Ike Damages Region 8 Rice

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - About a quarter of Arkansas' rice crop has been affected by wind and rain from the remnants of hurricanes Ike and Gustav, which struck the state over the past two weeks.

Rice is the state's largest crop by dollar amount, and growers have about 1.3 million acres planted this year. Arkansas is the country's top rice producing state.

Wind and rain from Gustav damaged fields mainly south of Interstate 40, while Ike blew down rice north of the highway.

With only preliminary reports in, agriculture experts say rice farmers could lose 10 percent of the overall yield due to damage from the two storms.

Some of the damaged rice can still be harvested -- but the process is expensive.

Some cotton was blown down and that assessment is on a field-by-field basis, too. Bolls haven't begun to open in many cases, which will restrict the damage done.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)