What Crops are Grown in Craighead County, Arkansas?

Craighead County, Arkansas is home to more than 350,000 acres of farmland, producing a variety of crops such as corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, rice, sorghum grains, and peanuts. Wheat and oats are unique among Arkansas's extensive crops as they are winter crops. These species are planted in autumn, usually in October or November, and then usually harvested in June. Small winter grains are usually grown in a production system called double cropping.

In this system, soybeans are usually planted immediately after wheat is harvested, allowing two crops to be harvested in a year. Other row crops grown in the county include peanuts and wheat. Peanuts are a relatively new crop and many cotton producers use it as a rotational crop in their cotton fields. Wheat is sparsely cultivated in Craighead County and its acres are no longer even tabulated at the county scale.

Milo fields used to be abundant even a few years ago, but now it is rarely cultivated in the county. According to the Craighead County extension worker Branon Thiesse, only 7% of the state's cotton crop is considered to be in very poor condition, while 67% of the crop is classified as being in good or excellent condition. Parts of seven counties in the southeastern sector of the state are classified as normal, while most of the rest of the state is in the categories of moderate or severe drought. Craighead County experienced extreme drought but heavy rains have made it the only county in the state that is designated as normal from the point of view of rainfall accumulation. Some farms in Northeast Arkansas where cotton is normally grown will not be planting cotton this year. Soybeans are the dominant crop in Craighead County with approximately 338,000 agricultural acres according to the U. S.

Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Parts of eight counties in the northwest and southwest corners of the state remain in the extreme drought category. If rice and corn crops are not planted before the second week of May, yields usually decline. During the 1950s, barley was a relatively important crop in Arkansas, peaking at 80,000 acres planted in 1957.

Cindy Frantum
Cindy Frantum

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