Powerful thunderstorms that moved across Arkansas this week were a mixed blessing, according to county extension agents for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
Tuesday’s storms knocked power out to more than 7,600 customers, downed branches and produced large hail in some areas.
The scene in Jefferson County was upbeat, according to Don Plunkett, extension staff chair.
“I saw farmers happy, smiling and relaxed yesterday due to the rain!” he said on Wednesday. “This was one of those ‘million dollar rains’ for our farmers.”
Plunkett said, “lots of irrigation wells were turned off, saving quite a bit of money for those farmers. Several indicated they got 1 to 1.5 inches and they were able to get away from the farm, irrigation duties especially, and get to the Farm Service Agency office to get their crops certified.”
In Lincoln County, Chad Norton, extension agent for the Division of Agriculture, said it was welcome news that the storms produced no damage, especially in late-planted soybeans.
Lincoln County has approximately 70,000 acres of soybeans and about “35 percent to 40 percent are late because of replanting due to heavy rains in May and those following wheat,” Norton said Tuesday.
Norton did say the wet weather “will cause rice diseases such as sheath blight to flare.” On the positive side, the rain will help control spider mites in cotton.
Crittenden County Extension Agent Mike Hamilton said the storms brought rain and high winds, but except for some downed limbs, no real damage.
“The rain was more needed than not. It’s just a blessing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Monroe County producers are keeping their eyes on the sky, said county Extension Agent Van Banks.
“In a week or so, we may have some beans drowned,” he said. “Four inches of rain fell in parts of Monroe County over the weekend and it won’t take much more to put it back to where it was earlier this spring” when water covered everything.
Banks said the fields had begun to dry out and last week, soybean growers had begun watering their fields.
“They watered them and then the rain came over the weekend,” he said.