EUDORA, Ark. (AP) - Through August, Arkansas' crop production estimates were largely unchanged from the previous month. With remnants of two hurricanes hitting the state in September, the figures could change for the worse.
Soybean production was up five-point-six percent and cotton production was down six-point-two percent, according to figures September First by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The next estimates due October Tenth will incorporate damage from hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
August was abnormally wet, and September has brought two tropical storms. Wet conditions interfered with crop harvests, which are well behind schedule. Chuck Wilson, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service rice agronomist, said there is an inordinately large amount of rice still in the field susceptible to the hurricanes.
Corn producer Michael Richardson of Holly Grove is harvesting as fast as he can to get his crop in before Ike hits. Richardson is cutting his corn early and then incurring the extra expense of drying it. He told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper of Little Rock that he's picked a corn crop up before, and it's no fun at all."
As of Monday, an estimated 92 percent of Arkansas' corn was mature, but only 25 percent of it had been harvested. Likewise, 79 percent of the grain sorghum was considered mature, but only 10 percent had been harvested. Jeremy Ross, the Extension Service soybean agronomist, says most of Arkansas' soybeans are still growing, so recent rains have tended to be beneficial.