CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ark. — East Arkansas farmers say all the recent rain is hurting. They’ve already delayed planting wheat, cotton, rice, soybeans and milo because of an unusually long and extremely cold winter.
Now a very wet early summer is presenting a new set of challenges for farmers like Dannie Daughhetee of Proctor.
“I’ve been farming 28 years and I have never seen a rain like this in June, ” said Daughhetee.
Daughhetee farms 3,900 acres in Crittenden County.
Thanks to this weekend’s monsoon, his soybean fields look more like beach-front property.
“Saturday night we got right close to 11 inches here at our farm headquarters. In one night,” said Daughhetee.
He said heavy rainfall in May and June will end up costing him big bucks because soybean seed isn’t cheap, and now he’s forced to plant beans for the third time this season.
“You’re getting into July beans now. I mean even if we got into the field now, you’re looking at the fifth, sixth or seventh before we could even start trying to replant,” said Daughhetee.
Even some of his rice crop, which is rarely ever threatened by too much water, is in danger of drowning.
It’s the same story in other parts of Crittenden County where low-lying farmland isn’t draining quickly enough to give farmers a fighting chance at a profit.
“Too much water is just as bad for our crops as not enough,” said Russ Parker, County Agricultural Extension Agent.
Parker said planting is weeks behind for the cash crops like soybeans, rice, cotton, corn and milo.
Most wheat has been harvested, but some farmers are reporting low yields and poor quality in areas where fields were too wet for farmers to get into.
Parker said the unpredictable weather has also prevented farmers from fighting weeds and other threats to their crops in a timely manner.
“That presents challenges in getting the right herbicides out because of the wet weather and the wind that’s blowing now and has constantly blown all year. We don’t want herbicide drift,” said Parker.
It’s not clear exactly how much farmland is under water in Crittenden County.
But even if farmers get a break from the rain, their soybean and cotton crops that are under water could still end up scorching and dying if temperatures hit normal summertime highs.