Isaac gone, Arkansas producers return to assess and harvest
LONOKE, Ark. – With Isaac gone and fields drying, Arkansas farmers returned to their combines Tuesday to resume an interrupted harvest and check for damage, extension agents with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture said.
Over the three days Isaac controlled Arkansas’ weather, some areas in the Delta saw nearly 10 inches of rain. Some counties reported spots where rice or soybean plants were flattened, but overall, there was a sense of relief.
“We’re glad it was not as bad as it was expected,” said Keith Perkins, Lonoke County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “We prepared for the worst and we’re back to harvesting fields and finishing this long, hot, dry year out.”
In Clay County, hammered Saturday by an EF2 tornado that destroyed a hangar and airplanes at the Corning Airport, “amazingly, our crops escaped with little damage at all,” said Ron Baker, Clay County extension agent. “Most fields, though heavily loaded with grain, are still standing well. We are greatly relieved for the most part, and thankful that it was not much worse.”
Dallas and Jefferson counties both suffered flooding. “A few streets and roads were closed for a while, but it didn’t take long for the water to disappear,” said Keith Gresham, Dallas County extension staff chair for the U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “In some areas, you’d be hard-pressed to find any evidence that we received 6-8 inches of rain last week.
“The creeks have water in them now and farm ponds were replenished, but they’re not necessarily back to the full mark,“ he said.
In Jefferson County, Extension Staff Chair Dennis Bailey said that in some places on Friday, the water was knee deep in Pine Bluff.
“We had 8-plus inches” of rain, he said, adding that he was going to make the rounds Tuesday afternoon to check on producers and test plots.
For those in the cattle business, Isaac was helpful where it dropped rain. Pastures that hadn’t seen any water for months were beginning green up and some county agents were hopeful producers night get another cutting of hay.
“If we keep getting a little moisture and temperatures hold up, there could be another cutting of hay this fall – if fall armyworm infestations allow it,” said Jimmy Driggers, Garland County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Our first hay cutting was three to four weeks early this spring, but it was the only one so far.”