Farmers who first faced floods now face dry fields

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

POINSETT COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Now that the flood waters have receded and farmers are in the fields, they have to rethink what they will plant and how the intense heat is going to make a difference.

As you look out on a dry field of buckshot the predominant soil type around Payneway it resembles a huge jigsaw puzzle and it looks like it's been a desert for years.

Bud Bingham who farms near Payneway, stood in a soybean field that looked parched. "Hard to believe," he says. "There was 13 miles of water from Payneway to Crowley's Ridge which is West of us. Right here where we are now was probably 5 to 6 feet deep."

Extension Agent Craig Allen dug into the dirt with his pocket knife, "Amazing what was covered with water 2 weeks ago is now as hard as concrete right now."

With much of the corn, rice and early planted soybeans washed away, farmers are having to re-till and re-plant. Standing along a dusty county road you can hear and see farm equipment hard at it. Either tilling and breaking up the clods or planting.

On the Marty White farm, tractors raise clouds of dirt as another soybean crop is put into the ground. This is the second time this field had been planted, an additional expense they don't need.

Bingham says the corn and rice is pretty much gone and he says, "The bean acres are planted, there again about 50 dollars an acre just in seed that we've lost with having to replace all that." "The corn," Bingham said, "Cost us about a Hundred dollars in acre that we won't recover. "

Soybeans will be the predominant crop and now after the rains, came the heat. Which is drying the fields faster than what they need turning the gumbo into jigsaw puzzles. It's ironic Bingham says.

"A week ago we were draining water. Before the day is out we'll be polypiping these beans to get them up."

Allen says the heat will affect the vigor of a new growing seed. "You may not get as much seed up and affect the germination and it's drying this ground out so fast that there's just no moisture for the plant to absorb and grow."

Bingham says he plans to bed up his beans and the irrigation will wick up through the raised beds to the soybean seed. "They'll come up pretty quick, hot as it is. They'll either come up or rot as hot as it is. "

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