Wednesday, October 30, 2013

TOP STORY >> Farm yield boosted by decent weather

Leader senior staff writer

A growing season that largely avoided the scorching 100 degree plus days of a year ago, along with intermittent rains has helped Lonoke County farmers toward very good yields, although prices are less than stellar this year, according to Lonoke Chief Extension Agent Jeff Welch.

“We’re in the middle of the soybean harvest and it looks like a very good crop,” he said. At least four Lonoke County producers got close to or surpassed the 100 bushel per acre mark this year.

The corn harvest is finished, and it was a very good harvest, he said.

The late rice is being harvested, but it’s just about half way done so it’s too early to say if it was a good or bad crop, Welch said. It was a difficult crop, however.

At least half of the 2,700 acres of cotton being harvested looks very good in terms of yield, Welch said, but did they contain costs? With only three days over 100 degrees this season, they didn’t have to irrigate too much.

Farmer Rick Bransford got between 3 and 3.3 bales per acre, which is just excellent, but the price has been down, especially compared to corn and soybeans.

Corn is selling for $4.42 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, down from the $6 range.

Wheat is about $7 per bushel and soybeans at $13.01, are holding up well. Lonoke farmers grew about 42,000 acres of corn this year, but with the price down, Welch said there may be a remix of the planting scheme next year, with some of those acres going back into rice, soybean and cotton production.

Cotton is pretty steady at 85 cents per pound, but needs to get above 90 cents to be really competitive.

Cotton producers in the county grew about half the 6,000 acres of cotton they grew last year, and well below the 25,000 acres the grew before the recession.