Arkansas Planting Season Starts Early, but May Face Challenges Later


University of Arkansas rice extension educator Jarrod Hardke says that the rice planting season in the state began early and has yet to slow down. According to Hardke, some farmers in the state were almost done planting rice in the first week of April.

“We started seeing some rice even emerge the first few days of April,” he says.  “Because conditions were not extremely warm, but warmer than average, and things have just progressed along.”

The USDA reported that in their latest crop progress and conditions update 46% of Arkansas’ rice crop was planted, while 7% emerged. However, according to Hardke, the report isn’t accurate.

He says, “In the northeastern third of the state, they’re getting overall very close to completion. In the central portion, they’re well beyond 50% planted and progressing quickly.”

Hardke stated that the fast-paced planting season does create challenges for later in the growing season. “But it does have a tendency to move the crop up and some of its maturity into the hottest part of the summer,” he says.  “That is part of what was to blame for last year’s poor milling yields.”

Even so, Hardke mentions that there are benefits. “The early planting likely gets the crop to maturity faster, allowing farmers to finish harvest before fall rains.” He also says that he’s hearing from growers across the state, and they are saying the rice crop currently looks great.