Storm-Related Arkansas Crop Losses Estimated at $64.5M

May 15, 2017

Flooding and severe weather this year have caused an estimated $64.5 million in damage to Arkansas croplands, according to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Some 937,000 acres of cropland have been battered this year in Arkansas. Soybean losses are estimated at more than 83,000 acres, corn losses just under 48,000 acres and cotton losses about 9,300 acres. But rice farmers have been hardest hit, with an estimated 156,000 acres lost to recent heavy rains.

Storms on April 28-30 spawned tornadoes in Boone, Drew, White, Woodruff and Lonoke counties, and some areas in Arkansas saw more than 10 inches of rain, the division reported.

A recent National Agricultural Statistics Service report showed that 89 percent of the state’s anticipated 1.2-million-acre crop had been planted and 71 percent of planted rice had emerged before the storms.

“I’m estimating 156,000 acres of rice were lost,” Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture said in the division’s announcement. “I don’t mean prevented planting, I mean acres lost that have already been planted.”

If the crop loss “numbers scare you, you should be terrified,” Hardke said. “I’m being conservative. There’s no sugar-coating it.”

The crop damage estimates were compiled by Hardke from a survey of extension agents and agronomists. Among the factors taken into account: the costs of seed and herbicides already applied, equipment and labor. It does not include the impact of the flooding and high winds to poultry facilities in the northeastern part of the state or farm structures, grain or feed storage or other structures.

The recent crop losses follow an estimated $40-$50 million loss for row crop farmers last year due to heavy rain. In 2011 farmers were hit with an estimated $335 million in losses in flooding that mirrored the late April 2017 flooding event.