Arkansas farmers were wrapping up the 2011 harvest and continuing to speed winter wheat into the ground.
"The harvest is all but over," said Robert Goodson, Phillips County extension agent for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. "I know of about 1,000 acres left."
A week out from Thanksgiving, producers north of I-40 were watching 2-3 inches of rain fall onto their fields, which was likely to translate into 100 percent chance of mud.
"The rain will be good for ducks but will make for wet, muddy, difficult harvest conditions for the soybeans that remain in the field," said Keith Perkins, Lonoke County extension agent for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. "Coming from a farming background I can tell you that there is a great satisfaction from harvesting the last bean and machinery being put up till spring."
For the folks south of I-40, the clouds were a little less forthcoming.
"For 99%-plus of our producers, a rain would not hurt their feelings at all – aside from the guy who still had 1,000 acres to harvest," Goodson says.
"In fact several would like a real good rain to fill duck holes," he said.
Just in time, too. Duck season opened last week.
For many growers, the combines may already be in the shed. According to Monday's crop report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the rice harvest was complete, with cotton not far behind at 98 percent complete. Soybeans were 93 percent harvested.
North of I-40, most of the cotton is out of the fields, said Blake McClelland, cotton verification coordinator for the U of A Division of Agriculture. "There are a few fields left and they are being delayed by the rain."
Winter wheat was 89% planted, well ahead of the 76% five-year average and up from last week's 79% rate. Wheat was also 68% emerged – far ahead of the 56% five-year average.
"Dry weather up to this point has allowed for most wheat acres to be planted," Perkins said. "Also, a lot of field work has been done getting prepared for 2012 crop year."