Wet Weather Keeping Farmers Out Of Fields

April 13, 2005 – Posted at 2:45 p.m. CDT
CASH, AR -- Region 8 has been pretty wet the last few days and that's not good news for farmers.
“Last year, I had about 75% of my rice in, somewhere around that,” said Farmer Joe Christian, “And this year, I’ve got less than 10% in.”
Wet weather has kept tractors out of the field, and it may be a while before farmers can get to work.
“We won't get in the field this week. It will probably be next week, and that's if it don't rain again,” said Christian.
“We're still not late by any means, but we need about two weeks of really dry weather and we can get most of the crop in at that time,” said Craighead County Extension Agent Branon Thiesse.
 Christian planted 170 acres of rice last week, but he's far from being done. He had planned on putting in about 1200 acres.
Christian estimates that less than 5% of the states rice crop is in the ground so far. And that could be a problem, considering Arkansas is the leading state in rice production.
“Fuel prices and fertilizer have jumped 50-60% over last year and unless we get some good prices, it's going to be tough this fall,” said Christian.
“The problem with planting the entire crop in a two week period is that it comes off in a two week period,” said Thiesse.
Creating back ups at the mill and long lines for farmers.
“Every year is different, so this year may wet spring and we may not get another rain for six months,” laughed Thiesse, “So, we got to be careful for what we wish for.”