(St. Francis County, AR) Winds from Hurricane Isaac beat down acres of rice stalks in some parts of Arkansas.
Farmers are working non-stop to harvest whatever rice Isaac didn’t ruin.
In St. Francis County, the rice harvest is a dawn to dusk job.
Tuesday, on 80-acres near Wheatley, Wayne Loewer had three combines rolling.
He wasn’t thrilled about the project yield, “This field, it should average somewhere in the two hundred bushels per acre range. But right now, I think it’s going to be more like a one sixty to a one seventy.”
That’s because the “hybrid” rice grain Loewer planted took a beating from Isaac last week.
His plan was for a bumper crop, but Isaac’s high wind and rain showed no mercy, “On this particular variety, when the wind blows, even if it doesn’t knock it down, the heads hit together and it knocks kernels off on the ground and you can’t pick it up.”
That means grains of rice scattered on the ground, wasted.
Loewer says he’s facing a 20 percent loss on the 80-acre field alone.
He says he’s lucky though, because some other farmers came out much worse, “Looks like somebody took a roller and rolled it down it’s so flat.”
Corn and sorghum crops that survived this season’s record drought were spared Isaac’s wrath.
Farmers harvested about 80-percent of those crops before Isaac hit.
Meantime,Loewer was burning daylight loading grain trucks, getting his rice into storage and saying goodbye to Isaac, “I think everybody’s glad to see it come and go. As long as it’s gone, it’s not affecting us right now.”
It’s too early to tell how much of an impact Isaac will have on Arkansas’s rice harvest.
Another concern is over the state’s cotton crop.
It appears damage will be minimal, because many of the plants still have unopened cotton bolls.