DES ARC, Ark. - Soybeans are expected to gain acres as floodwater recedes in Arkansas, according to Extension agents with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
Soybeans have the best odds for success in this disaster-disrupted growing season because of the relatively flexibility of their planting schedule. In March, USDA estimated 3.25 million acres of soybeans were to be planted in Arkansas, 1.04 million acres of rice.
"We're in the best possible situation - most of our crop is still in the bag," said Jeremy Ross, extension soybean agronomist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
The standard recommendation for planting soybean varieties in Arkansas is April 15 to June 30. Planting during the conventional time period usually provides for rapid seed germination and emergence.
Faulkner County Extension Staff Chair Hank Chaney said it's likely that many acres intended for corn and rice will be turned over to soybeans. Preliminary estimates had about 80 percent of the county's 10,000 farmed acres submerged at the peak of the flooding.
Faulkner County is near the center of the state and flooding was largely due to the swollen Arkansas River.
"Water has receded off of some rice fields and it appears they will survive and not have to be replanted," he said. "Farmers that had planned to plant rice are now switching to soybeans instead. Corn fields that were underwater for more than four days will either be replanted if they can be irrigated or destroyed and seeded with soybeans."
County agents in Craighead, Jackson and Mississippi counties also said they expected corn, rice, sorghum and cotton acres to go over to soybeans.
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, 21 percent of the soybean crop had been planted by May 6.
The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.