Storms create harvest hassles for rice farmers

Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 6:12 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2023 at 7:13 PM CDT
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BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - Heavy rain and winds have led to problems for rice farmers right in the heart of harvest season.

Crops have fallen over leading to delays that could last days.

When the crop is weighed down with rain and blown by the wind, it falls over, causing more problems for rice growers.

“This is why farmers are in such a hurry to get the rice out when it is ready and this is the consequence of what happens if we get bad weather before we finish,” said Mississippi County farmer Ryan Sullivan.

Sullivan said that Mississippi County took the brunt of the storm. He added that he is not the only farmer who had to delay harvest due to heavy rain.

“The delay in harvest is due to the fact that the crop can’t get airflow up underneath it to dry out. It causes another day or two for delay of the material drying out enough for us to harvest,” said Sullivan.

If the rice is not harvested soon, it could cause another issue: yield loss.

“The rice that has fallen off the head is laying on the ground, and the combination of the plants that are stuck in the mud, that is where your loss will come from so there will be a decent amount in fields like this,” said Sullivan.

Tyler Hydrick has worked as a crop consulate since 2017. He said rice will lose its quality and increase yield loss the longer it sits.

Lower quality will lead to a reduction in the selling price.

“Determines where the rice can be shipped too, so a lot of rice, if it mills really bad, tends to go into animal products like dog food,” said Hydrick.