May 4, 2011 EditionAlso in this issue...
Flood has major effects for farmers
In the last 30 days, parts of Lawrence County have received up to 20 inches of rain. For farmers, it couldn't have come at a worse time.
"This rain has really hurt us, and has pushed everything way back," said Lawrence County Extension Agent Herb Ginn. "It has really affected the farmers."
Now is the time for farmers to be planting their crops for the 2011 harvest season. Lawrence County crops, including rice, corn and peanuts, all have higher yields when planted in late April or early May.
"For rice the yield starts dropping after the middle of May," Ginn said. "We like to see rice planted in April or early May."
While more than 100,000 acres of rice are usually planted each year in the county, only 25 to 30 percent has been planted so far.
According to Ginn, corn growers may have to plant beans instead, since corn yields are significantly lower when planted after May 15.
"As for peanuts, we are still learning about that crop but it's recommended to plant them in the first or second week of May," Ginn said. "Some have planted later with acceptable yields but we just don't know."
In addition, recent rains have also affected stored crops. Farmers Jeff and Terry Boothe spent Tuesday hauling grain from two 10,000-bushel grain bins off county road 635, near Sedgwick.
"We are really lucky compared to everyone else," said Jeff. "I just wish we could be helping others instead of doing this."
The two grain bins filled with last year's rice crop are being threatened from the overflow of Cache River.
"I hope we are doing this for nothing because we have neighbors that have already lost grain," Jeff said.
The two brothers received help moving the grain from CAT Aviation owner Josh Blakeney, and employees Tommy Greer and Sam Holder, who helped transport grain and helped tie down power units.
"Farming is one of the only industries where others will help you," said Terry.
Several local farmers volunteered their help, including Gene Davis, Ray Stone, Jeff Worlow, Jason Andrews, J. Paul Doty and Heath Richey.
Although the Boothes are having to move grain, and are unable to check on their cattle in Smithville, both brothers agreed that the only thing they have lost is sleep.
"The cattle are on high ground and we are out of hay season so we are hoping they are okay," Terry said.
To help keep on track, several farmers have chosen to plant rice using crop dusters.
"Rice is the only crop you have a chance with in this kind of flood," said Jeff. "We have planted more crops this year with an airplane than we have with a tractor." The Boothes have already planted 600 acres in rice for the 2011 harvest.
Several farmers, including the Boothes, Rodney Floyd, Stan Jones, Gene and Buster Davis, Richard Alls and Jerry Wallin, have chosen to plant rice by air.
"The rice should do just fine being planted this way," said Blakeney. CAT Aviation has already planted between 1,500 to 2,000 acres in rice via plane so far.