Despite a long hot, dry spell, armyworms, bollworms and rice stinkbugs, Arkansas’ 2010 row crops are in good shape.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service weekly report found that corn was 91 percent in dough stage, 73 percent in dent stage, and 13 percent mature — far above mature corn’s five-year average of 1 percent. At this time last year, only 71 percent of corn was at dough stage and 31 percent was in dent stage; zero percent had matured.
In Jackson County, many farmers were irrigating their corn for the last time as the crop neared maturity. Chad Norton, Lincoln County Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, said that although nothing had been harvested yet, corn harvesting could begin by the end of the week.
Eighty-six percent of the cotton crop was setting bolls, compared to last year’s 78 percent. Rice was 57 percent headed, compared to last year’s 14 percent. Sorghum was 98 percent headed.
Eighty-one percent of soybeans were blooming and 55 percent were setting pods.
The overall crop conditions were looking good, according to the report. Seventy percent of corn, 67 percent of cotton, 70 percent of rice, 63 percent of sorghum and 67 percent of soybeans were rated in good to excellent condition.
That doesn’t mean Arkansas growers haven’t had challenges this season.
According to the National Weather Service, conditions were still fairly dry south and east of a line running from about DeQueen to West Memphis. Many spots had received only 25 to 75 percent of their normal yearly rainfall through July 23.
Remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie brought a little relief to the state, but the effects were still being evaluated July 27.
Rains on July 26 were “real spotty,” Norton said. “Some places received 2-plus inches and others received three-tenths to five-tenths of an inch.”
Hay growers who experienced a fair amount of rain this week might be able to make an additional cutting, Norton said.
Phillips County received some much-needed water too.
“Everybody I talked to received about an inch of rain, from one end to the other,” said Robert Goodson, Phillips County Extension agent.
The only spot that didn’t need the water was the 500 acres of early variety soybeans ready to harvest.
“They were drying down and didn’t need the moisture. But that’s 500 acres of the 240,000 acres of soybeans in the county and he should have those cleared out in no time.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension entomologist, said some crops are currently plagued with armyworms and stinkbugs.
“This has got to be one of the worse years for fall armyworms that I’ve seen,” Lorenz said. “I strongly encourage everyone to check fields for developing populations now. These larvae are completely defoliating fields and it can happen quickly.”
Some Jefferson County producers were complaining about garden webworms and bollworms in their soybeans as well.