Arkansas Agriculture

In Arkansas the five-year average for corn planted is 670,000 acres resulting in a loss of two percent of the acreage at harvest time. Planting time for corn is around early to late March and is usually the first crop to be planted for Arkansas farmers. Corn is primarily used in Arkansas for chicken feed as we are the second largest poultry producer in the United States. Roughly 70 percent of all corn grown in Arkansas goes to poultry feed mills the other 30 percent is taken to a river terminal either on the Arkansas or Mississippi River for the export market.

More Arkansas Corn Facts

  • In 2015, Arkansas farmers planted 435,000 acres corn.
  • The estimated value of corn and grain sorghum produced in 2015 is $296 million, down more than 20-percent from 2014. 
  • Arkansas growers planted 1 million acres of corn in 2013, the highest number since 1951, when 1.05 million acres were planted.
  • Corn acreage had been increasing for the last 15 years in large part due to profit potential compared to other crops.  Most of Arkansas' increase in corn acreage has come from declining cotton acres. 
  • Approximately 90 percent of Arkansas corn is irrigated. 
  • Much of Arkansas produced corn is exported via the Mississippi River, but an ever increasing amount is consumed by poultry feed mills located in Arkansas. The basic rule is that corn grown more than 35 miles from a river port will be hauled to a feed mill.
  • Yields have been increasing over time due to irrigation and proper management.  In 2013, a new record state average yield of 187 bu/acre was set, topping the previous record of 178 bu/acre set in 2012.
  • Arkansas farmers harvested 855,000 acres of corn in 2013.  Corn is typically planted in March and April and harvested in August and September.

Corn Fact

Arkansas Grain Sorghum Facts

Sorghum is a very drought tolerant crop and is grown on both irrigated and dryland farms. Nearly all of the grain sorghum grown in the state is produced in the Mississippi River Delta region of Eastern Arkansas.  Much of the grain sorghum grown in Arkansas is exported via the Mississippi River.  Grain sorghum is typically planted in May and harvested in September.

  • Grain Sorghum’s five-year average plantings were 189,000 acres. The average yield is around 91 bushels per acre harvested in Arkansas, but there was a 100 bushels per acre average n 2015.
  • The estimated value of the Arkansas sorghum crop in 2015 was $172 million.
  • The record for sorghum acres planted in Arkansas was 920,000 in 1985.
  • In 2013, grain sorghum (commonly known as "milo") was harvested on 125,000 acres with an 88 bu/acre state average yield.  It is an excellent rotational crop and is useful for root-knot nematode management since grain sorghum is not a host. 
  • Grain sorghum is also a good crop to help manage glyphosate-tolerant pigweed.
  • Approximately 50 percent of the crop is irrigated in Arkansas.

For more information on corn and grain sorghum, visit the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Board website.