LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The lack of rain in Arkansas is drawing concern from farmers who are running out of water to irrigate fields.
University of Arkansas Rice Extension Agronomist, Jarrod Hardke, said the heat is also putting stress on the crops.
"The biggest point is not actually the day time temperatures, but the night time temperatures that don't allow the plants to adequately cool themselves,” Hardke said. "It's very difficult maintain with this heat and how fast the water's being used and evaporating.” He said rice farmers are managing for now, but he said the drought is starting to worry him.
Hardke said farmers are keeping their rice fields flooding in order to maintain, but it is starting to get hard to keep up because of the lack of rain in the forecast.
"We will absolutely see growers who run out of water and are not able to maintain enough moisture to maximize yield,” Hardke said. "We're running through that at a very rapid pace.” He also said farmers have about 30-35 days left of adequate moisture.
Soy Bean Agronomist, Jeremy Ross, said the soybeans are even under more stress.
"Half of our crop is just starting to get into that time where if we have any stress, we can potentially have some significant decreases in yield,” Ross said. He is worried the high temps could create some serious damage. "Larger percentage of the crop is going into reproduction in the next three weeks, looking at the long term forecast, it doesn't look like we're going to break this cycle.”
Hardke said harvesting season for rice doesn't start until next month, so he said farmers are working hard to make sure they have enough irrigation capacity to make it until then.