Harvest is on the horizon for many Arkansas producers if the sun will stick around! Harvest for some was set to begin last week but was postponed due to another rainy spell.
In northeast Arkansas, rice farmer Dean Wall has received more than five inches of rain since last Thursday. “We drained our early fields last week but with the front that came through, we’ll have to drain the fields again. If the weather cooperates, we’re hoping to start harvesting in the next week or two.”
The latest rice Wall planted was in mid to late May. Weather permitting, they’re hoping it will be ready to harvest in mid to late September. “If we can get a week to 10 days of good weather, then we should have a lot of combines out in the field,” said Wall.
David Gairhan, another producer from northeast Arkansas, is also waiting on some sunshine to dry out the fields so he can start harvesting. “Some folks may be able to start harvesting on Labor Day but I think the majority will start in a couple of weeks. This crop is looking pretty fair except for all of the barnyard grass. This is one of the worst years I can remember as far as grass goes.”
South Arkansas producers are in the same boat. Sidney Robnett from Stuttgart had plans to start harvesting last Friday but couldn’t because of the weather. However, combines should be out in the field later this week as long as the sun comes out. Planting was spread out until June this year so the harvest is expected to be spread out as well.
“More than likely we’ll harvest our early rice, harvest some corn, then harvest our late rice. While it’s not ideal, it’s how things are,” said Robnett. “There’s a lot of speculation on yields this year and estimates are all over the place but I’m feeling pretty optimistic.”
As always, Mother Nature dictates this year’s harvest schedule, and producers are hoping for a good one.