Hurricane Laura threatens Arkansas’ crops


Hurricane Laura threatens Arkansas’ crops

Two extension specialists from the University of Arkansas say Hurricane Laura is coming at the worst possible time for the state’s rice and corn farmers.

Jarrod Hardke says rice harvest is just getting started and the majority of the crop has been made and is just waiting to dry down for harvest.  “Those 40, 50, 60-mph wind gusts and that drying down rice beginning to lose its standability, the potential for lodging right now for a lot of the state’s rice crop is massive,” he says.  “And unfortunately, the path that its (the hurricane) is still pointed on, toward Northeast Arkansas, that’s where we grow two-thirds of our rice in the state.”

AUDIO: Jarrod Hardke, University of Arkansas

Jason Kelley says lodging is the biggest concern for the state’s corn crop.  “We get a good rain in the next day or two and poor drying conditions after that, it just basically stops the drying process,” he says.  “That just pushes harvest a little bit further down the calendar.”

AUDIO: Jason Kelley, University of Arkansas

Both specialists say there could be longer-term impacts like compaction and rutting in fields that would create additional challenges for the 2021 growing season. 

Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday morning and is projected to move its way through Arkansas late Thursday and all-day Friday.