Crops Could See Major Damage

POINSETT COUNTY, AR -- The freezing temperatures this weekend have been breaking records set from long ago and that's a big change from the high temps we've seen the past few weeks. With that said, farmers in the area have been told their early planted crops are at high risk, risk for a loss they aren't prepared to take.

This weekend mother nature changed her mind and record low temperatures have given farmers a run for their money.

"To be honest with you, we don't know to the extent of damage we do have yet. This is the first time I've been put in this situation," says Darin Walton, a Poinsett County Farmer.

Walton farms a little over 4,000 acres in Poinsett County. 400 of those acres are wheat, which is planted in October and harvested around June.

"I've got between 150 and 175 dollars an acre in my wheat crop and the only thing left to basically spend on it is the harvesting and the handling of it, getting it to the elevators," says Walton.

But wheat isn't the only crop troubled by the cold temperatures. Milo and corn which is already in the ground could see substantial damage too.

"As a farmer, you know that when a seed has problems either coming up or has some type problem in it's early seedling time period, then yay, you do lose some type of yield potential," says Walton.

Lost yield potential that could be supplemented with a farmer's crop insurance, but that's only if the crop sustains at least a certain percentage of damage.

"We're not out here to collect insurance, we're out here to make a crop and with the crop insurance, it's just like any other, it helps soften the blow, but on the same token, we're going to get back to break even at best," says Walton.

Darin says experts predict that if the temps were cold enough, long enough this weekend, some crops could be so damaged that they won't even see a combine come harvest.

"It really is a sickening feeling to have all that money invested in a crop and then just at the hand of mother nature, just lose it. You've done everything you know to do, but that's farming. It's unfortunate, but it really is," adds Walton.

Walton says it may be a few days before they are able to completely tell just how much damage their crops have sustained.