Soybean growers in Jackson County have proven their persistence in the face of rainfall amounts of more than 35 inches since March, Randy Chlapecka, the county Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, said Tuesday.
Some areas received nearly 10 inches in the last 10 days.
The heavy rains since the week of July 13 “have continued to compound an already serious situation with our soybean crop in Jackson County. Some producers have planted fields as many as four times.”
Rainfall totals of 30 to 35 inches between March 10 and June 14 made it difficult to plant soybeans in a timely manner. When planting could occur it “would be followed by heavy rains and the soybeans would have to be replanted,” Chlapecka said.
Following June’s heavy rains, summer turned up the heat and “many fields literally went from flooded to too dry to plant in less than one week. Many fields that were planted during that timeframe have spotty stands, and a significant acreage has gone unplanted.”
Worse yet, some who planted in dry soil were counting on rain to prompt germination.
“Some of those producers got 6-plus inches of rain last week, and obviously the seed rotted instead of germinating and emerging.”
According to July 19 weekly crop report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, 50 percent of Arkansas soybeans were in good to excellent condition.
“Unfortunately, we’re not seeing that,” he said. “We do have some good fields where farmers were able to get a stand early and have well-drained fields, but they are the minority.”
The rain produced mixed results in Lincoln County.
“We’ll need to see how fast the water will drain,” said Chad Norton, Lincoln County Extension staff chair. “Most drainage ditches and Bayou Bartholomew were pretty low, so this should run off pretty quickly. But it needs to stop and we need a few days of sunshine to help in drying fields.”
Norton said late planted soybeans need to dry out or farmers will see reduced yields.
The rain will “probably cause sheath blight in rice to flare in any fields that have not had a fungicide application.”
On the plus side, the rain is keeping spider mites in check on cotton and “will allow farmers to shut off wells for awhile, saving money,” Norton said.
Growers in Cross County are tallying some losses and working to save what was left.
“Heavy rains in western Cross County have caused flooding conditions in some soybean fields, resulting in partial stand loss in these fields,” said Rick Wimberley, Extension staff chair. “Keeping the surviving stand and carrying it to yield would be more advantageous than replanting.”
News wasn’t good on the pest front either. In addition to sheath blight in rice, Wimberley said he “had several reports of weed escapes including glyphosate-resistant pigweed, large grass and other broadleaves.”
In Faulkner County, the rain has kept some growers from making their weed control rounds.
“We had a grower not be able to apply his Roundup or herbicides since the end of June,” said Hank Chaney, Faulkner County Extension staff chair for the division. “I’m concerned about what Southern rust is going to do on late planted corn in the county.”
Brent Griffin, Prairie County Extension staff chair, said the weather had left lots of empty fields. “We will have approximately 5,000 acres of what would be planted in soybeans abandoned due to weather, flood, then drought, then rain again.” The county has 131,000 acres of soybeans.
Corn appears to be in good shape in both Lincoln and Jefferson counties.
“It would be better to stay relatively dry from here until harvest or harvest can be delayed due to high moisture in the corn kernels,” Norton said, adding that’s not a concern at the moment. “It is always a relief for a farmer to be done with a field and just wait for harvest. The forecast for the next few days is just about perfect in it will give us a chance to dry out a little.”
Don Plunkett, Jefferson County Extension staff chair, said Monday’s rain brought between seven-tenths to 2.5 inches.
“For many farmers, this will mean final irrigation of corn has gone onto their fields,” he said, adding that the corn has reached maturity. “That means each rain event is a free watering to help mature fields, but more rain helps keep irrigation wells shut off on younger, less mature corn and other crops.”
Jefferson County growers received another round of rain on July 21, “and farmers and consultants will be ready for sunshine and dry weather now,” Plunkett said.
July 20 storms gave Plunkett extra work after high winds downed a large pear tree at his office. Heavy rain also created a lake up to 8 inches deep in the parking lot, with the primary side effect being a soaking for 4-H’ers who were preparing for a trip to the state O-Rama.
The weekly crop report also said corn was reported good to excellent in 51 percent of the crop and rice was good to excellent in 53 percent.