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Arkansas farmers hope for a better year as spring planting continues

Agriculture.com Staff 03/24/2009 @ 12:54pm

EUDORA, Arkansas -- After suffering through two hurricanes a year ago and losing large amounts of crops, farmers in southeast Arkansas hope for a much better 2009.

Rick Poole says last year was devastating for a lot of farmers in this area.

"This year's planting season has started out great. We're off to a great start. A lot better than last year's wet season. Let's hope last year's hurricane season doesn't repeat itself."

He adds, "With the recent run-up in corn prices, we're going to plant enough corn to make our acreage near 50-50 this year."

Though the Pooles have had the global positioning system (GPS) technology in their tractors for a few years, it's taken a while to rotate all of its equipment into RTK technology.

"So, now we are planting with GPS, rolling up with GPS, and we'll come back with our combine this year and cut with RTK," the southeast Arkansas grower says.

Poole adds, "Obviously, we're keeping a close eye on the new seed varieties. That is one of the main reasons I do the seed plots on my farm. I have Monsanto and Pioneer plots. I want to see everybody's varieties across the board and see how they do on my farm.

Gus Wilson, a University of Arkansas Extension Agent in Chicot County, says the Pooles have never been afraid to adapt their operation to the latest technology.

"They are on the cutting edge of technology in our area. They always want to increase their yields while decreasing their inputs. For the first time ever, we are planting, spraying and fertilizing with Roundup. Everything is looking really good so far," Wilson says.

Poole says year-to-year weed control is the biggest battle for he and his father's 4,000-plus acre operation.

"We don't have much problem with broadleaf weeds, mainly grass," Poole says. "And you got to have a good burn down on these crops. Plus, we have some soybean insect pressure."

EUDORA, Arkansas -- After suffering through two hurricanes a year ago and losing large amounts of crops, farmers in southeast Arkansas hope for a much better 2009.

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