Arkansas producers have had their share of difficulties this year: drought followed by floods, tornadoes, damaging hail and another drought. Coping with natural disasters is among the topics being discussed at the 2011 Arkansas Rice Expo, Aug. 4 in Stuttgart.

The Arkansas Rice Expo will be held at the Rice Research and Extension Center, 2900 Highway 130 East. Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. Field tours and main stage demonstrations begin at 10 a.m. Lunch will feature Chuck Barrett, “voice of the Razorbacks,” as keynote speaker.

The session, “Coping with Natural Disasters,” will be held in the Rice Farmers’ Conference Room in the Rice Research and Extension Center main building at 2:40 p.m. Speakers include Chuck Wilson, interim director of the RREC; Jeremy Ross, Extension soybean agronomist; Jason Kelley, Extension wheat and small grains agronomist; and Tom Barber, Extension cotton agronomist; all of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, and Matt King, economist at the Arkansas Farm Bureau.

Preliminary loss estimates from this spring’s flooding alone were set at $500 million.

“Despite all of the setbacks, Arkansas’ farmers went ahead and got their crops in the ground, some replanting two or three times this spring,” said Wilson. “The most-asked questions Extension personnel received this spring concerned how, what and when to plant. With this segment, we hope to provide some perspective and help producers prepare for future natural disasters.”

The latest rice and soybean production research will be showcased in morning field tours. 

The tours include:

  • New rice varieties, hybrid rice development by the University of Arkansas researchers and rice diseases, with Karen Moldenhauer, Chris Deren, Rick Cartwright, Yeshi Wamishi.
  • Clearfield rice crop rotations, rice weed control on levees and pigweed control in soybeans with Bob Scott, Jason Norsworthy.
  • NST*R, or Nitrogen Soil Test for Rice, economic nutrient management, environmental studies, with Trent Roberts, Nathan Slaton, Rick Norman.
  • Soybean varieties and diseases, and insect management for rice and soybeans with Pengyin Chen, John Rupe, Gus Lorenz, Ron Salyor.
  • USDA research programs.

For more information on rice production or the 2011 Arkansas Rice Expo, visit http://www.aragriculture.org/riceexpo/default.htm, www.uaex.edu or contact your county Extension office.