Farmers battle blackbirds to save rice crops - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Farmers battle blackbirds to save rice crops

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) -  April showers delayed planting for Arkansas farmers, but now seeds are in the ground.

"A lot of progress has been made in the last week and a half," said Brookland farmer Scott Gibson. "The equipment we have now can catch us up in a hurry."

However, while farmers play catch up, they have a new pest to worry about: blackbirds. 

Gibson said it seems these birds were waiting for this moment to arise.

During planting season, blackbirds will dig up the seeds and pull up the rice plants in their early stages. 

The birds are known to destroy anywhere from 20 to 80 acres of rice fields.

Gibson said nothing can be done to stop the blackbirds once the seed is in the ground, but farmers can use bird repellent on their rice seeds.

According to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, farmers can use AV-1011 bird repellent through a Section 18 emergency exemption until July 15 to battle the blackbirds. 

However, Gibson said the AV-1011, or any bird repellent for that matter, is not worth it. 

"With the products available now, we feel there isn't enough scientific evidence to support the expense of using them compared to the amount of expense we feel we're getting from the damage," he said. 

Gibson said he has been fortunate enough to only see minimal damage from blackbirds. 

"It varies area to area and year to year," he said. "It could all change at a moment's notice. You never know what's gonna blow in."

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Pharmacy break-in suspect still at large after high-speed chase

    Pharmacy break-in suspect still at large after high-speed chase

    Monday, November 20 2017 4:33 PM EST2017-11-20 21:33:54 GMT
    Monday, November 20 2017 11:16 PM EST2017-11-21 04:16:24 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    A Newport pharmacy break-in led to a high-speed chase with officers across two counties. It happened at Darlings Pharmacy around 3:50 a.m. according to a Newport police incident report.

    A Newport pharmacy break-in led to a high-speed chase with officers across two counties. It happened at Darlings Pharmacy around 3:50 a.m. according to a Newport police incident report.

  • Can Mallory still pass the driver's test?

    Can Mallory still pass the driver's test?

    Monday, November 20 2017 8:54 AM EST2017-11-20 13:54:09 GMT
    Monday, November 20 2017 10:55 PM EST2017-11-21 03:55:43 GMT
    (Source: KAIT)(Source: KAIT)

    If you had to retake your driver’s exam, could you pass? How long has it been since you tested your skills behind the wheel and on paper?

    If you had to retake your driver’s exam, could you pass? How long has it been since you tested your skills behind the wheel and on paper?

  • Randolph Co. to hire another jailer

    Randolph Co. to hire another jailer

    Monday, November 20 2017 8:26 PM EST2017-11-21 01:26:09 GMT
    Monday, November 20 2017 9:50 PM EST2017-11-21 02:50:35 GMT
    (Source: KAIT-TV)(Source: KAIT-TV)

    The Randolph County Detention Center is adding another jailer to their staff thanks to approval from the Randolph County Quorum Court.

    The Randolph County Detention Center is adding another jailer to their staff thanks to approval from the Randolph County Quorum Court.

Powered by Frankly