If there was a morning line on farmers versus the weather, take the farmers.

Despite a season of drought, flood, sandstorms and windstorms, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is forecasting the Arkansas corn crop and rice yield to be the second largest on record.

The forecast production of 70.1 million bushels of corn was down 3 percent from last month’s forecast, but up 23 percent from 2010.

“If realized, this will be the second-largest corn crop in Arkansas history,” NASS said. Only 2007’s 99.7 million bushels were better.

“With the high prices, a lot of people had their corn booked to sell,” said Kevin Lawson, Extension area agronomist, corn and grain sorghum, for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “With that scenario, they had to plant.”

Lawson said the yields in verification program plots in southeastern Arkansas were very strong, with a record 227 bushels an acre harvested in a Drew County plot. However, the yield numbers in northeastern Arkansas where flooding lingered longest, “aren’t near as good.”

The forecast also revised the number of acres planted with rice up 2 percent from June’s forecast to 1.2 million -- good news for the state that is the nation’s leading rice producer.

Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, the total rice yield for 2011 is forecast at 7,000 pounds per acre, up 150 pounds from the Aug. 1 forecast and up 520 pounds from last year’s yield.

“If realized, this would be the second highest rice yield on record, behind the 7,230 pounds per acre in 2007,” NASS said. “Producers expect to harvest 1.16 million acres of rice, down 35 percent from 2010.”

The statistics service said cotton, sorghum and soybean production were all forecast to be up from 2010. View the full report here

For more information about crop production, visit www.uaex.edu or arkansascrops.com, or contact your county Extension office.