Rice crop in Arkansas showing some signs of stress

An extension rice agronomist says the Arkansas rice crop could desperately use rain.

Jarrod Hardke tells Brownfield there’s a lot of good-looking rice out there.  ‘’But it’s hard to go by a field without being able to notice a problem of some kind,” he says.  “The rice is stressed, so any little thing is exaggerating a problem we might not normally see in an average year.”

He says weed control and crop health are also suffering from the lack of precipitation. “The overly dry conditions, combined with the stress out there, and the awkward winds make it very, very difficult to get spray applications out that we need with surrounding crops.”

Despite the challenges, Hardke says he’s still optimistic about this year’s crop.  “We got so much of it in and in a timelier manner,” he says.  “The timeliness of management right now overall looks very good. But to put simply, first starting from weed control standpoint, we’re going to have to accept the fact that we’re going to cut some grass at harvest.”

According to the latest Crop Progress and Condition report from the USDA, 62 percent of Arkansas’ rice crop is rated good to excellent. 

AUDIO: Jarrod Hardke, Arkansas rice extension specialist

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