On Tuesday, Stewart Runsick, rice agronomist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, released the following regarding the state’s rice-planting progress:
“Rice planting in Arkansas has progressed slowly the last two weeks due to heavy rainfall and extensive flooding. As of May 9, farmers had planted an estimated 53 percent of the states rice acreage. This compares to 45 percent last week and 94 percent this time last year. It is well behind the 5-year average of 80 percent for this week. The USDA estimates that 43 percent of the rice acreage has emerged.
“Last week, in northeast Arkansas several thousand acres were seeded by airplane. Fields are beginning to dry out in some areas this week and field work should begin toward the end of the week if no more rainfall is received.
“In southeast Arkansas, farmers have gotten back in the fields earlier. They missed the rain that occurred Saturday in the northern part of the state.
“Floodwaters are receding slowly and farmers are assessing the damage to planted rice fields. Many fields are still underwater along the major rivers.
“A lot of the rice has suffered from poor growing conditions over the past couple of weeks. Herbicide injury, insect and disease damage has been magnified and the rice has been slow to recover. Hopefully this week of warm, sunny weather will change things quickly.”