Ag experts eye off-season rains, look toward troublesome growing season


"It's either feast or famine. There's either nothing going on, or you're not going to have time to do anything."

Extension agencies are being inundated as area farmers prepare for the upcoming planting season.

With soil samples piling up, Craighead County Extension Agent Branon Theisse says last year's exceptional drought has left much of Region 8's foremost farmland parched.

"We're still going to see some long-term effects from the drought we've had from the last year and from high temperatures. The soil moisture in the upper parts of the soil have been replenished, but our groundwater, it takes a lot longer for that to be replenished."

Spring is rapidly approaching and water access is already a top concern of farmers and agricultural specialists in northeast Arkansas.

Irrigation has become a vital tool for crop survival, so many are easing the strain put on water pumps and irrigation wells by building reservoirs.

"There's lots of surface collection ponds going in now that are going to help relieve some of the groundwater pressure that we're using, especially in the western part of our county."

Theisse says it takes time for rain water to seep deeper into the soil where the driest conditions exist.

Therefore, a slow, steady rain is needed so the moisture can have a chance to move deep into the soil.

"For several miles from the ridge out that way, there's either no water or very little water. So they have to supplement it with either stream, or river water, or these reservoirs."

For information on drought status, click here.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.