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Arkansas rice agronomist says crop conditions vary

Prolonged wet weather has taken its toll on a lot of the rice crop in Arkansas.  Jarrod Hardke is a rice extension agronomist with the University of Arkansas. “Half of this crop looks great,” he says. “The other half I don’t want to talk about.”

He tells Brownfield heavy rains started in late April it’s caused some challenges ever since. “From issues with weed control to the timely fertility, nitrogen, fertility, and getting rice fertilized and irrigated going to flood the way that we wanted to,” he says.  “There’s for lack of I guess a better term a certain raggedness to some of it.”

Hardke says getting the crop fertilized ahead of the flood stage is crucial, and some farmers have had to get creative this year.  “I’ve found myself very frequently telling folks, okay, this is what I think we need to do given this scenario and the situation that you’re in,” he says. “And after we do that this year, you need to forget we ever did that and never try to do it again.”

On paper the crop looks well above average, the USDA has the rice crop rated 82 percent good to excellent.

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