Arkansas' Top Crop? Soybeans Beat Rice in 2011

While the dollar value of the state’s 2012 crops still hasn’t been officially tallied, the record soybean crop may mean that rice is again No. 2. Soybeans displaced rice at the top of the list ranked by 2011 value with a total crop value barely missing $1.5 billion.

Last year’s rice crop was smaller than average and its value was a bit above the nine-year average as reported by the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service. Meanwhile, soybeans have been on the march, with more acreage planted and harvested and better-than-average prices.

Cotton ranked No. 3 last year with a below-average harvest but an average price per pound of 93 cents — much above the nine-year average of 59 cents. Corn, the fourth most valuable crop in the state, has been growing by leaps and bounds, from 380,000 acres and a harvest value of $227.6 million in 2009 to 520,000 acres worth $576.5 million last year to 690,000 acres this year.

Peanuts, virtually unplanted in the state until 2010, are not on the list because the crop values have not been officially totaled by the NASS. That could change; NASS began tracking two other crops in Arkansas — sweet potatoes and oats — in 2009.