth state, air and water temperatures, water depth and clarity.
“As a general rule, the breaking point for young, submerged rice is about 10 days… If the water is not off in seven days, you need to start actively working to get water off someway, somehow if possible,” he writes.
Mother Nature had other plans
Jeff Rutledge’s Jackson County, Ark., rice farm is located where the surging Black and White rivers merge. In the May 2 USA Rice Daily he says, “As of now, the only way we can get to our farm shop is by boat. We are headed up in a plane later today to determine the scope of damage.”
“The excessive rainfall hit us hard and then the lack of drainage due to flooding rivers only compounds the problem,” said Jennifer James, another rice farmer in Jackson County, Ark.
“We were off to a really good start on this crop year and Mother Nature had other plans. In the end, it will likely be weeks before the extent of the damage and losses can accurately be determined.”
“At the moment, the best the rice industry can hope for is quickly receding waters, but the rain hasn’t even stopped yet,” said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs. “Private crop insurance assistance, in the form of replanting or preventative planting coverage can’t begin to be calculated until June 10 — the last day of potential planting.”
Read more at May 2 USA Rice Daily.
“There was a small window that allowed for corn and rice planting to near completion this week. The early planted corn received sidedress nitrogen and sulfur. Producers are watching the Arkansas and Fourche rivers as they near flood stage, and more rain is forecasted. Livestock and farm machinery have been moved out of bottoms to higher ground.” — Kevin Lawson, Perry County, Ark.
“Hail damaged corn and soybeans earlier in the week. Now we are dealing with countywide flooding.” – Branon Thiesse, Craighead County, Ark.
“Fieldwork was limited to three days this week due to heavy rainfall. Corn and rice received herbicide applications for weed control. Some corn layby nitrogen was applied. Crops are beginning to show water stress in low areas.” – Brent Griffin, Prairie County, Ark.
“Greene County received 6 to 10 inches of rain in the last week. This halted planting and slowed emergence. Some fields will need spot planting or replanting. Cache and St. Francis rivers are rising and covering adjacent fields. We need a few days without rain, but more is forecasted.” – Dave Freeze, Greene County, Ark.
“Rain from 3 to 8 inches resulted in significant flooding of low lying areas, with many planted fields under several inches of standing water.” – Richard Klerk, Woodruff County, Ark.