What is in this article?:
- Crops overcoming wet, nervous planting season
- Weed resistance, irrigation
- Crops several weeks late due to Delta rains.
- "On a scale of one to 10, we’re at an eight. It’s not a disaster by any means." -- Robert Goodson, Phillips County Extension agent.
ROBERT GOODSON, PHILLIPS County Extension agent, checks a wheat field in Marvell, Ark.
Weed resistance, irrigation
Resistant weeds continue to bedevil the county.
“We’re like everywhere else in the Delta -- can’t shake them. We actually picked up a new resistant weed, mayweed, in our wheat this year. Harmony isn’t giving us good control of mayweed at the recommended rate. Mayweed is basically a winter weed and it’s showing signs of becoming more of a problem.
“I’ve been looking at resistant pigweeds -- a huge kink in our fields -- all morning. After what I saw, I’m afraid I’ll have to shoot some of my silver bullets at them and that’s a bad thing this early.”
Some county producers have done “some of the zero tolerance approach” to pigweeds in the past. “I’d love for everyone not to have a single pigweed out there. But hoe hands are hard to find and herbicides are the fallback.”
There will be hoe hands out this summer. “Some farmers are already lining up crews, trying to find high-schoolers willing to do the hard work. And it isn’t an easy job – few folks are willing to do it in the heat.”
Goodson is among the group of Extension agents urging producers to try an irrigation scheduling program. “We’ve had 25 to 30 attending each of the three PHAUCET training sessions we’ve held. Right now, there are 10 producers in the county using the program in their fields. That accounts for 3,000 to 4,000 acres in water conservation. That may not seem like much but last year we had none.
“I expect that PHAUCET use will only grow. If I can save water on my farm, I can save energy and that means I’m taking more to the bank. It just makes sense to use the program.”
Overall, Phillips County is much luckier than other areas of the state with water. “We certainly don’t have the water table issues they do in the Grand Prairie. The Mississippi (River) is at our back door.
“However, just because that’s the case, we still have to be vigilant. Any regulations coming from the state -- and the regulations are coming -- won’t stop at the White River or edge of the Grand Prairie. In the future, we’ll be in the same boat regarding water conservation issues.”