The green, yellow, orange and red splotches on the National Weather Service radar Tuesday meant some relief to droughted areas of eastern Arkansas.

The green, yellow, orange and red splotches on the National Weather Service radar Tuesday meant some relief to droughted areas of eastern Arkansas.
Severe thunderstorm watches were in effect for counties along the Mississippi River earlier Thursday as strong storms roiled out of the early afternoon sky.
“The rain gauge outside of my office has 3.7 inches in it – yes, 3.7!” said Robert Goodson, Phillips County extension agent for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “I know it’s true because I emptied the dust out of it yesterday.”
Parts of central Arkansas heard thunder, saw the lights go out briefly, but received only a trace of rain.
“We only had a few drops here” in Lonoke County, said Keith Perkins, county extension agent for the U of A Division of Agriculture. “My Dad would say, ‘we had a 2-inch rain. A drop fell every 2 inches’.”
In Jefferson County, Mother Nature didn’t disappoint.
“We had a farm tour today and each year, we’ve gotten rain, so today we got sprinkles at the UAPB aquaculture station,” said Don Plunkett, county extension staff chair for the U of A Division of Agriculture. However, “The sun popped out and we’re back to drought again.”
Some growers in Jefferson County were burning field stubble in preparation for the next growing season.
“Farms may apply to the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management for an exemption to burn cropland after harvest even when there is a burn ban in effect,” Plunkett said. “Their fields normally are contained and some disking around field borders usually prevents fire escapes.”
Twenty-nine counties had burn bans in effect Tuesday, including Jefferson County.  According to the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the wildfire risk was rated as high in 51 counties. The other 24 counties in the north and northwest are listed as having a moderate danger.
“Our farmers who still have fields they want to burn are hoping that the bans can be lifted at some point so that they can still burn their fields in a timely manner,” said Randy Chlapecka, Jackson County extension staff for the U of A Division of Agriculture. “ Burning the residue can save them a significant amount of money on tillage costs plus possibly destroy disease inoculum and weed seed.”
For more information on crop production, visit www.uaex.edu or contact your county extension office.