Southern Arkansas still has out the welcome mat for rain, but growers in central and northeastern Arkansas could use a little dry weather to get more seed into the ground.

Southern Arkansas still has out the welcome mat for rain, but growers in central and northeastern Arkansas could use a little dry weather to get more seed into the ground.

The White River in northeastern Arkansas may make farmers wait a little longer.

“The National Weather Service has posted a predicted crest of 31.5 feet on the White River at Augusta on Sunday,” Jim Crow, executive director of the Woodruff County Farm Service Agency said Thursday. “That level will flood many thousands of productive cropland acres in Jackson, Woodruff, and White counties.”

Crow said at that height, the effects of the White River’s rising water could be much more damaging and significant than when the predicted crest was around 30 feet.

Eugene Terhune, Woodruff County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said Thursday morning that growers in his county reported 1.25 to 1.5 inches of rain, with about half of that amount occurring since midnight.

“We did get small acreage of corn and rice planted before the rain,” he said. “Corn planted six days ago is spiking out of the ground today.

“If we don’t get any more rain some growers would start back with field work on Tuesday,” Terhune said. “If we get more rain, it will push field work back even further.”

The forecast for northeastern Arkansas, which originates from the National Weather Service in Memphis, Tenn., calls for a slight chance of showers on Saturday, but sunshine through Wednesday.

In Union County, on the Louisiana border, the rain has been a welcome sight.

“We soaked it up and we’re just hoping it continues for a little longer,” said Robin Bridges, Union County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Union County, along with much of southern Arkansas, endured drought last year and Nature is slowly making up the moisture deficit.

“I poured 4.5 inches out from the rain gauge in front of the office here in El Dorado,” he said. “It’s good that this came in a two-day period, instead of all pouring out and all running off. Even with the large amounts, it had time to soak in and recharge the Sparta aquifer.”

Those with pastures are hoping that nighttime temperatures will stay fairly low for a few weeks.

“The guys with grass and clover are hoping for another month of cool – with nighttime temperatures in the 60s – so they can get the most out of winter forages,” Bridges said. “The rain will help the transition from cool season to warm season forages.”

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor map for March 20, less than 2 percent of the state has any drought – all confined to Miller and Lafayette counties. One year ago, nearly the opposite was true, with more than 98 percent of the state in drought.

A list of resources for cleaning up after a flood are located at http://www.uaex.edu/news/pressroom/storm_recovery/default.htm.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Mary Hightower is with the Cooperative Extension Service of the U of A System Division of Agriculture.