Rain brings fieldwork, planting to a halt


LONOKE, Ark. — A winter that just won’t quit has put a chill on farm fieldwork, extension agents for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture said Monday.

Farmers took advantage of last week’s warm, dry weather to make preparations for planting. On Friday, farm vehicles of all sorts were plying fields on either side of U.S. 70 through the Arkansas Delta.

“We have had some field work done in Lonoke County but to my knowledge nothing has been planted,” said Keith Perkins, Lonoke County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “The soil temperature is still very cold and now wet so looks like the seeds need to stay in the bag a little while longer.”

Perkins said it was still early and the cold rain or snow probably won’t have any bearing on crops that will be harvested in the fall. However, “on the wheat crop this rain will hurt any fields that are not well drained or did not have enough drained ditches,” he said.

In Chicot County, usually one of the first to see corn planted, only a handful of acres had been planted, said Gus Wilson, county extension staff chair.

“Field work was going strong and a few acres of corn was planted last week, but most were watching the weather,” he said. “We had about an inch of rain with this system over the weekend and it’s cold. That will delay corn planting for a couple days.”

In Philips County, “we are in wait-and-see mode,” said extension agent Robert Goodson.

“Temperatures were still too cool on Friday. When this dries up, it’ll be a fight to plant.

Northern Arkansas saw much more snow, with nearly 3 inches reported in Bentonville, Yellville and Marshall, with 5 inches at Harrison. The National Weather Service said the trace of snow that fell in North Little Rock tied a record set in 1979.

Temperatures were expected to rise into the 70s by the end of the week.

For more information about the programs of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, contact your county extension office or visit www.uaex.edu.