Weekend’s rain slows Arkansas cotton harvest

LAKE VILLAGE – The 4-6 inches of rain that fell Saturday through Monday may be costly for some Chicot County cotton growers, Gus Wilson said Tuesday.

“This one is going to hurt,” said Wilson, extension staff chair in Chicot County for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “This one is going to take some of our quality away.”

The heavy rain came at a time when 95 percent of bolls were open, exposing the white lint.

Wilson estimated that as much as 10 percent of the county’s more than 14,500 acres of cotton

were affected by the heavy rain.

“You’re going to lose quality and you will lose some bolls that fall out,” he said. “We will have

staining and sprouting.”

With forecast highs back in the 80s and 90s this week, the conditions are right for those seeds

in the bolls to sprout he said.

Until those weekend rains, yields seemed to be pretty good, he said.

“But now it’s just going to be a wait-and-see game,” he said.

Tom Barber, extension cotton agronomist for the U of A System Division of Ag, agreed.

“The yields were looking better than we initially thought (before the rain),” Barber said. “I feel optimistic. There are a lot of 1,200 to 1,300 pounds per acre, and sometimes even more (in yield),” he said.

Most of the state’s cotton growing areas received less rain than Chicot County.

Barber did say rain across the cotton growing areas has slowed harvest.

“We’re behind. We would’ve had a lot of the crop picked this week if it hadn’t rained,” he

said. “Sunshine is what we need now. If we can get that, we’ll be hard at it.”

The moist conditions were affecting soybeans as well, with 12 counties reporting soybean rust — Arkansas, Ashley, Chicot, Drew, Desha, Jefferson, Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Prairie,

White and Woodruff.

According to Monday’s report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, 21 percent of the

cotton crop has been harvested, up from 11 percent the previous week.

Among other crops:

• Corn harvest was shown to be complete, ahead of the 88 percent five-year average.

• Sorghum, too, was complete, ahead of the 83 percent five-year average.

• Soybeans were 42 percent harvested, ahead of the 24 percent five-year average.

• Winter wheat is 6 percent planted and 1 percent emerged.

For more information about crop production, contact your county extension office or visit

www.uaex.edu, or Arkansascrops.com.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of

Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.

Mary Hightower is assistant director communications/marketing at the Cooperative Extension Service.