Home Farm Equipment Flood concerns addressed at U of A meeting

Flood concerns addressed at U of A meeting


June flooding broken greater than half one million acres of crops in southeastern Arkansas. For the handful of counties hit hardest by the deluge — Lonoke, Prairie, Jefferson, Lincoln, Desha and parts of Drew — the preliminary flood harm estimates prime $200 million.

These numbers had been shared at the College of Arkansas Division of Agriculture post-flood meeting on June 20. Almost 150 farmers packed the Dumas Neighborhood Heart to listen to Extension specialists deal with manufacturing questions following the unprecedented rain occasion.

Sadly, there appeared extra challenges than options. There are fields nonetheless underwater. For these eager to replant, yield potential is diminishing with every passing day. Managing late-planted crops will seemingly require extra assets. And lots of farmers’ post-flood choices are restricted, resulting from pre-flood herbicide purposes.

Farmers at the meeting had been hopeful federal help {dollars} could be coming. No guarantees had been made at the meeting, though Keith Stokes, a undertaking supervisor for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), urged the chance of an agricultural aid invoice that may help Midsouth farmers affected by floods in addition to producers within the West coping with historic droughts.

“That will take time,” Stokes stated, “but we feel like working with the western states to create a bill that will fits the needs of both.”

“We need to gather all the information on damages as soon as possible so we can help folks out,” he added.

Flood Harm Estimates

John Anderson, economist with the Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers School of Agricultural, Meals and Life Sciences, delivered the preliminary estimate.

College of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

John Anderson, economist with the Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers School of Agricultural, Meals and Life Sciences

Anderson stated the estimates involved 5 main crops: soybeans, rice, corn, cotton and wheat. The related loss estimates amounted to $70 million every in soybeans and rice, $60 million in corn, $6 million in cotton and roughly $1 million in wheat and grain sorghum.

“That’s where we stand today,” Anderson stated, noting that as counties start to revise their estimates, these numbers will seemingly change. He stated the estimates didn’t embrace specialty crops.

The estimate additionally didn’t embrace Chicot and Ashley counties, though they’ll seemingly be impacted as floodwaters proceed to empty southward from Desha County on their approach to the Mississippi River.

Vic Ford, affiliate vice chairman for agriculture and pure assets for the Division of Agriculture, stated that about 600,000 acres of cropland in southeastern Arkansas had been affected by the flooding occasion, with about half that submerged in a number of toes of water for an prolonged interval, Ford stated.

He stated growers farming crops inside the 300,000 closely affected acre space had been seemingly going through complete crop loss for the season.


Invoice Robertson, extension cotton agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, stated about 4.5 to five% of the cotton crop in southeastern Arkansas had been misplaced to flood harm in June.

Robertson stated that within the wake of the flood, many cotton growers might want to plow the soil to interrupt the floor crust in order that the soil can breathe.

“But when we do that, we have to be very careful not to destroy the roots that are there, because cotton tends to be shallow-rooted in these conditions,” Robertson stated.

College of Arkansas Division of AgricultureBill Robertson.jpg

Invoice Robertson, extension cotton agronomist for the Division of Agriculture

Robertson warned in opposition to over-irrigating and over-fertilizing as soon as the floodwaters drain off and the complete warmth of summer season is upon the land.

“We’ve got a lot of potential ways to shoot ourselves in the foot,” he stated.

He stated growers could also be tempted to overcompensate for perceived losses in nitrogen by making use of extra fertilizer on fields that had already been appropriately fertilized within the spring.

“After a short while, the oxygen will get deeper into the soil, and we’ll get a good deep root system on the cotton plants again,” Robertson stated. “But when the plant picks up all that nitrogen we’re putting out, then you’ve got a plant that’s in high gear, going as fast as it can go at a point in the season when we’re wanting it to slow down for harvest.”


Jeremy Ross, extension soybean agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, stated growers ought to act shortly to evaluate how a lot of their soybean crop is salvageable, and what number of acres they wish to attempt to replant.

“Right now, on soybeans, the main thing is evaluating what we’ve got,” Ross stated. “If you’re looking at replanting, increase your seeding rate 10-15% over what you’ve been doing under normal production practices.”

Ross cautioned, nonetheless, that most yield is actually out of attain for soybeans planted this late within the season.

College of Arkansas Division of AgricultureJeremyRoss.jpg

Jeremy Ross, extension soybean agronomist for the Division of Agriculture

“Every day we delay getting beans into the ground, we’re losing yield,” he stated. “By June 15, we’ve already lost 22 percent of maximum yield. So as of today, we’re looking at maybe 30 percent yield loss.”

Ross urged growers to make use of inoculants, which assist to stimulate nitrogen-rich nodules on root techniques, throughout replanting to maximise the accessible yield. His analysis confirmed a 12 bu/a enhance in July planted soybeans when inoculants had been used.

Extra suggestions from Ross on soybean replant can be found at the U of A Row Crops Blog.


Whereas estimates of financial damages in Arkansas corn weren’t almost as excessive as these of soybean and rice, Jason Kelley, extension wheat and feed grains agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, stated that acreage losses in corn had been comparatively restricted within the southeastern zone.

“Nearly everything in the area has been affected to some degree from flooding or wind damage that blew corn down, but we lost probably no more than 30,000 acres of corn,” Kelley stated. In accordance with a March 31 report from the U.S. Division of Agriculture, Arkansas growers planted roughly 700,000 acres of corn this yr.

He stated that replanting corn at this level within the season was seemingly economically unfeasible for many growers.

“This late in the game, replanting might get you half of what you’d get in an optimum yield,” Kelley stated. “Economically, we’re beyond the window for replanting corn or grain sorghum.”


Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, stated that whereas lots of of 1000’s of rice acres within the southeastern zone had been impacted to a point, the precise crop loss might be a lot smaller.

College of Arkansas Division of AgricultureJarrod Hardke

Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture

“Some growers lost partial fields, some entire fields were lost. It’s all over the place,” Hardke stated. “Rice tolerates a flood very well — but because of this situation, where the crop gets submerged, one field to the next, you’re going to see a massive difference in survivability.”

He stated that along with submerged fields, extra acres suffered blown levees, complicating growers’ efforts to take care of managed floods halfway by way of the rising season.

Attendees at Monday’s meeting additionally heard from specialists within the fields of soil well being, irrigation and pest administration.


Christopher Henry, affiliate professor for the Division of Agriculture, urged growers to examine and flush their pumps, which can seemingly harbor micro organism in the event that they had been submerged in the course of the flood.

“You will have to irrigate this year, I’m pretty sure,” Henry stated. “Any pumps which were flooded and have been underwater, there’s a very good likelihood you may have mud in them. You’re going to wish to flush these out as quickly as you may.

“There’s a good chance there are bacteria in that well, so I’d talk to my well driller about chlorinating that well,” he stated. “If there’s anything in that screen, this will clean it out, and if you’ve got iron-producing bacteria this will clean them out, too, so your well will be productive when you really need it most, over the next 30 days or so.”

He added that irrigation won’t be straightforward this summer season, as vegetation could not have a deep root zone and would require shorter, extra frequent waterings. He inspired growers to look at soil moisture sensors as a low price approach to precisely monitor soil moisture ranges.

Arkansas Flood Meeting 2.jpg

Managing Weeds

Tommy Butts, extension weed scientist for the Division of Agriculture, stated growers ought to maintain three key issues in thoughts when managing weeds within the aftermath of the flood.

“Weed management isn’t going to get any easier after the flood,” Butts stated. “It’s going to be on a really field-specific, case-by-case foundation.

“It’s going to be challenging,” he stated. “You’re going to have a different situation in every field. The flood waters could have brought new weed species to your fields. It’s going to take careful scouting and precise management.”

Butts reminded growers that, though any residual herbicides growers utilized earlier than the flood may be washed away, they nonetheless depend towards their complete seasonal use of herbicides.

Lastly, Butts stated that with the June 30 cutoff date for dicamba herbicide software looming, growers ought to give cautious thought as to what soybean varieties they’ll replant.

“Even if your crop survives the flood, coming up against this cutoff date, you want to think about your next options for controlling pigweed,” he stated.

Insect administration

Gus Lorenz, extension entomologist for the Division of Agriculture, warned that whereas insect strain will seemingly be intense going ahead, growers ought to nonetheless take note of the brink suggestions for making use of pesticides, fairly than making pointless purposes.

“We’re in a bind, and the tendency is to overcompensate for that,” Lorenz stated. “Those thresholds are there to tell you when you need to make applications. Every day we don’t have to spray is a good day. We don’t want to spend money on crops we don’t need to spray with insecticide.”

He suggested growers of late planted soybeans to funds for at least one stinkbug software and one worm software.

A number of growers in attendance stated the current flooding was one of the worst climate occasions they might recall. Jerry McMahan, who farms cotton and different crops close to the Division of Agriculture analysis station at Rohwer, stated it was the worst climate he’d seen in 50 years of farming.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” McMahan stated. “The worst I’ve ever seen. But we can’t give up. We’ve got to try to do something.”


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