Rice Crops Are Looking Good This Year In Region 8

August 17, 2004 -- Posted at 3:44 p.m. CDT

CACHE -- Farmers have been working hard all season long and are getting ready to harvest their crops. Growers at the Cache River Valley Seed have spent the summer taking care of 1800 acres of rice.

You've heard of the phrase walking in tall cotton...but what about walking in tall rice? Tuesday, Region 8 farmers toured the Cache River Valley Seed Farm during the 15th Annual Rice Production Field Day.

Randy Woodard is the manager and owner of Cache River Valley Seed.  He said the rice is very important to the economy of Arkansas.

"We've got about 1.5 million acres in Arkansas and the U.S. is about 3 million acres so we raise about 50% of the total rice production in the United states," said Woodard.

 Craighead County Extension agent Steve Culp said, "It's just an opportunity to highlight new varieties. We'll be looking at different rice varieties and disease packages and we promote that and see what's new."

And some of the tallest new crops this year were hybrid varieties.

"That’s one of the new technologies that's coming along, and there's a strategy to combine better traits from different variety backgrounds to the same variety. Hybrids are here to stay," said Greg Phillips, ASU Dean of Agriculture.

Four to five percent of all rice planted in Craighead County is hybrid, and that's something Culp says we'll probably see more of in the coming years.

"That's kind of new technology, but the yield potential is terrific, and they have a good disease package," said Culp.

Harvest season is here and farmers say if the weather cooperates, things will be ok.

"It looks real good. We probably got one of our better crops overall in just about every category. Corn, rice, cotton soybeans, they really look good. It's kind of scary, because last year it was that way too and that's unusual two years in a row," said Culp.

The Cache River Valley Seed Company grows their rice crops on the Burns Seed Farm.  The farm has been in seed rice production for over 60 years.