The 4 to 6 inches of rain that fell Saturday through Monday may be costly for some Chicot County, Ark., cotton growers, says Gus Wilson, Extension staff for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
The heavy rain came at a time when 95 percent of bolls were open, exposing the white lint.
“This one is going to hurt,” he said. “This one is going to take some of our quality away.”
Wilson estimated that as much as 10 percent of the county’s more than 14,500 acres of cotton were affected by the heavy rain.
“You’re going to lose quality and you will lose some bolls that fall out,” he said. “We will have staining and sprouting.”
With forecast highs back in the 80s and 90s this week, the conditions are right for those seeds in the bolls to sprout he said.
Until those weekend rains, “yields seemed to be pretty good, but now it’s just going to be a wait- and-see game,” he said.
Until the rain hit, “the yields were looking better than we initially thought,” said Tom Barber, Arkansas Extension cotton agronomist. “I feel optimistic. There are a lot of 1,200 to 1,300 pounds per acre, and sometimes even more” in yield.
Most of the state’s cotton growing areas received less rain than Chicot County.
Barber did say rain across the cotton growing areas has slowed harvest.
“We’re behind. We would’ve had a lot of the crop picked this week if it hadn’t rained,” he said. “Sunshine is what we need now. If we can get that, we’ll be hard at it.”
The moist conditions were affecting soybeans as well, with 12 counties reporting soybean rust. They are: Arkansas, Ashley, Chicot, Drew, Desha, Jefferson, Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Prairie, White, and Woodruff.
According to Monday’s report from the National Agricultural Statistic Service, 21 percent of the cotton crop has been harvested, up from 11 percent the previous week. Among other crops:
• Corn harvest was shown to be complete, ahead of the 88 percent five-year average.
• Sorghum, too, was complete, ahead of the 83 percent five-year average.
• Soybeans were 42 percent harvested, ahead of the 24 percent five-year average.
• Winter wheat is 6 percent planted and 1 percent emerged.