Arkansas rice producers appear to have dodged a bullet from Gordon

Arkansas farmers accelerated harvest operations in the wake of excessive rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon, and those who are under way are making good crops.

Arkansas rice harvest near Hazen

Rice is harvested in Prairie County near Hazen, Arkansas — photo by Fred Miller, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

The Arkansas rice harvest is about 60 percent complete and seems to have survived the storm-related rains, says Jarrod Hardke, Extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“Farmers are pushing hard to get the crop in ahead of any rain,” he says. “At the rate they’re going, the harvest could be about done within about three weeks. But if we get five or six days of rain next week, we may be looking at more delays.”

Most rice growing areas in the state missed the worst rain from Gordon, Hardke says, and suffered only light damage.

“We had some rice leaning like it might fall over,” he says, “but by and large, it’s not as bad as was anticipated.”

Still, Hardke says, more rain delays increase the risks of harm to the harvest.

“The longer rice is in the field, the more bad stuff might happen.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service projects Arkansas rice yields at 7,490 pounds, or about 166 bushels, per acre.

The University of Arkansas contributed this article.