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The Arkansas Grand Prairie

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Title:
The Arkansas Grand Prairie delineation and resource use of an agricultural region.
Creator:
Corbet, John Harry, 1931-
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English
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x, 353 leaves. : ill., folded maps (2 in pocket) ; 28 cm.

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Subjects / Keywords:
Agricultural land ( jstor )
Bodies of water ( jstor )
Farmers ( jstor )
Farmlands ( jstor )
Farms ( jstor )
Land use ( jstor )
Prairies ( jstor )
Rice ( jstor )
Soils ( jstor )
Soybeans ( jstor )
Agriculture -- Arkansas -- Grand Prairie ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Geography -- UF ( lcsh )
Geography thesis Ph. D ( lcsh )
Land use -- United States -- Grand Prairie, Arkansas ( lcsh )
Natural resources -- Arkansas -- Grand Prairie ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography:
Bibliography: leaves 341-353.
Additional Physical Form:
Also available online.
General Note:
Manuscript copy.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by John Harry Corbet

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright John Harry Corbet. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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13784628 ( OCLC )
22495507 ( ALEPH )

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THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE: DELINEATION AND RESOURCE USE

OF AN AGRICULTURAL REGION












By

JOHN HARRY CORBET


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY













UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


August, 1966













ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The writer wishes to express gratitude for the assistance of the many persons who aided in making this research possible. Unable to name all of those who graciously gave their time and thoughts, a special word of thanks is extended to those with whom the writer consulted and worked on numerous occasions during the several summers of field work. Appreciated is the assistance of Messrs. Dempsie Binkley, soil scientist; Pat Abboud, farm planner; and Kipp Sullivan, Director, all of the Soil Conservation Service, Arkansas County; 1H. C. Dean, state soil scientist, Little Rock; Henry Holly, county agent, Arkansas County; and Hugh Hardwick, Director, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Arkansas County. Warren Grant, of the United States Department of Agriculture, made possible the effective use of official sample data.

Appreciation is extended also to personnel of the Rice Branch Experiment Station and the Fish Farming Experiment Station. Especially appreciated are the contributions of the 50 Grand Prairie rice farmers who were selected for interview, and whose interests and cooperation enabled the writer to gain the necessary insight to the Grand Prairie and its economy.









Particular appreciation is expressed for the guidance of Dr. James R. Anderson, whose consultations and trips to the study area'always spurred the writer onward, and to the other members of the supervisory committee, Professors Raymond E. Crist, John R. Dunkle, Roy L. Lassiter and William K. McPherson, whose suggestions and criticisms made possible the completion of the dissertation. And certainly, my deep sense of gratitude is expressed to my wife, Elizabeth, for her encouragement and clerical assistance.


iii
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

P age

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .......... ...................ii

LIST OF TABLES ............ .................. vi

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ..... ................ viii

Chapter
I. INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL BACKGROUND . .... .

Selection of the Region ............... 1
General Description of the Grand Prairie. . 2 Objectives of the Study ...... ......... 7
Methodology ................... 12
Historical Background ... ........... 15

II. DEFINITION AND PHYSICAL DELINEATION OF
THE REGION ...... ................. 22

Introduction ..................... 22
Physical Setting of the Prairie ...... . 23 Historical Basis of Vegetation . . ... 26 Topography ...... ............... .37
Soils ....................... 56
Other Physical Characteristics ....... .. 66

III. LAND USE .... ................. .. �.� .72

Introduction.. . . ................ 72
Generalized Land Use. ............ 75
Detailed Analysis of Land Use ........ 91 Land Use Analysis Through Sample Data . . 116

IV. THE CASE FOR RICE ..... .............. 136

Introduction ...... ............... 136
History of Rice on the Grand Prairie . . 139 Methods of Production ... ........... 145
Other Activities on Rice Farms ......... .. 182
Economics of Rice Production ...... . . 191 Rice as an Allotment Crop .. ....... . 209









TABLE OF CONTENTS - Continued


Chapter Pagje

V. RESERVOIRS AND THE WATER PROBLEM ......... .. 222

Introduction ...... ................ 222
Ground Water ...... ................ 222
Reservoirs ....................... ..235
Multiple Uses of Reservoirs ......... 271

VI. CONCLUSIONS AND COMMENTS ... ........... . 302

APPENDICES ......... ...................... 309

I. DESCRIPTIONS OF SOIL ASSOCIATIONS ...... .. 310

II. TABULATIONS OF SAMPLE PLOT DATA ...... . 319

III. QUESTIONNAIRE FORM, TABULATION OF DATA,
AND LOCATION OF INTERVIEW FARMS ...... .. 329 LIST OF REFERENCES ....... .................. 341















LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1. Traverse - Specific Land Uses for Generalized
Land Use Divisions ....... ............. 100

2. Sample Area Divisions by Land Use ......... .. 122

3. Sample Area Divisions by Land Capability
Class and Subclass .... ............. 126

4. Sample Area Divisions by Slope Class ..... 127 5. Sample Area Divisions by Erosion Class . . . . 129

6. Sample Area Divisions by Soil Units and
Soil Groups ..... . . . ............ ..131

7. Soil Groups by Sample Area Divisions ..... 133 8. Rice Production in the United States, 1964 . . 142

9. Comparisons of Cost Per Acre for Water
Seeding by Plane and Dry Land Seeding
by Ground Equipment .... ............. .. 154

10. Farm Size and Average Land Investment
Required for Specified Levels of Income
in the Grand Prairie ... ............ 194

11. Estimated Cost Per Unit-of-Use for Certain
Equipment on Grand Prairie Rice Farms
of Medium Size ..... ............... 197

12. Estimated Costs and Returns Per Acre of
Rice on a Medium Sized Farm on the
Grand Prairie ...... ................ 201

13. Percent Income Derived from Major Crops
on the Grand Prairie ... ............ 205

14. Yields and Returns for Non-Irrigated and
Irrigated Soybeans on the Grand Prairie. . . 206

15. Number of Farms by Size, Arkansas County . . . 218









LIST OF TABLES - Continued


Table Page

16. Number of Farms by Rice Allotment
Size, Arkansas County ... ............ . 219

17. Reservoirs Added, 1959-1962 ............ 241

18. Cropland-Woodland Reservoir Acreage
on Interview Farms .... ............. 245

19. Costs of Levee Construction for
Completely Enclosed Reservoirs ........ 257

20. Interviewees' Estimated Costs for Some
Representative Reservoirs ............ 264

21. Estimated Costs for Irrigation from
Reservoirs of Specified Sizes .......... . 265

22. Estimated Costs and Returns Per Acre
for Fish Farming ..... .............. 278

23. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region
by Capability Class and Subclass, 1959 . . . 320

24. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region
by Slope Class, 1959 ... ........... . 322

25. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region
by Erosion Class, 1959 ... ........... 324

26. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region
by Soil Units, 1959 .... ............. . 326

27. Tenure Type and Land Use of Interview
Farms by Farm Size .... ............. . 334

28. Land Use and Size of Interview Farms
by Tenure Type ..... ............... 335

29. Land Use as Reported by Interview Farms. . . . 336 30. Interview Data on Reservoir Type and Size. . . 337 31. Interview Data on Reservoir-Use Practices. . . 339
















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


Figure Page

1. Location of the Grand Prairie .... .. ......... 3

2. Divisions of the Prairie and Features
of the Region .......... ................ 6

3. Original Vegetation ..... .............. 27

4. Virgin Prairie Grass .... ............. 32

5. Topography ....... .................. 42

6. Bluffs Along the White River .. ......... 44

7. Physiographic Regions .... ............. .. 47

8. Oblique View of the Prairie ............. .. 50

9. Shallow Bayou Bottomland ... ........... 52

10. Panorama from Flat Prairie Land to
Bayou Bottomland ..... .............. 52

11. View at the Prairie Edge ... ........... 54

12. Loessal Hills ...... ................. 54

13. General Soil Map ..... .............. .57

14. Mean Temperature and Precipitation,
Stuttgart, Arkansas .... ............. .. 67

15. Generalized Land Use Divisions ......... 76

16. Vertical View of a Portion of the
Grand Prairie ...... ................ 80

17. Ground View of Cropland ... ............ 83

18. Ground View of Mixed Cropland-Pastureland. . . 83

19. Photo-Mosaic of the Entire Grand Prairie
Region ....... ................... 88


viii









LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS - Continued


Figure.

20. Traverse - Topographic Map ... ..........

21. Traverse - Aerial Photography .. ........

22. Traverse - Detailed Analysis Land Uses. . .

23. Traverse - Generalized Land Use Divisions

24. Traverse - Operating Farm Units .........

25. The Grand Prairie as Outlined by Presence
of Rice and Absence of Cotton .. ......

26. Dead Timber in a Reservoir ... ..........

27. Prairie and Fringes with 40-Acre
Sample Data Plots .... ............

28. Rice Production in United States and
Arkansas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .

29. Land Leveling for More Efficient
Irrigation ....... ........ ........

30. Water Leveling to Maintain Uniform
Water Depth ......................

31. Loading Seed Rice on Airplane ... . . .. .

32. Seeding Rice in Water by Plane ..........

33. Drained Rice Field Nearing Harvest Time

34. Unloading Threshed Rice from Combine
to Rice Cart ...... ..............

35. Combining Lodged Rice ... ............

36. Rice Laden Truck Leaves for Market. . ...

37. Soybean Storage and Processing Plant ....

38. Typical Farmstead with Machinery on
the Grand Prairie .... ............

39. Crop Rotation Representative Grand
Prairie Rice Farm .... ............


Page

* Pocket

* Pocket � Pocket . Pocket Pocket . 109

* 113


* 118


. 143


* 149


* 149

* 155 . 155

* 166


. 179

* 179

181

* 189 � 198


* 215









LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS - Continued


Figure

40.


41.

42.

43.

44.

45.

46.

47.

48.

49.

50.

51.

52.

53.

54.


Page


Arkansas County - Prairie and Non-Prairie
Divisions ....... ................

Irrigation Well with Diesel Power Plant . Contours of the Ground Water Surface, 1959. Reservoirs ........ ................

Reservoirs on the Grand Prairie .. ...... Return System Reservoir .... ..........

Reservoir Levee Under Construction ........ Ditch Relift Pump ..... .............

Wave Action on Reservoir Levee .......... Well-Maintained Reservoir Levee .. ...... Harvesting Buffalofish .. . . ..... . . . . .

Do-It-Yourself Fishing Reservoir ........ Wooded Duck Area ...... ..............

Ducks Feeding on Flooded Rice Fields. ... Location of Interview Farms ... ........


217 226

229

Pocket

243 249 255 260 262 262 282 287

291 291

340














CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL BACKGROUND


Selection of the Region

The Arkansas Grand Prairie is a term which the writer had heard many times in his youth. Having been reared in Memphis, Tennessee, the nearby Grand Prairie was not an infrequent news item. However, the term was never specifically defined. Usually the only definition offered was something like "that area around Stuttgart."' Later, as a student of geography, interest was stimulated over the use of this term pertaining to an apparently identifiable region with a marked degree of homogeneity in physical and cultural features. A more specific delineation and definition of the region and an analysis of its economic activities seem to be appropriate topics for geographic research.

As investigation progressed, it became apparent that the task of delineating the region was a problem in itself. Even the residents of the area, who rightfully consider themselves as living on the Grand Prairie, cannot usually define the region satisfactorily or agree on its borders. Thus delineation of the Grand Prairie is an important objective of this research. The physical environment and the uses of the resources of the region give the Grand Prairie a character and cohesiveness that make possible its identification as a

1







2

distinct region differing in several important ways from adjacent areas.

The Grand Prairie region lies in east-central Arkansas centered around Stuttgart, some 50 miles southeast of Little Rock and 115 miles southwest of Memphis. Figure 1 shows the general location of the Grand Prairie within the Coastal Plain province of the state. The area outlined extends a maximum of 70 miles northwest to southeast and averages about 20 miles in width. Total area is more than 1,400 square miles and includes parts of 4 counties, none entirely.


General Description of the Grand Prairie

The Grand Prairie is today an area most noted for its rice production. Its original distinctiveness, however, lay in its physical characteristics, primarily vegetation. The region was once a natural grassland surrounded by forests, an anomaly in a generally forested area. Physiographically, the PrairieI occupies a level loessal terrace slightly elevated above most of the surrounding land. The terrace is apparent if closely observed but it is not pronounced. Surrounding the terrace is hill land consisting of dissected terrace and lower river bottomlands. The hills and the bottomlands were heavily forested originally and still contain much timber. Nature gave the Prairie its original



1To break monotony, the term "Prairie" with a capital letter is frequently substituted for "Grand Prairie," Prairie with a small "p"' refers to the vegetation type.















































L 0 U I SI A N A w

ARKANSAS
LOCATION OF THE GRAND PRAIRIE

L GULF COASTAL PLAIN m GRAND PRAIRIE F INTERIOR HIGHLANDS 1 CROWLEY'S RIDGE
- COUNTY BOUNDARIES


Figure 1


CORBET 1965







4

flavor. Man's modifications have produced today's product.

The Grand Prairie is a land of rice, soybeans, and reservoirs. Man's adaptations 'to the Prairie environment give the region a character unlike the adjacent surrounding land, Like the physical distinctions, different social influences have given identity to the region. Pioneer settlers, largely of German origin, brought with them an agricultural background unlike the background of those who settled adjacent southern lands. The Grand Prairie region is almost an island in a sea of Southern cotton.

Rice, not cotton, is king on the Grand Prairie. Soybeans, oats, and lespedeza are important, but these crops largely owe their existence to the fact that they fit well into the scheme of rice culture. A striking characteristic of the Prairie is the absence of cotton, a factor due in part to the natural environment but more particularly to the social environment. Cattle, likewise, are unimportant in this grain stronghold of the South.

The heavy demands of rice on the water resources have created some unique problems, the solutions to which give additional character to the Grand Prairie. Water tables have dropped considerably since the introduction of rice at the turn of the century. Reservoirs and irrigation canals now dot and cross the Prairie as a great grid testifying to man's endeavors.

Southerners living outside the region are usually little aware of the importance of rice in this area. There are







5

several reasons for this ignorance. The general culture of the South does not include rice. The crop was introduced late and expanded rapidly in acreage. It was developed largely through the skill and know-how of grain farmers from Illinois and Iowa. Local people looked upon the whole group and their operation with suspicion. Nevertheless, the Grand Prairie today is one of the most prosperious, highly mechanized, and technologically adept agricultural regions in the nation.

Figure 2 shows the location of the Grand Prairie more specifically. The Prairie terrace is situated between 4 streams: White River on the east, Bayou Meto on the west, the Arkansas River on the south, and Wattensaw Bayou on the north. The Prairie is not continuous over this area but has been dissected by streams into several large segments. The physiography of the Prairie and the delineation of the Grand Prairie with respect to physiographic criteria are dealt with in the following chapter.

The Grand Prairie is a land of small towns and big

farms. There are a dozen small towns of note and many crossroad concentrations. The largest city, Stuttgart (1960 population 9,661) is the regional center. It is situated in what is considered the heart of the Prairie. It is a city of rice mills, elevators, soybean processing plants, and well equipment and farm machinery stores. Practically its entire economy is geared to the rice industry. De Witt (3,019) is similar. Lonoke (2,359), Carlisle (1,514), Hazen (1,456),









THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE


-~


,,A
0


DIVISIONS OF THE PRAIRIE


AND


FEATURES OF THE REGION


Figure 2







7

and De Vall's Bluff (654) are also strongly oriented towards the Prairie economy but are located on a major interregional highway and thus have more non-Prairie business in such establishments as restaurants and motels. Gillett (674), St. Charles (255)., Almyra (240), and Ulm (140) are preponderately residential. Many of their residents farm nearby. The prosperity of all these towns and cities depends on the prosperity of the rice farmer. Some secondary industry is developing, such as the Stuttgart Footwear Corporation employing 150 persons, but such activities are relatively minor in the area's economy.

The Grand Prairie is served by the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad (Cottonbelt) and the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad. Ample freight service is provided by rail'and truck combination. Bus service is provided by the Southwestern Greyhound and Midwest Trailways. United States highways 70 and 79 cross the area. Interstate 40 is under construction and will slice through the northern edge. Northsouth movement is provided by state highways. Some graveled and many dirt farm roads complete the network (102). The fine loess material creates extremely dusty conditions when dry. It is also unwise to leave the gravel when wet. The southern part of the Prairie is off the major thoroughfares, and private transportation must be used to reach the area.


Objectives of the Study

It is the purpose of this study to define, delineate,







8

and describe that region of east central Arkansas commonly referred to as the Grand Prairie and to evaluate the resource uses of the region. It will be shown that the Grand Prairie is a distinct region that can be delineated by a combination of physical and cultural criteria. The physiography of the region gives it a natural character unlike the adjacent surrounding area. The various ways in which man makes use of the resources of the region also give an areal distinctiveness and cohesiveness that enables a differentiation from adjacent areas. The objectives of this research can be considered as being divided into 3 categories: (1) the delineation of a geographically cohesive region, (2) an evaluation of the special role played by rice in the economy of the region, and (3) an examination of the problems associated with the extensive use of water.


Delineation

The delineation of the Grand Prairie is first analyzed using physical criteria. Subsequently, the possibility of delineation is tested with land use as the sole criterion. Results of the 2 procedures are compared and analyzed for relationships.

In Chapter II, delineation is examined from the standpoint of topography, natural vegetation, and soils. These

3 phenomena are considered separately and then compared. When commencing the study, it was not known if such a delineation of the Grand Prairie region were possible. The purpose of this phase of the investigation was to find out.







9

The subsequent chapter concerns land use. Patterns of land use are recognized as perhaps the most apparent indicator of character and extent of man's utilization of the resources of an area. Land use on the Grand Prairie and its immediate environs is mapped, and the ensuing patterns are analyzed for significant geographic relationships. It is assumed that land use patterns are determined primarily by 2 sets of factors - the physical environment and those many complex ramifications of the human occupance. These 2 sets of factors are considered in the study of land use on the Grand Prairie, and an effort is made to delineate the region by this cultural phenomenon. The delineation by land use is compared with the delineation by purely physical criteria. Similarity in areal patterns developed by separate procedures is marked and serves to confirm the concept of the Grand Prairie as a geographically definitive region.


Rice

In addition to overall land use, 2 aspects warrani.

special consideration - rice and water management. Subsequent chapters are devoted to these 2 most important of Grand Prairie phenomena. Rice is the "life" of the economy. It was first grown commercially on the Grand Prairie in 1904, and with it came an awakened interest in the area - a new people, a new money-making economy, and a new role to be played by the Grand Prairie in the agriculture of Arkansas and the South.







10

The advantages of the Prairie for rice were many: (1) a soil w.ith a clay pan soil that possesses excellent waterholding abilities, (2) flat land enabling easy impoundments of water, (3) a good and abundant water supply but one requiring careful and efficient use, (4) an open land inviting a new industry, and (5) a populace composed of hard working people unencumbered with past traditions of cotton culture to interfere with a new way of life.

When rice was first introduced, the region was found to be highly suitable for its cultivation, and rice acreage was expanded rapidly. Since then rice has maintained its position as the principal economic activity and prime source of income on the Prairie. It dislodged the rudimentary grazing and hay industries that had characterized the Grand Prairie up until that time and having a comparative advantage over any competing use of land has first choice on land resources. Only those crops which dovetail with rice culture are of significandy, mainly soybeans. Cotton is insignificant.

Grand Prairie rice farmers are large operators. Thousands of dollars are invested in machinery, and cropland is some of the more valuable to be found in the nation. Farming methods are modern and efficient, and the industry is highly competitive. Detailed analyses of the Grand Prairie's advantages for rice, the nature of this technologically modern and highly mechanized industry, and some economics of rice production are the objectives of Chapter IV, "The Case for Rice."










Water

The third major objective of the study is the examination of the unique role played by water in the Grand Prairie region. The use of this resource gives the region much of its character. Rice requires large amounts of water for irrigation, and great expense is borne by the farmers to supply it.

Large amounts of ground water are available, but the tremendous requirements have brought about water problems peculiar to the region. 'Water tables have dropped steadily. Deeper wells are very expensive, and many farmers have to rely increasingly on surface water. This has resulted in the construction of many reservoirs, large and small. Reservoirs, canals, levees, pumps, and ielifts are now integral parts of Grand Prairie vernacular.

Various governmental agencies are involved in the

planning, advising, and financing of water-control measures. Land used for water storage is noteworthy area-wise and much more so investment-wise. Water has become the rice farmers' chief concern and item of expense. The farmer faced with a water shortage has several alternatives, all of which are unpleasant and expensive. They are: more wells, deeper wells, reservoirs construction, water purchases, or less acreage irrigated.

The problems with water are not uniform over the region. The distribution and use of reservoirs is taken as an approach to a better understanding of the problem. The analyses of






12

water management, solutions effective and otherwise, and comparati.ve construction and maintenance costs of various water supply sources are objectives pursued in Chapter V.

The large number of reservoirs on the Prairie has introduced a new and interesting consideration - the multiple use of reservoirs. Although rice irrigation is the controlling use-factor, other uses that have been proposed and tried are fish farming, minnow raising, and recreational uses for sport fishing and duck hunting. The possibility of multiple uses of the costly reservoirs offers hope for additional farmer income. Any side benefits that can be derived will reduce water costs in the farm operation. With the nation's growing population and increasing leisure time, the potential recreational values of the reservoirs are particularly noteworthy. Water control on the Grand Prairie can perhaps be related to national problems of water conservation and water recreation.


Methodology

The Grand Prairie, as a region, coincides with no political unit or group of units. As seen on Figure 1, it includes parts of 4 counties, none entirely. There are no published maps of the Grand Prairie as such. The soil map and the topographic map in this study were assembled from respective county soil maps and United States Geological Survey Quadrangles and delimited for the area desired (103) (107). Other maps are original with the writer. All areal divisions shown









on the maps are the writer's and are based mainly upon field observation.

In addition to map preparation much field time was consumed in interviews. Citizens, farmers, and federal, state, and county officials were interviewed for both official and unofficial information. County agents, Soil Conservation Service personnel, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service personnel, state and federal Geological Service and Agriculture Department personnel, the United States Corps of Engineers, and others were querried for data on the Grand Prairie.

Fifty farmers, selected from all parts of the Grand Prairie, were interviewed with a standard questionnaire. Other farmers were interviewed informally, along with reservoir and well contractors, rice mill executives, water sales contractors, minnow farmers, old-time residents, and others.

The preparation of maps for the delineation of the Grand Prairie region was accomplished through the use of aerial photography and field observation. Topographic maps, county highway maps, and the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service photographs were taken to the site, and the land use and other divisions were delineated on the maps. The Grand Prairie has never been mapped so specifically.1 Thus sound, realistic delineation of the


1
other sources of previous reference to the Grand
Prairie have been of a general nature. Two such sources that







14

Grand Prairie as a cohesiye region was a major objective of this s.tudy.

To obtain data on rice production and water use much

reliance was placed upon interviews with the people involved. Farmers were selected who owned reservoirs as it was particularly desirable to get first hand information-on this critical phase of water management. Farmers were chosen so as to represent all parts of the Prairie. Their cropping and watering procedures were noted, as well as their opinions and attitudes whenever possible. The distribution of the farms included in the survey and a form of the questionnaire that was used are included as Appendix III, Non-farmers also aided in-supplying data. Rice processing personnel, commercial water contractors, and county agents were particularly helpful.

Reservoirs were mapped in the field and also checked in the Soil Conservation Service's individual farm folders. Knowledge of their distribution and sizes plus the farmers'



relate to the region but do not as specifically delineate it are Type-of-Farming Areas in Arkansas, Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 555, June, 1955 (18, p. 76), and Enterprise Costs and Returns on Rice Farms in the Grand Prairie, Arkansas, Agricultural Experiment Station Report Series 119, June, 1963 (23, p. 4). The information presented in such publications and others similar is excellent, but their purpose was not to define or delineate a geographically cohesive region. Upon interviewing, it was found most farmers had a fairly accurate concept of what the Grand Prairie is but had given little thought to its delineation. Others seemed to have little or no concept of it as an identifiable region.









comments made possible certain conclusions by the writer pertaining to the special role played by water.

Publications by the University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station cooperating with the Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, are the principal published materials used in the study. The Rice Journal, published monthly at New Orleans, contains many articles of interest to rice farmers such as farm techniques, irrigation, storage, et cetera. Very little of other published materials pertain to the area or to the problem at hand.

Unfortunately, county and state data cannot be separated for the region as defined. It was possible to use official data when they could be acquired for smaller areas and regrouped to conform with the region as devised herein.

The National Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation Needs was undertaken by the United States Department of Agriculture as a guide for more effective soil and water conservation (9, p. 1). Original data for the Conservation Needs Inventory were collected from 40-acre sample plots selected at random within individual counties. It was possible to use these sample data and adapt them to the study, details of which are presented in Chapter III.


Historical Background

The history of the settlement of the Grand Prairie is







16

significant to the objectives of this study. Background information is desirable for any areal study, but it is particularly so in this case because the nature of the people had a marked influence on present land use - a prime consideration in the identification and delineation of the Grand Prairie as a region.

For years after surrounding land in Arkansas was

settled the Grand Prairie remained unoccupied. The early settlers in Arkansas came from other areas of the South. These initial pioneers were accustomed to woodland, and the grassy expanses of the GrandPrairie were not inviting. To them, land that would not grow trees was of limited value. Settlement on the Prairie was not significant until the turn of the century when rice was successfully introduced.

The first settlement in the vicinity of the Grand

Prairie was established by the French in 1686 at Arkansas Post. Located on the extreme southern tip of the Prairie terrace, it was the first permanent white settlement in the lower Mississippi Valley west of the river. Apparently the settlement was little more than a center for Indian traders and hunters until the area was acquired by the United States in 1804 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. It was described by Thomas Nuttall in his 1819 travels as "thirty to forty houses dispersed over the prairie, elevated above the morass of the river swamps" (3, p. 106). When the Arkansas Territory was established in 1819 Arkansas Post was made both the county







17

seat and capital of the Territory. Although it was the largest town in the Territory at the time its inconvenient location for administrative purposes made it necessary to shift the capital to Little Rock the following year. By. 1855 Arkansas Post had lost its position as county seat to the newly established town of De Wiit. Even though Arkansas Post was situated on the edge of the Prairie the settlement had little effect on the Grand Prairie. During the first half of the nineteenth century it was the most important of several small settlements bordering the Prairie while the Prairie itself remained practically devoid of settlement. The significant history of the Grand Prairie was to come later, and not until the turn of the century was the die to be cast. Today Arkansas Post is a National Monument.

Early use of the Grand Prairie was largely limited to grazing and some hay sales while the surrounding land was being cleared and planted to cotton and corn. Halliburton, writing around 1903, listed the crops of Arkansas County as cotton, corn, wheat, oats, Irish and sweet potatoes, peas, and melons (2, p. 6). These were grown on cleared land, not prairie, which was still considered of little value at the time. He made no mention of rice.

The Prairie soils, with water problems of extremes

both poor drainage and desiccation - were unsuited to the mode of agriculture used at the time. Few settlers were attracted. These few who tried found conditions hard, and many were







18

forced to return to former habitats. For decades, three quarters of a century, the Prairie broke the backs and the hearts of those settlers who ventured forth to wrest a living from the seemingly hostile land. Until one man discovered rice would grow, the Grand Prairie seemed to support the Southerners' disdain for the grassland.

In 1904 the first successful rice crop was produced on Prairie land near Lonoke, Arkansas (68, p. 73). This venture, which was. the result of one man's curiosity and foresightedness, gave the Grand Prairie the industry that would one day make it one of the most prosperous agricultural regions of the country. W. H. Fuller, from near Lonoke, observed rice growing near Crowley, Louisiana, by chance in 1896. He noticed the similarity in the land and experimented with rice back on his own farm. Finding water to be the key, he successfully raised a crop in 1904 with the financial backing of local interested persons. Rice agriculture, the primary economic activity on the Grand Prairie today, is properly a major concern of this treatise.

Prior to the rice discovery there had been a slow and small influx of settlers whose origin was outside the South. Germans, many of them second generation immigrants, were attracted from other parts of the United States. The open land, cheaply purchased, drew many from northern prairie lands in Illinois and Iowa and from Ohio and other Midwest states. These Germans, who were commonly thought of as







19

"foreigners from up north" by local Southerners, did manage by hard work and frugality to establish themselves permanently on the Prairie (86). Some, of course, did not succeed and returned to Ohio and elsewhere.

An old-time resident described the Prairie as still unoccupied in 1896 and as not having been absorbed into southern agriculture (83, p. 33). He further intimated that the land was unfit for corn and cotton but that the German pioneers from the North did not know this. They became an island of northern immigrants surrounded by settlers from the border states and the Old South. At the time the principal business of the young town of Stuttgart was reported -to be selling Grand Prairie land to farmers from the northern prairies "who thought they were getting lands of the same worth at a much lower price" (83, p. 33). A letter written about 1880 by a Prairie resident described a landholding of 160 acres with frame buildings offered for $2,000 (66). Some lands on the Prairie sold for as little as 25 cents an acre in the early period of settlement (2, p. 5). Interviews with farmers today reveal that Grand Prairie land is virtually not for sale.

The background of the German settlers was unquestionably foreign to the region. The role this difference played in the development of the Grand Prairie is real, but the extent of the role is open to opinion. The absence of both cotton agriculture and a southern plantation tradition in







20

their backgrounds doubtless caused them to look upon the

land differently than did the local Southerners.

The Germans were able to adapt to a new way of life that was soon to include rice agriculture. Who can say what the region would be like if the Germans had not been attracted? The experience acquired from the grain lands of the Midwest actually encouraged a type of agriculture different from traditional southern agriculture based on cotton.

The turn of the century brought additional settlers, many this time from Slovakia. They are now prosperous rice farmers, most of whom live around the Catholic Church in the settlement of Slovak just north of Stuttgart in Prairie County. Conversation in Slovak was once common in Stuttgart on Saturday afternoons.

The southern part of Arkansas County, which includes

portions of the Grand Prairie, had a history of another sort. The whole Grand Prairie region lay in the Louisiana Purchase, and Arkansas Post was the early point of administration. Names of French origin such as Bayou Lagrue are evident. Many older land deeds are written in French or Spanish. Spain ruled the area from 1763 to 1803, having acquired it by treaty from France and later relinquishing control back to France. Irregular property lines along the Arkansas River date back to the days of land grants to deserving countrymen and soldiers. The town of St. Charles itself, set at an







21

angle to the rectangular grid system, dates back to an old Spanish land grant.

Such influence was felt little on the Grand Prairie, however, as it was still the great void during this time. Later, in the absence of the Germans in the southern portions of the Prairie, border state settlers moved in. Here, in contrast to the German-settled areas of the Prairie, cotton was integrated somewhat with Prairie agriculture. Thisis evident from the land use study reported in Chapter III.

Social distinctions of the people of the Grand Prairie have waned over the years. Amalgamation with surrounding peoples and several generations removed from the old world immigrants have left such distinctions largely to history. Other than economic pursuits, differences are largely superficial. Neither the exact role played by these social differences in the past nor the extent of their impact on present conditions can be fully ascertained, but must be considered with all other factors in the analysis of resource use in the region.















CHAPTER II

DEFINITION AND PHYSICAL DELINEATION OF THE REGION Introduction

Although the name Crand Prairie implies a physical

phenomenon, to most people living there the reference is a cultural one - that important rice growing area around Stuttgart. Local residents have some idea that at one time a natural grassland occupied the area; some old timers even recall its appearance. For the most part, however, the original physical aspects have vanished. Efforts to obtain residents' descriptions of the boundary of the Grand Prairie met with little success, and usually they returned to the rice-growing area concept.

Actually the Grand Prairie can be successfully delineated by both physical and cultural criteria. Although the cultural concept is probably the most significant one today, the physical characteristics that determine the Prairie gave it its original conception. In addition, those same physical characteristics are largely responsible for present cultural identifications. Certain social and historical aspects have played important roles in determining Grand Prairie resource uses, but those uses reflect strongly the physical base.







23

The principal physical criteria employed for delineation are topography and soils. Originally native vegetation was paramount as the natural grassland provided the Grand Prairie with the basis for separate recognition. However, original vegetation cannot be presently mapped but only reconstructed according to limited past records and personal recollections of residents.

Following the physical delineation of the region presented in this chapter, the subsequent chapter will examine the delineation of the Prairie based on cultural criteria, namely land use. Other cultural phenomena are in evidence and aid in setting the Prairie apart from the surrounding area as a definite identifiable region.


Physical Setting of the Prairie

The Arkansas Grand Prairie is an isolated portion of a Pleistocene terrace located on the Mississippi Alluvial Plain portion of the Gulf Coastal Plain (Figure 1). The alluvial plain is divided into the recent river floodplains and the higher Pleistocene terraces, of which the Grand Prairie is an example. General slope is toward the southeast and all drainage trends in that direction.

The Grand Prairie likewise slopes southeastward from

its highest portion in the northwest, not far from where the Arkansas River issues from the Interior Highlands. This suggests that the terrace was once part of a large sloping aggradational plain formed by streams depositing materials









as they issued from the Highlands. Later the deposits were eroded., and the remnants, now terraces, were left isolated.

There is evidence that the Mississippi River once flowed west of Crowley's Ridge and joined the Ohio River somewhere in the vicinity of Helena, Arkansas. Most of the floodplain deposits west of the ridge are attributed to the Mississippi. The Ohio River captured the Mississippi near Cairo, Illinois, and diverted it eastward to the present beds of the lower Mississippi east of Crowley's Ridge (1, p. 89). The land west of Crowley's Ridge, including the Grand Prairie region, was abandoned and left to smaller streams.

The color, composition, and depositional features of Grand Prairie materials suggest aggradation from both the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Well-drillings on the Prairie have uncovered sediments originating from both streams (44, p. 9).

The terrace that composes the present Grand Prairie apparently is the remnant of the much larger aggradational plain. As the ancient plain sloped toward the southeast away from the Highlands so does the present terrace. Other smaller remnants may be found to the north, east, and west of the Grand Prairie.

These upland terraces were characterized by expanses of unusually level land that were essentially treeless. As such they were true prairies, the Grand Prairie being the largest expanse of natural grassland in the state.







25

The Grand Prairie has been dissected by a number of

streams almost uniformily flowing southeastward (Figure 2). Lagrue Bayou heads in the northern part of the Prairie and drains prairie land for its entire length before draining into the White River. Mill Bayou flowing into Bayou Meto, and Little Lagrue Bayou, a tributary to Lagrue Bayou, drain what is considered the "heart" of the Grand Prairie, that portion in the vicinity of Stuttgart. The headwaters of Two Prairie Bayou are outside the region to the northwest near the headwaters of Bayou Meto and Wattensaw Bayou. It flows east and southeast dissecting a portion of the Prairie and empties into Bayou Meto.

These shallow bedded streams along with other smaller ones have dissected the terrace into several discontiguous segments. Lower Lagrue Bayou has isolated a portion of the Prairie to the east between Lagrue Bayou and the White River known as White River Prairie. That small portion between Lagrue Bayou and Big Creek is known as Lagrue Prairie. Sassafras Prairie is a small segment north of De Witt between Lagrue Bayou and Little Lagrue Bayou. In the south Cypress Bayou isolates Little Prairie. Two Prairie Bayou sets off Long Prairie. Specifically, that large remaining portion of upland terrace is Grand Prairie. Generally, however, all of these segments are collectively referred to as the Grand Prairie and will be so indicated in this paper unless specifically stated otherwise.










Historical Basis of Vegetation

The terraces between the White River and Bayou Meto were originally islands of grass surrounded by a sea of forests. First travelers into the area reported observing the unusually level expanses of native grasses, at the time referred to as the "Great Prairie" (3, p. 112).

As was the case with the Midwest prairies of Illinois and neighboring states, early settlers considered the prairie land worthless, or at least inferior in comparison with the adjoining woodland and alluvial land. The first road in Arkansas crossed the Grand Prairie and this otherwise avoided land did serve at least as early access to the interior. The road left the settlement of Arkansas Post on the Arkansas River and followed the relatively easy route northwestward to the limits of the Prairie and then west to the settlement of Little Rock (3, p. 22).


Occurrence of Natural Prairie

Although covering approximately 700 square miles altogether, the original Prairie was not a vast unbroken expanse of grass as the term might cause some to envision. The Prairie consisted of a series of elongated segments trending northwest-southeast. They were surrounded by alluvial floodplains and separated from one another by penetrating fingers of woodlands along bayous. Figure 3 depicts the extent of the natural grasslands reconstructed from old maps, records, and interviews.








































D PRAIRIE

* WOODLAND


THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE


ORIGINAL VEGETATION


CORBET 1965 Figure 3







28

An early description pictures the Prairie as having a width of from 2 to 10 miles and possessing arms and branches in various directions and of various lengths (2, p. 2). Between these arms and branches of prairie were fingers of timber from 2 to 20 miles in length, extending from the forest surrounding the prairie and pointing mainly in a northern direction. The fingers of timber were, of course, associated with the streams flowing southward and southeastward dissecting the Prairie. Because of these dissections, probably no point on the original prairie exceeded 4 miles from woodland.

Figure 3 is based on such early descriptions, interviews with old-timers in the area, and early editions of topographic maps showing natural vegetation. The original limits of the natural grasslands have long been obliterated. Much of the surrounding woodland has been cut back and cleared. What is generally considered the Grand Prairie today is undoubtedly larger than the extent of original grassland.
Study of the soils on and fringing the prairie was

another method used to delineate the original grassland. It will be shown later that some portions of certain soil associations are included in the present Prairie delineation while other portions of these same soils are not. Some of these fringe soils differ very little from the true prairie soils and differ mostly because varying amounts of tree growth aided in the development of the soils. Those portions of such







29

fringe soils now located on what is considered the Grand Prairie were probably woodland encroachments around the edges of the original grassland.

This appears to be the case particularly in the northern portion of the Prairie bordering on the woodlands of Wattensaw Bayou. Several long-time residents recalled that woodlands once extended south of U. S. Highway 70 traversing the northern edge of the Prairie east and west. As outlined on Figure 2, the Prairie now extends well north of the highway. There are other areas where original woodlands have been erased and are now incorporated as integral parts of the Grand Prairie as presently defined.

Scattered rather indiscriminately over the original

prairie were groves of timber varying in size from I acre to 4,000 acres. As the groves were more or less isolated in a sea of grass, they were commonly referred to as "islands." Some islands still have vestiges of their original vegetation while others have completely vanished. Some of the largest of the timbered islands were Big Island, east and southeast of Stuttgart; Maple Island, northeast of Big Island; and Lost Island, north of Stuttgart and site of the present Lost Island reservoir. Reservoirs often mark the former locations of these islands of timber. The correlation of reservoirs with wooded areas will be discussed in

later chapters.

The historical absence of trees on the terraces may

have been a reflection of moisture conditions. The terraces







30

are capped by a layer of Pleistocene loess underlain by an

almost. impervious layer of clay. The clay pan is found at varying depths over the Prairie but is usually encountered at depths of 12 to 18 inches. It may be as little as 5 inches or as much as 60 inches, and its thickness varies from 5 to 60 feet.

This impervious layer, or very slowly pervious at best, creates moisture conditions tending towards the extremes. In come seasons and times the top ground is saturated, even waterlogged. At other times it is dry and hard. In times of excess moisture the clay pan prevents surface water from percolating downward. In periods of drought it allows the surface to dehydrate by cutting off any capillary action from the more permanent replenishing source of ground water.

Such conditions are not favorable for young trees to obtain a foothold. If tree roots could extend through the clay, moisture might be sufficient to sustain growth. There is doubt, however, that the tree roots could penetrate the clay, and if they did, that sufficient moisture would be available. Clay collected from test holes is remarkably dry (17, p. 13).

Although trees were presented with a formidable obstacle, conditions did not preclude grass. Grass could survive the periods of drought better, even if it necessitated dying out and regrowth with the next rain. Once grass controlled the area there was an additional detrimental factor hindering tree propagation - fire. Prairie fire, from what-







31
ever origin, tended to prevent tree introduction and actually aided grass expansion.

With a few isolated exceptions virgin grass cover cannot be found on the Grand Prairie today. The largest unturned piece of true prairie is located in southern Prairie County on state highway 11 about 15 miles north of Stuttgart. Figure 4 illustrates native grasses growing on this 80-acre plot. Principal native grasses were big bluestem and little bluestem, and others were indiangrass and switchgrass.

This plot has been left in its natural state principally for sentimental reasons. Other unturned areas have gradually gone into cultivation for economic reasons. Early use of the land, naturally enough, was for grazing. The native grasses make excellent hay. Cut once a year, the remaining plots return about $15 per acre. As riceland it could net over $100 per acre, or about $30 per acre in soybeans. When sentimentality fades, so will the last of the native bluestem.

The woodlands bordering the streams developed under more favorable moisture conditions than available on the prairie. First, the bayou lands are lower and thus concentrate the surface runoff, offering a more permanent source of water. Secondly, the bayous have intrenched themselves, not deeply, but usually enough to breach the clay pan. This affords better soil drainage to prevent waterlogging, as well as making possible capillary action to prevent desiccation. Thirdly, since the bayou lands are not as prone to dry out as com-














































Figure 4. Virgin prairie grass. The grass had recently been cut for hay, and regrowth is only about one-third mature size. The clumpy nature of growth is evident. Low broad silt dunes, common on the virgin prairie, are barely observable in the background.







33

pletely, they are not as subject to fire damage and tree retardation.

The timbered islands were in most cases merely areal

concentrations of conditions just described along the streams. The locations of some islands, however, may seem counter to this reasoning. Big Island, Lost Island and Maple Island were actually located on what are relatively high portions of the terrace. Compare the locations of these islands on Figure 3 with Figure 5, a topographic map of the Grand Prairie. Drainage is in general away from these islands, indicating their relative upland positions. Close observation, however, indicates that they are sli{1htly lower than the immediately surrounding land, thus receiving local drainage.

From evidence available it also appears the clay pan is less developed in such areas. It is not clear whether the trees are here because of the weak pan, or whether the pan is weak because of the trees. More borings across these islands and more detailed topographic mapping could shed light on this physical phenomenon.


Present Modified Vegetation

The Grand Prairie is still observable in the field, but not as native grassland prairie. The grasses which grew for so long, so alone, and so undisturbed, have been overturned and replaced with some of man's grasses, notably that moneymaking grass - rice.

The wooded patterns have been altered also. Many tim-







34

ber islands have been obliterated. Infringing forests have been cut back to expose good farm land. The basic patterns are still there but with crops rather than grass occupying the flat interfluves and woods persisting along the dissecting bayous and bordering streams but in reduced extent. Many of the former islands presently show up as reservoir concentrations.

Despite the deforestation it may be true that more trees are growing on the Prairie today than when man first looked upon the scene. While man cleared the trees for his crops he also planted trees for his homesteads. Every farmstead has its small grove of trees, and it is now the farmsteads that appear as islands in a sea of fields. Stuttgart, Hazen, Carlisle, De Witt and other settlements are well wooded.

Many trees are now growing on the Prairie near rice

fields where probably trees were not found originally. Rice irrigation provides the needed moisture. Such observations seem to support the reasoning that trees could not survive on the Prairie until either the clay pan had been breached or the soil moisture conditions altered in some other manner. Potential tree-killing fires have also been controlled.

It is interesting to reflect on the changes that have occurred in vegetation on the Grand Prairie. The area may be visualized at a time before the first settlement, much before, when the great southeasterly sloping aggradational plain extended from the Interior Highlands almost unbroken. During the Pleistocene era a layer of loess was deposited over imper-







35

vious beds of stream and river clays. Thus was formed the environment for grassland, particularly noted in moisture conditions as described. Probably the original grassland included a much larger area than when first sighted, broken only by narrow wooded transgressions along a few master consequent streams flowing toward the Gulf of Mexico.

As secondary streams evolved, the great sloping grassland plain began to come apart, as if it were being sliced and sliced again by tributaries, leaving irregular green scars of timber. As time passed the scars began to dominate the tissue, and eventually it was the grassland which looked out of context, grassland that occupied the higher terraces and was surrounded by the woodlands of the bottoms and sloping adjacent areas. It was thus when history gives the first description of the Grand Prairie,

That portion of the Pleistocent terrace lying between the White River and Bayou Meto was the largest remnant of prairie remaining. It, too, was dissected by the devouring streams that created the smaller segments now given the separate names of White River Prairie, Sassafras Prairie, Long Prairie, and Little Prairie.

The prairie land was to gradually diminish in size as the denudation cycle continued. Bayou woodlands were expanding into its heart like a great root penetrating soft earth. Fingers of trees slowly worked into the grassy expanses. Islands of trees were established where favorable conditions permitted. Eventually the whole prairie was







36

destined to disappear, dissections following upon dissections until there would be no trace.

The first men found the grassy expanses uninviting. They favored the woodlands because that was what they knew from their backgrounds, and only a few cattle were grazed on the grass. But eventually it was discovered that the land that was thought not good enough to grow trees could, with alterations, grow crops. With this discovery commenced the most rapid and probably most far-reaching change in vegetation to ever occur on the prairie, and this within the last 60 years.

Natural grasses were upturned and crops planted. Encroaching trees that seemed to be creeping out of the bayous were routed. Islands of tree fortresses were completely annihilated. The original vegetation delineations of the prairie were obliterated.

Whereas before the prairie was shrinking due to the encroachment of the woodlands, it now began to expand by man's hand. As trees were cut back and crops planted, the Grand Prairie as known today actually increased in size. For the most part those areas that were cleared more nearly resembled prairie land than they did bayou woodland. They were marginal areas that were beginning to reflect some of the clay pan breaching effects of stream headwaters. Tree growth had commenced in favored locations, but with clearing the land was converted into cropland comparable to the prairie.

This difference between the original vegetation and the







37

delineation of the present Grand Prairie is apparent between Figures 2 and 3. Not only were trees cut down and crops planted to erase the original patterns, but additional trees were planted or allowed to grow elsewhere. The effect has been to blur the original setting and to further obliterate the prairie. Nonetheless, the signs are there, even if not easily discernible.

In summary, vegetation changes on the prairie may be viewed in a chronological but very general sequence as: (1) a natural grassland diminishing in size because of encroaching streams and woodlands, (2) a change from grass to crops and a slight expansion of the prairie, and (3) a blurring or obliteration of the original prairie through a continuation of man's activities.


Topography

The delineation of the Grand Prairie is as closely related to topography as to any other phenomenon. Unlike original vegetation the topography of the region is little changed from that first observed by settlers. No single criterion used for delineating the boundary of the Grand Prairie is completely correspondent with any other criteria. The complexities of interacting phenomena offer too many categories for any one to unerringly delineate the region. The earth is not that simple; but there is, nevertheless, a close correspondence between topographic boundaries, soils boundaries, and land use boundaries. If any physical as-







38

pect were selected for its application as a single delineating criterion of the Grand Prairie today it would be topography.

The topographic differences between the Grand Prairie and immediate environs are not marked, however. A casual traveler may cross the heart of the Prairie and notice not the slightest topographic change. For that matter, since the original vegetation has disappeared, the casual observer would have difficulty in differentiating the Grand Prairie by any criteria.


Geological Background

Topographically, the Grand Prairie is the loessal

terrace slightly elevated above the alluvial plains of the White and Arkansas rivers. It is thought that the portion of terrace between the White River and Bayou Meto is only a remnant of the larger aggradational plain that once occupied this area of the Gulf Coastal Plain.

Some geological background will aid in understanding present topography. Located in the western portion of the Mississippi embayment, the area was submerged periodically in the geologic past. The generally southward and southeastward sloping plain that occupied the Grand Prairie region was partly marine as well as alluvial (1, p. 83). Unconformal formations of Cretaceous age of marine origin underlie the Prairie at depths of about 3,000 feet. On top of these are Tertiary deposits of alternating clays, sands,







39

lignite, marl, and some limestone, in areas having a combined thickness as great as 3,500 feet (44, p. 9).

Quaternary deposits overlie the Tertiary and blanket the entire Grand Prairie region. They include sediments laid down during the Pleistocene and Recent epochs. The Quaternary deposits consist of alluvium and range in thickness from 75 to 200 feet. Stone is almost completely lacking, both as outcrops and in well holes. The Quaternary alluvial deposits are those described earlier as having both Mississippi River and Arkansas River origins.

The deeper, bluish Quaternary sands are thought to have come from the Mississippi River and the upper reddish sands of the Quaternary deposits from the Arkansas River (44, p. 15). This aggradation may have caused the Mississippi River when west of Crowley's Ridge to raise its profile, thereby making it susceptible to capture by the Ohio River which was draining east of Crowley's Ridge. The Mississippi River was diverted east into the lower elevated Ohio, perhaps first in the vicinity of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. At any rate, the great alluvial plains west of Crowley's Ridge are now occupied only by lesser streams thought incapable of aggrading such massive deposits.

The Quaternary deposits consist primarily of waterbearing sands. Overlying the sands are layers of clays, silts, and mixed clay and silt. The topmost capping layer is silt with loess-like appearance. It ranges from 5 inches to 36 inches in depth and is underlain by the clay pan mentioned earlier.







40

It is this top layer of loess that is responsible for the term "loessal terrace" applied to the Grand Prairie. The multi-layers of nearly impervious clay and silt below the loess form an almost continuous covering over the Grand Prairie region and affords the Prairie some of its unique characteristics.

Pleistocene and Recent deposits have not been satisfactorily differentiated in this region. In general the terraces may be thought of as Pleistocene and the lower alluvial lands as Recent. This is an oversimplification, however, and many exceptions exist. Wood fragments from one well on the Prairie taken at a depth of 50 feet were dated at approximately 5,500 years, well within the Recent epoch (44, p. 14).

Streams draining the Interior Highlands and Central

Lowland physiographic provinces of the United States passed through periods of alternating aggradation and degradation. The most recent activity has been a slow degradation of the plain in the Grand Prairie region. Streams flowing toward the Gulf have eroded the soft materials until only detached remnants of the former plain remain. As the streams lowered their beds the residual portions of the plain were left as slightly elevated terraces. The most nearly continuous large segment of terrace remaining is that area between White River and Bayou Meto - the Grand Prairie. Present Topography

On Figure 5 the boundary of the Grand Prairie is indi-







41

cated, and the slope toward the southeast is readily seen. Less apparent is the terrace itself, with its slight elevation primarily shown here above the White and Arkansas rivers.

Since the terrace slopes gently southeastward no single elevation marks its surface or its boundary. Instead a gradual decrease in elevation is seen from northwest to southeast. Maximum elevation on the terrace is just over 250 feet in the extreme northwest. It decreases to about 165 feet in the southernmost part of Little Prairie, a distance of over 70 miles, This gives an average slope of the terrace itself of only about one foot per mile. The streams draining the prairie likewise have very gentle gradients.

Although no single contour line marks the terrace as a

whole, it should be noted how a series of contour lines closely coincide with the Grand Prairie boundary north to south. The 240-foot elevations are on the Prairie in the extreme northwest. Just eastward and southward the 220-foot line comes

into prominence as approximating the boundary, particularly noted in Long Prairie and west of DeVall's Bluff. Farther southward as the Prairie slopes away, land between 200 feet and 220 feet is the dominant elevation on the Prairie surface. And particularly noticeable is the close correspondence between the 180-foot contour and southern portions of the Prairie boundary. Only small portions of the Prairie lie below the 180-foot level, mostly in the southernmost Little Prairie. Elevations lower to below 140 feet in the White River bottomlands.








THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE


:1 : 2 :


TOPOGRAPHY


q,$ ~


Y


a.,j


"2607


ELEVATION IN FEET ........ I ................................. ...
GRAND PRAIRIE OUTLINE


0 10 2
6=4 " 6= 6 1 = 6 6ML i 6S 6 6=,l
MILES


SOURCE: U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY


CORBET 1965


Figure 5







43

If the Prairie were not sloping southeastward overall, elevation shading as in Figure 5 would expose the terrace to a more marked degree. For example, if the entire Grand Prairie could be laid upon a fulcrum in about the position of Stuttgart, and the south end raised slightly and the north end lowered accordingly, the 200-foot contour line south of Stuttgart would move southward over the terrace and in the north would climb up from the White River bottomlands onto the terrace and as a result more closely approximate the Prairie boundary.

As is, the alluvial lands of the White River and Arkansas River are readily observable at a lower elevation than the terrace. The White River has cut lower into the sediments than has Bayou Meto therefore, the edge of thb ...ce is more pronounced in the east adjacent to the White hiver. Throughout much of the distance along the White River a distinct bluff is evident, rising some 25 to 30 feet above the river's floodplain, and in several areas over 50 feet. No such escarpment is found anywhere along Bayou Meto, and the bluff is the most marked topographic feature in the region.

Figure 6 was taken from atop the bluff overlooking the White River near the community of Crocketts Bluff. The river is against the eastern flank of the terrace and has exposed a cross-sectional view of the silt and clay that underlie the Prairie.

The irregularity of the contour lines on Figure 5 should not mislead the reader into perceiving the Prairie as having













































Figure 6. Bluffs along the White River. Here the bluffs are over 50 feet high. The loesslike silt is apparent in the vertical clevages of the exposed material.







45

much relief. On the contrary, relief is at a minimum. The stream gradients are also very flat, as evidenced by the distance between stream crossings of such contour lines as the 180-and 200-foot lines on Lagrue Bayou. Moreover, the fact that a small 20-foot contour interval presents a pattern as simple as this on such a small scale map illustrates the flatness of the area. Over a distance of 70 miles the surface of the Prairie lowers only about 85 feet.

Local relief is slight, particularly away from the

principal streams. In most parts of the Prairie relief is less than 5 feet in a square mile. In only a few places is it as much as 10 feet. Along the White River bluffs it may be up to 60 feet, but such areas mark the edge of the terrace and are not representative of the Grand Prairie itself.

A few streams have worked headward into the Prairie,

cutting valleys a few hundred feet wide at their mouths down to the level of the Arkansas and White rivers into which they flow. Lagrue Bayou, Big Creek, and Mill Bayou are such streams. Near their headwaters, however, these streams have cut only a few feet below the surface of the Prairie.


Physiographic Regions

A study of the topography of the region and many hundreds of miles of reconnoitering enabled the writer to divide the area into 3 physiographic regions for analyses (Figure 7). These regions were delineated primarily through field observations but were supported by detailed study of aerial photo-







46

graphy and topographic quadrangles. An obvious advantage of the physiographic map over the topographic map (Figure 5) is the elimination of the southeastward slope. In this manner the more or less uniform surface of the Prairie terrace can be depicted as a single pattern, impossible on the topographic map. The 3 physiographic regions were selected for their mapability and their meaningfulness with respect to this study.


Flat Prairie Land

The physiographic region of flat prairie land is in essence the Grand Prairie of today. This is the highest land of the terrace, standing from 20 feet to 60 feet above low water stages of the Arkansas and White rivers. It is very flat and topograhically immature. Most of it is in the young, and even initial stage of the geomorphic cycle. With less than 5 feet of relief per square mile, drainage is poor until man-aided. As initially observed, drainage networks were hardly integrated, and heavy rains resulted in much standing water. This level, almost treeless land, aided by the water-holding clay pan, is the great rice-growing region for which the Grand Prairie is noted today. Practically the entire area of the physiographic region is used as cropland. River and Bayou Bottomlands

The river and bayou bottomlands are also flat, but at a lower elevation. In some areas there is a noticeable excarpment between the floodplains and the terrace, most pro-










THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE


PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS


WITH

PRAIRIE DIVISIONS


t-LAI I'AII(I. LANIU LOESSAL HILLS RIVER AND BAYOU BOTTOMLANDS


0 10 21
-=IJ L= 64 6=1 6--l 1, -1
MILES


Figure 7


4, :!~ ii.e !!!iii 4i,.4 0!iiiiiil
, ,: :: : : 4 . :: : :


F77777


CORBET 1965


...........


::*A


RiB I


| A I|d







48

nounced at the White River bluffs already described. The fingers of bayou land that penetrate the Prairie, however, are only slightly lower than the flat prairie land, and no escarpment is visible to mark their presence. Such is the case with the bottomlands of upper Lagrue Bayou, Little Lagrue Bayou, Mill Bayou, and Two Prairie Bayou.

Figure 8 is an oblique view of the Prairie showing

flat prairie land and strips of wooded bayou bottomland. Location and direction of the panorama of the aerial photograph are indicated on Figure 7, giving a bird's eye view of a representative portion of the region. Mill Bayou flows from top left to lower right in the center of the photograph. The stream itself cannot be seen. In the foreground and on the far side of Mill Bayou are portions of the flat prairie land, in actuality portions of the Grand Prairie. In the upper right center is woodland along Little Lagrue Bayou; and beyond that on the extreme right, almost on the horizon, is the northern part of Sassafras Prairie. Almyra is faintly visible in the upper left corner, situated squarely on the Prairie.

The bottomlands along the bayous that drain the Prairie are of such slight difference in elevation from the Prairie that they would be very difficult to discern if it were not for the associated woodlands. In Figure 8 an increase in the height of the road embankment as it approaches the wood is a clue. Figure 9 shows a slight drop off in the road as state highway 130 approaches Little Lagrue Bayou southwest of Almyra.
























Figure 8. Oblique view of the Prairie. Flat prairie land is dissected by shallow bayous, whose courses are marked by woodlands. Local relief is very slight and without land use and vegetation as guides is difficult to see. Slope toward the bayou is indicated by the water in the reservoir.

Courtesy Soil Conservation Service













GRAND
PRAIRIE







51

In this instance the elevation change is barely observable. In other areas it is even less so. Figure 10 is a panoramic sweep from the flat prairie land to the slightly lower bayou bottomland, and the topographic change is hardly perceptible.

In some areas woodlands along the bayous have been

cleared. Oftentimes the elevation change is so slight that there is little discernible difference in the topography of the newly cleared land and the bordering Prairie. The woodland vegetation is more responsive to moisture conditions than it is directly to topography. Recent land clearing is evident in the center of Figure 8. It is difficult to ascertaiLi just how far the woodland extended out from such shallow prairie bayous.


Loessal Hills

In other parts of the region the streams have cut

deeper into the terrace. Gradients steepen slightly as the

ois approach the lower floodplains of the White River to the east and the Arkansas River to the south. In most cases instead of an escarpment to mark the meeting of the terrace and the floodplains there is a transition area consisting of low hills to gently rolling topography.

This transition area is the third of the physiographic regions, designated as loessal hills. Only in a few places can they truly be termed hills, since in most situations they are more like rolling plains. However, the area is sufficiently different from the 2 other physiographic regions to



















Figure 9. Shallow bayou bottomland. From the flat prairie surface the road drops slightly as it crosses one of the sluggish bayous.


Figure 10. Panorama from flat prairie land to bayou bottomland. The higher prairie on the left gently slopes down to the bayou off to the right. A slight change in slope is detectable, but without the woodlands as a guide it would be difficult to differentiate. Originally the trees extended farther up the slope.







53

warrant distinction, and the term "hills" is used to emphasize the difference from the extremely flat prairie land.

The Grand Prairie boundary is largely determined by following the line where the flat prairie land begins to break or fall away as rolling land. This line also delineates a change in land use that will be analyzed in detail in the following chapter.

It was previously stated that if any one single physical phenomenon were selected for the meaningful delineation of the Grand Prairie, it would be topography. More specifically, it would be the delineation along this line of "prairie breaks" that mark the boundary between the physiographic regions of flat prairie land and loessal hills.

Figure 11 is a view of such a boundary area at the edge of the Prairie where the flat prairie land begins to break into the gentle rolls of the loessal hills. Figure 12 shows an area where the term "hills" is perhaps more apropos.

The loessal hills physiographic region is most extensive on the north and east boundaries of the Grand Prairie (Figure 7). The White River, a mature river, drains a much larger area than the Grand Prairie region. Its floodplain is lower than the terrace and lower than the beds of other prairie streams such as Lagrue Bayou and Bayou Meto, the west boundary. Because of the more rapid change in elevation on the east, the prairie streams have more maturely dissected the area. White River Prairie and Sassafras Prairie are set apart from the Grand Prairie by areas of low rolling hills.






























Figure 11. View at the Prairie edge. The flat prairie land off to the right gives way to the gently undulating loessal hills. Topographic changes are subtle and must be observed with a trained eye.


Figure 12. Loessal hills. These regions of sloping lands form the fringes of the Prairie terrace, particularly to the east and north of the Grand Prairie where the White River has caused tributary streams to steepen their gradients and accelerate the degradational processes.







55

Similarly separated is Little Prairie in the southeast.

The topography with the most mature development and greatest local relief is found in the east-central portion of the region trending northwest from White River Prairie. The once flat terrace between Bayou Lagrue and White River has been stream dissected until now it is a mass of low hills lying between the 2 streams, marked on the east by the bluffs. It is this area that best befits the term "loessal hills." It merges in the north with the less pronounced hill land associated with Wattensaw Bayou.

Although the hills are not completely developed in

loess, it is, nevertheless, the loess layer on top that so strongly characterizes the topography. "Loessal hills"' seems the most fitting title for the physiographic region despite it not being all loess and much of it not consisting of true hills. The more sloping portions are locally referred to as hills, and the meaning was expanded to include rolling land for this study.

There are in numerous instances small flat areas among the interfluves in the loessal hills physiographic region that evidently mark the original terrace surface. In such sites conditions closely resemble the conditions on the Prairie itself. The land is very flat, poorly drained locally, and possesses a clay pan. Land use on these relatively small particles of land also tend to resemble uses of the Prairie rather than loessal hill type land use. They are, in truth,







56

small islands of Prairie, but because of the necessity for meaningful simplicity they must be included in the loessal hills physiographic region.

It was interesting to note that in talking with local residents there were some who had misconceptions of the physiography of the Grand Prairie. Most realized that the flat prairie was bordered by hills, particularly on the east. But to some, hills were associated with height, and the impression that jelled was a basin or saucer-like prairie with higher hills surrounding. Actually the Prairie is the high terrace in the center, and the hills are found on the periphery where the Prairie breaks toward lower river alluvial lands.


Soils

Another physical characteristic that aids in the delineation of the Grand Prairie is soil type. Soil boundaries correspond closely with the topographic boundaries just described and also reflect the original vegetation patterns.

Figure 13 is a general soil map of the Grand Prairie

region. It shows soil associations on the Grand Prairie and in the immediate environs. Eighteen soil associations have been mapped by the Soil Conservation Service in the Prairie portions of the 4 Arkansas counties involved (103). Descriptions of the soil associations are presented in Appendix I.

The 18 soil associations are divided by the writer-into

4 categories for purposes of this study. The general con-











THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE


GENERAL

SOIL MAP


SOIL ASSOCIATIONS



PRAIRIE SOILS
W CROWLEY - STUTTGART

PRAIRIE FRINGE SOILS


41
W
6


FREELAND- HATCHIE ACADIA- HENRY MUSKOGEE- FREELAND
MUSKOGEE - ACADIA ACADIA - WRIGHTSVILLE


SLOPING BORDERLAND SOILS


GRENADA - GORE - ACADIA GRENADA - CALLOWAY- HENRY
LORING - GRENADA - CALLOWAY


BOTTOMLAND SOILS


WAVERLY - FALAYA
COLLINS - FALAYA - WAVERLY HEBERT- GALLION PERRY- PORTLAND OVERCUP- DUNDEE DUNDEE- SHARKEY
MHOON - SHARKEY SHARKEY
ALLUVIAL SOIL UNDIFFERENTIATED


::iII


0 10 20 MILES

SOURCE: SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE


Figure 13


CORBET 1965


r7m PH


10
A.


14







58

formity of the soil patterns on Figure 13 with the patterns outlined thus far by vegetation and topography is readily observable. As stated previously, however, the boundary of the Grand Prairie as shown is to some extent a compromise boundary. No 2 criteria will coincide 100 percent, and so it is with soils.

Some soil boundaries coincide almost perfectly with the Prairie boundary while other soil associations may be partly on the Prairie and partly off of it. The latter is the exception, however, despite the multiplicity of criteria used to delineate the Prairie. Soil differences are largely due to vegetation and topographic variables. It should be added that soil boundaries are not infallible and are subject to change with more detailed survey. Moreover, the boundaries of soil associations which are shown are of necessity generalized.


Prairie Soils

The one outstanding soil association identifiable with

the Prairie is the Crowley-Stuttgart association. These soils are almost exclusively on the Prairie. They are developed in relatively thin layers of loess 5 inches to 5 feet thick overlying clay. Being level and underlain by the clay pan, commonly at depths of 12 to 18 inches, these soils are poorly drained, especially so in the case of the Grand Prairie phase of the association.

These prairie soils developed under natural grass, primarily because of moisture conditions. The soils were thought







59

inferior by early settlers, who favored the forested lands for clearing and cropping. The settlers were partly right. The prairie soils are not noted for their fertility and certainly do not compare in inherent productivity with the rich alluvial soils of the Mississippi floodplain, or so called "delta land." Prairie soils have only a medium amount of organic matter and are low in nitrogen. Phosphorous content is low and potash is very low. Upon drying out, most of the prairie soils are light colored in contrast to the darker alluvial soils, including those along the limited bayou bottomlands. In interviews farmers frequently referred to the prairie soils as "white soils."

After decades of neglect and minimum use, the introduction of rice in 1904 caused the prairie soils to be turned and planted. It was discovered that the soils were not as infertile as supposed and that drainage and liming had significant beneficial results. Still later, more refined fertilization techniques have compensated for deficiencies in phosphorous, potash, and nitrogen. Nitrogen continues to be the critical element, as rice uses large amounts. The farmers' fertilization programs are geared to getting needed nitrogen to the rice at the proper time. Fertilization techniques and benefits are discussed in Chapter IV.

Originally acid, prairie soils have acquired a new

problem, alkalinity. Years of rice irrigation have raised the pH from about 5.5 to around 6.5 to 7.0 over much of the Prairie. Some areas range up to B.0. Well water from cal-







60

careous deposits contain small amounts of calcium and magnesium. Under ordinary use the small concentration would be insignificant, but year after year of irrigation which necessitates water standing on the land for long periods at a time has caused a rise in the pH of the soil. Rice is very sensitive to alkalinity, and this soil change is a physical condition that must be considered as a problem in the economic use of the land. Rice production on the Grand Prairie is discussed in Chapter IV.


Prairie Fringe Soils

This category of soil associations is devised to include those soils that form a peripheral fringe around the prairie and those associations which have portions on and off the Prairie. They have some characteristics similar to the prairie soils. Boundaries between soil associations are seldom sharp, and there is overlapping between the associations as apparent in the names.

The Prairie boundary, derived largely from field observation in conjunction with topographic maps and aerial photographs, cuts across some of those soil groupings. The significant finding, however, lies not in the few instances where the Prairie boundary cuts across the soil boundaries but rather in how remarkably little this occurs.

It is quite difficult to separate some of these fringe soils in the field from the prairie soils. The writer knows from first hand experience, having engaged in some sample coring with the soil scientist in the area (111).







61

An attempt was made to list the soil associations in a sequence of decreasing similarity in characteristics. That is, the Freeland-Hatchie association is most close in characteristics to the Crowley-Stuttgart prairie soils. From Figure 13 it is seen that the Freeland-Hatchie association has the largest area included within the Prairie boundary other than the Crowley-Stuttgart association. Even so, it encompasses only about 5 percent of the Prairie compared to the Crowley-Stuttgart association's approximately 90 percent. The other 5 percent consists of small segments of the other

4 associations included in the prairie fringe soils category. Of the 5, the Acadia-Wrightsville association least resembles the prairie soils.

All of these soils are similar to the prairie soils in being developed on terraces of loess or silt foams over silty clays and clays. In general they are slightly lower in elevation than adjacent prairie soils, slightly more sloping, and consequently somewhat better drained. The loess and silt layers are more disturbed by fluvial processes than are the prairie soils, in both erosion and deposition. Perhaps the greatest difference between the prairie fringe soils and the prairie soils is that unlike the prairie soils they developed under timber rather than grass. Just as they are fringe-like as soils they were also originally fringe-like in vegetation, where woodlands fringed the grasses.

Most of the area occupied by these soils is outside the Prairie boundary, not within. Only those portions most







62

possessing Prairie characteristics seem to have been cleared and cultivated like the Prairie. Earlier in the chapter the present Prairie boundary was described as including an area larger than the area of original prairie grass and why this was so. This is true mostly in the northern part of the Prairie, and it is thus likewise in the north where the largest area of prairie fringe soils are included within the boundaries of the Grand Prairie.


Sloping Borderland Soils

The sloping borderland soils are in general those geographically between the Prairie fringe soils and the bottomland soils along the streams. They coincide closely with the physiographic region of loessal hills, although some of the prairie fringe soils also belong to the loessal hills physiographic region. It is a matter of degree. As the fringe areas increase in slope away from the Prairie and thus no longer likely to "fringe" the Prairie, the soils change. The loessal hills physiographic region overlaps the 2 soils categories - the prairie fringe soils and the sloping borderland soils. All of these associations have considerable variants among themselves, making sequence listing not altogether satisfactory. Nevertheless, it is useful and is considered by the writer as the most meaningful way of analysis.

The sloping borderland soils are found in that part of

the terrace undergoing most active stream dissection where the waterholding clay pan has been destroyed. Drainage is much







63

improved and is particularly good in the Grenada soils along the White River bluffs.

Most of these soils seem to have developed in deep beds of loess and silt. The pattern of relative thin loess over impervious clay that is found on the Prairie disappears. It is difficult to ascertain if depositions were different in these regions than on the Prairie. Were loess and silt deposits much deeper, and was there no clay pan? Or is it that the streams have dissected the clay and silt beds to the extent that the near impervious clay pan lost its identity? Exposure to the air, temperature contrasts, and accelerated wetting and drying would certainly bring changes to subsurface deposits. Years of weathering could alter the exposed layers to give them little resemblance to characteristics they mightmaintain if continued subsurface. In any case, if water can drain sufficiently laterally, effects of a clay pan will be minimized.

Road cuts and stream cuts in the east-central part of

the region where these soils are prevalent give good vertical gradations that are not as easily seen in well cuttings or soil borings. In such cases light colored silty clay that occurs at many places at the surface and overlies darker sediments grades downward into the darker material without any sharp division. This gradation suggests that there was continuity in the deposition between the different colored sediments and that the color change is the result of weathering (44, p. 15).







64

Silty clay beds that form a slowly pervious to impervious pan when overlain by loess may not be so distinct when exposed themselves. At any rate, the sloping borderland soils are developed in deep silty loess, albeit that depositions were different or that material changes have occurred to the sediments exposed on the edges of the prairie.

Where the surface is flat enough these soils are often planted to rice and soybeans. Sloping areas are frequently in pasture and much is still in woodland. They do not have the alkaline problem of the prairie soils and in fact follow the tendency in the whole region toward natural acidity. Liming is frequently necessary.


Bottomland Soils

The bottomland soil group includes 9 soil associations, more than any other group. The alluvial lands have many variants, depending upon frequency of overflow, source of water, and nature of the runoff area that supplies sediments.

The first 2 associations, numbers 10 and 11 on Figure 13, are alluvial soils found along narrow strips of bayou bottomlands that penetrate into the heart of the Prairie. The Waverly, Falaya, and Collins soils are the first bottom soils encountered at the head of the streams. The bayous have not cut deeply into the Prairie surface, and being near the headwaters of the streams the soils are less subject to frequent overflow. Sediments that wash down are from soils developed entirely in loess. These soils might be thought of as bottom-







65

land loess. They tend to be acid and somewhat poorly drained and coincide with the fingers of woodlands on the Prairie.

Soil associations numbers 12 and 13 occupy Arkansas

River terraces of relatively recent deposits. They are subject to overflow from smaller streams as well as the Arkansas River, principally Bayou Meto. They are fine textured and consist of stratified sands, silts, silty clays, and silty clay foams.

The Hebert-Gallion association is at a slightly higher elevation than the Perry-Portland association and is less frequently overflowed. The Hebert-Gallion soils are the main agricultural lands in the bottomlands along the western borders of the Grand Prairie.

The next 4 associations, numbers 14, 15, 16, and 17, are all associated with White River overflow. They are deep, poorly drained, slowly permeable, level and undulating bottomland soils. In general, and in order listed, there are decreasing amounts of silty loams and sandy loams and increasing clays. Most areas are subject to frequent overflow and are practically all timbered. Portions that are less frequent to overflow are sometimes planted to cotton and soybeans.

The last association, Alluvial Soils Undifferentiated, are recent bottomland soils subject to frequent overflow from the Arkansas and White rivers. The sediments are mixtures of fine to coarse textured silts and clays and are subject to change by erosion and deposition with each flooding. If the Arkansas River is high and the White River is low, Arkansas







66

River water and related sediments dominate. If the Arkansas is low and the White is high, much of the same area would be inundated by the White River and receive its sediments. Practically all of this area is timbered. A few higher elevations are used for pastures and some scattered soybeans.


Other Physical Characteristics

There are other physical characteristics concerning the Grand Prairie that aid in understanding the region but do not, however, serve as criteria for the delineation of the Prairie, as do natural vegetation, topography, and soils. Principal among these are climate, drainage, and ground water. The water situation, both ground water and surface water, has been designated as a major aspect of this study and is discussed in Chapter V.


Climate

The Grand Prairie is located in the humid subtropical

climate with long hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures seldom rise above 98�F and rarely fall to OF. The January mean is 440F. and the July mean is 820F., an annual mean range of 380F.

Figure 14 is a climatic graph for Stuttgart, Arkansas, in the heart of the Grand Prairie. There is no appreciable difference in climate over the Grand Prairie because of the flat topography and absence of water bodies large enough to effect climatic changes. The climate of the Grand Prairie












MEAN TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION

STUTTGART, ARKANSAS

J F M A M J J A S 0 N D Year T 44.2 46.6 54.0 62.9 70.6 79.2 82.3 81.9 75.6 65.0 52.2 45.1 63.3

R 6.10 4.70 5.69 4.71 4.85 3.38 4.26 3.11 2.78 2.95 4.40 4.85 51.78

IN FO 20 100 18 90 0-.4
16 80 14 70 12 60 10 50 8 40

6 30 4 20 2 10

\0 \\\\\N7
0 .... .....\.... \\\\ ,,,X,,,,X,' . .... ... 10


Figure 14







68

is not unlikethe climate of the surrounding coastal plain of which it is a part.

The cold is more penetrating than in less humid regions to the west, but excessively cold weather is exceptional and of short duration. The ground seldom freezes to a depth exceeding 4 inches. Seasonal changes are gradual. The high humidity makes for sultry days in the summer. The growing season is approximately 225 days in length. The mean date for the last killing frost in the spring is April 24, and the first in the fall is November 4 (58, p. 4).

The annual rainfall at Stuttgart of about 52 inches is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. There is a slight tendency towards dryness in late summer and fall, which aids the rice harvest. Precipitation is largely convectional in summer and cyclonic in winter.

Spring and summer thunderstorms are common and often

are torrential. These heavy rains are welcomed in spring and early summer and greatly aid in irrigation, by both putting water on the fields and replenishing sagging reservoirs. After one of these storms water can be observed and heard spilling over rice dikes and irrigation and drainage ditch gates. Such high energy storms later in the growing season may do considerable damage by downing heavily laden rice.

Winter rains are less vigorous but prevail for longer

periods, as is common with frontal type activity. Total winter rainfall is greater than summer, January being the month of maximum rainfall. Cyclones traveling in the prevailing







69

westerlies shift farther southward in the winter, and dull days of gloomy skies and slow rains are common. In summer, the westerlies shift northward causing the cyclones to abandon the Grand Prairie and warm moist air from the Gulf to dominate the region, giving birth to numerous turbulent noisy thunderstorms.

Agriculture on the Grand Prairie is so geared to irrigation that the farmers do not depend on favorable timing of rainfall for crops. Total rainfall, however, is critical, and a dry winter means starting the crop season with dangeroursly low irrigation reservoirs. Drainage

The term "drainage" is perhaps an oversimplification of water movement on the Grand Prairie. As much water is moved onto the land as off of the land. Inherently, however, the water problem was one of drainage.

Since very little water can percolate through the clay pan, precipitation must be disposed of either by evapotranspiration or runoff. The flat topography of the unbroken terrace results in sluggish drainage. Only around the margins of the terrace, where the flat surface is broken into the loessal hills, is drainage good. Some gullying, absent on the prairie, is found in these areas of greater slope. River and bayou bottomlands are also poorly drained and much is inundated each year.

Some areas on the original prairie, ranging in size







70

from a few acres to several square miles, were swampy. Normally these were the timber islands. After prolonged rains the grass areas, too, were likely to be waterlogged. Nuttall, in his early travel through the areas described the surface as sheets of water after rains (3, p. 110).

Two factors have all but eliminated the drainage problem on the Grand Prairie. Drainage ditches criss-cross the Prairie as fences do in New England. The ditches also serve for transport of irrigation water, and water can be moved onto or off the fields at will.

The other factor negating the drainage problem is the construction of reservoirs. Surface water has become so necessary in the scheme of Grand Prairie agriculture that the problem now is not to get rid of the water but to hold it. Surface runoff stays on the fields but a short time before it is in a ditch, and not in a ditch very long until it is in a reservoir. Later, at the proper time, it will be returned to the fields.

Water is so sought after that much of it never reaches the principal bayous that drain the region. It is trapped andpumped into some farmer's reservoir, or it may be impounded behind a small dam on the bayou itself. A number of such reservoir dams along a stream will literally stop the flow until the reservoirs are filled and the water allowed to pass.

Formerly, a summer thunderstorm would cause a bayou to become a temporary torrent. But now a few miles downstream







71

a drop of water may not pass to indicate the occurrence of a storm. The rainfall is gobbled up as if by a great dry sponge. Most of the bayous have a tendency toward intermittenancy anyway. The reservoirs now accentuate their dry

periods.

The most permanent stream on the Prairie is the lower part of Lagrue Bayou, fed by seepage springs. Other surface waters of the region seem effectively cut off from any ground water inflow by the underlying clay.

Lagrue Bayou and its major tributary, Little Lagrue

Bayou, afford the principal drainage of the Prairie. Other streams of note are Mill Bayou, Two Prairie Bayou, Big Creek, and Cypress Creek. Wattensaw Bayou drains and bounds the region on the north. Bayou Meto and White River are boundary streams and drain only marginal areas directly. The Grand Prairie is divided almost down the middle between the Arkansas River and the White River watersheds. Bayou Meto flows into the Arkansas and Lagrue Bayou empties into the 'White. Both rivers join the Mississippi some 20 miles southeast of the Prairie's southern tip. A cut-off interchange between the Arkansas and the White rivers marks the Arkansas County line and delimits the area mapped.
















CHAPTER III

LAND USE


Introduction

The Grand Prairie, despite its original distinction based on physical characteristics, is best known today as a cultural manifestation. The region is essentially recognized as a distinct areal unit because of its land use. It is considered thus by its inhabitants and would probably be so considered by most geographers. Background

The Grand Prairie is today a land of rice, soybeans,

and reservoirs. But present land use is a relatively recent development, as early settlement in the general area of the Grand Prairie left the Prairie proper as a great void. First use of the Prairie was open grazing. At the early settlement of Arkansas Post apparently the only use put to the Prairie was to allow cattle to range freely. Occasional salt or corn was put out in order not to lose the animals completely. Otherwise, the cattle received no care or fodder and apparently provided for themselves through the winter.







73

They were hunted up and killed as needed, usually without benefi.t of any stall fattening (3, p. 113).

Later, as settlement intensified, the potential of the native bluestem grasses for grazing and hay was better utilized. By the 1800's the livesLock industry was widespread over the Prairie. Both beef and dairy animals were important with beef predominating. Arkansas County, occupying the greater portion of the Prairie, became noted as a beef producing county and prior to the introduction of rice led the state in cattle production.

When rice was successfully grown in 1904 and it became apparent that the Prairie was suitable for crops as well as cattle, cattle lost their absolute advantage. Rice proved to be especially suited to the Grand Prairie. The impervious clay pan and the flat topography were ideal for rice irrigation. Oats and lespedeza were found suitable also and fit well into the rotation plan with rice. Soybeans have now replaced all other crops as second in importance to rice. Measured in acreage, soybeans are the most common crop on the Prairie.

As crops were introduced and found satisfactory, cattle

began to diminish in importance. The Grand Prairie experienced a major shift in land use as grazing land gave way to cropland. Particularly was the change noted on the better land of the region. Cattle disappeared first from the land most suitable for rice and held out longest on land the least suitable for any crops. Wet lands and sloping lands not suited to irriga-







74

tion supported grazing long after cattle ceased to be the major source of farm income in the region, and that pattern holds true today. The distribution of cropland and pastureland on the Grand Prairie receives major emphasis in this study and is one of the methods used to delineate the Grand Prairie.


Delineation of the Grand Prairie on the Basis of Land Use

Initial investigation indicateda close correlation between land use on the Grand Prairie and the physical criteria used to delineate the Prairie. It is the objective of this chapter to show that the Grand Prairie can be delineated using land use as the sole criterion and thus illustrate that close relationship.

A generalized land use map is presented for the entire Grand Prairie and immediate environs. Aerial photograph indices of the counties with a scale of 1 inch to 1 mile were used as the base. Aerial photograph interpretation was checked during 2 summers of field work. Changes after the 1958 photographs were taken were brought up to date by field observation. Only minor changes were required and mostly involved reservoir additions.

In order to make possible a more detailed study of the use of land, a traverse was made across a representative portion of the region. The particular traverse was selected because it includes good examples of all major uses of land in the region and includes portions of all soil groupings, vegetative types, and physiographic regions.







75

Boundaries that delineate land uses in the Grand Prairie region are strikingly similar to delimitation boundaries based on physical criteria. The general land use map illustrates this well, and the detailed analysis land use traverse bears it out in detail.

In addition to aerial photograph interpretation, observations in the field, and personal interviews, it was deemed desirable to present statistical substantiation to the delineations. This was done by utilizating sample plot data from the National Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation Needs.


Generalized Land Use

The area for analysis includes all the land as outlined in Chapter I lying between the White River and Bayou Meto. This includes the Grand Prairie and enough fringing nonprairie land to show any contrasting patterns of land use between the two.

Familiarization with the area indicated the practicality of mapping 5 generalized land use divisions. They are (1) cropland, (2) mixed cropland-pastureland, (3) woodland, (4) reservoirs, and (5) towns and other non-farm built-up areas. Figure 15 is a generalized land use map and delimits these 5 divisions. The section selected for the traverse is also illustrated.

Cropland is defined as land that is almost exclusively used for the major crops of the area - rice, soybeans, lespedeza, and oats. Fields are large, regular in shape, and un-








THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE


34.,


CROPdLAND MIXED CROPLANDPASTURELAND
WOODLAND

RESERVOIRS


TOWNS


GENERALIZED LAND USE DIVISIONS


AREA OF TRAVERSE


0 I0 20
MILES


CORSET 1965


Figure 15


LI LI

U







77
broken by trees. Crops are rotated without pasture or fallow normally entering the rotation scheme. Isolated examples of pasture or fallow land are possible but certainly are the exception, and the few such plots are too small for cartographic presentation. Less than 2 percent of the land could be classified as either pasture or fallow (Table 1).

The division of mixed cropland-pastureland includes considerably more pastureland than found in the cropland division. It would be misleading to say that 2 percent pastureland is the breaking point between the 2 divisions of cropland and mixed cropland-pastureland. The change is not a gradual one but is quite marked and readily observable in the field. Actually, the proportion of the land in pasture in this division is generally about half. It is seldom less than a third and sometimes is three-fourths and more. The point stressed is that in the Grand Prairie region the division between these 2 land use divisions is not merely a statistical one but one that is observable on the site. The pronounced change in land use is due largely to topographic change. It is, indeed, one of the significant findings of the land use study.

Woodland also is a marked and distinct land use in the region. Much of it is dense unbroken bottomland forest. There are areas, however, where the separation of woodland and mixed cropland-pastureland as divisions of land use is not as distinct. Some wooded areas are pastured or show evidence









of having once been pastured. Such areas were for the most part field-checked and the distinction made for the individual case.

Reservoirs are so numerous on the Grand Prairie as to constitute a significant use of the land. In few places of such size does reservoir impoundment occupy such a large proportion of the total area. Reservoirs are important in many places, but in the Grand Prairie their total areal extent is of special note.


Predominance of Cropland

From Figure 15 it is evident that cropland dominates the Prairie proper. The area delimited as cropland is for all practical purposes the same area as the Grand Prairie delineated by topography in Figure 7, corresponding almost exactly with the physiographic region of flat prairie land. Land use is seen, therefore, as an effective criterion for the delineation of the Grand Prairie. This, of course, is not unexpected as definite geographic relationships are present.

When the original grass was turned on the flat prairie land it was discovered, somewhat surprisingly to many, that crops could be grown. The clay pan underlying the grass, and a cause of the grass, made rice growing particularly attractive. The flat land required few levees, and the clay pan confined the water to the surface. Rice acreage rapidly expanded and other crops were introduced into the rotation. The flat land favors the use of large machinery, and rice







79
itself is highly susceptible to mechanization. Fields tend to be large and are largely unbroken by trees or by natural drainage lines. Cropland is obviously favored as a use of the land on the Grand Prairie.

Where the conditions change at the edge of the flat

prairie land conditions that encourage the dominance of cropland also change. As the flat prairie surface slopes away into low undulating hills, large fields are less possible and machinery is less favored. The all important waterholding clay pan loses its effectiveness. The sloping land requires more rice dikes and water lift. Thus it is not surprising that the use of the land changes.

The land use change from cropland to mixed croplandpastureland is strikingly marked by the physiographic change from flat prairie land to the surrounding loessal hills. Generalized land use patterns are almost the same as the physiographic regions of Figure 7, although constructed independently.

In the areas of mixed cropland-pastureland the fields tend to be smaller and more irregular than in the cropland division, since they are often broken by trees and streams. Pastures are in many areas more common than crops. The pastures and the fields are interspersed and are often rotated. Idle land is more common than in the cropland division.

Figure 16 is an aerial photograph of a portion of the Grand Prairie region. The location of the photograph is

keyed on Figure 15, and it should be noted that the particular






80




































Figure 16. Vertical view of a portion of the Grand Prairie. This photograph is keyed to the generalized land use map (Figure 15) and shows areas representing the 3 major land use divisions: (I) Cropland, (II) Mixed CroplandPastureland, and (III) Wgoodland. Thick woodlands dominate along the course of Lagrue Bayou, woodlands are broken in the mixed cropland-pastureland division, and trees are essentially absent from the cropland division. Note the levees that follow contours in the largIe rice fields on
the Prairie.







81

photograph was selected because it illustrates areas in the

3 major land use divisions. The boundary lines separating the generalized land uses on Figure 15 are transposed to the photograph. A study of the photograph and the boundaries thereon will give an insight into the degree of generalization necessary in preparing the generalized land use map. More detail is impractical in mapping such a large area.

Pastureland is not mapped as a category of its own. In a few hilly areas around the fringe of the Prairie pasture almost completely displaces cropland, but in most areas it is a mixture - pasture and cropland interspersed. Individual pastures and crop fields are too snall to show cartographically when preparing land use patterns for the entire region. Since that is not feasible it is best to combine the 2 and depict the category as mixed cropland-pastureland.

The large rectangular fields of the cropland division in the southwestern half of the photograph show strong contrast to the smaller fields and pastures of the mixed cropland-pastureland division. The change is marked enough to be observed on this photograph and is usually so in the field. There are, of course, areas in the region where the boundary is less distinct and can not so readily be determined. The writer field-checked most boundaries and not a few were changed a number of times finally to settle on an uneasy compromise. Many of the secondary roads on this photograph, and throughout the region, were traveled in order to delimit land use boundaries when photography was inconclusive.







82

Besides the smaller sizes of the fields which help to

differentiate the area of the mixed cropland-pastureland division on aerial photography, the broken patterns of trees are also excellent clues. It was found that scattered trees are almost always indicative of pastures. Linear patterns of trees on the other hand usually coincide with drainage lines and fences. The closer drainage network in this division indicates more sloping land and less suitability to crops. Fence lines are other indicators of pasture. It should be apparent from the photograph that much of the mixed croplandpastureland was originally wooded and only the vestiges of the forests remain, in contrast to the open cropland division which coincides with the original prairie. It was, and still is, essentially treeless.

Figures 17 and 18 are ground views of representative

examples of the cropland and mixed cropland-pastureland divisions of land use. They were both taken in areas that appear on the aerial photograph, and their view perspectives are keyed on Figure 16. The flat treeless cropland with its large fields in Figure 17 contrasts both from the air and on the ground with the more sloping, partially wooded, smaller fields of the mixed cropland-pastureland division.

In the cropland division crops are almost exclusively rice, soybeans, and lespedeza. Some oats are fall planted and followed in the summer with soybeans. Cotton is conspicuously missing, as is corn.































Figure 17. Ground view of cropland. The large flat fields stretch unbroken to the
treeline along Lagrue Bayou.


Figure 18. Ground view of mixed croplandpastureland. Slopes, drainage lines, and trees break fields into smaller sizes, discouraging rice and encouraging pasture. View perspective of Figure 17 and 18 are keyed on Figure 16.







84
In the mixed cropland-pastureland division rice and soybeans are still important, although rice loses its preeminence and is found only on the most select sites. Cotton and corn emerge as important crops but are grown on a small scale. The more sloping portions are almost exclusively pasture.


Woodlands along Bayous

Woodland in the Grand Prairie region has historically been limited largely to the river and bayou bottomlands and timber islands on the Prairie. Again the land use map resembles the physiographic map, the woodland patterns corresponding with the bottomlands. Woodlands are also found in the loessal hills, however. As described in Chapter II, woodlands probably originally extended farther from the bottomlands out onto the Prairie. They certainly covered more of the loessal hills than they do today. Compare Figures 3 and 15.

The mixed cropland-pastureland areas are believed to have been almost completely forested, with only pockets of grassland interspersed on ideal sites. Fringes of the area included within the present Grand Prairie boundary were likewise interspersed with woodlands. The vestiges of woodlands are almost completely erased from those fringe cropland areas. Vestiges are still present, however, in the mixed croplandpastureland areas, and they continue to dominate completely the wooded bottomlands. These patterns are clearly visible on aerial photography (Figure 16).







85

The scattered tracts of woodland in the mixed croplandpastureland division are for the most part used for pasture if only partially, part time, or even haphazardly. If the woodlands are not pastured and are large enough cartographically, they are shown on the generalized land use map not as mixed cropland-pastureland but as woodland.

The woodlands along the bayous occupy land that is low and often unsuited for agriculture. Practically all potential cropland on the flat prairie land has been cleared, and the wooded bayous represent sharp contrasts in land use when they are found penetrating deeply into the Prairie itself. Figure 8 was used to illustrate the physiography of the region; but it can be used just as effectively to illustrate land use, in this case contrasting the cropland on the Prairie with woodland along the bayous.

Most woodland has been cut over. It is practically

all hardwood, or at least deciduous. Oak, hickory, elm, box elder, and gum are common. Many cottonwoods and some cypress are found along the bayous. Coniferous trees are conspicuously absent, and the only evergreen is the holly.

Much of the woodland is flooded each year, some naturally, some purposely. Woodland intentionally flooded in the fall is a great attraction for ducks. Woodlands thus used bring income to the farmers in hunting fees. It is as much a use of the water resource as it is of woodland, however, and this aspect of woodland use is reserved for Chapter V.







86

With a familiarity of the 3 major land use divisions

and a knowledge of the geographic bases for each, the reader is directed to Figure 19. Figure 19 is a photo-mosaic of the entire Grand Prairie and surroundings. It is much too small a scale for anything approaching detailed interpretation, and that is not its purpose. The mosaic, when used by the writer, was almost 8 feet high and was on a scale of 1 inch equals 1 mile. It served as a base for maps and was taken into the field in sections as an aid in land use analysis.

Major surface features were readily observed, and the delimitations of the Grand Prairie were even apparent in some areas.

Too large for insertion into the dissertation and too small a scale for practical use if reduced, the mosaic seemed to have no use in the final product. But photographed and reduced to page size, some of its most observable patterns are still discernible. It is presented here so that this satellite's eye view may add something to the reader's grasp of the region. Arrows are used to indicate the boundaries of the Grand Prairie so that a solid heavy line would not overshadow more subtle patterns. Comparing the mosaic with the generalized land use map, the Prairie is most distinguishable in the southern portions where it contrasts with the wide expanses of woodlands along the White River, Arkansas River, and Bayou Meto. In the north the Prairie limits are less easily differentiated by aerial photography. Lagrue Bayou and Mill Bayou are identified by their wooded



































Figure 19. Photo-mosaic of the entire Grand Prairie region. Land use differentiations are apparent even at this scale, especially in the south where bordering bottomland woodlands offer contrast.





'-717' '


rrl







89

bottomlands. Little Prairie is easily detected. But can White River Prairie and Sassafras Prairie be identified? The mixed cropland-pastureland division frequently "fuzzes" the demarcation between the cropland division and the woodland division.


Reservoirs as a Major Use of Land

Water resources are vital to the economy of the Grand Prairie. With the partial depletion of ground water resources, reservoirs are apparently the farmers' solution to an increasingly difficult water problem. Reservoirs play such an important part in the economy of the region that they are given major emphasis in this study. The needs, types, construction, costs, and multiple uses of reservoirs are discussed in Chapter V. At this point, however, the major patterns of reservoir distribution can be analyzed.

Reservoirs range in size from less than an acre to more than 1,000 acres. The majority of them are in the 20- to 40acre size. The smallest reservoirs depicted on Figure 15 are slightly enlarged for cartographic purposes. Reservoirs smaller than 10 acres are not shown.

A noteworthy feature of the reservoir distribution is the concentration along the bayous, particularly the larger reservoirs. They are also congregated in the former timbered islands. Such is the case northeast of Stuttgart where the old timber islands of Lost Island and Maple Island are now practically all water impoundments. Compare the location of







90

these reservoirs with the original vegetation depicted on Figure 3. Vestiges of woodlands are still seen around the reservoirs, but their once irregular pattern has been cut and blocked until now the fields, reservoirs, and timber stands form rectangular patterns. Practically all land suitable for crops has boeo cloared from such islands. Remaining woodland is likely to be leveed and flooded into new reservoirs.

A second reservoir pattern of note on Figure 15 is

that the distribution is uneven over the region. Most are on the cropland division or on the bayou dissections that are deep within the cropland division. There are relatively few reservoirs on the mixed cropland-pastureland division, where in fact good reservoir sites are more numerous. The pattern verifies the fact that on the Grand Prairie reservoirs are built where the water is needed, regardless of site.

Thirdly, the distribution of reservoirs on the cropland division is also uneven. This also follows the principle of need. The water problem is not uniform over the Prairie. Dropping water tables and well failures are most pronounced in a great elongated oval-shaped area trending southeast from Stuttgart (Figure 42). This is considered the core of the Prairie and was probably the largest unbroken area of natural grassland in the region. Heavy rice irrigation is carried on, and the immediate area offers few surface streams to supplement well water. Most farmers in this portion of the Prairie have had to install reservoirs or put down deep wells. Fig-




Full Text
Figure 9. Shallow bayou bottom
land. From the flat prairie
surface the road drops slightly
as it crosses one of the slug
gish bayous.
on
to
Figure 10. Panorama from flat prairie land to bayou bottomland. The higher prai
rie on the left gently slopes down to the bayou off to the right. A slight change
in slope is detectable, but without the woodlands as a guide it would be difficult
to differentiate. Originally the trees extended farther up the slope.


73
They were hunted up and killed as needed, usually without
benefit of any stall fattening (3, p. 113).
Later, as settlement intensified, the potential of the
native blues tem grasses for grazing and hay was better uti
lized. By the 1800's the livestock industry was widespread
over the Prairie. Both beef and dairy animals were impor
tant with beef predominating. Arkansas County, occupying the
greater portion of the Prairie, became noted as a beef pro
ducing county and prior to the introduction of rice led the
state in cattle production.
When rice was successfully grown in 1904 and it became
apparent that the Prairie was suitable for crops as well as
cattle, cattle lost their absolute advantage. Rice proved
to be especially suited to the Grand Prairie. The imper
vious clay pan and the flat topography were ideal for rice
irrigation. Oats and lespedeza were found suitable also and
fit well into the rotation plan with rice. Soybeans have
now replaced all other crops as second in importance to
rice. Measured in acreage, soybeans are the most common crop
on the Prairie.
As crops were introduced and found satisfactory, cattle
began to diminish in importance. The Grand Prairie experienced
a major shift in land use as grazing land gave way to cropland.
Particularly was the change noted on the better land of the
region. Cattle disappeared first from the land most suitable
for rice and held out longest on land the least suitable for
any crops. Wet lands and sloping lands not suited to irriga-


174
by aircraft. For some years 2,4-D has been effectively used
on rice fields for the control of broadleafed weeds such as
curly indigo, coffeebean, and ducksalad. The herbicide is
highly injurious to cotton and soybeans and requires care in
useage. It will not damage rice, a grass, but unfortunately
neither will it control barnyardgrass.
Heavy infestations of barnyardgrass, herein referred to
as "grass, can cut rice yields as much as 50 percent. Grass
control increased yields an average of 41 bushels per acre
in 10 experiments over a 5-year period on the Rice Experiment
Station at Stuttgart (36). This represented an average annual
net gain of $76 per acre.
The recently developed herbicide was first released to
farmers in 1961 after having undergone years of development
and testing. It is known as propanil or DPA and is sold under
the trade names of Stam F-34 and Rogue. The results of using
the herbicide have been very encouraging and is another in
stance where American technology leads the industry and has
enabled the American farmer to produce very heavy yields with
little labor. In commercial trials conducted nationally in
1961 400 farmers growing rice on 20,000 acres obtained aver
age yield increases of 54 percent valued at $79.20 per acre
(4, p. 4). In 1963 60 percent of the Arkansas rice was
treated with propanil and grass control was considered fair
to good on 91 percent of the 254,000 acres treated (78, p. 34).
Poor control was due to a number of possible causes such as


135
The analysis does show marked positive correlation be
tween information tabulated from the samples and the thesis
developed in this study concerning areal differentiation
based on topography, soils, and land use. In that sense the
sample data are offered as substantiating evidence.


46
graphy and topographic quadrangles. An obvious advantage
of the physiographic map over the topographic map (Figure 5)
is the elimination of the southeastward slope. In this
manner the more or less uniform surface of the Prairie ter
race can be depicted as a single pattern, impossible on the
topographic map. The 3 physiographic regions were selected
for their mapability and their meaningfulness with respect
to this study.
Flat Prairie Land
The physiographic region of flat prairie land is in
essence the Grand Prairie of today. This is the highest
land of the terrace, standing from 20 feet to 60 feet above
low water stages of the Arkansas and White rivers. It is
very flat and topograhically immature. Most of it is in the
young, and even initial stage of the geomorphic cycle. With
less than 5 feet of relief per square mile, drainage is poor
until man-aided. As initially observed, drainage networks
were hardly integrated, and heavy rains resulted in much
standing water. This level, almost treeless land, aided by
the water-hoiding clay pan, is the great rice-growing region
for which the Grand Prairie is noted today. Practically the
entire area of the physiographic region is used as cropland.
River and Bayou Bottomlands
The river and bayou bottomlands are also flat, but at
a lower elevation. In some areas there is a noticeable ex-
carpment between the floodplains and the terrace, most pro-


258
tion Service, provided no farmer can receive more than $2,500
in any single year. The program is directed towards water
conservation and also aids farmers in installing underground
irrigation pipe, stock ponds, and other water conserving
measures.
A few farmers have installed so-called "underground"
reservoirs. Instead of excavating a borrow pit and throwing
up an above-ground levee around unexcavated cropland, the
entire reservoir is excavated and the water level is confined
at or slightly below ground level. There are no levees to
maintain or to occupy crop space. The earth that is excavat
ed and which would normally form the levees is distributed
over the farm in the low places and thus helps in leveling
cropland. These reservoirs are usually deeper, averaging
about 10 feet, and can store more acre-feet of water on less
land than can the more common above ground reservoirs.
Probably the first farmer in the region to employ
underground reservoirs is L. F. Seidenstricker of Prairie
County (118). Mr. Seidenstricker put in 2 such reservoirs
in 1962, one 150 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and 1,200 feet long,
and another 80 feet wide, 8 feet deep, and 1,400 feet long.
The 2 reservoirs were centered along a small natural drain
age ditch that crossed the farm on its lowest portion. A big
advantage of the underground reservoirs is that they fill
completely by gravity. The 2 reservoirs cost $9,800 to con
struct. The cost for spreading the fill actually cost more
than digging the deep area. The expense per acre-foot of


APPENDICES


345
34. Neff, Johnson A. and Meanley, Brooke. Blackbirds and
the Arkansas Rice Crop. Bulletin 584. Fayette
ville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agri
cultural Experiment Station, cooperating with
the Wildlife Research Laboratory, Fish and
Wildlife Service, U. S. Department of the In
terior, February, 1957.
35. Nelson, Glenn S. Aerial Application of Granular Fer
tilizer and Rice and Lespedeza Seed. Bulletin
671. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, June,
1963.
36. Nester, Ruel P. For More Rice Profit, Control Barnyard-
grass. Leaflet No. 288 (Rev. ). Fayetteville,
Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural
Extension Service, cooperating with the U. S.
Department of Agriculture, March, 1962.
37. Nester, Ruel P. Rice Production in Arkansas. Circular
476 (Rev.). Fayetteville, Arkansas: University
of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service, June,
1964.
38. Nester, Ruel P. Soybean Production in Arkansas. Cirou
lar 508. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University
of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service,
cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agri
culture, November, 1961.
39. Odglen, Glen E., and Warren, L. 0. The Rice Stink Bug,
Oebalus Pugnax F., in Arkansas. Report Series
107. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station,
February, 1962.
40. Rolston, L. H., and Rouse, Phil. Control of Gr ap e
Colaspis and Rice Water Weevil by Seed or Soil
Treatment. Bulletin 624. Fayetteville, Arkan
sas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experi
ment Station, May, 1960.
41. Rouse, Phil, and Rolston, L. H. and Lincoln, Charles.
Insects in Farm-Stored Rice. Bulletin 600.
Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas
Agricultural Experiment Station, June, 1958.
42. Slusher, M. W. Enterprise Costs and Returns on Rice
F arms. Bulletin 549. Fayetteville, Arkansas:
University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment
Station, cooperating with the U. S. Department
of Agriculture, February, 1955.


300
grandiose. Other than for the temporarily flooded woodland
duck reservoirs, the first call on all reservoirs on the
Grand Prairie is for irrigation of rice. If there is surplus
water over the needs of rice it will be applied to soybeans.
If other uses do not hinder or interfere with these crop
applications they may be considered noncompetitive and may
add income as supplementary farm enterprises, or at least
serve as recreational outlets.
Sport fishing for local use only is the most likely
multiple purpose to be found in conjunction with irrigation.
It rquires little if any capital investment and if success
ful, good, if not, there is not much lost. It is seldom
important enough to influence a farmer's decision as a
limitation on withdrawal of water from the reservoir.
Fishing for a fee is similarly an enterprise requir
ing relatively little investment, but conditions in the
reservoir must be more attractive and suitable for fish in
order to draw sports fishermen for a fee. If the enterprise
is of any consequence it may influence the farmers use of
the reservoir water to some extent. To protect the fish,
water should not be lowered to a depth less than 18 inches
deep, and because of this consideration sport fishing for a
fee is somewhat less compatible with agricultural uses of
the reservoir than is sport fishing for local use only.
Duck hunting for local use or for a fee is compatible
with agricultural uses provided the reservoir is suitable
for ducks. Generally a reservoir large enough to attract


123
ture whatsoever chanced to be detected. This again compares
favorably with the small 1.2 percent pasture detected on the
Prairie by the traverse. The woodland percentage of 4.1
is only slightly higher than on the traverse, where it
measured 1.9 percent.
It appears that in the case of the Prairie division,
the findings from the sample data do indeed agree with
and verify the Grand Prairie concept of a homogeneous land
use region.
The Bayous on Prairie division, a combination of the
loessal hills and river and bayou bottomlands physiographic
regions, show characteristics of both in Table 2. A marked
drop in cropland, a rise in pastureland, and a major in
crease in woodland is in keeping with conditions already
described in those regions. Their distinction from the
Prairie is clear enough, but the combination of the 2 re
gions disguises their differences from one another.
Fringe I and Fringe II were devised to see if dif
ferences were apparent there, both from each other and from
the Prairie. They may substitute for the river and bayou
bottomlands and loessal hills respectively. Fringe I is
mostly bottomland associated with Bayou Meto, but from
personal reconnaissance obviously is not as homogeneous an
area as the Prairie. Table 2 does indicate a different land
use regime from that of the Prairie and supports the divi
sion between the two.


227
electric, some diesel. Deep wells are constructed similarly
except casings of 2 different sizes in the same well are less
common. In addition to electricity and diesel fuels, butane
and natural gas sometime furnish the energy for the deep
well pumps.
The yields of shallow wells in the Prairie range from
less than 400 to as much as 3,000 gallons per minute. The
average well yield is about 650 gallons per minute, which
will irrigate about 70 acres of rice. Yields depend upon
water head, pipe size, and pumping capacity. Many well yields
have been decreasing because of the lowering water table and
consequent loss of head.
Dropping Water Tables
Throughout most of the Grand Prairie region the Quater
nary water-bearing beds were originally completely saturated.
When the first wells were sunk through the capping silt and
clay and into the aquifer, artesian pressure caused the water
to rise from a few feet to many feet above the top of the
aquifer (16, p. 14). When first tapped, little thought was
given to the potentials of the water supply or of its source.
Irrigation for rice expanded rapidly, and in a very short
time, by 1916, more water was being withdrawn from the aquifer
than was being recharged through natural processes (17, p. 20).
The decline of ground water levels was regarded with
little concern in the early years of rice production. But by
1930 the water level in the shallow wells was dropping 10 to


177
portance of which are less readily seen but the future possi
bilities of which are promising:
(1) Not only are yields increased but the purer
stands result in higher quality and bigger
prices.
(2) There are savings in the harvesting, hauling,
drying, and cleaning of the weed-free rice.
(3) The stink bug uses barnyardgrass as a host
before moving to the rice. If propanil con
trols the grass then it will not be necessary
to otherwise control the stink bug.
(4) Seed treatment for the water weevil, lessened
in effectiveness where there is heavy grass
infestation, will also be enhanced.
(5) With grass control nitrogen can be added
earlier with the assurance the rice will re
ceive the full benefits. Otherwise it is
necessary to wait for the grass to head be
fore application. It has always taken extra
fertilizer for rice because a certain portion
feeds grass.
(6) Better grass control will bring savings in
irrigation costs. Less water will be required
for grass suppression saving both on pumping
costs and 1abor.
(7) It will also conserve water, allowing more
irrigation of soybeans.
(8) There will be less need for water seeding
whose main advantage is grass control, again
saving water costs and eliminating some aquatic
weed problems.
(9) With grass chemically controlled it will be
more practical to produce rice in successive
years on the same land since the principal
purpose of rotation is to control grass. It
is expensive to dike and levee a field for
only one season of rice.
(10)Other known varieties of rice can be grown if
grass competition is eliminated. Vegold and
Belle Patna are very short-season long-grain
varieties but compete poorly with grass.


139
Aerial photographs and land use maps from Chapter III
were analyzed for rice distribution patterns. Photographs
of individual farms showing fields in crops were obtained
from the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service.
Rice allotment data were obtained from the same office.
Costs and returns data were acquired from interviews
and from studies carried out by the Farm Production Economics
Division, Economics Research Service, United States Depart
ment of Agriculture. Publications of the Agricultural Ex
periment Station, University of Arkansas, give the latest
data on Grand Prairie farming methods and technology. They
incorporate much research conducted by the Rice Branch Ex
periment Station, Stuttgart, Arkansas. A monthly periodical,
The Rice Journal, is a good source of information on farming
procedures and innovations in rice production. Some of the
Experiment Station bulletins are technical and are not suited
for purposes of this study, but they are considered by the
writer to be the most reliable, most detailed, most current,
and together the most complete sources of information on the
subject. The reader is directed to these sources for addi
tional information on rice technology. Farmers provided
much information first hand, and numerous farms were visited
by the writer.
History of Rice on the Grand Prairie
In August and September of 1896, W. H. Fuller, accom
panied by H. H. Puryear, made a hunting trip by wagon from


29
fringe soils now located on what is considered the Grand
Prairie were probably woodland encroachments around the
edges of the original grassland.
This appears to be the case particularly in the north
ern portion of the Prairie bordering on the woodlands of
Wattensaw Bayou. Several long-time residents recalled that
woodlands once extended south of U. S. Highway 70 traversing
the northern edge of the Prairie east and west. As outlined
on Figure 2, the Prairie now extends well north of the high
way. There are other areas where original woodlands have
been erased and are now incorporated as integral parts of the
Grand Prairie as presently defined.
Scattered rather indiscriminately over the original
prairie were groves of timber varying in size from 1 acre to
4,000 acres. As the groves were more or less isolated in a
sea of grass, they were commonly referred to as "islands."
Some islands still have vestiges of their original vegeta
tion while others have completely vanished. Some of the
largest of the timbered islands were Big Island, east and
southeast of Stuttgart; Maple Island, northeast of Big Is
land; and Lost Island, north of Stuttgart and site of the
present Lost Island reservoir. Reservoirs often mark the
former locations of these islands of timber. The correla
tion of reservoirs with wooded areas will be discussed in
later chapters.
The historical absence of trees on the terraces may
have been a reflection of moisture conditions. The terraces


26
Historical Basis of Vegetation
The terraces between the White River and Bayou Meto
were originally islands of grass surrounded by a sea of
forests. First travelers into the area reported observing
the unusually level expanses of native grasses, at the time
referred to as the "Great Prairie" (3, p. 112).
As was the case with the Midwest prairies of Illinois
and neighboring states, early settlers considered the
prairie land worthless, or at least inferior in comparison
with the adjoining woodland and alluvial land. The first
road in Arkansas crossed the Grand Prairie and this other
wise avoided land did serve at least as early access to the
interior. The road left the settlement of Arkansas Post on
the Arkansas River and followed the relatively easy route
northwestward to the limits of the Prairie and then west to
the settlement of Little Rock (3, p. 22).
Occurrence of Natural Prairie
Although covering approximately 700 square miles alto
gether, the original Prairie was not a vast unbroken expanse
of grass as the term might cause some to envision. The
Prairie consisted of a series of elongated segments trending
northwest-southeast. They were surrounded by alluvial flood-
plains and separated from one another by penetrating fingers
of woodlands along bayous. Figure 3 depicts the extent of
the natural grasslands reconstructed from old maps, records,
and interviews.


Figure 54
340


64
Silty clay beds that form a slowly pervious to imper
vious pan when overlain by loess may not be so distinct when
exposed themselves. At any rate, the sloping borderland soils
are developed in deep silty loess, albeit that depositions
were different or that material changes have occurred to the
sediments exposed on the edges of the Prairie.
Where the surface is flat enough these soils are often
planted to rice and soybeans. Sloping areas are frequently
in pasture and much is still in woodland. They do not have
the alkaline problem of the prairie soils and in fact follow
the tendency in the whole region toward natural acidity.
Liming is frequently necessary.
Bottomland Soils
The bottomland soil group includes 9 soil associations,
more than any other group. The alluvial lands have many
variants, depending upon frequency of overflow, source of wat
er, and nature of the runoff area that supplies sediments.
The first 2 associations, numbers 10 and 11 on Figure 13,
are alluvial soils found along narrow strips of bayou bottom
lands that penetrate into the heart of the Prairie. The
Waverly, Falaya, and Collins soils are the first bottom soils
encountered at the head of the streams. The bayous have not
cut deeply into the Prairie surface, and being near the head
waters of the streams the soils are less subject to frequent
overflow. Sediments that wash down are from soils developed
entirely in loess. These soils might be thought of as bottom-


248
different ways, depending upon the geographic situation of
the individual farm. If there is any woodland on a farm or
if a natural drainage line is apparent, the reservoir will
almost invariably go on that low spot on the farm. In that
case all water can move toward the reservoir by gravity. If
a reservoir is filled by gravity then it certainly will be
necessary to pump water from the reservoir to the fields.
The reservoir that appears on Figure 8 in Chapter II is a
gravity-fed, return system reservoir. Water is pumped into
a back-graded canal that delivers water to the high point on
the farm where gravity then distributes the water to the
fields and finally back to the reservoir.
Figure 45 illustrates a small cropland reservoir that
also utilizes a return system. In this case the reservoir
is not on the lowest spot on the farm, so a back-graded ditch
delivers water to the vicinity of the reservoir where a re
lift pump puts it into the reservoir. From the reservoir
the water can be transferred to the canal which delivers it
to the high point of the farm. Since the system was install
ed on this farm in 1960, the farmer has not operated his 1
shallow well.
Practically all reservoirs on the Grand Prairie have
some facilities for picking up field runoff, but it is de
veloped to its highest degree and efficiency with such crop
land reservoirs that have no other source of water. Some
farmers have an advantage of being able to pick up some of


217
ARKANSAS COUNTY
ARKANSAS
Crocketts Bluff
Charles
Ferry
Ferry
PRAIRIE
NON-PRAIRIE
Figure 40


74
tion supported grazing long after cattle ceased to be the
major source of farm income in the region, and that pattern
holds true today. The distribution of cropland and pasture-
land on the Grand Prairie receives major emphasis in this
study and is one of the methods used to delineate the Grand
Prairie.
Delineation of the Grand Prairie on the Basis of Land Use
Initial investigation indicateda close correlation be
tween land use on the Grand Prairie and the physical criteria
used to delineate the Prairie. It is the objective of this
chapter to show that the Grand Prairie can be delineated
using land use as the sole criterion and thus illustrate
that close relationship.
A generalized land use map is presented for the entire
Grand Prairie and immediate environs. Aerial photograph in
dices of the counties with a scale of 1 inch to 1 mile were
used as the base. Aerial photograph interpretation was
checked during 2 summers of field work. Changes after the
1958 photographs were taken were brought up to date by field
observation. Only minor changes were required and mostly
involved reservoir additions.
In order to make possible a more detailed study of the
use of land, a traverse was made across a representative por
tion of the region. The particular traverse was selected be
cause it includes good examples of all major uses of land in
the region and includes portions of all soil groupings, vege
tative types, and physiographic regions.


TABLE 28
LAND USE AND SIZE OF INTERVIEW FARMS
BY TENURE TYPE9
Farm Tenure Type
Number
of F arms
Aver age
Size
(Acres)
Cropland
Pastureland Woodland
(Average Percent)
Other'3
Owner operated
23
503
80
1
7
12
Part owner
6
586
84
1
2
13
Full tenant
21
789
74
1
19
6
All farms
50
634
78
1
11
10
aCompi 1ed
from personal
interviews
with 50 rice
farmers on the
Grand Prairie,
Summer, 1963.
^Farmstead, roads, reservoir, etc,.
335


236
Advantages for Reservoirs
The most obvious advantage for reservoirs is that they
provide the much needed supplemental source of irrigation
water. As wells progressively failed to supply adequate
water for irrigation, reservoir entrapment of runoff offered
the most practical and least expensive way to obtain the
needed water. Reservoir water is low in dissolved salts,
and thus alkalinity is not a problem. Fields with a high
soil pH resulting from years of watering with shallow well
water quickly lose their alkali symptoms when irrigated with
reservoir water. However, the alkali remedy is of secondary
importance as a factor in the increased use of reservoirs
and comes primarily as a side benefit to those farmers who
need reservoirs as a source of water. Although rarely has
a farmer installed a reservoir with the alkalinity problem
as the principal reason, many farmers do use canals for sedi
mentation before putting the well water onto the rice. The
majority of farmers who use reservoirs also continue to use
some well water, and oftentimes the well water is pumped in
to the reservoir for settlement prior to irrigation use.
With the use of reservoir water fewer drainings of the
fields are necessary, saving on both pumping and labor costs
in addition to the conservation of the water itself. Each
time the water is removed from the rice the opportunity for
rapid encroachment of weeds and grass is increased. Unless
the water supplies are sufficient to permit rapid reflooding,


THE ARKANSAS
GRAND PRAIRIE
DIVISIONS OF THE PRAIRIE
AND
FEATURES OF THE REGION
MILES
CORBET 1965
Figure 2


204
and for rice $130.00. Net income was $31,46 and $65.11
respectively, less than half for cotton. Input costs rates
and prices received have changed since 1954, but it is be
lieved that the relative positions of the 2 enterprises
would remain about the same today. Labor is the largest
expense item for cotton and was 4 times the labor costs for
rice. Rice had higher costs for fertilizer, irrigation,
and drying, but still gave higher net returns.
High labor requirements, the need for additional
equipment, the low value of production on the Prairie as
compared with rice, and the professed nuisance aspect are
major reasons why cotton is not grown on more rice farms
and is not a challenge to the leadership position of rice.
Soybeans are the second most important crop on the
Grand Prairie, providing roughly 40 percent of the farmers'
gross income and occupying over half of all cropland
(77, p. 15) (20, p. 3) (120). Soybeans and rice together
provide more than 90 percent of the income for farmers of
the area (22, p. 6). Lespedeza and oats account for the
most of the rest. Livestock is insignificant as a source of
income. Table 13 shows the percent of income from the major
crops for the group of rice farmers interviewed by the writer.
Eighty percent of the farmers interviewed received half
or more of their net income from rice, and none reported less
than 40 percent (Table 13). But at the same time almost three
fourths of the farmers also received at least 40 percent of


326
TABLE 26
LAND
USE IN
BY
THE
SOIL
GRAND
UNITS,
PRAIRIE
1959a
REGION
Soli
Units13
Crop land
Pasture-Range
0
ii
H
CT3
CL,
G
O
0
C/3 *pH
C5
O *rH
CO
0 u
CQ CL,
11
0
?
C
H
U->
hH
hH
0
ai
c
H
5h
Cx-i
0
H
5-i
H
co
u
CL,
C
o
0
C/3 *H
cs u
O *iH
>, CO
CO
CQ CL,
11
0
O1
C
H
5h
Ct,
w
11
0
DJ
C
rH
u
Cm
M5a 1
2,526
299
249
114
__
38
62
M5 a
468
-
69
9
-
-
54
-
M5
277
15
14
28
-
12


5al
64
_


-
-
-
6a
27
-
229
43
-
-
-
59
5
-
15
-
30
-
6
-
16
la
-
10
-
-
-
-


6
379
73
38
279

42
9
138
6al
46
25
7
144
-
38
-
72
8a
151
49
15
3

17
-
18
8 al
-
39
215
-
-
-
3
-
8
-
-
122
62
-
-
9
11
3a
-
-
117
-
-
-
11
-
4a 1
-
-
87
-
-
-
3
-
7
-
-
34
123
-
-
-
8
8ab
-
6
-
-
-
-
-
-
9
-
-
29
5
-
-
-
4
3a 1
-
-
21
-
-
-
-
-
3 ab
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
L8
-
-
7
-
-
-
12
-
4
9



Total
3,938
540 1
, 253
839
-
153
101
390
aBased upon the study of sample areas selected at
r andom.
^See page 328.


97
Grand Prairie region live in the loessal hills and bottom
lands rather than on the flat prairie land. The writer
does not know of a single case of a Negro farming any size
able plot on what is truly the Prairie.
Some of these people formerly worked on the rice farms,
but mechanization made their labor unnecessary. They re
main in the less desirable hill areas. Similar areas of
small holdings are apparent on the traverse north of St.
Charles and in the extreme southwest near Bayou Meto.
Most of the small tracts are owner operated. Unlike
the large commercial farms of the Prairie, there is no need
for professional managers. Instead of leasing the land out
when the owner reaches age, he usually turns it over to some
one in the family or sells outright, possibly to one of the
large landowners. There are a few large land holdings in
the regions that are located off the Prairie, but most are
not farming units. The large ownership tract at position
21-B in Figure 22 is mostly woodland and is part of a large
and old estate.
The areas of mixed crop 1 and-pasturel and as detected on
the traverse have potential for improved pasture. Many of
the small pastures indicated on the map are of very poor
quality and most are unimproved. Many are overgrown with
weeds and not a few appeared practically unused. Often 1
or 2 cows are kept for milk, and the pasture furnishes no
significant income. When ownership tracts are so small the
owners are either unable financially or otherwise unconcerned


257
Grand Prairie. Completely enclosed reservoirs of less than
25 acres cost about $189 per acre to levee. As the size
goes up so does the total cost per reservoir, but the cost
TABLE 19
COSTS OF LEVEE CONSTRUCTION FOR
COMPLETELY ENCLOSED RESERVOIRS3
Size of
Reservoirs
Average Fill
per Reservoir
Average Costs
P er _
Reservoir
of Construction'3
P er
Acre
Acres
Cubic Y ards
Dollars
Dollars
Less than 25
21,459
3,088
189
25-49
37,996
4,957
140
50-100
50,067
7,400
109
101-up
133,566
33,685
93
aSource: adapted (21, p. 8).
^Based on 1958 charges of 13 cents per cubic yard.
Rates in 1964 were 16 cents per cubic yard and would give
slightly higher costs.
per acre goes down. Reservoirs over 100 acres in size cost
only $93 per acre to levee. There are relatively few reser
voirs on the Grand Prairie larger than 50 acres that are
leveed on all sides. Most such reservoirs are in the 20- to
40-acre size group. Farmers can receive 8 cents per cubic
yard assistance thropgh the Agricultural Conservation Program
administered by the Agricultural Stabilization and Conserva-


346
43. Slusher, M. W. The Use of Airplanes on Rice Farms in
Arkansas. Bulletin 541. Fayetteville, Arkan
sas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Ex
periment Station, cooperating with the U. S.
Department of Agriculture, December, 1953.
44. Sniegocki, Richard T. Hydrogeology of a Part of the
Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas. U. S. Geologi
cal Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1615-B. Wash
ington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1964.
45. Sniegocki, R. T., Bayley, F. H. 3d, and Engler, Kyle.
Equipment and Controls Used in Studies of Arti
ficial Recharge in the Grand Prairie Region,
Arkansas. U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply
Paper 1615-C. Washington: U. S. Government
Printing Office, 1963.
46. Sniegocki, R. T., and Reed, J. E. Principles of Siphons
With Respect to the Artificial-Recharge Studies
in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas. U. S.
Geological Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1615-D.
Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office,
1963.
47. Sniegocki, R. T. Geochemical Aspects of Artificial Re
charge in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas.
U. S. Geological Survey, Mater-Supply Paper
1615-E. Washington: U. S. Government Printing
Office, 1963.
48. Sniegocki, R. T. Problems in Artificial Recharge Through
Wells in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas.
U. S. Geological Survey, Mater-Supply Paper 1615-
F. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office,
1963.
49. Sniegocki, R. T., et a 1. Testing Procedures and Results
of Studies of Artificial Recharge in the Grand
Prairie Region, Arkansas. U. S. Geological Sur
vey, Water-Supply Paper 1615-G. Washington:
U. S. Government Printing Office, 1965.
50. Soil Conservation Service. Individual farm plans for
soil and water conservation practices. U. S.
Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Ser
vice District Offices in Arkansas, Prairie, and
Lonoke Counties, Arkansas.
51. Soil Conservation Service. Soils Memorandum SCS-21 (Re
vised). U. S. Department of Agriculture. Wash
ington: October, 1958.


113
Figure 26. Dead timber in a reservoir. Such scenes are
common on the Grand Prairie, where levees have been
thrown up around woodlands along a stream or around a
timber island as this. Trees die in 2 or 3 years.


158
Only minor differences exist in the culture of rice
between using well water and reservoir water. During the
plant growing season fields are normally drained of reser
voir water only once. Well water may have to be drained
1 to 3 times depending on the mineral content of the water.
Rice prefers a slightly acid soil, a pH of 5.0 to 6.0. The
well water from the Quaternary deposits contain small
amounts of calcium and magnesium salts. When used over many
years and allowed to stand on the land for long periods,
mineral accumulations affect the pH of the soil.
The soil pH of many rice fields has been changed from
slightly acid to slightly alkaline. Rice is extremely sen
sitive to soil alkalinity, and yields are materially reduced.
Reservoir water, not encumbered with the dissolved salts,
is advantageous in this respect. Alkalinity is part of the
water problem and is considered more completely in the fol
lowing chapter. Reservoirs as a water source make faster
flooding possible, encouraging water seeding. Faster flood
ing and fewer drainings mean a saving in labor and also aid
weed control.
With either type of water source, wells or reservoirs,
water is delivered by ditches, canals, or pumps to the high
est fields, and the water passes successively into lower
fields by gravity through openings in levees. The openings
are controlled by manual gates placed in the levees when the
levees are built, or the levees may merely be broken and
closed by shovel. Designated overflows prevent rain damage.


255
Figure 46. Reservoir levee under construction. The view
is on the inside of the reservoir-to-be, where level
cropland will be inundated 5 to 6 feet deep. With the
exception of the borrow pits, the entire reservoir is
above the general surface of the area.
Courtesy Soil Conservation Service


36
destined to disappear, dissections following upon dissections
until there would be no trace.
The first men found the grassy expanses uninviting.
They favored the woodlands because that was what they knew
from their backgrounds, and only a few cattle were grazed
on the grass. But eventually it was discovered that the
land that was thought not good enough to grow trees could,
with alterations, grow crops. With this discovery commenc
ed the most rapid and probably most far-reaching change in
vegetation to ever occur on the prairie, and this within
the last 60 years.
Natural grasses were upturned and crops planted. En
croaching trees that seemed to be creeping out of the bayous
were routed. Islands of tree fortresses were completely
annihilated. The original vegetation delineations of the
prairie were obliterated.
Whereas before the prairie was shrinking due to the
encroachment of the woodlands, it now began to expand by
man's hand. As trees were cut back and crops planted, the
Grand Prairie as known today actually increased in size. For
the most part those areas that were cleared more nearly re
sembled prairie land than they did bayou woodland. They were
marginal areas that were beginning to reflect some of the
clay pan breaching effects of stream headwaters. Tree growth
had commenced in favored locations, but with clearing the
land was converted into cropland comparable to the prairie.
This difference between the original vegetation and the


156
of the Grand Prairie region has experienced increasing water
problems, both in supply and alkalinity. And both detract
from water seeding possibilities. Improved rice varieties
and better fertilization procedures are lessening yield dif
ferences. In view of these developments it is felt by the
writer that the use of aircraft for water seeding will not
increase significantly and may, in fact, decline. This will
in no way detract from the use of aircraft in other activi
ties on the rice farm, and spraying for weed control and
application of fertilizer by aircraft will remain a vital
part of Grand Prairie rice culture (35).
Irrigation
Rice is grown similarly to wheat, oats, and barley,
with the exception that rice is flooded from 60 to 90 days
during its growing season. If there is ample rainfall it may
not be necessary to flood rice at all, but that situation is
the exception and rainfall is never as certain a source of
water as irrigation. Moreover, the purpose of flooding rice
is less to supply moisture for growth than it is to control
grass and weeds. Irrigation is thus employed for growing
rice whenever practical.
The Arkansas Grand Prairie has the necessary pre
requisites for large scale rice irrigation: flat land, im
pervious subsoil, and a huge reserve of ground water. Rice
in the Grand Prairie region is grown on the level surface of
the undissected loessal terrace and the developed riceland
coincides with the area of original prairie grassland, about


109
EACH DOT
>300 ACRES
RICE
THE
COTTON
GRAND PRAIRIE
AS OUTLINED BY
PRESENCE OF RICE
AND
ABSENCE OF COTTON
SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE
CORBET 1965
Figure 25


188
seases, and cultivation, fertilization, and irrigation pro
cedures is available from the Agricultural Experiment Stations
(10) (20) (38) (54).
Based on the success of the Arkansas Rice Growers Co
operative Association, a sister organization, the Arkansas
Grain Corporation, was formed in 1958 to store, process, and
market soybeans. The plant at Stuttgart is one of the larg
est soybean processing and oil extraction plants in the coun
try. Soybeans are handled in other parts of the state by
the corporation, and a large new processing plant has recent
ly been completed at Helena, Arkansas.
The Grain Corporation has had notable success. In the
period 1947-57, Arkansas soybean growers received 13 cents
less per bushel than the average price. Since the coopera
tive was formed soybeans grown in Arkansas have brought 20.56
cents a bushel more than the average (75). The soybean, once
held in low regard, has come to be the second major money
crop on the Prairie and on not a few rice farms equals the net
returns on rice.
Oats, Lespedeza, and Cattle
Oats and lespedeza, once of equal standing with soybeans
on the Prairie, have been relegated to minor positions. Un
stable prices, several years of unfavorably wet falls and
winters, and increasing reliance on soybeans have caused many
farmers to stop growing oats. The very flat fields of the
Prairie are not particularly suited to oats, a crop which re-


12
water management, solutions effective and otherwise, and com
parative construction and maintenance costs of various water
supply sources are objectives pursued in Chapter V.
The large number of reservoirs on the Prairie has intro
duced a new and interesting consideration the multiple use
of reservoirs. Although rice irrigation is the controlling
use-factor, other uses that have been proposed and tried are
fish farming, minnow raising, and recreational uses for sport
fishing and duck hunting. The possibility of multiple uses
of the costly reservoirs offers hope for additional farmer
income. Any side benefits that can be derived will reduce
water costs in the farm operation. With the nation's grow
ing population and increasing leisure time, the potential
recreational values of the reservoirs are particularly note
worthy. Water control on the Grand Prairie can perhaps be
related to national problems of water conservation and water
recreation.
Methodology
The Grand Prairie, as a region, coincides with no poli
tical unit or group of units. As seen on Figure 1, it in
cludes parts of 4 counties, none entirely. There are no
published maps of the Grand Prairie as such. The soil map and
the topographic map in this study were assembled from respec
tive county soil maps and United States Geological Survey Quad
rangles and delimited for the area desired (103) (107). Other
maps are original with the writer. All areal divisions shown


318
ALLUVIAL SOILS UNDIFFERENTIATED These are areas of
bottomland soils between rivers and levees, and are subject
to frequent overflow from major rivers. The soils in this
area are dominantly Norwood, Portland, Robinsonvi11e, Yahola,
and Crevasse. All are of recent sediments and are subject to
change by erosion or new deposition with each overflow. Most
of this association is used for woodland. Soils on some
higher elevations in this area are used for pasture and some
scattered areas are used for row crops, mainly soybeans.


124
Fringe II, mostly rolling land, is delineated to ap
proximate conditions found on the loessal hills physiographic
region and the mixed crop 1and-pasturel and generalized land
use divisions, but again is not as homogeneous as either of
those areas. Analysis of samples surveyed in Fringe II re
flect a different land use regime from that of the Prairie
and also from Fringe I. The most pronounced difference be
tween Fringe I and Fringe II is a large increase in pasture
in Fringe II and a resulting decrease in cropland (Table 2).
This, too, is in keeping with what would be expected judging
from knowledge already gained about the Grand Prairie region.
The flat, cleared land in Fringe I is used primarily for
cropland; whereas, much of the cleared land in Fringe II is
sloping and more is used for pasture.
The larger percentage of woodland in Fringe II (Table 2)
than in the mixed crop 1and-pasturel and (Table 1) is easily
explained. Fringe II is a larger and more heterogeneous
area than the mixed cropland-pastureland land use region,
which was mapped and differentiated more precisely. Fringe
II is large, of necessity, to include enough samples to pro
vide comparable reliability with the other areas used. If
Fringe II were mapped with greater precision, much woodland
would have been cut out as a different land use division
just as it was on the traverse.
It is concluded that the delineations of the generalized
land use divisions are reasonably confirmed by the independent
check of the Conservation Needs Inventory sample plots. This


108
associated with the Grand*Prairie, but rice production spills
out of- the region, much more so than cotton production en
croaches upon it.
Figure 25 illustrates the distribution of rice produc
tion and cotton production in Arkansas. The outline of the
Grand Prairie is fairly well identifiable as an area of con
centrated rice production, along with the newer rice areas
of northeastern Arkansas. But at the same time the region
is just as effectively outlined in the negative on the cot
ton distribution map.
Idle land is probably less in evidence on the Grand
Prairie than in most other agricultural regions of com
parable size in the United States. Idle land is not herein
defined as by the Department of Agriculture where it nor
mally pertains to cropland only and includes land in soil
improvement crops and idle cropland. In that sense it
amounts to about 5 percent of the nation's cropland (61, p. 3).
On the traverse of the Grand Prairie all land that is idle
or not producing is included, not limited to idle cropland
only, and still the total is just slightly over 1 percent
(Table 1). This emphasizes the value attached to the Prai
rie as cropland, and very little of it is allowed to go un
used. The peculiar shape of idle land at position 12-B on
Figure 22 is a World War IT auxiliary grass strip airfield.
The 1-square-mi 1e section of land was turned over to the
town of Almyra to administer after the war. The town in


350
85. Thomas, Carl H., and Glasgow, Leslie L. "Duck Food
Availability in Harvested and Fallow Rice
Fields,"' The Rice Journal, LXV, No. 2
(February, 1962), 42-44.
86. Westermeier, Therese S. "Die Grand Prairie Von Arkan
sas," The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, XV,
No. 1 (Spring, 1956), 76-84.
87. Wills, Vernon C. "'Instant' Water Whenever You Need
It," Arkansas F armer (August, 1963), 8B.
88. Wills, Vernon C. "Quality of Irrigation Water is
Factor in Arkansas," The Rice Journal, LXVIII,
No. 2 (February, 1965), 45-46.
89. Wright, Mary Louise. "Arkansas Rice Areas May Have
Solution to Mosquito Problem," The Rice Journal,
LXVII, No. 5 (May, 1964), 20-21, 40.
90. "Cut Season, Fewer Ducks May Hit Business
Blow," Memphis Press Scimitar (Memphis, Tennessee),
December 3, 1962.
91. "Meeting the Worlds Rice Needs," Rohm and
Haas Reporter. XXI, No. 6 (Nov.-Dec., 1963), 4-8.
92. "Rice for Ducks Program in Arkansas," The
Rice J ournal LX, No. 3 (March, 1957), 46-47.
93. "37 Years of Progress, The Rice Journal, LX,
No. 11 (October, 1957), 8, 27.
94. "This Arkansas Farmer Started in 1909,"' The
Rice Journal, LIX, No. 5 (May, 1956), 20-22.
95. "Underground Irrigation," The Rice Journal,
LXV, No. 9 (August, 1962), 22-23.
96. "Water Conservation No. 1 Aim in Arkansas
Rice Country," Land and Water Contracting, III,
No. 9 (September, 1961), 6-9.
97. "Water Planting in Rice," The Rice Journal,
LXII, No. 3 (March, 1959), 26, 29, 34.
98. "Water Supply and Machinery Costs Worry Rice
Farmers in Arkansas," The Farm Index. II, No. 5
(May, 1963), 12-13.


85
The scattered tracts of woodland in the mixed cropland-
pastureland division are for the most part used for pasture -
if only partially, part time, or even haphazardly. If the
woodlands are not pastured and are large enough cartographi-
cally, they are shown on the generalized land use map not
as mixed cropland-pastureland but as woodland.
The woodlands along the bayous occupy land that is low
and often unsuited for agriculture. Practically all poten
tial cropland on the flat prairie land has been cleared, and
the wooded bayous represent sharp contrasts in land use when
they are found penetrating deeply into the Prairie itself.
Figure 8 was used to illustrate the physiography of the re
gion; but it can be used just as effectively to illustrate
land use, in this case contrasting the cropland on the Prai
rie with woodland along the bayous.
Most woodland has been cut over. It is practically
all hardwood, or at least deciduous. Oak, hickory, elm, box
elder, and gum are common. Many cottonwoods and some cypress
are found along the bayous. Coniferous trees are conspicu
ously absent, and the only evergreen is the holly.
/ Much of the woodland is flooded each year, some natu
rally, some purposely. Woodland intentionally flooded in
the fall is a great attraction for ducks. Woodlands thus
used bring income to the farmers in hunting fees. It is as
much a use of the water resource as it is of woodland, how
ever, and this aspect of woodland use is reserved for
Chapter V.


63
improved and is particularly good in the Grenada soils along
the White River bluffs.
Most of these soils seem to have developed in deep beds
of loess and silt. The pattern of relative thin loess over
impervious clay that is found on the Prairie disappears. It
is difficult to ascertain if depositions were different in
these regions than on the Prairie. Were loess and silt de
posits much deeper, and was there no clay pan? Or is it that
the streams have dissected the clay and silt beds to the ex
tent that the near impervious clay pan lost its identity?
Exposure to the air, temperature contrasts, and accelerated
wetting and drying would certainly bring changes to subsur
face deposits. Years of weathering could alter the exposed
layers to give them little resemblance to characteristics they
might maintain if continued subsurface. In any case, if water
can drain sufficiently laterally, effects of a clay pan will
be minimized.
Road cuts and stream cuts in the east-central part of
the region where these soils are prevalent give good vertical
gradations that are not as easily seen in well cuttings or
soil borings. In such cases light colored silty clay that
occurs at many places at the surface and overlies darker
sediments grades downward into the darker material without
any sharp division. This gradation suggests that there was
continuity in the deposition between the different colored
sediments and that the color change is the result of weather
ing (44, p. 15).


115
that tabulated for the cropland division to 50 percent.
Pasture, on the other hand, increases from a mere 1.2 per
cent to 39 percent, and this change in land use is the fac
tor that largely differentiates the division. The acreage
used for producing rice shows the greatest change, a de
crease from 25 percent to less than 5 percent. Soybeans
are still important and occupy almost three-fourths of all
cropland in the division of cropland and pastureland. Cot
ton replaces rice as the second crop in acreage but still
is less than one-fifth the acreage of soybeans. Cotton
fields are very small and most are owned and worked by
negroes. Corn, still a minor crop, is grown in small plots
for local human use and for some livestock feed. Idle land
and woodland are more common than in the cropland division
of the Prairie.
The woodland division of land use is the most homo
geneous of the 3 divisions. It is the least affected by
mans activities. Some scattered areas of rice, soybeans,
and pasture are found within its boundaries but altogether
account for less than 2 percent of the division's area.
/ The most significant result of the traverse with respect
to woodland is a confirmation of its concentration along
the river and bayou bottomlands and its almost complete
absence on the flat prairie land itself. What remains of
the islands of timber on the Prairie will probably be clear
ed in the future for cultivation or diked for reservoirs.


131
TABLE 6
SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS BY SOIL UNITS
AND SOIL GROUPS
Soil Soil Bayous on
Groups3 Units Prairie Prairie Fringe I Fringe II
Percent
M5al
62. 1
24.9
11.8
10.5
M5 a
11.4
8.4
5.6
0.6
M5
6.6
1.7
0.7
2.7
Prairie Soils
80. 1
35.0
18. 1
13.8
5 a 1
1.6
6 a
1.0
1.6
12.0
8.2
5

1.4

2.5
1 a

0.8


Prairie
Fringe Soils
2.6
3.8
12.0
10.7
6
10.2
15.2
3.3
29.8
6al
2.2
7.0
0.3
15.8
Sloping
Border 1 and
Soils
12.4
22.2
3.6
45.6
8 a
4.9
34.8
9.3
5.0
8 al
--
2.6
16.4
2.6
8


9.9
7.2
3a
--

17.5

4al


7.5

7


1.5
7.5
8 ab

1.0

4.9
9
--
--
1.3
1.5
3 al
--
0.9

3ab
--

1. 1
1.2
L8


0.9

4

0.6


Bottomland
Soils
4.9
39.0
66.3
29.9
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0


31
ever origin, tended to prevent tree introduction and actually-
aided grass expansion.
With a few isolated exceptions virgin grass cover can
not be found on the Grand Prairie today. The largest un
turned piece of true prairie is located in southern Prairie
County on state highway 11 about 15 miles north of Stuttgart.
Figure 4 illustrates native grasses growing on this 80-acre
plot. Principal native grasses were big bluestem and little
bluestem, and others were indiangrass and switchgrass.
This plot has been left in its natural state principally
for sentimental reasons. Other unturned areas have gradually
gone into cultivation for economic reasons. Early use of the
land, naturally enough, was for grazing. The native grasses
make excellent hay. Cut once a year, the remaining plots re
turn about $15 per acre. As riceland it could net over $100
per acre, or about $30 per acre in soybeans. When sentimen
tality fades, so will the last of the native bluestem.
The woodlands bordering the streams developed under more
favorable moisture conditions than available on the prairie.
First, the bayou lands are lower and thus concentrate the sur
face runoff, offering a more permanent source of water.
Secondly, the bayous have intrenched themselves, not deeply,
but usually enough to breach the clay pan. This affords
better soil drainage to prevent waterlogging, as well as mak
ing possible capillary action to prevent desiccation. Third
ly, since the bayou lands are not as prone to dry out as com-


7
and De Vail's Bluff (654) are also strongly oriented towards
the Prairie economy but are located on a major interregional
highway and thus have more non-Prairie business in such es
tablishments as restaurants and motels. Gillett (674), St.
Charles (255), Almyra (240), and Ulm (140) are preponder
ate^ residential. Many of their residents farm nearby.
The prosperity of all these towns and cities depends on the
prosperity of the rice farmer. Some secondary industry is
developing,' such as the Stuttgart Footwear Corporation em
ploying 150 persons, but such activities are relatively
minor in the area's economy.
The Grand Prairie is served by the St. Louis South
western Railroad (Cottonbelt) and the Chicago, Rock Island,
and Pacific Railroad. Ample freight service is provided by
rail and truck combination. Bus service is provided by the
Southwestern Greyhound and Midwest Trailways. United States
highways 70 and 79 cross the area. Interstate 40 is under
construction and will slice through the northern edge. North-
south movement is provided by state highways. Some graveled
and many dirt farm roads complete the network (102). The
fine loess material creates extremely dusty conditions when
dry. It is also unwise to leave the gravel when wet. The
southern part of the Prairie is off the major thoroughfares,
and private transportation must be used to reach the area.
Objectives of the Study
It is the purpose of this study to define, delineate,


307
marketing the fish. A more successful effort with a fish
cooperative may solve both harvesting and marketing problems.
The area was much too large to permit as detailed a
study as might be desired. It is believed that the procedures
employed in determining boundaries of delineation and general
ized land use patterns are valid, and with the detailed analy
sis of a land use traverse to support the general patterns a
reliable differentiation of areas results.
The data comparisons obtained by the use of the Conser
vation Needs Inventory sample plots serve to substantiate the
divisions of the region devised by the writer based on topo
graphy, soils, and land use. The use of the sample data in
this research is but an example of one way in which this
source of information may be used. By referring back to the
original sample plots, data may be acquired on any areal basis
desired, a great advantage for the geographer.
To the writer the most satisfying aspect of the research
lies in the nature of the region chosen for study. The Grand
Prairie is an agricultural region. It coincides with no po
litical unit or group of units. It crosses 4 county boundaries
but does not include the entirety of any of them. Such a re
gion presents limitations for the use of certain kinds of
available statistical data, but it also presents a challenge
that should appeal to any geographer. The proposition to de
lineate such a region calls forth the basic skills and know
ledge of one trained in geography. The challenge to use those


92
Good examples of reservoir types are covered large and
small, woodland and cropland.
A Cross-Section of the Grand Prairie Region
The traverse is shown 5 times: (1) Figure 20 topo
graphic Map, (2) Figure 21 Aerial Photography, (3) Figure
22 Detailed Analysis Land Uses, (4) Figure 23 Generalized
Land Use Divisions, and (5) Figure 24 Operating Farm Units
(All in pocket).
The aerial photography is taken from 1958 photograph
index sheets of Arkansas County used by the Agricultural
Stabilization and Conservation Service of the United States
Department of Agriculture (100). The photographs were used
for the base map in checking land use.
Land use was mapped in the field, each plot being sight
ed visually. Photo interpretation was used for guide purposes
only. There was remarkably little change in land use in the
5-year interval between the date of the photography and the
time of the field survey in the summer of 1963, reflecting
the stability of land use in the region. The only difference,
and not a significant one, is the relative position of rice
fields. Rice is rotated with usually a field in rice 1 year
and in other crops 2 years, or possibly in 2 years and out 2
years. Rice merely moves about over the developed riceland
of a farm exchanging places for the most part with soybeans.
The overall pattern is not different from year to year. This
shifting of rice from one field to another each season can


130
With the cooperation of the soil scientist who actually
surveyed the Inventory samples and who also later prepared
the general soil map for the counties, the sample soil units
are divided into 4 groups, which as closely as possible agree
with the 4 soil groups illustrated on the general soil map
(Figure 13). In this manner it is possible, with a reason
able degree of conformity, to compare the sample data with
the general soil map.
Table 6 shows the 4 sample area divisions by soils.
The soil units which were mapped in the Conservation Needs
Inventory are grouped into the 4 soil groups comparable to
the general soil map of Chapter II (Figure 13). The most
notable result of the compilation is the positive correla
tion between the Prairie sample area division and the prai
rie soils group. Of all soils picked up on the random 40-
acre sample plots on the Prairie, 80.1 percent are those
classed as prairie soils. Sixty-two percent are of one
soil unit roughly comparable to the Crowley-Stuttgart asso
ciation, the dominant soil on the Prairie (See Table 6 foot
note15, and Appendix II). The prairie fringe soils, sloping
borderland soils, and bottomland soils all together make
up the other 19.1 percent of the soils found on the Prairie.
These soils are on samples picked up primarily along the
smaller prairie dissecting bayous that of necessity are in
cluded in the Prairie area.
In the second sample area division, Bayous on Prairie,


199
a relatively short time each year it can cause maintenance
problems through unfamiliarity. Repair work is done during
the off season if at all possible, and it is a small cost
indeed compared to the loss incurred if a machine is broken
down when it is needed.
Labor is a relatively minor investment on the highly
mechanized rice farms. On small rice farms most of the labor
is furnished by the family with perhaps a hired seasonal
worker plus some exchange work with other farmers. On a
medium sized farm the operator usually furnishes about one-
fourth of the labor and hires the rest. On the large farms
the operator generally performs management functions only
and hires all labor required for crop production (23, p. 5).
While machinery costs have gone up labor requirements
have gone down. In 1954 about 14.4 hours of labor were re
quired per acre for producing Arkansas rice of which 11.9
hours were in the pre-harvest operations (70, p. 21). In
1961 the total labor required per acre was 11.8 hours, down
2.6 hours. The reduction is attributed to a wider use of
levee gates and larger equipment in land preparation, seeding,
and harvesting. But wage rates have increased more than
labor hours have been reduced so there has been a slight in
crease in overall labor costs. Seasonal labor performs an
estimated 20 percent of the labor requirements in the Grand
Prairie (22, p. 7).
Costs of materials such as fertilizers and chemicals
were discussed earlier. Such costs vary considerably with
J


299
clients said that normally they entertained an average of 20
men a day during the hunting season and calculated that it
cost $50 a day per man to do so. This was cut almost to
nothing in 1961-62.
It is estimated that all these losses, directly and
indirectly due to decreased numbers of ducks, cost the
Stuttgart area between $150,000 to $200,000 in 1962 (79).
Although conditions have improved because of better weather
in the Canadian prairies and the protective aid of restricted
hunting, duck numbers have not returned to the figures of
the 1940s and 5Qs. And no one foresees a return to the con
ditions described by some old-timers when hunters supposedly
brought back only the heads to see who had shot the most ducks.
Compatibility with Agriculture
The compatibility among the multiple uses of rice irri
gation reservoirs depends, of course, upon the individual
situations. Facts simply do not support a generalization that
reservoirs on the Grand Prairie can be used to irrigate rice,
grow commercial fish, and provide for sport fishing and duck
hunting. Some reservoirs cannot even fulfill their principal
purpose of irrigation very well. Only a very few are suitable
to serve 3 of the 4 uses satisfactorily, and the writer knows
fo none that function for all 4 of the aforesaid uses.
There is a great deal that can be said, however, for
the multiple uses of reservoirs if the individual circum
stances are considered carefully and the plans are not too


275
voir is stocked with fish it is unwise to lower the water be
low a depth of 2 feet or 18 inches at the least. The shallow
water eliminates cool water recluses, and coupled with the
crowding, dangerously lowers the oxygen content of the water.
Unless a farmer has surplus reservoir capacity significantly
over his crop needs, the 2 demands for the water are in con
flict. This is the principal reason why more rice farmers
do not and probably will not grow fish.
The second biggest drawback to successful commercial
fish production is the failure to control wild fish, or what
is locally called "trash fish." These are native species
commonly regarded as nonedible such as carp, shad, green
perch, and the bullhead catfish. They gain entrance to
stocked reservoirs in water that is pumped from streams and
ditches or as eggs carried by cranes and other wildlife.
Some trash fish are often stocked inadvertently from con
taminated spawning pools. Trash fish compete with the com
mercial fish for food and oxygen and hamper harvesting be
cause of the necessity of sorting. Screening devices on
intake pumps are of some aid, but if surface water is used
to fill reservoirs it is virtually impossible to keep the
fish out. Not infrequently, after stocking with thousands
of fingerlings, farmers have seined their reservoirs after
2 years hoping to find a bountiful harvest of salable fish
and to their amazement find instead a few fish and more
trash fish than stocked fish. What had happened in those 2
years is not understood, but it is believed that competition


271
alternative users of the same resources. At some point in
a relative increase of soybean prices to rice prices it
would pay to shift water resources from rice to soybeans.*
Multiple Uses of Reservoirs
Reservoirs tie up considerable land resources, and
they have involved such large investments on Grand Prairie
rice farms that within the last decade much attention has
been given to the possibilities of deriving additional bene
fits from them other than irrigation. The first reservoirs
were primarily for duck hunting purposes, but as conditions
changed and more reservoirs were installed their overriding
purpose became rice irrigation. But some income is gained
through additional uses of the reservoirs, and though it is
not to be expected that these supplementary incomes will
cover the costs of the reservoir they do serve to reduce the
charge that would otherwise be borne by crops alone and rice
in particular. Commercial fish farming, sport fishing, and
^The returns reported in the previous paragraph are
based on 1959 average prices of $2.13 per bushel for rice
and $2.03 per bushel for soybeans. Average prices for 1964
were $2.30 for rice and $2.60 for soybeans. If the price for
soybeans were to remain at $2.60 and that for rice were to
decline to around $1.95, rice and irrigated soybeans would
produce approximately equal returns off the shifted resources
herein described (20, p. 25). At any rate, approximately
75 percent of Grand Prairie soybeans are presently irrigated,
and farmers' goals are to irrigate both all the rice and all
the soybeans regardless of price, which would in the final
analysis eliminate any problems of water budgeting.


311
mottled fragipan; the silty material is about 3 feet thick
over stratified sand, silt, and clay. Hatchie soils have
grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow and
brown mottled silt loam or silty clay loam that has a fragi
pan; the silty material is about 3 feet thick over strati
fied sand, silt, and clay. This association is used chiefly
for soybeans, cotton, rice, and pasture. Associated soils
are Stuttgart, Crowley, Falaya, and Waverly,
ACADIA-HENRY ASSOCIATION Deep, somewhat poorly and
poorly drained, very slowly and slowly permeable acid soils
developed on level and nearly level areas in loess of vari
able thickness over old clayey alluvium. The somewhat poorly
drained Acadia soils, developed in thin loess over clay,
have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow
and red mottled plastic clay subsoil. Henry soils, develop
ed in thick loess, have gray, or grayish brown silt loam
surface soil over gray silt loam or silty clay loam sub
soil that has a fragipan. This association is used chiefly
for soybeans, cotton, and rice. Associated soils are Musko
gee, Stuttgart, Calloway, and Waverly.
MUSKOGEE-FREELAND ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well
drained, very slowly and slowly permeable level to gently
sloping acid soils developed in thin loess over clayey and
stratified old alluvium. The very slowly permeable Muskogee
soils have brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown
silty loam clay loam subsoil that is underlain at about 24
inches with plastic clay mottled brown, yellow, red, and gray.


278
TABLE 22
ESTIMATED COSTS AND RETURNS PER ACRE
FOR FISH FARMING3
Item Unit
Quantity
Price
or Cost
Value
per Acre
Fixed expenses^
Interest
Ac.
2
5. 14
10.28
Depreciation
Ac.
2
. 80
1.60
Taxes
Ac.
2
. 64
1.28
Total fixed expenses (2
years)
13.16
Variable expenses
First year fish
Buffalo fingerlings
No.
249
. 039
9.71
Bass fingerlings
No.
64
. 025
1.60
Pump operation
Ac.
1
8.01
8.01
Levee maintenance
Ac.
1
.94
.94
Labor (pre-harvest)
Hr.
. 62
. 60
. 37
Total variable expenses
(1st
year)
20.63
Second year fish
Fer ti 1iz er
Lb.
20
. 029
. 58
Pump operation
Ac.
1
2.67
2.67
Levee maintenance
Ac.
1
.94
. 94
Labor (pre-harvest)
Hr.
. 48
. 60
. 29
Labor (harvest)
Lb.
152
.015
2.28
Total variable expenses
(2nd
y ear)
6.76
Total variable expenses
(2 years)
27.39
Total expenses (2 years)
40.55
Income
Buffalo
Lb.
126
. 08
10.08
Bass
Lb.
26
. 25
6.58
Total returns
16.58
Returns to land and management
-23.97
Annual returns per rotation
acre
-11.98
aSource: Adapted (25, p. 6).
^Based on average cost of $9,025 for levees, pipes,
pumps, etc.


99
merely an advantage of scale, just as the large single farm
has advantages over the small farm. Costs and returns of
rice farms and watering systems are further analyzed in both
of the following chapters.
Traverse Analysis Substantiates Generalized Land Use Divisions
The detailed field plotting of land use on the traverse
makes possible a tabular comparison of acreage of the various
specific land uses in each of the generalized land use divi
sions. Approximately 52,000 acres are included in the tra
verse. The traverse is classified into the same generalized
land use divisions as indicated on Figure 15 and Figure 23.
The detailed traverse offers a visual impression of the cri
teria used to delineate the generalized land use divisions
throughout the region.
Each division on the traverse has been measured for
the acreage found in the various specific land uses. To be
more meaningful they are reduced to percentages and pre
sented in Table 1. Justification for the 3 divisions is
strongly supported by the findings. The cropland division,
which stands out so well in the pattern visually, also
stands out statistically in the table. In the division
all crops together occupy about 89 percent of the land, with
pasture and woodland together occupying only about 3 percent.
Compare this with about 39 percent of the land in pasture
in the mixed cropland-pastureland division, and about 96
percent in woodland in the woodland division. As borne out


11
W at er
The third major objective of the study is the exami
nation of the unique role played by water in the Grand
Prairie region. The use of this resource gives the region
much of its character. Rice requires large amounts of water
for irrigation, and great expense is borne by the farmers
to supply it.
Large amounts of ground water are available, but the
tremendous requirements have brought about water problems
peculiar to the region. Water tables have dropped steadily.
Deeper wells are very expensive, and many farmers have to
rely increasingly on surface water. This has resulted in
the construction of many reservoirs, large and small. Reser
voirs, canals, levees, pumps, and felifts are now integral
parts of Grand Prairie vernacular.
Various governmental agencies are involved in the
planning, advising, and financing of water-control measures.
Land used for water storage is noteworthy area-wise and much
more so investment-wise. Water has become the rice farmers'
chief concern and item of expense. The farmer faced with a
water shortage has several alternatives, all of which are un
pleasant and expensive. They are: more wells, deeper wells,
reservoirs construction, water purchases, or less acreage
irrigated.
The problems with water are not uniform over the region.
The distribution and use of reservoirs is taken as an approach
to a better understanding of the problem. The analyses of


220
farms in the 2 categories vary significantly. Considerable
land along the White River and Bayou Meto is forested game
and wildlife refuge, accounting for the overall lesser land
in the non-Prairie farm division.
Small farms particularly are concentrated off the Prai
rie. Of all farms 150 acres and less in size 300 are non-
Prairie, and only 36 are on the Prairie (first 3 categories
of Table 15). As the farm size increases the trend reverses
and the larger farms are predominantly on the Prairie. Some
of the larger farms, over 1,000 acres, have considerable
woodland and are partly on and partly off the Prairie. But
in such cases, personal experience of the writer plus inter
pretation of aerial photography indicate that the cropland
of such compound farms is with few exceptions predominantly
on the Prairie. Even the few large farms listed as non-Prai
rie have much of their cropland on the Prairie. In classify
ing the farms the objective was to place the farm in the
group which best characterizes the farm's operation.
As the rice allotments are generally in proportion to
the amount of cropland on a farm it is to be expected that
allotments will be larger on the Prairie farms than on the
non-Prairie farms; But allotments are also based on farm
rice-history, and since many of the non-Prairie farms do not
have a rice-history they do not have allotments. Table 16
shows that 357 farms in Arkansas County have no rice allot
ments, and 356 of these are non-Prairie farms. Most of
these farms are small and have small cotton allotments, usu-


246
tablished along Lagrue Bayou, Little Lagrue Bayou, Mill Bayou
and other streams in the region the natural stream source of
water became less reliable. One farmer near Almyra, who was
among the first to see the need for catching and conserving
surface water, in 1927 put a dam on Lagrue Bayou where there
were no dams above him for 18 miles (94, p. 20). By 1950
when 20 to 30 large pumps had been placed above him on the
stream he had to resort to other means of saving water as
the bayou had literally almost dried up.
Arkansas follows the riparian doctrine with respect to
use of water. The state does not have a water code recogniz
ing the doctrine of appropriation; consequently, there is no
protection against damage by later subsequent appropriations.
Nor are there any regulations that give rights to nonriparian
lands. There is also no protection against over-development
of ground water resources. Furthermore, Arkansas law does
not establish an order of preference in the use of water as
between domestic, irrigation, municipal, et cetera (109, p. 7).
With a scarce water resource Arkansas rice farmers are not in
an enviable position law-wise. One can see the importance
attached to the source of water for filling reservoirs.
Many rice farms do not have access to any stream, be
the stream overpumped or not. This is particularly true on
the unbroken larger expanses of the Prairie where the rice
farms are most concentrated. In these cases, where water
needs are most intense, not only are there likely to be no
woodlands available for inexpenseive reservoir sites, but


THE ARKANSAS
GRAND PRAIRIE
'll lilil]

RESERVOIRS
RESERVOIRS EXISTING
RESERVOIRS ADDED
RESERVOIRS ADDED
RESERVOIRS ADDED
RESERVOIRS ADDED
o 10
I I I I 1 I I II t i
l 1 I
MILES
CORBET 1965
F igure 43


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Continued
Figure. Page
20. Traverse Topographic Map Pocket
21. Traverse Aerial Photography Pocket
22. Traverse Detailed Analysis Land Uses. . Pocket
23. Traverse Generalized Land Use Divisions . Pocket
24. Traverse Operating Farm Units Pocket
25. The Grand Prairie as Outlined by Presence
of Rice and Absence of Cotton 109
26. Dead Timber in a Reservoir 113
27. Prairie and Fringes with 40-Acre
Sample Data Plots 118
28. Rice Production in United States and
Arkansas. 143
29. Land Leveling for More Efficient
Irrigati on 149
30. Water Leveling to Maintain Uniform
Water Depth ...... 149
31. Loading Seed Rice on Airplane ........ 155
32. Seeding Rice in Water by Plane. ....... 155
33. Drained Rice Field Nearing Harvest Time . 166
34. Unloading Threshed Rice from Combine
to Rice Cart. 179
35. Combining Lodged Rice 179
36. Rice Laden Truck Leaves for Market 181
37. Soybean Storage and Processing Plant 189
38. Typical Farmstead with Machinery on
the Grand Prairie 198
39. Crop Rotation Representative Grand
Prairie Rice Farm 215
ix


21
angle to the rectangular grid system, dates back to an old
Spanish land grant.
Such influence was felt little on the Grand Prairie,
however, as it was still the great void during this time.
Later, in the absence of the Germans in the southern portions
of the Prairie, border state settlers moved in. Here, in
contrast to the German-sett1ed areas of the Prairie, cotton
was integrated somewhat with Prairie agriculture. Thisis
evident from the land use study reported in Chapter III.
Social distinctions of the people of the Grand Prairie
have waned over the years. Amalgamation with surrounding
peoples and several generations removed from the old world
immigrants have left such distinctions largely to history.
Other than economic pursuits, differences are largely super
ficial. Neither the exact role played by these social dif
ferences in the past nor the extent of their impact on pre
sent conditions can be fully ascertained, but must be con
sidered with all other factors in the analysis of resource
use in the region.


268
voirs. The differences are small, however, and are based on
averages. Individual differences may widen the gaps or re
verse them. In some farm situations reservoir irrigation is
much cheaper than well irrigation.
If the operating or variable costs alone are considered,
reservoir water is cheaper. All 4 sizes of reservoirs in
Table 21 have operating costs of approximately $5 per acre
irrigated. This compares with the well operating costs of
$10.59 per acre irrigated, more than twice as much. Reser
voirs require larger initial investments than wells but once
built, operate to furnish water cheaper than wells. Actually,
reservoirs never were devised as a cheaper method of supply
ing water but came about through necessity as a source for
water.
The farmers who are now faced with the decision to in
stall a reservoir, moreover, are not normally given the choice
between a reservoir or a shallow well, but the choice is more
than likely between a reservoir and a deep well. The reser
voirs are being constructed in those areas in which shallow
wells have already proved to be unsatisfactory. Deep wells
have been defined as those that tap the Tertiary aquifers
lying below the more prolific Quaternary deposits. There are
only about 40 deep wells on the Grand Prairie. They range in
depth from 440 to 1,100 feet, and most are about 800 feet
deep. In general, their depth increases from the northern
part of the region to the southern part of the region due to
the position of the subterranean strata. Deep wells obviously


273
fish farming, the Fish Farming Experimental Station was put
into operation in April, 1962, near Stuttgart.1 The station
has modern laboratory facilities and fish hatchery, nursery,
and growing ponds. Studies are being conducted on species
of fishes most suitable for culture in rice reservoirs and
such problems as fish diseases, parasites, and stocking,
growing, and harvesting procedures (110). Experiments have
only a short history, and the industry which has been de
veloped to its present stage almost entirely through efforts
of the farmers themselves with a minimum of technical guid
ance is still uncertain and faced with many obstacles.
Fish farming on the Grand Prairie is not an end in
itself; it is merely another effort to make maximum use of
rice facilities, in this case, reservoirs. It was begun out
of curiosity when some farmers thought they might be able to
grow some minnows in their irrigation reservoirs for sport
fishing bait. Actually, minnow growing is a highly special
ized type of fish farming and was found to be unsuitable in
the rice irrigation reservoirs. A number of large minnow
farms are located in the vicinity of the Grand Prairie, but
the enterprise is of no consequence in the region itself.
The possibilities of fish farming on the Prairie are
complicated by the fact that some of the reservoirs are ro-
1The station functions under the auspices of the
Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, United States Fish
and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.


71
a drop of water may not pass to indicate the occurrence of a
storm. The rainfall is gobbled up as if by a great dry
sponge. Most of the bayous have a tendency toward inter-
mittenancy anyway. The reservoirs now accentuate their dry
periods.
The most permanent stream on the Prairie is the lower
part of Lagrue Bayou, fed by seepage springs. Other surface
waters of the region seem effectively cut off from any ground
water inflow by the underlying clay.
Lagrue Bayou and its major tributary, Little Lagrue
Bayou, afford the principal drainage of the Prairie. Other
streams of note are Mill Bayou, Two Prairie Bayou, Big Creek,
and Cypress Creek. Wattensaw Bayou drains and bounds the
region on the north. Bayou Meto and White River are boundary
streams and drain only marginal areas directly. The Grand
Prairie is divided almost down the middle between the Arkan
sas River and the White River watersheds. Bayou Meto flows
into the Arkansas and Lagrue Bayou empties into the 'White.
Both rivers join the Mississippi some 20 miles southeast of
the Prairies southern tip. A cut-off interchange between
the Arkansas and the White rivers marks the Arkansas County
line and delimits the area mapped.


154
TABLE 9
COMPARISONS OF COST PER ACRE
FOR WATER SEEDING BY PLANE AND
DRY LAND SEEDING BY GROUND EQUIPMENTa
Amount and
Cost by Method
Item
Unit
Ground
Equipment
Airp1ane
Quantity
Dollars
Quantity
Dollars
Seed
Bushels
2.3
8.05
2.3
8.05
P umping costs
Labor, pre-
Dollars

11.00

13.20
harvest
Hours
11.6
5.80
13.5
6.75
Tractor and
Equipment
Hours
3.7
9. 19
3.6
8.65
Custom work,
plane
Harvesting and
Dollars
--
__

1.00
drying cost
for yield
increase
Dollars
--
--
--
3.38
Total Expense
34.04
41.03
Net difference
in expense


6.99
Yield increase
--

13.5
35. 10
Net advantage

_

28.11
aBased on 1952 costs and prices. Source: (43, p. 10).
Conditions are constantly changing, however, and the sit
uation varies from farm to farm. Relative labor and equip
ment costs are about the same today, but new developments in
the industry influence farmers' decisions. Very recently, in
the last 3 or 4 seasons, modern herbicides have been effective
in controlling grasses and weeds, lessening the importance of
water seeding as a method of grass control. Secondly, much


CHAPTER IV
THE CASE FOR RICE
Introduction
Rice is not a widely grown crop in the United States.
Arkansas is one of 5 states in which it is commercially im
portant, and the Grand Prairie is the oldest and most con
centrated rice growing area in the state. Rice production
is the principal economic activity on the Grand Prairie and
is the region's most notable and identifying characteristic
today. The region has particular advantages for rice, and
the industry has developed into one of the most specialized
and highly mechanized types of farming in the nation.
Ob.j ectives
It is the purpose of this chapter to analyze the Grand
Prairie rice industry in all of its ramifications: its nat
ural advantages, its efficient methods of production, some
thing of the economics of production, and its comparative
advantages over other uses of the land.
A concise description of certain rice production meth
ods in the region serves as a framework to describe the agri
cultural character of the region and to illustrate the re
lationships that exist between land use and the natural en-
136


198
Fig
ur
e
38
,
Typi c
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f
ar
ms
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e
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wi
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h ma
c
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on
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e
Gr a
nd
P
r a
ir
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r
a
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disk
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us
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on
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t
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or
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1
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V
e
St
me
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s.


208
is an actual net loss to land and management after all ma
chinery, fertilizer, and labor costs are subtracted (23, pp.
18, 30). With better technology and yields increased to 70
bushels, a return of about one-fourth that of soybeans can
be expected (23, pp. 19, 31). As long as oats are double
cropped with soybeans and do not compete for resources on
the rice farms they are a profitable supplementary enter
prise, but when they do reach the point where they compete
for those resources, and for example keep soybeans off the
field, they become unprofitable. The point where oats
reach this competitive position, of course, depends upon
the circumstances of the individual farmer.
The disadvantages of cattle have been discussed. With
so few cattle on the Prairie today no costs studies are
applicable. Not a single farmer in the questionnaire sur
vey reported any significant income from livestock. The net
returns of $10 to $15 per acre from cattle on the Prairie
will be only about half the net returns on even unirrigated
soybeans (115).
In conclusion, it is seen that of the agricultural
/ enterprises on the Grand Prairie rice overshadows all in
total income and in per acre return. The nearest competitor,
soybeans, provides less total income on more than twice the
acreage, giving a net return of about one-fourth that of
rice. Other rice farm enterprises are even less competitive.
Cotton is the crop outside the region which would seem to
offer greatest competition to rice, but for reasons of natural


343
18. Fielder, V. B. Type-of-Farming Areas in Arkansas.
Bulletin 555. Fayetteville, Arkansas: Univer
sity of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station,
June, 1955.
19. Gattis, James L., et a 1. Land Grading for Surface Irri
gation. Circular 491. Fayetteville, Arkansas:
University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension
Service, cooperating with the U. S. Department
of Agriculture, February, 1959.
20. Gerlow, Arthur R. and Mullins, Troy. Economics of Sup
plementary Irrigation of Soybeans. Bulletin 634.
Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas
Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating
with the U. S. Department of Agriculture,
December, 1960.
21. Gerlow, Arthur R. and Mullins, Troy. Reservoirs for
Irrigation in the Grand Prairie Area: An Eco
nomic Appraisal. Bulletin 606. Fayetteville,
Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Station, cooperating with the U. S.
Department of Agriculture, December, 1958.
22. Grant, Warren R., and Mullins, Troy. Adjustments on
Rice Farms to Changing Conditions, Grand Prai
rie Arkansas. Report Series 134. Fayetteville,
Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Station, cooperating with Farm Pro
duction Economics Division, Economic Research
Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, April,
1965.
23. Grant, Warren R., and Mullins, Troy. Enterprise Costs
and Returns on Rice Farms in the Grand Prairie ,
Arkans as. Report Series 119. Fayetteville,
Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Station, cooperating with Farm Pro
duction Economics Division, Economic Research
Service, United States Department of Agriculture,
June, 1963.
24. Green, Bernal L., and Mullins, Troy. Use of Reservoirs
for Production of Fish in the Rice Areas of
Arkansas. Special Report 9. Fayetteville,
Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Station, cooperating with the U. S.
Department of Agriculture, June, 1959.


60
careous deposits contain small amounts of calcium and mag
nesium. Under ordinary use the small concentration would be
insignificant, but year after year of irrigation which ne
cessitates water standing on the land for long periods at a
time has caused a rise in the pH of the soil. Rice is very
sensitive to alkalinity, and this soil change is a physical
condition that must be considered as a problem in the eco
nomic use of the land. Rice production on the Grand Prairie
is discussed in Chapter IV.
Prairie Fringe Soils
This category of soil associations is devised to in
clude those soils that form a peripheral fringe around the
prairie and those associations which have portions on and
off the Prairie. They have some characteristics similar to
the prairie soils. Boundaries between soil associations are
seldom sharp, and there is overlapping between the associ
ations as apparent in the names.
The Prairie boundary, derived largely from field ob
servation in conjunction with topographic maps and aerial
photographs, cuts across some of those soil groupings. The
significant finding, however, lies not in the few instances
where the Prairie boundary cuts across the soil boundaries
but rather in how remarkably little this occurs.
It is quite difficult to separate some of these fringe
soils in the field from the prairie soils. The writer knows
from first hand experience, having engaged in some sample
coring with the soil scientist in the area (111).


153
as many as 15 years, and the practice has increased in popu
larity. In 1952 about 10 percent of the Arkansas rice
acreage was planted by plane (43, p. 6). In 1960 over half
the crop was estimated to be water seeded by airplane and
the proportion is still increasing (119). Four men, includ
ing the pilot can seed 400 acres a day, whereas 4 men drill
ing seed can plant about 35 acres a day (97, p. 26).
Water seeding results in better yields through better
stands and better control of grass. In Arkansas yields have
ranged up to 50 percent higher and averaged 27 percent high
er than for dry land seeding (43, p. 6). Water seeding is
especially helpful on land that is full of grass seeds.
Rice will come up through the water while most grass and
weeds will not. Water seeding requires slightly broader
and higher levees because of wave action and about 20 per
cent more total water than dry bed seeding.
A study was made by the United States Department of
Agriculture comparing the costs and returns for water seeding
of rice versus dry land seeding. Table 9 shows the results
and indicates a net advantage to water seeding due to yield
increases. Costs for water seeding are a little less for
tractor work but total labor costs are slightly higher due
to increased levee work, plus the added costs for the air
craft and increased pumping. The net advantage to water
seeding after all expenses was $28.11 per acre.


35
vious beds of stream and river clays. Thus was formed the en
vironment for grassland, particularly noted in moisture con
ditions as described. Probably the original grassland in
cluded a much larger area than when first sighted, broken only
by narrow wooded transgressions along a few master consequent
streams flowing toward the Gulf of Mexico.
As secondary streams evolved, the great sloping grass
land plain began to come apart, as if it were being sliced
and sliced again by tributaries, leaving irregular green scars
of timber As time passed the scars began to dominate the
tissue, and eventually it was the grassland which looked out
of context, grassland that occupied the higher terraces and
was surrounded by the woodlands of the bottoms and sloping
adjacent areas. It was thus when history gives the first
description of the Grand Prairie.
That portion of the Pleistocent terrace lying between
the White River and Bayou Meto was the largest remnant of
prairie remaining. It, too, was dissected by the devouring
streams that created the smaller segments now given the
separate names of White River Prairie, Sassafras Prairie,
Long Prairie, and Little Prairie.
The prairie land was to gradually diminish in size as
the denudation cycle continued. Bayou woodlands were ex-
panding into its heart like a great root penetrating soft
earth. Fingers of trees slowly worked into the grassy ex
panses. Islands of trees were established where favorable
conditions permitted. Eventually the whole prairie was


167
roots. It so happens that when the pH of the soil is low
nitrogen assimilation is retarded, and not only will there
not be any nitrogen residue for rice but the soybean plant
itself may suffer from nitrogen deficiency. The major ad
vantage of liming for soybeans, therefore, is to increase
the pH so nitrogen assimilation will be enhanced. Through
rotation of rice with soybeans and adjustments in rate of
liming a favorable pH can be maintained for soybeans that
will not be excessive for rice. By the addition of nitro
gen and extraction of excessive salts, soybeans form a com
plementary position with rice.
For a more complete understanding of the role of fer
tilization in the farm operation some cost figures are de
sirable. Based on interviews with farmers, flying con
tractors, and county agents, the following figures have
been generalized. Cost of fertilizer per unit and appli
cation fees are fixed, but because each farmer's fertilizer
requirements are different or his wishes vary no one cost
per acre for fertilization is applicable for the whole region.
Charges for aircraft application are normally $1 per
100 pounds of fertilizer; or some contractors will charge
an hourly rate of $40. The writer observed one operation
in progress where the aircraft carried 11 80-pound bags each
trip and made 5 to 6 trips per hour, earning about $44 to
$52 an hour. The farmer was putting 100 pounds to the acre,
so it cost him only $1 per acre for application plus the
fertilizer costs. He was applying a 33 percent nitrogen mix-


THE ARKANSAS
Figure 3


100
by measured acreage, pasture and woodland play a minor role
in the cropland division. Woodland is only incidental and
is mostly along small bayous and creeks in fragments too
small to be differentiated into a separate woodland division.
TABLE 1
TRAVERSE SPECIFIC LAND USES FOR
GENERALIZED LAND USE DIVISIONS
Land Use
Cropland
Division
Mixed
Crop 1and-
Pastureland
Wood 1 and
Division
Percent
Rice
25.4
4.6
. 3
Soybeans
54.5
34.6
. 4
Lespedez a
6.6
. 4
--
Cotton
. 6
6.0
--
Corn
. 1
. 8
--
Idle
1.2
3.4
. 5
F allow
. 8
--
--
Total Crops
89.2
49.8
1.2
Pasture
1.2
39.4
. 3
Woodland
1.9
7.9
96.4
Reservoir
4.9
. 4
. 4
Other
2.8
2.5
. 6
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
Percent of traverse
in each division
(Total 52,000 acres)
65.5
13.5
21.0
One of the most significant findings of the traverse
analysis is the confirmation of the absence of pastureland
on the Grand Prairie. The traverse showed only about 1 per-


128
sical criteria. In Table 4 the flatness of the Prairie to
pography is indicated by the fact that over 89 percent of
the surface has a slope of less than 1 percent and none with
a slope of over 3 percent. The Bayous on Prairie, which in
cludes the bottomlands of the streams that dissect the Prai
rie plus their bordering land, has a little more sloping
land as expected. More pronounced is the slope difference
in Fringe II, mostly loessal hill topography. Fringe I re
sembles the flat topography of the Prairie but is at a
slightly lower elevation.
Table 24 in Appendix II shows the slope broken down in
sample acreage for each of the land use types in each divi
sion. Ninety-five percent of the land on the Prairie with
slope of less than 1 percent is used for cropland.
Erosion, related to slope, follows much the same pat
tern. In Table 5 the level Prairie is seen to have hardly
any erosion problem at all with 99 percent of the land in
class I. Fringe II, on the other hand, is the division with
the greatest amount of sloping land and also has the greatest
erosion problem of the 4 divisions.
Comparing soil data of the sample plots with the gen
eral soil map is more difficult than comparing slope and ero
sion. The general soil map and its analysis are based on
the most recent soil descriptions and soil associations.
They differ somewhat from the soil units that were mapped in
the Conservation Needs Inventory during the period of 1957 to
1959 and are not exactly comparable. Some soil descriptions


93
be seen on an individual farm basis. A sample farm was se
lected and this aspect is illustrated further in Chapter IV.
The most noteworthy point revealed by the detailed
land use traverse is its confirmation of the generalized
land use divisions. The 3 major divisions are remarkably
distinct on the traverse, specially the cropland division.
The cropland division coincides very closely with the flat
prairie land, indicating a close relationship between land
use and topography.
The large regular shaped fields stand out on Figure 22
as the most readily observable pattern of the Prairie proper.
They also stand out on the aerial photography (Figure 21).
In much of the region it is possible to approximat e
the Prairie boundary by merely delimiting these areas oi
large fields. It is especially true in the southern part of
the region where the large areas of bottomland forests offer
strong contrast.
Comparing the detailed analysis land uses traverse
(Figure 22) with the generalized land use map (Figure 15)
and the physiographic map (Figure 7), the large fields on
the traverse are seen to reveal White River Prairie in the
east and the Grand Prairie in the west. The northern fringe
of Sassafras Prairie appears between the two on the southern
edge of the traverse at and around position 18-A (Figure 22).
The woodlands correspond to the river and bayou bottomland
physiographic regions along White River, Lagrue Bayou, Little
Lagrue Bayou, and a small area along Bayou Meto. The mixed


260
Figure 47. Ditch relift pump. This $3,000-plus in
stallation will lift the water from the ditch and dis
charge it into the adjacent reservoir. When drained
off the fields much of the water returns to this ditch
to be used again.
Courtesy Soil Conservation Service


349
73, Johnson, Malcolm C. "Food-Fish Farming in the Missis
sippi Delta," The Progressive Fish-Culturist,
XXI, No. 4 (October, 1959), 154-160.
74. Kennerly, A. B. "How Cost Accounting Can Reveal Losses,"
The Rice Journal, LXIV, No. 12 (November, 1961),
7-8.
75. Kieckhefer, E. W. "Arkansans Told Soybean Sales Should
be Good," The Commercial Appeal (Memphis,
Tennessee), September 4, 1964 (Speech of L. C.
Carter, general manager of Arkansas Grain
Corporation, Stuttgart, Arkansas, September 3,
1964).
76. Miears, R. J. "Rice Ferti 1ization-When Where How,
The Rice Journal, LXVIII, No. 2 (February, 1965),
28-31, 35.
77. Mullins, Troy. "Some Factors Affecting Resource Adjust
ments in 'Old and New' Rice Areas of Arkansas
and the Mississippi Delta," The Rice Journal,
LXIII, No. 12 (November, 1960), 15-17, 28.
78. Nester, Ruel P. "Propanil Use in Arkansas for the Con
trol of Barnyard Grass," The Rice Journal,
LXVII, No. 3. (March, 1964), 34-35.
79. Reynolds, Henry. "Restricted Duck Hunting Will Cause
Heavy Damage to Economy of Stuttgart," The
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee),
December 2, 1962.
80. The Rice Millers Association. "Rice Acreage in the
United States, 1964," and "Rice Production in
the United States, 1964," Published annually in
The Rice Journal.
81. Rivenburgh, Dexter V. "U. S. Rice Sales Under P. L.
480," The Rice Journal, LXV, No. 12 (November,
1962), 8-11.
82. Rosencrantz, Florence L. "The Rice Industry in Arkansas,"
The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, V, No. 2
(Summer, 1946), 123-137.
83. Sampson, Ernest E. "Half a Century on Grand Prairie,"
The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, XIV, No. 1
(Spring, 1955), 32-37.
84. Smith, Jerry M. "Straight and Fewer Levees by Precision
Leveling," The Rice Journal, LXVI, No. 8 (July,
1963), 16-17.


243
Figure 44. Reservoirs on the Grand Prairie. (A) Taking
advantage of woods and slope along Mill Bayou. (B) Crop
land reservoir near Stuttgart, levees on all sides.
(C) Reservoir oriented along a small stream, originally
wooded with dead timber still standing in water. (D) Two
cropland reservoirs, no woods or streams in sight.
Courtesy Soil Conservation Service


230
that have been watered by shallow wells over a period of many
years gives a figure of 207,000 acre-feet of water (67.5 bil
lion gallons) withdrawn annually from the Quaternary deposits.
By comparison, total annual municipal water withdrawal for
some 20,000 persons on the Grand Prairie is estimated at
2,240 acre-feet (.7 billion gallons), not much more than the
pumpage rate of 2 irrigation wells. Total domestic farm use
is roughly the same and industrial use even less.
In light of the tremendous withdrawal of ground water
for rice, attention has been centered on potential supplies
and recharge characteristics of the aquifer. Almost no sur
face recharge occurs in the region itself because of the im
pervious clay capping layers. As described, the aquifer
underlies a much larger area, and the ground water beneath
the Prairie terrace is thought to enter subterraneously
from the northwest.
Based on all available data, the annual recharge or
inflow into the water-bearing beds is estimated to be 135,000
acre-feet (16, p. 46) (44, p. 30). This is calculated to be
enough water to irrigate 75,000 acres of rice; but it has
been shown that some 207,000 acre-feet have been withdrawn
each year to irrigate 115,000 acres. There has, therefore,
been a net dewatering of a large part of the aquifer, evi
denced by the large trough of drawdown in Figure 42.
The dewatered part of the aquifer southeast of Stuttgart
is on the order of a thickness of 35 feet, and computations
indicate a dewatered volume of about 300 billion cubic feet


125
is particularly true of the Grand Prairie itself, which can
be more accurately outlined and compared by both methods.
Although the fringe areas used in conjunction with the sam
ple plots are not exactly comparable with the other land
use divisions it is believed that significant relationships
were used in their selection, and favorable comparisons
have been shown between these fringe areas and the land use
divisions as previously delimited.
Physical Differences Confirmed
In addition to land use it is possible to compare
other meaningful relationships based on the sample data in
Appendix II. Land capability classes, slope, erosion, and
soils are all pertinent to the areal differentiations de
veloped in this study. Physical delineations of the Grand
Prairie were developed in Chapter II, but with the intro
duction of the sample plot data they are used at this point
to compare physical characteristics.
Table 3 compares the 4 sample areas of Figure 27 by
land capability class and subclass. The sample data again
confirm characteristics attributed to the Prairie. The poor
drainage of the loessal terrace is reflected in the large
amount of land with a problem of wetness. On the Prairie
itself 84 percent of the land surveyed had a problem of ex
cess water (sum of subclasses II W and III W). The wetness
capability subclass is dominant in the other divisions also
but less so in the rolling Fringe II, where the erosion sub
class increases in significance.


121
The actual acreages of the samples are tabulated. Complex
in themselves, pertinent aspects of the tabulations are ex
tracted, simplified into percentages, and analyzed in the
text.
Originally, for purposes of the Conservation Needs
Inventory, the sample data were expanded by a coefficient
to give estimates of total values for purposes of inventory
and conservation planning.'*' This was done on a county basis,
each county having a specifically determined expansion co
efficient. Sample data are not expanded in this disserta
tion study as portions of several counties are covered in
the areal divisions and no single county expansion coeffi
cient would apply. Instead, the absolute acreage of the
samples are considered, and comparisons are made as per
centages of those sample totals.
Verification of Land Use Divisions by Sample Plots
The principal factor of differentiation between the
divisions to be analyzed for verification is land use. Ta
ble 2, extracted from Appendix II, compares land use on the
4 divisions of Figure 27. The most striking disclosure is
*Soil and land use data from the sample units were ex
panded at Texas A and M College to give figures representing
the total acreages of conditions in the county. The expan
sion factor was based on the sample size, sample density,
and county size. Only a small portion of Monroe County is
included in the Grand Prairie region and that portion was
not included in the sample plot phase of this study.


250
their neighbors' runoff; conversely, some farmers have the
disadvantage of losing much of their own runoff because of
topography.
Underground Pipe
Paralleling the increase in the use of reservoir water
is an increase in the use of underground pipe. The pipe has
not been limited to use with reservoirs,for its advantages
apply to farms that are irrigated with wells as well. How
ever, the pipe has presented a distinct asset to the return
system reservoir as it allows water to be delivered to the
high point of the farm underground under pressure and elimi
nates the need for large back-graded canals. Mentioned was
the complaint of farmers that it often requires several days
to fill the large canals before water reaches the high point
of the farm. Underground pipe, on the other hand, delivers
water instantly to the high point in each field, where an
"alfalfa" valve is opened and releases the pressurized water.
It can be shut off just as rapidly, and there is no idle or
wasted canal full of water. There is also a conservation of
water that would otherwise be lost through seepage and evapo
ration from the open ditches and canals.
By eliminating many ditches and canals, the pipes save
costs in ditch construction and maintenance and at the same
time add income to the farm by the addition of cropland that
was formerly occupied by the ditches. For each 1,000 feet
of canal, if built according to Soil Conservation Service de-


110
turn leases it to farmers who have it all planted to soy
beans with the exception of the landing strips themselves
which are required by law to remain uncultivated.
The small amount of fallow land that was detected on
the traverse was only a momentary condition. The land was
clean and tilled and some was subsequently planted to oats
a few weeks later. Most of the fallow land had been har
vested for oats earlier in the summer and for some reason
was not replanted to soybeans. In some cases the farmer
just did not have time after harvesting the oats to get the
soybeans planted in time for a late crop. June 15 is about
the critical date for the planting of soybeans, June 25 with
irrigation. In some instances, the farmer could not afford
the water for late soybeans so he just left the field in
summer fallow. Oats could follow again in the fall, or soy
beans or rice the next spring. In the cropland division only
.8 percent of the land was fallow (Table 1).
Oats do not appear in Table 1 or on the traverse be
cause they were not on the land at the time of the field
work in July-August. Interviews with farmers and county
agents indicate that about 20 percent of the soybeans are
double-cropped with oats in any one year. Applying this
percentage to the soybean acreage on the traverse gives about
11 percent of the cropland division as being in oats in any
one year.
Oats are of decreasing importance in the region. Of
the 50 farmers interviewed, 12 grew some oats but only 4


98
about improvements. It will not often pay regardless of
effort on such a small scale. The land, however, does have
the inherent ability to produce, and there are some excellent
examples of high quality pastureland in the same area with
similar topographic and soil conditions.
Figure 24 indicates ownership of operating farm units
but it does not indicate that some of these farm units are
only one among several under one ownership. There are sev
eral landowners individuals and corporations in Arkansas
County who own more than 4,000 acres of Prairie farm land.
Such land is usually not contiguous and is generally divided
into 4 or 5 farms of about 900 to 1,000 acres each. Each
farm is normally leased to a different tenant manager and
each is run separately in much the same manner as other
farms. The potential for investment on such farms is us
ually larger than if they were owned individually. Improve
ments in irrigation facilities and machinery, and adoption
of new technology is possible and more probable than on
comparable sized individual farms. It is particularly
beneficial if the farm units are contiguous or nearly so.
In such a case an expensive deep well that can water the
rice on 2 farms may be a sound investment; whereas, it
might not be for a single farm unit. Or perhaps a large
reservoir can be built to water more than one farm, or an
expensive watering system installed and surplus water sold
to neighbors. Large reservoirs, such as the one at 15-B
on the traverse, often do water more than one farm. It is


138
panse of developed riceland. Rice has first call on all
farm resources. The supplementary secondary crops are de
signed to make optimum use of the resources that are in ex
cess of the requirements for rice.
The objectives of the chapter are thus (1) to describe
briefly certain methods of rice production technology on the
Grand Prairie in order to perceive the areas natural ad
vantages for the industry more fully, (2) to examine the
economics of the industry for comparative advantages over
competitive uses of the land, and (3) to analyze the distri
bution of rice fields as related to the natural environment
and effects of restricted acreage.
Methodology
A formal questionnaire was utilized while interviewing
50 rice farmers representing all parts of the Grand Prairie.
The questionnaire and a map showing the distribution of the
farms used in the interview are presented in Appendix III
along with the tabulations of certain interview data. In
formal interviews were conducted with additional farmers,
county agents, and personnel of the Agricultural Stabili
zation and Conservation Service, Agricultural Experiment
Stations, and the Economic Research Service, United States
Department of Agriculture, Crop acreages, farming practices,
and farmer opinions were recorded. The questionnaire was
also used to obtain information on irrigation practices and
the water problem, the results of which are reported in the
following chapter.


266
the 1.7 acre average), the total seasonal cost of the reser
voir is $1,054, only $324 of which are operating or cash
costs. The cost per acre irrigated is $15.50 for the 40-
acre reservoir, but in direct cash (variable costs) the cost
is only $4.76. This is consistent with the estimated costs
per acre irrigated that were commonly given in interviews,
the figure being from $4 to $8 per acre (120). In inter
views, farmers tended to respond with operating costs only,
thinking of costs after the system is installed. This was
deemed satisfactory by the writer as the operating or vari
able costs could be expected to be more uniform from farmer
than would the fixed costs based on the widely varying sita
tions for individual reservoirs. In other words, the vari
able costs are approximately the same, but the fixed costs
vary widely.
With the smaller 20-acre reservoir in Table 21 cost
per acre irrigated is higher, $19.24, while with the larger
reservoirs costs per acre irrigated are less, $12.47 for
reservoirs 160 acres in size. Here again, fixed costs dif
fer more than the variable costs which have a narrow range
of only $5.06 to $4.37. If the 20-acre reservoir should
water only 20 acres of rice instead of the average 34 acres,
cost per acre irrigated would jump from the $19.24 to $32.70
A farmer will, therefore, not only try to get the most
storage and pumping capacity possible for his investment,
but he will also apply those capacities to as broad an irri-


C*AND
50


191
Cattle are no longer of any notable significance on the
Grand Prairie. Reasons for the industry's demise were ac
counted for in Chapter III, but they can be summarized in one
word soybeans. It is largely a matter of economics. Live
stock cannot match the returns produced by soybeans, and in
addition, soybeans are a supplementary enterprise on the rice
farm whereas cattle are competitive. In the rice areas of
Louisiana and Texas the normal rotation is between rice and
cattle, as soybeans are not grown in the region.
Economics of Rice Production
In the past 2 decades rice farming on the Grand Prairie
has been characterized by a series of new developments in
production methods and procedures that have greatly altered
the industry. It has progressed from the days of the binders
and threshers to the use of combines, artifical driers, and
airplanes. Highly sophisticated methods of disease, insect,
and grass control are employed, and better varieties of seeds
and great quantities of commercial fertilizers are now re
quired in the normal operation of the farm. Investments in
machinery and irrigation facilities involve tens of thousands
of dollars per farm. The rice farms have become so mechanized
and efficient and competitive that it is necessary to operate
on a small margin of profit. It is thus necessary for the
farmer to be familiar with the economics of his operation if
he is to obtain the maximum returns from investment.
As rice production became technologically more complex
it became more and more restricted to large-scale farm opera-


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ii
LIST OF TABLES vi
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS . viii
Chapter
I. INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL BACKGROUND 1
Selection of the Region 1
General Description of the Grand Prairie. 2
Objectives of the Study 7
Methodology ...... ..... 12
Historical Background 15
II. DEFINITION AND PHYSICAL DELINEATION OF
THE REGION 22
Introduction. 22
Physical Setting of the Prairie ...... 23
Historical Basis of Vegetation. ...... 26
Topography. 37
Soils......... 56
Other Physical Characteristics. 66
III. LAND USE 72
Introduction. ...... 72
Generalized Land Use 75
Detailed Analysis of Land Use ....... 91
Land Use Analysis Through Sample Data . 116
IV. THE CASE FOR RICE 136
Introduction. 136
History of Rice on the Grand Prairie. . 139
Methods of Production ........... 145
Other Activities on Rice Farms. ...... 182
Economicsof Rice Production . 191
Rice as an Allotment Crop ......... 209


116
The woodland area at position 6-A on Figure 22 has a double
symbol indicating the woods are temporarily flooded each fall
for duck hunting.
Land Use Analysis Through Sample Data
In addition to (1) the generalized land use map con
structed through aerial photograph interpretation and field
observation and (2) the detailed analysis land use traverse,
it is an objective to substantiate these land use findings
with a statistical analysis of an independent source of data.
The source chosen for the most applicable data is the National
Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation Needs undertaken by
the United States Department of Agriculture as a guide for
more effective soil and water conservation (5) (9) (51).
The inventory, usually referred to as the "Conservation
Needs Inventory," was organized on a state and county basis
for execution. In Arkansas each county was divided into 40-
acre plots, and stratified random samples were selected for de
tailed analysis. The sampling rate for the counties involved
in this dissertation study was 1 percent and provided data
of an acceptable degree of reliability for the Conservation
Needs study (5, p. 73).
The individual 40-acre sample plots were mapped in de
tail by the Soil Conservation Service as to (1) land use,
(2) land capability class and subclass, (3) slope, (4) ero
sion, and (5) soil type. For the basic purpose of the Inven
tory the plots were surveyed by counties and their 1 percent


178
Harvesting and Processing
When rice is fully headed and starts to droop and turns
yellow in the upper parts the fields are drained for the final
time before harvest. This allows the grain to mature and the
field to dry out. The time varies but harvest usually follows
in 10 to 14 days when the last kernels in the lower parts of
the heads are in the hard dough stage. Harvest on the Grand
Prairie generally begins in the earliest fields in middle
August, reaches a peak in September, and weather permitting
is completed in late October. A few late fields may be har
vested in November, and unseasonably wet weather may extend
much of the harvest into that month.
Harvesting is accomplished exclusively with self-pro
pelled combines. Scenes of the old binders, shocked rice,
and threshing that were common prior to the mid 1940's are
non-existent today. Success of the combine has been dependent
upon the development of artificial driers, as the moisture in
combined rice must be lowered without delay in order to main
tain grain structure, good milling properties, and keeping
qualities. There are many technical considerations in se
lecting the proper time to harvest and in the correct drying
and storing of rice which cannot be included in this study (26)
(30) (31) (32) (41) (55).
The farmers decision to sell at harvest time when prices
are probably lower or to store the rice and sell at a later
time must be based on current and presumed future prices,


298
1963 conditions were improving and sales increased to 18,352.
Today conditions are improved, and although duck numbers are
still below the average over the past decade the hunting
season has been extended and the daily limit put back at 4
ducks, 8 in possession. However, the season is still re
stricted to 40 days, normally beginning about Thanksgiving,
and although the daily limit is back to 4 ducks the number of
mallards is limited to 1 in the Mississippi flyway. This is
critical to Arkansas as 90 percent of the ducks killed in
the state have been mallards.
The importance of ducks to the region, and especially
to Stuttgart, was shown by the advent of this slump in 1961
~ to 1963. The options on a number of the large leases were
not taken. The Riceland Hotel in Stuttgart was lonely dur
ing its normally most hectic season. Sales were off at the
sporting stores, hardware stores, restaurants, and all up
and down Main Street. Many of the more than 150 commercial
and private hunting lodges in the area did not open, and
some 150 to 200 persons who serve as hunting guides did not
work (90). Many duck reservoir operators did not even flood
/ their land. In 1962 only 3 of 7 commercial clubs pumped up
their reservoirs, and they hardly booked enough reservations
to cover costs. One operator estimated that losses in day
shooting and leases for the 2 seasons in 1961 and 1962 cost
him $25,000 (79). An executive of another company which
leases duck hunting lands to entertain business associates and


9
The subsequent chapter concerns land use. Patterns of
land use are recognized as perhaps the most apparent indi
cator of character and extent of mans utilization of the re
sources of an area. Land use on the Grand Prairie and its
immediate environs is mapped, and the ensuing patterns are
analyzed for significant geographic relationships. It is
assumed that land use patterns are determined primarily by
2 sets of factors the physical environment and those many
complex ramifications of the human occupance. These 2 sets
of factors are considered in the study of land use on the
Grand Prairie, and an effort is made to delineate the region
by this cultural phenomenon. The delineation by land use is
compared with the delineation by purely physical criteria.
Similarity in areal patterns developed by separate procedures
is marked and serves to confirm the concept of the Grand
Prairie as a geographically definitive region.
Rice
In addition to overall land use, 2 aspects warrant
special consideration rice and water management. Subse
quent chapters are devoted to these 2 most important of
Grand Prairie phenomena. Rice is the "life" of the economy.
It was first grown commercially on the Grand Prairie in 1904,
and with it came an awakened interest in the area a new
people, a new money-making economy, and a new role to be
played by the Grand Prairie in the agriculture of Arkansas
and the South.



PAGE 1

THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE: DELINEATION AND RESOURCE USE OF AN AGRICULTURAL REGION By JOHN HARRY CORBET A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSHT OF FLORIDA August, 1966

PAGE 2

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The writer wishes to express a^atitude for the assistance of the many persons who aided in making this research possible. Unable to name all of those who graciously gave their time and thoughts, a special word of thanks is extended to those with whom the writer consulted and worked on numerous occasions during the several summers of field work. Appreciated is the assistance of Messrs. Dempsie Binkley, soil scientist; Pat Abboud, farm planner; and Kipp Sullivan, Director, all of the Soil Conservation Service, Arkansas County; H. C. Dean, state soil scientist. Little Rock; Henry Holly, county agent, Arkansas County; and Hugh Hardwick, Director, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Arkansas County. Warren Grant, of the United States Department of Agriculture, made possible the effective use of official sample data. Appreciation is extended also to personnel of the Rice Branch Experiment Station and the Fish Farming Experiment Station. Especially appreciated are the contributions of the 50 Grand Prairie rice farmers who were selected for interview, and whose interests and cooperation enabled the writer to gain the necessary insight to the Grand Prairie and its economy. ii

PAGE 3

Particular appreciation is expressed for the guidance of Dr. James R. Anderson, whose consultations and trips to the study area always spurred the writer onward, and to the other members of the supervisory committee, Professors Raymond E. Crist, John R. Dunkle, Roy L. Lassiter and William K. McPherson, whose suoaestions and criticisms made possible the completion of the dissertation. And certainly, my deep sense of gratitude is expressed to my wife, Elizabeth, for her encouragement and clerical assistance.

PAGE 4

TABLE OF CONTENTS P age ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ........... ii LIST OF TABLES vi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS viii Chapter I. INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL BACKGROUND 1 Selection of the Region 1 General Description of the Grand Prairie. . 2 Objectives of the Study 7 Methodology ...... ..... 12 Historical Background 15 II. DEFINITION AND PHYSICAL DELINEATION OF THE REGION. ................ 22 Introduction. . 22 Physical Setting of the Prairie ...... 23 Historical Basis of Vegetation. ...... 26 Topography. ................ 37 Soils ................... 56 Other Physical Characteristics. ...... 66 III. LAND USE 72 Introduction. .......... Generalized Land Use 75 Detailed Analysis of Land Use ....... 91 Land Use Analysis Through Sample Data . . . 116 IV. THE CASE FOR RICE . 136 Introduction. 136 History of Rice on the Grand Prairie. . . . 139 Methods of Production . 145 Other Activities on Rice Farms. ...... 182 Economics of Rice Production ........ 191 Rice as an Allotment Crop ......... 209 i V

PAGE 5

TABLE OF CONTENTS Continued Chapter ' Page V. RESERVOIRS AND THE WATER PROBLEM 222 Introduction 222 Groundwater 222 Reservoirs 235 Multiple Uses of Reservoirs 271 VI. CONCLUSIONS AND COMMENTS 302 APPENDICES 309 I. DESCRIPTIONS OF SOIL ASSOCIATIONS 310 II. TABULATIONS OF SAMPLE PLOT DATA 319 III, QUESTIONNAIRE FORM, TABULATION OF DATA, AND LOCATION OF INTERVIEW FARMS 329 LIST OF REFERENCES. . 341

PAGE 6

LIST OF TABLES Table Page 1. Traverse Specific Land U§©§ for Generalized LandUseDivisions 100 2. Sample Area Divisions by Land Use 122 3. Sample Area Divisions by Land Capability Class and Subclass 126 4. Sample Area Divisions by Slope Class 127 5. Sample Area Divisions by Erosion Class .... 129 6. Sample Area Divisions by Soil Units and SoilGroups 131 7. Soil Groups by Sample Area Divisions 133 8. Rice Production in the United States, 1964 . . 142 9. Comparisons of Cost Per Acre for Water Seeding by Plane and Dry Land Seeding by Ground Equipment 154 10. Farm Size and Average Land Investment Required for Specified Levels of Income in the Grand Prairie 194 11. Estimated Cost Per Unit-of-Use for Certain Equipment on Grand Prairie Rice Farms of Medium Size 197 12. Estimated Costs and Returns Per Acre of Rice on a Medium Sized Farm on the Grand Prairie. 201 13. Percent Income Derived from Major Crops on the Grand Prairie 205 14. Yields and Returns for Non-Irrigated and Irrigated Soybeans on the Grand Prairie. . . 206 15. Number of Farms by Size, Arkansas County . . . 218 vi

PAGE 7

LIST OF TABLES Continued Table Page 16. Number of Farms by Rice Allotment Size, Arkansas County 219 17. Reservoirs Added, 1959-1962 241 18. Cropland-Woodland Reservoir Acreage on Interview Farms 245 19. Costs of Levee Construction for Completely Enclosed Reservoirs 257 20. Interviewees' Estimated Costs for Some Representative Reservoirs 264 21. Estimated Costs for Irrigation from Reservoirs of Specified Sizes. . 265 22. Estimated Costs and Returns Per Acre for Fish Farming 278 23. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region by Capability Class and Subclass, 1959 . . . 320 24. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region by Slope Class, 1959 322 25. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region by Erosion Class, 1959 324 26. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region by Soil Units, 1959 326 27. Tenure Type and Land Use of Interview Farms by Farm Size 334 28. Land Use and Size of Interview Farms by Tenure Type 335 29. Land Use as Reported by Interview Farms. . . . 336 30. Interview Data on Reservoir Type and Size. . . 337 31. Interview Data on Reservoir-Use Practices. . . 339 vi i

PAGE 8

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Figure Page 1. Location of the Grand Prairie 3 2. Divisions of the Prairie and Features of the Regi on 6 3. Original Vegetation 27 4. VirginPrairieGrass 32 5. Topography .... ........ 42 6. Bluffs Along the White River 44 7. Physiographic Regions 47 8. Oblique View of the Prairie 50 9. Shallow Bayou Bottomland ..... 52 10. Panorama from Flat Prairie Land to Bayou Bottomland 52 11. View at the Prairie Edge . 54 12. Loessal Hills 54 13. General Soil Map 57 14. Mean Temperature and Precipitation, Stuttgart, Arkansas 67 15. Generalized Land Use Divisions 76 16. Vertical View of a Portion of the Grand Prairie 80 17. Ground View of Cropland 83 18. Ground View of Mixed Cr op 1 and -P as t ur e 1 and . . . 83 19. Photo-Mosaic of the Entire Grand Prairie Region. ......... 88 vi i i

PAGE 9

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Continued F i gur e . P age 20. Traverse Topographic Map Pocket 21. Traverse Aerial Photography Pocket 22. Traverse Detailed Analysis Land Uses. . . . Pocket 23. Traverse Generalized Land Use Divisions . . Pocket 24. Traverse Operating Farm Units Pocket 25. The Grand Prairie as Outlined by Presence of Rice and Absence of Cotton 109 26. Dead Timber in a Reservoir 113 27. Prairie and Fringes with 40-Acre Sample Data Plots ..... 118 28. Rice Production in United States and Arkansas. ................. 143 29. Land Leveling for More Efficient Irrigation 149 30. Water Leveling to Maintain Uniform Water Depth ................ 149 31. Loading Seed Rice on Airplane ........ 155 32. Seeding Rice in Water by Plane. 155 33. Drained Rice Field Wearing Harvest Time . . . 166 34. Unloading Threshed Rice from Combine to Rice Cart. ............... 179 35. Combining Lodged Rice ............ 179 36. Rice Laden Truck Leaves for Market. ..... 181 37. Soybean Storage and Processing Plant. .... 189 38. Typical Farmstead with Machinery on the Grand Prairie ............. 198 39. Crop Rotation Representative Grand Prairie Rice Farm ............. 215 ix

PAGE 10

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Continued Figure ' Page 40. Arkansas County Prairie and Non-Prairie Divisions 217 41. Irrigation Well with Diesel Power Plant . . . 226 42. Contours of the Ground Water Surface, 1959. . 229 43. Reservoirs Pocket 44. Reservoirs on the Grand Prairie 243 45. Return System Reservoir 249 46. Reservoir Levee Under Construction 255 47. Ditch Relift Pump 260 48. Wave Action on Reservoir Levee 262 49. We 1 1 -Mai n t ai ned Reservoir Levee ....... 262 50. Harvesting Buffalofish 282 51. Do-It-Yours elf Fishing Reservoir 287 52. Wooded Duck Area 291 53. Ducks Feeding on Flooded Rice Fields 291 54. Location of Interview Farms 340 X

PAGE 11

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL BACKGROUND Selection of the Region The Arkansas Grand Prairie is a term which the writer had heard many times in his youth. Having been reared in Memphis, Tennessee, the nearby Grand Prairie was not an infrequent news item. However, the term was never specifically defined. Usually the only definition offered was something like "that area around Stuttgart." Later, as a student of geography, interest was stimulated over the use of this term pertaining to an apparently identifiable region with a marked degree of homogeneity in physical and cultural features. A more specific delineation and definition of the region and an analysis of its economic activities seem to be appropriate topics for geographic research. As investigation progressed, it became apparent that the task of delineating the region was a problem in itself. / Even the residents of the area, who rightfully consider themselves as living on the Grand Prairie, cannot usually define the region satisfactorily or agree on its borders. Thus delineation of the Grand Prairie is an important objective of this research. The physical environment and the uses of the resources of the region give the Grand Prairie a character and coheslveness that make possible its identification as a 1

PAGE 12

2 distinct region differing in several important ways from adjacent areas. The Grand Prairie region lies in east-central Arkansas centered around Stuttgart, some 50 miles southeast of Little Rock and 115 miles southwest of Memphis. Figure 1 shows the general location of the Grand Prairie within the Coastal Plain province of the state. The area outlined extends a maximum of 70 miles northwest to southeast and averages about 20 miles in width. Total area is more than 1,400 square miles and includes parts of 4 counties, none entirely. General Description of the Grand Prairie The Grand Prairie is today an area most noted for its rice production. Its original distinctiveness, however, lay in its physical characteristics, primarily vegetation. The region was once a natural grassland surrounded by forests, an anomaly in a generally forested area. P hy s i ogr ap hi c a 1 ly , the Prairie occupies a level loessal terrace slightly elevated above most of the surrounding land. The terrace is apparent if closely observed but it is not pronounced. Surrounding the terrace is hill land consisting of dissected terrace and lower river bottomlands. The hills and the bottomlands were heavily forested originally and still contain much timber. Nature gave the Prairie its original ^To break monotony, the term "Prairie" with a capital letter is frequently substituted for "Grand Prairie," Prairie with a small "p" refers to the vegetation type.

PAGE 13

Figure 1

PAGE 14

4 flavor. Man's modifications have produced today's product. •The Grand Prairie is a land of rice, soybeans, and reservoirs. Man's adaptations to the Prairie environment give the region a character unlike the adjacent surrounding land. Like the physical distinctions, different social influences have given identity to the region. Pioneer settlers, largely of German origin, brought with them an agricultural background unlike the background of those who settled adjacent southern lands. The Grand Prairie region is almost an island in a sea of Southern cotton. Rice, not cotton, is king on the Grand Prairie. Soybeans, oats, and lespedeza are important, but these crops largely owe their existence to the fact that they fit well into the scheme of rice culture. A striking characteristic of the Prairie is the absence of cotton, a factor due in part to the natural environment but more particularly to the social environment. Cattle, likewise, are unimportant in this grain stronghold of the South. The heavy demands of rice on the water resources have created some unique problems, the solutions to which give additional character to the Grand Prairie. Water tables have dropped considerably since the introduction of rice at the turn of the century. Reservoirs and irrigation canals now dot and cross the Prairie as a great grid testifying to man's endeavors. Southerners living outside the region are usually little aware of the importance of rice in this area. There are

PAGE 15

several reasons for this ignorance. The general culture of the South does not include rice. The crop was introduced late and expanded rapidly in acreage. It was developed largely through the skill and know-how of grain farmers from Illinois and Iowa. Local people looked upon the whole group and their operation with suspicion. Nevertheless, the Grand Prairie today is one of the most prosperious, highly mechanized, and technologically adept agricultural regions in the nation. Figure 2 shows the location of the Grand Prairie more specifically. The Prairie terrace is situated between 4 streams: White River on the east. Bayou Meto on the west, the Arkansas River on the south, and Wattensaw Bayou on the north. The Prairie is not continuous over this area but has been dissected by streams into several large segments. The physiography of the Prairie and the delineation of the Grand Prairie with respect to physiographic criteria are dealt with in the following chapter. The Grand Prairie is a land of small towns and big farms. There are a dozen small towns of note and many crossroad concentrations. The largest city, Stuttgart (1960 population 9,661) is the regional center. It is situated in what is considered the heart of the Prairie. It is a city of rice mills, elevators, soybean processing plants, and well equipment and farm machinery stores. Practically its entire economy is geared to the rice industry. De Witt (3,019) is similar. Lonoke (2,359), Carlisle (1,514), Hazen (1,456),

PAGE 16

THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE DIVISIONS OF THE PRAIRIE AND FEATURES OF THE iE©l0N CORBET 1965 Figure 2

PAGE 17

and De Vall's Bluff (654) are also strongly oriented towards the Prairie economy but are located on a major interregional highway and thus have more non-Prairie business in such establishments as restaurants and motels. Gillett (674), St. Charles (255), Almyra (240), and Ulm (140) are preponderately residential. Many of their residents farm nearby. The prosperity of all these towns and cities depends on the prosperity of the rice farmer. Some secondary industry is developing, such as the Stuttgart Footwear Corporation employing 150 persons, but such activities are relatively ' minor in the area's economy. The Grand Prairie is served by the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad (Cottonbelt) and the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad. Ample freight service is provided by rail'and truck combination. Bus service is provided by the Southwestern Greyhound and Midwest Trailways. United States highways 70 and 79 cross the area. Interstate 40 is under construction and will slice through the northern edge. Northsouth movement is provided by state highways. Some graveled and many dirt farm roads complete the network (102). The fine loess material creates extremely dusty conditions when dry. It is also unwise to leave the gravel when wet. The southern part of the Prairie is off the major thoroughfares, and private transportation must be used to reach the area. Objectives of the Study It is the purpose of this study to define, delineate,

PAGE 18

8 and describe that region of east central Arkansas commonly referred to as the Grand Prairie and to evaluate the resource uses of the region. It will be shown that the Grand Prairie is a distinct region that can be delineated by a combination of physical and cultural criteria. The physiography of the region gives it a natural character unlike the adjacent surrounding area. The various ways in which man makes use of the resources of the region also give an areal distinctiveness and cohesiveness that enables a differentiation from adjacent areas. The objectives of this research can be considered as being divided into 3 categories: (1) the delineation of a geographically cohesive region, (2) an evaluation of the special role played by rice in the economy of the region, and (3) an examination of the problems associated with the extensive use of water. Delineation The delineation of the Grand Prairie is first analyzed using physical criteria. Subsequently, the possibility of delineation is tested with land use as the sole criterion. Results of the 2 procedures are compared and analyzed for relationships. In Chapter II, del i neati on is examined from the standpoint of topography, natural vegetation, and soils. These 3 phenomena are considered separately and then compared. When commencing the study, it was not known if such a delineation of the Grand Prairie region were possible. The purpose of this phase of the investigation was to find out.

PAGE 19

9 The subsequent chapter concerns land use. Patterns of land use are recognized as perhaps the most apparent indicator of character and extent of man's utilization of the resources of an area. Land use on the Grand Prairie and its immediate environs is mapped, and the ensuing patterns are analyzed for significant geographic relationships. It is assumed that land use patterns are determined primarily by 2 sets of factors the physical environment and those many complex ramifications of the human occupance. These 2 sets of factors are considered in the study of land use on the Grand Prairie, and an effort is made to delineate the region by this cultural phenomenon. The delineation by land use is compared with the delineation by purely physical criteria. Similarity in areal patterns developed by separate procedures is marked and serves to confirm the concept of the Grand Prairie as a geographically definitive region. Rice In addition to overall land use, 2 aspects warraiii, special consideration rice and water management. Subsequent chapters are devoted to these 2 most important of Grand Prairie phenomena. Rice is the "life" of the economy. It was first grown commercially on the Grand Prairie in 1904, and with it came an awakened interest in the area a new people, a new money-making economy, and a new role to be played by the Grand Prairie in the agriculture of Arkansas and the South.

PAGE 20

10 The advantages of the Prairie for rice were many: (1) a soil with a clay pan soil that possesses excellent waterholding abilities, (2) flat land enabling easy impoundments of water, (3) a good and abundant water supply but one requiring careful and efficient use, (4) an open land inviting a new industry, and (5) a populace composed of hard working people unencumbered with past traditions of cotton culture to interfere with a new way of life. When rice was first introduced, the region was found to be highly suitable for its cultivation, and rice acreage was expanded rapidly. Since then rice has maintained its position as the principal economic activity and prime source of income on the Prairie. It dislodged the rudimentary grazing and hay industries that had characterized the Grand Prairie up until that time and having a comparative advantage over any com' peting use of land has first choice on land resources. Only those crops which dovetail with rice culture are of significance;, mainly soybeans. Cotton is insignificant. Grand Prairie rice farmers are large operators. Thousands of dollars are invested in machinery, and cropland is some of the more valuable to be found in the nation. Farming methods are modern and efficient, and the industry is highly competitive. Detailed analyses of the Grand Prairie's advantages for rice, the nature of this technologically modern and highly mechanized industry, and some economics of rice production are the objectives of Chapter IV, "The Case for Rice. "

PAGE 21

11 "Water The third major objective of the study is the examination of the unique role played by water in the Grand Prairie region. The use of this resource gives the region much of its character. Rice requires large amounts of water for irrigation, and great expense is borne by the farmers to supply it. Large amounts of ground water are available, but the tremendous requirements have brought about water problems peculiar to the region. IVater tables have dropped steadily. Deeper wells are very expensive, and many farmers have to rely increasingly on surface water. This has resulted in the construction of many reservoirs, large and small. Reservoirs, canals, levees, pumps, and i-elifts are now integral parts of Grand Prairie vernacular. Various governmental agencies are involved in the planning, advising, and financing of water-control measures. Land used for water storage is noteworthy area-wise and much more so investment-wise. Water has become the rice farmers' chief concern and item of expense. The farmer faced with a water shortage has several alternatives, all of which are unpleasant and expensive. They are: more wells, deeper wells, reservoirs construction, water purchases, or less acreage irrigated. The problems with water are not uniform over the region. The distribution and use of reservoirs is taken as an approach to a better understanding of the problem. The analyses of

PAGE 22

12 water management, solutions effective and otherwise, and comparative construction and maintenance costs of various water supply sources are objectives pursued in Chapter V. The large number of reservoirs on the Prairie has introduced a new and interesting consideration the multiple use of reservoirs. Although rice irrigation is the controlling use-factor, other uses that have been proposed and tried are fish farming, minnow raising, and recreational uses for sport fishing and duck hunting. The possibility of multiple uses of the' costly reservoirs offers hope for additional farmer income. Any side benefits that can be derived will reduce water costs in the farm operation. With the nation's growing population and increasing leisure time, the potential recreational values of the reservoirs are particularly noteworthy. Water control on the Grand Prairie can perhaps be related to national problems of water conservation and water recreation. Methodology The Grand Prairie, as a region, coincides with no political unit or group of units. As seen on Figure 1, it includes parts of 4 counties, none entirely. There are no published maps of the Grand Prairie as such. The soil map and the topographic map in this study were assembled from respective county soil maps and United States Geological Survey Quadrangles and delimited for the area desired (103) (107). Other maps are original with the writer. All areal divisions shown

PAGE 23

13 on the maps are the writer's and are based mainly upon field observation. In addition to map preparation much field time was consumed in interviews. Citizens, farmers, and federal, state, and county officials were interviewed for both official and unofficial information. County agents. Soil Conservation Service personnel, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service personnel, state and federal Geological Service and Agriculture Department personnel, the United States Corps of Engineers, and others were querried for data on the Grand Prairie. Fifty farmers, selected from all parts of the Grand Prairie, were interviewed with a standard questionnaire. Other farmers were interviewed informally, along with reservoir and well contractors, rice mill executives, water sales contractors, minnow farmers, old-time residents, and others. The preparation of maps for the delineation of the Grand Prairie region was accomplished through the use of aerial photography and field observation. Topographic maps, county highway maps, and the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service photographs were taken to the site, and the land use and other divisions were delineated on the maps. The Grand Prairie has never been mapped so specifically.'^ Thus sound, realistic delineation of the Other sources of previous reference to the Grand Prairie have been of a general nature. Two such sources that

PAGE 24

14 Grand Prairie as a cohesiji^e region was a major objective of this s.tudy. To obtain data on rice production and water use much reliance was placed upon interviews with the peo Farmers were selected who owned reservoirs as it ticularly desirable to aet first hand informatio critical phase of water management. Farmers wer as to represent all parts of the Prairie. Their watering procedures were noted, as well as their and attitudes whenever possible. The distributi farms included in the survey and a form of the questionnaire that was used are included as Appendix III. Non-farmers also aided insupplying data. Rice processing personnel, commercial water contractors, and county agents were particularly helpful. Reservoirs were mapped in the field and also checked in the Soil Conservation Service's individual farm folders. Knowledge of their distribution and sizes plus the farmers' relate to the region but do not as specifically delineate it are Type-of -Farming Areas in Arkansas , Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 555, June, 1955 (18, p. 76), and Enterprise Costs and Returns on Rice Farms in the Grand Prairie, Arkansas , Agricultural Experiment Station Report Series 119, June, 1963 (23, p. 4). The information presented in such publications and others similar is excellent, but their purpose was not to define or delineate a geographically cohesive region. Upon interviewing, it was found most farmers had a fairly accurate concept of what the Grand Prairie is but had given little thought to its delineation. Others seemed to have little or no concept of it as an identifiable region. pie involved. was parn on this e chosen so cropping and opinions on of the

PAGE 25

15 comments made possible certain conclusions by the writer pertaining to the special role played by water. Publications by the University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station cooperating with the Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, are the principal published materials used in the study. The Rice Journal , published monthly at New Orleans, contains many articles of interest to rice farmers such as farm techniques, irrigation, storage, et cetera. Very little of other published materials pertain to the area or to the problem at hand . Unfortunately, county and state data cannot be separated for the region as defined. It was possible to use official data when they could be acquired for smaller areas and regrouped to conform with the region as devised herein. The National Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation Needs was undertaken by the United States Department of Agriculture as a guide for more effective soil and water conservation (9, p. 1). Original data for the Conservation Needs Inventory were col 1 ected from 40-acre sample plots selected at random within individual counties. It was possible to use these sample data and adapt them to the study, details of which are presented in Chapter III. Historical Background The history of the settlement of the Grand Prairie is

PAGE 26

16 significant to the objectives of this study. Background information is desirable for any areal study, but it is particularly so in this case because the nature of the people had a marked influence on present land use a prime consideration In the identification and delineation of the Grand Prairie as a region. For years after surrounding land in Arkansas was settled the Grand Prairie remained unoccupied. The early settlers in Arkansas came from other areas of the South. These initial pioneers were accustomed to woodland, and the grassy expanses of the GrandPrairie were not inviting. To them, land that would not grow trees was of limited value. Settlement on the Prairie was not significant until the turn of the century when rice was successfully introduced. The first settlement in the vicinity of the Grand Prairie was established by the French in 1686 at Arkansas Post. Located on the extreme southern tip of the Prairie terrace, it was the first permanent white settlement in the lower Mississippi Valley west of the river. Apparently the settlement was little more than a center for Indian traders and hunters until the area was acquired by the United States in 1804 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. It was described by Thomas Nuttall in his 1819 travels as "thirty to forty houses dispersed over the prairie, elevated above the morass of the river swamps" (3, p. 106). When the Arkansas Territory was established in 1819 Arkansas Post was made both the county

PAGE 27

17 seat and capital of the Territory. Although it was the largest town in the Territory at the time its inconvenient location for administrative purposes made it necessary to shift the. capital to Little Rock the following year. By > 1855 Arkansas Post had lost its position as county seat to the newly established town of De Witt. Even though Arkansas Post was situated on the edge of the Prairie the settlement had little effect on the Grand Prairie. During the first half "of the nineteenth century it was the most important of several small settlements bordering the Prairie while the Prairie itself remained practically devoid of settlement. The significant history of the Grand Prairie was to come later, and not until the turn of the century was the die to be cast. Today Arkansas Post is a National Monument. Early use of the Grand Prairie was largely limited to grazing and some hay sales while the surrounding land was being cleared and planted to cotton and corn. Halliburton, writing around 1903, listed the crops of Arkansas County as cotton, corn, wheat, oats, Irish and sweet potatoes, peas, and melons (2, p. 6). These were grown on cleared land, not prairie, which . was still considered of little value at the time. He made no mention of rice. The Prairie soils, with water problems of extremes both poor drainage and desiccation were unsuited to the mod of agriculture used at the time. Few settlers were attracted These few who tried found conditions hard, and many were

PAGE 28

18 forced to return to former habitats. For decades, three quarters of a century, the Prairie broke the backs and the hearts of those settlers who ventured forth to wrest a living from the seemingly hostile land. Until one man discovered rice would grow, the Grand Prairie seemed to support the Southerners' disdain for the grassland. In 1904 the first successful rice crop was produced on Prairie land near Lonoke, Arkansas (68, p. 73). This venture, which was the result of one man's curiosity and f oresightedness , gave the Grand Prairie the industry that would one day make it one of the most prosperous agricultural regions of the country. W, H. Fuller, from near Lonoke, observed rice growing near Crowley, Louisiana, by chance in 1896. He noticed the similarity in the land and experimented with rice back on his own farm. Finding water to be the key, he successfully raised a crop in 1904 with the financial backing of local interested persons. Rice agriculture, the primary economic activity on the Grand Prairie today, is properly a major concern of this treatise. Prior to the rice discovery there had been a slow and small influx of settlers whose origin was outside the South. Germans, many of them second generation immigrants, were attracted from other parts of the United States. The open land, cheaply purchased, drew many from northern prairie lands in Illinois and Iowa and from Ohio and other Midwest states. These Germans, who were commonly thought of as

PAGE 29

19 "foreigners from up north" by local Southerners, did manage by hard work and frugality to establish themselves permanently on the Prairie (86). Some, of course, did not succeed and returned to Ohio and elsewhere. An old-time resident described the Prairie as still unoccupied in 1896 and as not having been absorbed into southern agriculture (83, p. 33). He further intimated that the land was unfit for corn and cotton but that the German pioneers from the North did not know this. They became an island of northern immigrants surrounded by settlers from the border states and the Old South. At the time the principal business of the young town of Stuttgart was reported -to be selling Grand Prairie land to farmers from the northern prairies "who thought they were getting lands of the same worth at a much lower price" (83, p. 33). A letter written about 1880 by a Prairie resident described a landholding of 160 acres with frame buildings offered for $2,000 (66). Some lands on the Prairie sold for as little as 25 cents an acre in the early period of settlement (2, p. 5). Interviews with farmers today reveal that Grand Prairie land is virtually not for sale. The background of the German settlers was unquestionably foreign to the region. The role this difference played in the development of the Grand Prairie is real, but the extent of the role is open to opinion. The absence of both cotton agriculture and a southern plantation tradition in

PAGE 30

20 their backgrounds doubtless caused them to look upon the land differently than did the local Southerners. The Germans were able to adapt to a new way of life that was soon to include rice agriculture. Who can say what the region would be like if the Germans had not been attracted? The experience acquired from the grain lands of the Midwest actually encouraged a type of agriculture different from traditional southern agriculture based on cotton. The turn of the century brought additional settlers, many this time from Slovakia. They are now prosperous rice farmers, most of whom live around the Catholic Church in the settlement of Slovak just north of Stuttgart in Prairie County. Conversation in Slovak was once common in Stuttgart on Saturday afternoons. The southern part of Arkansas County, which includes portions of the Grand Prairie, had a history of another sort. The whole Grand Prairie region lay in the Louisiana Purchase, and Arkansas Post was the early point of administration. Names of French origin such as Bayou Lagrue are evident. Many older land deeds are written in French or Spanish. Spain ruled the area from 1763 to 1803, having acquired it by treaty from France and later relinquishing control back to France. Irregular property lines along the Arkansas River date back to the days of land grants to deserving countrymen and soldiers. The town of St. Charles itself, set at an

PAGE 31

21 angle to the rectangular grid system, dates back to an old Spanish land grant. Such influence was felt little on the Grand Prairie, however, as it was still the great void during this time. Later, in the absence of the Germans in the southern portions of the Prairie, border state settlers moved in. Here, in contrast to the German -s ettl ed areas of the Prairie, cotton was integrated somewhat with Prairie agriculture. Thisis evident from the land use study reported in Chapter III. Social distinctions of the people of the Grand Prairie have waned over the years. Amalgamation with surrounding peoples and several generations removed from the old world immigrants have left such distinctions largely to history. Other than economic pursuits, differences are largely superficial. Neither the exact role played by these social differences in the past nor the extent of their impact on present conditions can be fully ascertained, but must be considered with all other factors in the analysis of resource useintheregion.

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CHAPTER II 'if DEFINITION AND PHYSICAL DELINEATION OF THE REGION Introducti on Although the name G*rand Prairie implies a physical phenomenon, to most people living there the reference is a cultural one that important rice growing area around Stuttgart, Local residents have some idea that at one time a natural grassland occupied the area; some old timers even recall its appearance. For the most part, however, the original physical aspects have vanished. Efforts to obtain residents' descriptions of the boundary of the Grand Prairie met with little success, and usually they returned to the rice-growing area concept. Actually the Grand Prairie can be successfully delineated by both physical and cultural criteria. Although the cultural concept is probably the most significant one today, the physical characteristics that determine the Prairie gave it its original conception. In addition, those same physical characteristics are largely responsible for present cultural identifications. Certain social and historical aspects have played important roles in determining Grand Prairie resource uses, but those uses reflect strongly the physical base. 22

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23 The principal physical criteria employed for delineation are topography and soils. Originally native vegetation was paramount as the natural grassland provided the Grand Prairie with the basis for separate recognition. However, original vegetation cannot be presently mapped but only reconstructed according to limited past records and personal recollections of residents. Following the physical delineation of the region presented in this chapter, the subsequent chapter will examine the delineation of the Prairie based on cultural criteria, namely land use. Other cultural phenomena are in evidence and aid in setting the Prairie apart from the surrounding area as a definite identifiable region. Physical Setting of the Prairie The Arkansas Grand Prairie is an isolated portion of a Pleistocene terrace located on the Mississippi Alluvial Plain portion of the Gulf Coastal Plain (Figure 1). The alluvial plain is divided into the recent river floodplains and the higher Pleistocene terraces, of which the Grand Prairie is an example. General slope is toward the southeast and all drainage trends in that direction. The Grand Prairie likewise slopes southeastward from its highest portion in the northwest, not far from where the Arkansas River issues from the Interior Highlands. This suggests that the terrace was once part of a large sloping aggradational plain formed by streams depositing materials

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24 as they issued from the Highlands. Later the deposits were eroded-, and the remnants, now terraces, were left isolated. There is evidence that the Mississippi River once flowed west of Crowley's Ridge and joined the Ohio River somewhere in the vicinity of Helena, Arkansas. Most of the floodplain deposits west of the ridge are attributed to the Mississippi. The Ohio River captured the Mississippi near Cairo, Illinois, and diverted it eastward to the present beds of the lower Mississippi east of Crowley's Ridge (1, p. 89). The land west of Crowley's Ridge, including the Grand Prairie region, was abandoned and left to smaller streams. The color', composition, and depositional features of Grand Prairie materials suggest aggradation from both the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Wei 1 -dr i 1 1 i ngs on the Prairie have uncovered sediments originating from both streams (44, p. 9). The terrace that composes the present Grand Prairie apparently is the remnant of the much larger aggr ad at i on al plain. As the ancient plain sloped toward the southeast away from the Highlands so does the present terrace. Other smaller remnants may be found to the north, east, and west of the Grand Prairie. These upland terraces were characterized by expanses of unusually level land that were essentially treeless. As such they were true prairies, the Grand Prairie being the largest expanse of natural grassland in the state.

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25 The Grand Prairie has been dissected by a number of streams almost uniformily flowing southeastward (Figure 2). Lagrue Bayou heads in the northern part of the Prairie and drains prairie land for its entire length before draining into the White River, Mill Bayou flowing into Bayou Meto, and Little Lagrue Bayou, a tributary to Lagrue Bayou, drain what is considered the "heart" of the Grand Prairie, that portion in the vicinity of Stuttgart. The headwaters of Two Prairie Bayou are outside the region to the northwest near the headwaters of Bayou Meto and Wattensaw Bayou. It flows east and southeast dissecting a portion of the Prairie and empties into Bayou Meto. These shallow bedded streams along with other smaller ones have dissected the terrace into several discontiguous segments. Lower Lagrue Bayou has isolated a portion of the Prairie to the east between Lagrue Bayou and the White River known as White River Prairie. That small portion between Lagrue Bayou and Big Creek is known as Lagrue Prairie. Sassafras Prairie is a small segment north of De Witt between Lagrue Bayou and Little Lagrue Bayou. In the south Cypress Bayou isolates Little Prairie. Two Prairie Bayou sets off Long Prairie. Specifically, that large remaining portion of upland terrace is Grand Prairie. Generally, however, all of these segments are collectively referred to as the Grand Prairie and will be so indicated in this paper unless specifically stated otherwise.

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26 Historical Basis of Vegetation The terraces between the White River and Bayou Meto were originally islands of grass surrounded by a sea of forests. First travelers into the area reported observing the unusually level expanses of native grasses, at the time referred to as the "Great Prairie" (3, p. 112). As was the case with the Midwest prairies of Illinois and neighboring states, early settlers considered the prairie land worthless, or at least inferior in comparison with the adjoining woodland and alluvial land. Tlie first road in Arkansas crossed the Grand Prairie and this otherwise avoided land did serve at least as early access to the interior. The road left the settlement of Arkansas Post on the Arkansas River and followed the relatively easy route northwestward to the limits of the Prairie and then west to the settlement of Little Rock (3, p. 22). Occurrence of Natural Prairie Although covering approximately 700 square miles altogether, the original Prairie was not a vast unbroken expanse of grass as the terra might cause some to envision. The Prairie consisted of a series of elongated segments trending northwest-southeast. They were surrounded by alluvial floodplains and separated from one another by penetrating fingers of woodlands along bayous. Figure 3 depicts the extent of the natural grasslands reconstructed from old maps, records, and interviews.

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THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE ORIGINAL VEGETATION MILES CORBET 1965 Figure 3

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28 An early description pictures the Prairie as having a width of from 2 to 10 miles and possessing arms and branches in various directions and of various lengths (2, p. 2). Between these arms and branches of prairie were fingers of timber from 2 to 20 miles in length, extending from the forest surrounding the prairie and pointing mainly in a northern direction. The fingers of timber were, of course, associated with the streams flowing southward and southeastward dissecting the Prairie. Because of these dissections, probably no point on the original prairie exceeded 4 miles from woodland. Figure 3 is based on such early descriptions, interviews with old-timers in the area, and early editions of topographic maps showing natural vegetation. The original limits of the natural grasslands have long been obliterated. Much of the surrounding woodland has been cut back and cleared. What is generally considered the Grand Prairie today is undoubtedly larger than the extent of original grass1 and . Study of the soils on and fringing the prairie was another method used to delineate the original grassland. It will be shown later that some portions of certain soil associations are included in the present Prairie delineation while other portions of these same soils are not„ Some of these fringe soils differ very little from the true prairie soils and differ mostly because varying amounts of tree growth aided in the development of the soils. Those portions of such

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29 fringe soils now located on what is considered the Grand Prairie were probably woodland encroachments around the edges of the original grassland. This appears to be the case particularly in the northern portion of the Prairie bordering on the woodlands of Wattensaw Bayou. Several long-time residents recalled that woodlands once extended south of U. S. Highway 70 traversing the northern edge of the Prairie east and west. As outlined on Figure 2, the Prairie now extends well north of the highway. There are other areas where original woodlands have been erased and are now incorporated as integral parts of the Grand Prairie as presently defined. Scattered rather indiscriminately over the original prairie were groves of timber varying in size from 1 acre to 4,000 acres. As the groves were more or less isolated in a sea of grass, they were commonly referred to as "islands." Some islands still have vestiges of their original vegetation while others have completely vanished. Some of the largest of the timbered islands were Big Island, east and southeast of Stuttgart; Maple Island, northeast of Big Island; and Lost Island, north of Stuttgart and site of the present Lost Island reservoir. Reservoirs often mark the former locations of these islands of timber. The correlation of reservoirs with wooded areas will be discussed in later chapters. The historical absence of trees on the terraces may have been a reflection of moisture conditions. The terraces

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30 are capped by a layer of Pleistocene loess underlain by an a Imo s t i mp ervi 0 us layer of clay. The clay pan is found at varying depths over the Prairie but is usually encountered at depthsof 12 to 18 inches. It may be as little as 5 inches or as much as 60 inches, and its thickness varies from5to60feet. This impervious layer, or very slowly pervious at best, creates moisture conditions tending towards the extremes. In come seasons and times the top ground is saturated, even waterlogged. At other times it is dry and hard. In times of excess moisture the clay pan prevents surface water from percolating downward. In periods of drought it allows the surface to dehydrate by cutting off any capillary action from the more permanent replenishing source of ground water. Such conditions are not favorable for young trees to obtain a foothold. If tree roots could extend through the clay, moisture might be sufficient to sustain growth. There is doubt, however, that the tree roots could penetrate the clay, and if they did, that sufficient moisture would be available. Clay collected from test holes is remarkably dry (17, p. 13). Although trees were presented with a formidable obstacle, conditions did not preclude grass. Grass could survive the periods of drought better, even if it necessitated dying out and regrowth with the next rain. Once grass controlled the area there was an additional detrimental factor hindering tree propagation fire. Prairie fire, from what-

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31 ever origin, tended to prevent tree introduction and actually aided grass expansion. With a few isolated exceptions virgin grass cover cannot be found on the Grand Prairie today. The largest unturned piece of true prairie is located in southern Prairie County on state highway 11 about 15 miles north of Stuttgart. Figure 4 illustrates native grasses growing on this 80-acre plot. Principal native grasses were big bluestera and little bluestem, and others were indiangrass and switchgrass. This plot has been left in its natural state principally for sentimental reasons. Other unturned areas have gradually gone into cultivation for economic reasons. Early use of the land, naturally enough, was for grazing. The native grasses make excellent hay. Cut once a year, the remaining plots return about $15 per acre. As riceland it could net over $100 per acre, or about $30 per acre in soybeans. When sentimentality fades, so will the last of the native bluestem. The woodlands bordering the streams developed under more favorable moisture conditions than available on the prairie. First, the bayou lands are lower and thus concentrate the surface runoff, offering a more permanent source of water. Secondly, the bayous have intrenched themselves, not deeply, but usually enough to breach the clay pan. This affords better soil drainage to prevent waterlogging, as well as making possible capillary action to prevent desiccation. Thirdly, since the bayou lands are not as prone to dry out as com-

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32 Figure 4. Virgin prairie grass. The grass had recently been cut for hay, and regrowth is only about one-third mature size. The clumpy nature of growth is evident. Low broad silt dunes, common on the virgin prairie, are barely observable in the background.

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33 pletely, they are not as subject to fire damage and tree ret ard ati on . The timbered islands were in most cases merely areal concentrations of conditions just described along the streams. The locations of some islands, however, may seem counter to this reasoning. Big Island, Lost Island and Maple Island were actually located on what are relatively high portions of the terrace. Compare the locations of these islands on Figure 3 with Figure 5, a topographic map of the Grand Prairie, Drainage is in general away from these islands, indicating their relative upland positions. Close observation, however, indicates that they are sliyhtly lower than the immediately surrounding land, thus receiving local drainage. From evidence available it also appears the clay pan is less developed in such areas. It is not clear whether the trees are here because of the weak pan, or whether the pan is weak because of the trees. More borings across these islands and more detailed topographic mapping could shed light on this physical phenomenon. Present Modified Vegetation The Grand Prairie is still observable in the field, but not as native grassland prairie. The grasses which grew for so long, so alone, and so undisturbed, have been overturned and replaced with some of man's grasses, notably that moneymaking grass rice. The wooded patterns have been altered also. Many tira-

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34 ber islands have been obliterated. Infringing forests have been cut back to expose good farm land. The basic patterns are still there but with crops rather than grass occupying the flat interfluves and woods persisting along the dissecting bayous and bordering streams but in reduced extent. Many of the former islands presently show up as reservoir concentrat i ons . Despite the deforestation it may be true that more trees are growing on the Prairie today than when man first looked upon the scene. While man cleared the trees for his crops he also planted trees for his homesteads. Every farmstead has its small grove of trees, and it is now the farmsteads that appear as islands in a sea of fields. Stuttgart, Ilazen, Carlisle, De Witt and other settlements are well wooded. Many trees are now growing on the Prairie near rice fields where probably trees were not found originally. Rice irrigation provides the needed moisture. Such observations seem to support the reasoning that trees could not survive on the Prairie until either the clay pan had been breached or the soil moisture conditions altered in some other manner. Potential tree-killing fires have also been controlled. It is interesting to reflect on the changes that have occurred in vegetation on the Grand Prairie. The area may be visualized at a time before the first settlement, much before, when the great southeasterly sloping aggr ad ati onal plain extended from the Interior Highlands almost unbroken. During the Pleistocene era a layer of loess was deposited over imper-

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35 vious beds of stream and river clays. Thus was formed the environment for grassland, particularly noted in moisture conditions as described. Probably the original grassland included a much larger area than when first sighted, broken only by narrow wooded transgressions along a few master consequent streams flowing toward the Gulf of Mexico. As secondary streams evolved, the great sloping grassland plain began to come apart, as if it were being sliced and sliced again by tributaries, leaving irregular green scars of timber. As time passed the scars began to dominate the tissue, and eventually it was the grassland which looked out of context, grassland that occupied the higher terraces and was surrounded by the woodlands of the bottoms and sloping adjacent areas. It was thus when history gives the first description of the Grand Prairie. That portion of the Pleistocent terrace lying between the White River and Bayou Meto was the largest remnant of prairie remaining. It, too, was dissected by the devouring streams that created the smaller segments now given the separate names of White River Prairie, Sassafras Prairie, Long Prairie, and Little Prairie. The prairie land was to gradually diminish in size as the denudation cycle continued. Bayou woodlands were expanding into its heart like a great root penetrating soft earth. Fingers of trees slowly worked into the grassy expanses. Islands of trees were established where favorable conditions permitted. Eventually the whole prairie was

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36 destined to disappear, dissections following upon dissections until there would be no trace. The first men found the cjrassy expanses uninviting. They favored the woodlands because that was what they knew from their backgrounds, and only a few cattle were grazed on the grass. But eventually it was discovered tliat the land that was thought not good enough to grow trees could, with alterations, grow crops. With this discovery commenced the most rapid and probably most far-reaching change in vegetation to ever occur on the prairie, and this within the 1 ast 60 years . Natural grasses were upturned and crops planted. Encroaching trees that seemed to be creeping out of the bayous were routed. Islands of tree fortresses were completely annihilated. The original vegetation delineations of the prairie were obliterated. Whereas before the prairie was shrinking due to the encroachment of the woodlands, it now began to expand by man's hand. As trees were cut back and crops planted, the Grand Prairie as known today actually increased in size. For the most part those areas that were cleared more nearly resembled prairie land than they did bayou woodland. They were marginal areas that were beginning to reflect some of the clay pan breaching effects of stream headwaters. Tree growth had commenced in favored locations, but with clearing the land was converted into cropland comparable to the prairie. This difference between the original vegetation and the

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37 delineation of the present Grand Prairie is apparent between Figures 2 and 3. Not only were trees cut down and crops planted to erase the original patterns, but additional trees were planted or allowed to grow elsewhere. The effect has been to blur the original setting and to further obliterate the prairie. Nonetheless, the signs are there, even if not easily discernible. In summary, vegetation changes on the prairie may be viewed in a chronological but very general sequence as: (1) a natural grassland diminishing in size because of encroaching streams and woodlands, (2) a change from grass to crops and a slight expansion of the prairie, and (3) a blurring or obliteration of the original prairie through a continuation of man*s activities. Topography The delineation of the Grand Prairie is as closely related to topography as to any other phenomenon. Unlike original vegetation the topography of the region is little changed from that first observed by settlers. No single criterion used for delineating the boundary of the Grand Prairie is completely correspondent with any other criteria. The complexities of interacting phenomena offer too many categories for any one to unerringly delineate the region. The earth is not that simple; but there is, neverthel es s, a close correspondence between topographic boundaries, soils boundaries, and land use boundaries. If any physical as-

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38 pect were selected for its application as a single delineating criterion of the Grand Prairie today it would be topography. The topographic differences between the Grand Prairie and immediate environs are not marked, however. A casual traveler may cross the heart of the Prairie and notice not the slightest topographic change. For that matter, since the original vegetation has disappeared, the casual observer would have difficulty in differentiating the Grand Prairie by any criteria. Geological Background Topographically, the Grand Prairie is the loessal terrace slightly elevated above the alluvial plains of the White and Arkansas rivers. It is thought that the portion of terrace between the White River and Bayou Meto is only a remnant of the larger aggradational plain that once occupied this area of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Some geological background will aid in understanding present topography. Located in the western portion of the Mississippi embayment, the area was submerged periodically in the geologic past. The generally southward and southeastward sloping plain that occupied the Grand Prairie region was partly marine as well as alluvial (1, p. 83). Unconformal formations of Cretaceous age of marine origin underlie the Prairie at depths of about 3,000 feet. On top of these are Tertiary deposits of alternating clays, sands.

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39 lignite, marl, and some limestone, in areas having a combined thickness as great as 3,500 feet (44, p. 9). Quaternary deposits overlie the Tertiary and blanket the entire Grand Prairie region. They include sediments laid down during the Pleistocene and Recent epochs. The Quaternary deposits consist of alluvium and range in thickness from 75 to 200 feet. Stone is almost completely lacking, both as outcrops and in well holes. The Quaternary alluvial deposits are those described earlier as having both Mississippi River and Arkansas River origins. The deeper, bluish Quaternary sands are thought to have come from the Mississippi River and the upper reddish sands of the Quaternary deposits from the Arkansas River (44, p. 15). This aggradation may have caused the Mississippi River when west of Crowley's Ridge to raise its profile, thereby making it susceptible to capture by the Ohio River which was draining east of Crowley's Ridge. The Mississippi River was diverted east into the lower elevated Ohio, perhaps first in the vicinity of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. At any rate, the great alluvial plains west of Crowley's Ridge are now occupied only by lesser streams thought incapable of aggrading such massive deposits . The Quaternary deposits consist primarily of waterbearing sands. Overlying the sands are layers of clays, silts, and mixed clay and silt. The topmost capping layer is silt with loess-like appearance. It ranges from 5 inches to 36 inches in depth and is underlain by the clay pan mentioned earlier.

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40 It is this top layer of loess that is responsible for the terra "loessal terrace" applied to the Grand Prairie. The multi-layers of nearly impervious clay and silt below the loess form an almost continuous covering over the Grand Prairie region and affords the Prairie some of its unique char act eristics. Pleistocene and Recent deposits have not been satisfactorily differentiated in this region. In general the terraces may be thought of as Pleistocene and the lower alluvial lands as Recent. This is an oversimplification, however, and many exceptions exist. Wood fragments from one well on the Prairie taken at a depth of 50 feet were dated at approximately 5,500 years, well within the Recent epoch (44, p. 14). Streams draining the Interior Highlands and Central Lowland physiographic provinces of the United States passed through periods of alternating aggradation and degradation. The most recent activity has been a slow degradation of the plain in the Grand Prairie region. Streams flowing toward the Gulf have eroded the soft materials until only detached remnants of the former plain remain. As the streams lowered their beds the residual portions of the plain were left as slightly elevated terraces. The most nearly continuous large segment of terrace remaining is that area between White River and Bayou Meto the Grand Prairie. Present Topography On Figure 5 the boundary of the Grand Prairie is indi-

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41 cated, and the slope toward the southeast is readily seen. Less apparent is the terrace itself, with its slight elevation primarily shown here above the White and Arkansas rivers. Since the terrace slopes gently southeastward no single elevation marks its surface or its boundary. Instead a gradual decrease in elevation is seen from northwest to southeast. Maximum elevation on the terrace is just over 250 feet in the extreme northwest. It decreases to about 165 feet in the southernmost part of Little Prairie, a distance of over 70 miles. This gives an average slope of the terrace itself of only about one foot per mile. The streams draining the prairie likewise have very gentle gradients. Although no single contour line marks the terrace as a whole, it should be noted how a series of contour lines closely coincide with the Grand Prairie boundary north to south. The 240-foot elevations are on the Prairie in the extreme northwest. Just eastward and southward the 220-foot line comes into prominence as approximating the boundary, particularly noted in Long Prairie and west of DeVall's Bluff. Farther southward as the Prairie slopes away, land between 200 feet and 220 feet is the dominant elevation on the Prairie surface. And particularly noticeable is the close correspondence between the 180-foot contour and southern portions of the Prairie boundary. Only small portions of the Prairie lie below the 180-foot level, mostly in the southernmost Little Prairie. Elevations lower to below 140 feet in the White River bottomlands.

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MILES SOURCE: U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY CORBET 1965 Figure S

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43 If the Prairie were not sloping southeastward overall, elevation shading as in Figure 5 would expose the terrace to a more marked degree. For example, if the entire Grand Prairie could be laid upon a fulcrum in about the position of Stuttgart, and the south end raised slightly and the north end lowered accordingly, the 200-foot contour line south of Stuttgart would move southward over the terrace and in the north would climb up from the White River bottomlands onto the terrace and as a result more closely approximate the Prairie boundary. As is. the alluvial lands of the White River and Arkansas River are readily observable at a lower elevation than the terrace. The White River has cut lower into the sediments than has Bayou Meto, therefore, the edge of th. ' -^ce is more pronounced in the east adjacent to the White iix.er. Throughout much of the distance along the White River a distinct bluff is evident, rising some 25 to 30 feet above the river's floodplain. and in several areas over 50 feet. No such escarpment is found anywhere along Bayou Meto. and the bluff is the most marked topographic feature in the region. Figure 6 was taken from atop the bluff overlooking the White River near the community of Crocketts Bluff. The river is against the eastern flank of the terrace and has exposed a cross-sectional view of the silt and clay that underlie the Prairie. Tha irregularity of the contour lines on Flaure 5 should not mislead the reader into perceiving the Prairie as having

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44 Figure 6. Bluffs along the White River. Here the bluffs are over 50 feet high. The loesslike silt is apparent in the vertical clevages of the exposed material.

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45 much relief. On the contrary, relief Is at a minimum. The stream gradients are also very flat, as evidenced by the distance between stream crossings of such contour lines as the 180and 200-foot lines on Lagrue Bayou. Moreover, the fact that a small 20-foot contour interval presents a pattern as simple as this on such a small scale map illustrates the flatness of the area. Over a distance of 70 miles the surface of the Prairie lowers only about 85 feet. Local relief is slight, particularly away from the principal streams. In most parts of the Prairie relief is less than 5 feet in a square mile. In only a few places is it as much as 10 feet. Along the White River bluffs it may be up to 60 feet, but such areas mark the edge of the terrace and are not representative of the Grand Prairie Itself. A few streams have worked headward into the Prairie, cutting valleys a few hundred feet wide at their mouths down to the level of the Arkansas and White rivers into which they flow. Lagrue Bayou, Big Creek, and Mill Bayou are such streams. Near their headwaters, however, these streams have cut only a few feet below the surface of the Prairie. Physiographic Regions A study of the topography of the region and many hundreds of miles of r econno i t er i ng enabled the writer to divide the area into 3 physiographic regions for analyses (Figure 7). These regions were delineated primarily through field observations but were supported by detailed study of aerial photo-

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46 graphy and topographic quadrangles. An obvious advantage of the physiographic map over the topographic map (Figure 5) is the elimination of the southeastward slope. In this manner the more or less uniform surface of the Prairie terrace can be depicted as a single pattern, impossible on the topographic map. The 3 physiographic regions were selected for their mapabillty and their raeaningf ulness with respect to this study. Flat Prairie Land The physiographic region of flat prairie land is in essence the Grand Prairie of today. This is the highest land of the terrace, standing from 20 feet to 60 feet above low water stages of the Arkansas and White rivers. It is very flat and topograhi cal ly immature. Most of it is in the young, and even initial stage of the geomorphic cycle. With less than 5 feet of relief per square mile, drainage is poor until man-aided. As initially observed, drainage networks were hardly integrated, and heavy rains resulted in much standing water. This level, almost treeless land, aided by the water-holding clay pan, is the great rice-growing region for which the Grand Prairie is noted today. Practically the entire area of the physiographic region is used as cropland. River and Bayou Bottomlands The river and bayou bottomlands are also flat, but at a lower elevation. In some areas there is a noticeable excarpraent between the floodplains and the terrace, most pro-

PAGE 57

i_i t_j i-j I— I LJ I— I tu 1— f t— I I MILES CORBET 1965 Figure 7

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48 nounced at the White River bluffs already described. The fingers of bayou land that penetrate the Prairie, however, are only slightly lower than the flat prairie land, and no escarpment Is visible to mark their presence. Such is the ' case with the bottomlands of upper Lagrue Bayou, Little Lagrue Bayou, Mill Bayou, and Two Prairie Bayou. Figure 8 is an oblique view of the Prairie showing flat prairie land and strips of wooded bayou bottomland. Location and direction of the panorama of the aerial photograph are indicated on Figure 7, giving a bird's eye view of a representative portion of the region. Mill Bayou flows from top left to lower right in the center of the photograph. The stream itself cannot be seen. In the foreground and on the far side of Mill Bayou are portions of the flat prairie land, in actuality portions of the Grand Prairie. In the upper right center is woodland along Little Lagrue Bayou; and beyond that on the extreme right, almost on the horizon, is the northern part of Sassafras Prairie. Alrayra is faintly visible in the upper left corner, situated squarely on the Prairie. The bottomlands along the bayous that drain the Prairie are of such slight difference in elevation from the Prairie that they would be very difficult to discern if it were not for the associated woodlands. In Figure 8 an increase in the height of the road embankment as it approaches the wood is a clue. Figure 9 shows a slight drop off in the road as state highway 130 approaches Little Lagrue Bayou southwest of Alrayra

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0 ( — 1 o CO CO CD •rH 1 — I [/J o CD > o CO 0 o J C/2 0 o P • CC p 0 • >i •H C p o f-1 CO 1—i H •H o rH 7^ -o P CC t— 1 CO O 0 CO r — 1 r— 1 •t-J •H P > D-i CC "O =M CO o o iVi o 0 o •H CO s P C +J >j H d o >> s V3 •rH o =H •H O o CO i-H CD C to •rt •M g CO 0 o CD o o 3 fH rt O H > C/3 CO >, O >1 ai B a at CO > CO •rt •rH ,12 0 CD 1—1 to 0 •p c/: CO 0 CO fH •H CO 0 3 ]-H •rH >5 P O CO f-l o O o CD CD •H -a 0 s > p CO CD CO p r— i 3 •p CO O H 0 o CD O OI •p •rt CD r-l 0 f-i fl CD d) > 0 f-( H i-l 0 a CO O 1— 1 o O •P CD c .— 1 CO a 5-1 CO O) 5

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51 In this instance the el evat i on . ch ange is barely observable. In other areas it is even less so. Fioure 10 is a panoramic sweep from the flat prairie land to the sliahtly lower bayou bottomland, and the topociraphic change is hardly perceptible. In some areas woodlands along the bayous have been cleared. Oftentimes the elevation change is so slight that there is little discernible difference in the topography of the newly cleared land and the bordering Prairie, The woodland vegetation is more responsive to moisture conditions than it is directly to topography. Recent land clearing is evident in the center of Figure 8. It is difficult to ascertain just how far the woodland extended out from such shallow prairie bayous. LoessalHills In other parts of the region the streams have cut deeper into the terrace. Gradients steepen slightly as the si -;^itis approach the lower floodplains of the White River to the east and the Arkansas River to the south. In most cases instead of an escarpment to mark the meeting of the terrace and the floodplains there is a transition area consisting of low hills to gently rolling topography. This transition area is the third of the physiographic regions, designated as loessal hills. Only in a few places can they truly be termed hills, since in most situations they are more like rolling plains. However, the area is sufficiently different from the 2 other physiographic regions to

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52 s >> o 1 +J C3 P o •r-l a rH M rH li CO CO o >) a. in p CO &. Xi +j o CO O [ — 1 o o «H CD -a c f-H CD CD o 03 o +J fH cn OJ s CD C/3 tn o (/3 13 +J o O a>i CD o CO O ^ CO p o •M fH CO CO W -p 1 — f U3 CO C5 1 CD 4-^ •H CO !h CO o •(— I o f 1 1 T— 1 fH 0 p •f—l rC iD! •rH •H ill 1 — ! i-Q CO CD X3 <; 1 — i H o o 1 — 1 •p. CO p -p C •rH CD •rt P^ 1—1 fH 0 B & o 0 •H 13 p p p Dl fH o 0 ^ o CO -C p P CO fH o CO CO >, ^ ^ CO o CO X3 C (It o o CO p >i rH rH Si CO -o 0 •o o P c o ?s CO rH p CO o 0 •H o p 0 Sh p fH M p P CO fH s o 0 &. o 1^ T3 p -P p •H CO CO & rH 0 =H a. p rH o CO E l—f X3 o CO •H fH tJi tp >J CD •H rH r-l fH CD p' ,a o s c CO CO CD 4-J fH O o 0) 0 c p p +J CO CD CO a, CD "O i-H rH P CO E! CD -H 0 o .a fH rH p
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53 warrant distinction, and the term "hills" is used to emphasize the difference from the extremely flat prairie land. The Grand Prairie boundary is largely determined by following the line where the flat prairie land begins to break or fall away as rolling land. This line also delineates a change in land use that will be analyzed in detail in the following chapter. It was previously stated that if any one single physical phenomenon were selected for the meaningful delineation of the Grand Prairie, it would be topography. More specifically, it would be the delineation along this line of "prairie breaks" that mark the boundary between the physiographic regions of flat prairie land and loessal hills. Figure 11 is a view of such a boundary area at the edge of the Prairie where the flat prairie land begins to break Into the gentle rolls of the loessal hills. Figure 12 shows an area where the term "hills" is perhaps more apropos. The loessal hills physiographic region is most extensive on the north and east boundaries of the Grand Prairie (Figure 7). The White River, a mature river, drains a much larger area than the Grand Prairie region. Its floodplain is lower than the terrace and lower than the beds of other prairie streams such as Lagrue Bayou and Bayou Meto, the west boundary. Because of the more rapid change in elevation on the east, the prairie streams have more maturely dissected the area. White River Prairie and Sassafras Prairie are set apart from the Grand Prairie by areas of low rolling hills.

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54 Figure 11. View at the Prairie edge. The flat prairie land off to the right gives way to the gently undulating loessal hills Topographic changes are subtle and must be observed with a trained eye. Figure 12. Loessal hills. These regions of sloping lands form the fringes of the Prairie terrace, particularly to the east and north of the Grand Prairie where the White River has caused tributary streams to steepen their gradients and accelerate the degr adati onal processes.

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55 Similarly separated is Little Prairie in the southeast. The topography with the most mature development and greatest local relief is found in the east-central portion of the region trending northwest from White River Prairie. The once flat terrace between Bayou Lagrue and White River has been stream dissected until now it is a mass of low hills lying between the 2 streams, marked on the east by the bluffs. It is this area that best befits the term "loessal hills." It merges in the north with the less pronounced hill land associated with Wattensaw Bayou, Although the hills are not completely developed in loess, it is, nevertheless, the loess layer on top that so strongly characterizes the topography. "Loessal hills" seems the most fitting title for the physiographic region despite it not being all loess and much of it not consisting of true hills. The more sloping portions are locally referred to as hills, and the meaning was expanded to include rolling land for this study. There are in numerous instances small flat areas among the interfluves in the loessal hills physiographic region that evidently mark the original terrace surface. In such sites conditions closely resemble the conditions on the Prairie itself. The land is very flat, poorly drained locally, and possesses a clay pan. Land use on these relatively small particles of land also tend to resemble uses of the Prairie rather than loessal hill type land use. They are, in truth,

PAGE 66

56 small islands of Prairie, but because of the necessity for meaningful simplicity they must be included in the loessal hills physiographic region. It was interesting to note that in talking with local residents there were some who had misconceptions of the physiography of the Grand Prairie. Most realized that the flat prairie was bordered by hills, particularly on the east. But to some, hills were associated with height, and the impression that jelled was a basin or saucer-like prairie with higher hills surrounding. Actually the Prairie is the high terrace in the center, and the hills are found on the periphery where the Prairie breaks toward lower river alluvial lands. Soils Another physical characteristic that aids in the delineation of the Grand Prairie is soil type. Soil boundaries correspond closely with the topographic boundaries just described and also reflect the original vegetation patterns. Figure 13 is a general soil map of the Grand Prairie region. It shows soil associations on the Grand Prairie and in the immediate environs. Eighteen soil associations have been mapped by the Soil Conservation Service in the Prairie portions of the 4 Arkansas counties involved (103). Descriptions of the soil associations are presented in Appendix I. The 18 soil associations are divided by the writer -into 4 categories for purposes of this study. The general con-

PAGE 67

THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAiRlE SOIL ASSOCIATIONS PRAIRIE SOILS ;F: ;| CROWLEY STUTTGART PRAIRIE mmE SOILS FREELANCKHATCHIE ACADIA HENRY MUSWSiei-^ PWBELAMD MUSKOGEE ACADIA ACADIA WRIGHTSVILLE SL0PIN6 BORDERLAND SOILS GRENADA GORE ACADIA GRENADA CALLOWAY HENRY L0RIN6 GRENADA BALLC^ GENERAL SOIL MAP BOTTOMLAND SOILS C7 WAVERLY FALAYA COLLINS FALAYA WAVERLY HEBERTGALLION PERRYPORTLAND OVERCUP DUNDEE DUNDEE SHARKEY MHOON SHARKEY SHARKEY ALLUVIAL SOIL UNDIFFERENTIATED MILES SOURCE : SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE CORBET 1965 Figure 13

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58 forralty of the soil patterns on Figure 13 with the patterns outlined thus far by vegetation and topography is readily observable. As stated previously, however, the boundary of the Grand Prairie as shown is to some extent a compromise boundary. No 2 criteria will coincide 100 percent, and so it Is with soils. Some soil boundaries coincide almost perfectly with the Prairie boundary while other soil associations may be partly on the Prairie and partly off of it. The latter is the exception, however, despite the multiplicity of criteria used to delineate the Prairie. Soil differences are largely due to vegetation and topographic variables. It should be added that soil boundaries are not infallible and are subject to change with more detailed survey. Moreover, the boundaries of soil associations which are shown are of necessity generalized. Prairie Soils The one outstanding soil association identifiable with the Prairie is the Crowl ey-Stuttgart association. These soils are almost exclusively on the Prairie. They are developed in relatively thin layers of loess 5 inches to 5 feet thick overlying clay. Being level and underlain by the clay pan, commonly at depths of 12 to 18 inches, these soils are poorly drained, especially so in the case of the Grand Prairie phase of the association. These prairie soils developed under natural grass, primarily because of moisture conditions. The soils were thought

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59 inferior by early settlers, who favored the forested lands for clearing and cropping. The settlers were partly right. The prairie soils are not noted for their fertility and certainly do not compare in inherent productivity with the rich alluvial soils of the Mississippi floodplain, or so called "delta land." Prairie soils have only a medium amount of organic matter and are low in nitrogen. Phosphorous content is low and potash is very low. Upon drying out, most of the prairie soils are light colored in contrast to the darker alluvial soils, including those along the limited bayou bottomlands. In interviews farmers frequently referred to the prairie soils as "white soils." After decades of neglect and minimum use, the introduction of rice in 1904 caused the prairie soils to be turned and planted. It was discovered that the soils were not as infertile as supposed and that drainage and liming had significant beneficial results. Still later, more refined fertilization techniques have compensated for deficiencies in phosphorous, potash, and nitrogen. Nitrogen continues to be the critical element, as rice uses large amounts. The farmers' fertilization programs are geared to getting needed nitrogen to the rice at the proper time. Fertilization tech niques and benefits are discussed in Chapter IV. Originally acid, prairie soils have acquired a new problem, alkalinity. Years of rice irrigation have raised the pH from about 5.5 to around 6.5 to 7.0 over much of the Prairie. Some areas range up to 8.0. Well water from cal-

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60 careous deposits contain small amounts of calcium and magnesium. Under ordinary use the small concentration would be insignificant, but year after year of irrigation which necessitates water standing on the land for long periods at a time has caused a rise in the pH of the soil. Rice is very sensitive to alkalinity, and this soil change is a physical condition that must be considered as a problem in the economic use of the land. Rice production on the Grand Prairie is discussed in Chapter IV. Prairie Fringe Soils This category of soil associations is devised to include those soils that form a peripheral fringe around the prairie and those associations which have portions on and off the Prairie. They have some characteristics similar to the prairie soils. Boundaries between soil associations are seldom sharp, and there is overlapping between the associations as apparent in the names. The Prairie boundary, derived largely from field observation in conjunction with topographic maps and aerial photographs, cuts across some of those soil groupings. The significant finding, however, lies not in the few instances where the Prairie boundary cuts across the soil boundaries but rather in how remarkably little this occurs. It is quite difficult to separate some of these fringe soils in the field from the prairie soils. The writer knows from first hand experience, having engaged in some sample coring with the soil scientist in the area (111).

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61 An attempt was made to list the soil associations in a sequence of decreasing similarity in characteristics. That is, the Fr eel and-Hatchi e association is most close in characteristics to the Crowl ey-Stuttgart prairie soils. From Figure 13 it is seen that the Freel and-Hatchi e association has the largest area Included within the Prairie boundary other than the Crowley-Stuttgart association. Even so, it encompasses only about 5 percent of the Prairie compared to the Crowley-Stuttgart association's approximately 90 percent. The other 5 percent consists of small segments of the other 4 associations included in the prairie fringe soils category. Of the 5j the Acadi a-Wri ghtsvl 1 1 e association least resembles the prairie soils. All of these soils are similar to the prairie soils in being developed on terraces of loess or silt loams over silty clays and clays. In general they are slightly lower in elevation than adjacent prairie soils, slightly more sloping, and consequently somewhat better drained. The loess and silt layers are more disturbed by fluvial processes than are the prairie soils, in both erosion and deposition. Perhaps the greatest difference between the prairie fringe soils and the prairie soils is that unlike the prairie soils they developed under timber rather than grass. Just as they are fringe-like as soils they were also originally fringe-like in vegetation, where woodlands fringed the grasses. Most of the area occupied by these soils is outside the Prairie boundary, not within. Only those portions most

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62 possessing Prairie characteristics seem to have been cleared and cultivated like the Prairie. Earlier in the chapter the present Prairie boundary was described as including an area larger than the area of original prairie grass and why this was so. This is true mostly in the northern part of the Prairie, and it is thus likewise in the north where the largest area of prairie fringe soils are included within the boundaries of the Grand Prairie. Sloping Borderland Soils The sloping borderland soils are in general those geographically between the Prairie fringe soils and the bottomland soils along the streams. They coincide closely with the physiographic region of loessal hills, although some of the prairie fringe soils also belong to the loessal hills physiographic region. It is a matter of degree. As the fringe areas Increase in slope away from the Prairie and thus no longer likely to "fringe" the Prairie, the soils change. The loessal hills physiographic region overlaps the 2 soils categories the prairie fringe soils and the sloping borderland soils. All of these associations have considerable variants among themselves, making sequence listing not altogether satisfactory. Nevertheless, it is useful and is considered by the writer as the most meaningful way of analysis The sloping borderland soils are found in that part of the terrace undergoing most active stream dissection where the waterholdlng clay pan has been destroyed. Drainage is much

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63 improved and is particularly good in the Grenada soils along the White River bluffs. Most of these soils seem to have developed in deep beds of loess and silt. The pattern of relative thin loess over impervious clay that is found on the Prairie disappears. It is difficult to ascertain if depositions were different in these regions than on the Prairie. Were loess and silt deposits much deeper, and was there no clay pan? Or is it that the streams have dissected the clay and silt beds to the extent that the near impervious clay pan lost its identity? Exposure to the air, temperature contrasts, and accelerated wetting and drying would certainly bring changes to subsurface deposits. Years of weathering could alter the exposed layers to give them little resemblance to characteristics they might maintain if continued subsurface. In any case, if water can drain sufficiently laterally, effects of a clay pan will be minimized. Road cuts and stream cuts in the east-central part of the region where these soils are prevalent give good vertical gradations that are not as easily seen in well cuttings or soil borings. In such cases light colored silty clay that occurs at many places at the surface and overlies darker sediments grades downward into the darker material without any sharp division. This gradation suggests that there was continuity in the deposition between the different colored sediments and that the color change is the result of weathering (44, p. 15).

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64 Sllty clay beds that form a slowly pervious to impervious pan when overlain by loess may not be so distinct when exposed themselves. At any rate, the sloping borderland soils are developed in deep silty loess, albeit that depositions were different or that material changes have occurred to the sediments exposed en th© ©dges of th© iPtaisl©. Where the surface is flat enough these soils are often planted to rice and soybeans. Sloping areas are frequently in pasture and much is still in woodland. They do not have the alkaline problem of the prairie soils and in fact follow the tendency in the whole region toward natural acidity. Liming is frequently necessary. Bottomland Soils The bottomland soil group includes 9 soil associations, more than any other group. The alluvial lands have many variants, depending upon frequency of overflow, source of water, and nature of the runoff area that supplies sediments. The first 2 associations, numbers 10 and 11 on Figure 13, are alluvial soils found along narrow strips of bayou bottomlands that penetrate into the heart of the Prairie. The Waverly, Falaya, and Collins soils are the first bottom soils encountered at the head of the streams. The bayous have not cut deeply into the Prairie surface, and being near the headwaters of the streams the soils are less subject to frequent overflow. Sediments that wash down are from soils developed entirely in loess. These soils might be thought of as bottom-

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65 land loess. They tend to be acid and somewhat poorly drained and coincide with the fingers of woodlands on the Prairie. Soil associations numbers 12 and 13 occupy Arkansas River terraces of relatively recent deposits. They are subject to overflow from smaller streams as well as the Arkansas River, principally Bayou Meto. They are fine textured and consist of stratified sands, silts, silty clays, and silty clay loams. The Hebert-Gallion association is at a slightly higher elevation than the Perry-Portland association and is less frequently overflowed. The Hebert-Gallion soils are the main agricultural lands in the bottomlands along the western borders of the Grand Prairie. The next 4 associations, numbers 14, 15, 16, and 17, are all associated with White River overflow. They are deep, poorly drained, slowly permeable, level and undulating bottomland soils. In general, and in order listed, there are decreasing amounts of silty loams and sandy loams and increasing clays. Most areas are subject to frequent overflow and are practically all timbered. Portions that are less frequent to overflow are sometimes planted to cotton and soybeans. The last association. Alluvial Soils Undifferentiated, are recent bottomland soils subject to frequent overflow from the Arkansas and White rivers. The sediments are mixtures of fine to coarse textured silts and clays and are subject to change by erosion and deposition with each flooding. If the Arkansas River is high and the White River is low, Arkansas

PAGE 76

66 River water and related sediments dominate. If the Arkansas is low and the "White is high, much of the same area would be inundated by the White River and receive its sediments. Practically all of this area is timbered. A few higher elevations are used for pastures and some scattered soybeans. Other Physical Characteristics There are other physical characteristics concerning the Grand Prairie that aid in understanding the region but do not, however, serve as criteria for the delineation of the Prairie, as do natural vegetation, topography, and soils. Principal among these are climate, drainage, and ground water. The water situation, both ground water and surface water, has been designated as a major aspect of this study and is discussed in Chapter V. Climate The Grand Prairie is located in the humid subtropical climate with long hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures seldom rise above 98°F and rarely fall to 0°F. The January mean is 44°F. and the July mean is 82*'F., an annual mean range of 38°F. Figure 14 is a climatic graph for Stuttgart, Arkansas, in the heart of the Grand Prairie. There is no appreciable difference in climate over the Grand Prairie because of the flat topography and absence of water bodies large enough to effect climatic changes. The climate of the Grand Prairie

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67 HWl-irJ'H'-lrH.-lr-l

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68 is not unlikethe climate of the surrounding coastal plain of which it is a part. The cold is more penetrating than in less humid regions to the west, but excessively cold weather is exceptional and of short duration. The ground seldom freezes to a depth exceeding 4 inches. Seasonal changes are gradual. The high humidity makes for sultry days in the summer. The growing season is approximately 225 days in length. The mean date for the last killing frost in the spring is April 24, and the first in the fall is November 4 (58, p. 4). The annual rainfall at Stuttgart of about 52 inches is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. There is a slight tendency towards dryness in late summer and fall, which aids the rice harvest. Precipitation is largely convectional in summer and cyclonic in winter. Spring and summer thunderstorms are common and often are torrential. These heavy rains are welcomed in spring and early summer and greatly aid in irrigation, by both putting water on the fields and replenishing sagging reservoirs. After one of these storms water can be observed and heard spilling over rice dikes and irrigation and drainage ditch gates. Such high energy storms later in the growing season may do considerable damage by downing heavily laden rice. Winter rains are less vigorous but prevail for longer periods, as is common with frontal type activity. Total winter rainfall is greater than summer, January being the month of maximum rainfall. Cyclones traveling in the prevailing

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69 westerlies shift farther southward in the winter, and dull days of gloomy skies and slow rains are common. In summer, the westerlies shift northward causing the cyclones to abandon the Grand Prairie and warm moist air from the Gulf to dominate the region, giving birth to numerous turbulent noisy thunderstorms. Agriculture on the Grand Prairie is so geared to irrigation that the farmers do not depend on favorable timing of rainfall for crops. Total rainfall, however, is critical, and a dry winter means starting the crop season with dangeroursly low irrigation reservoirs. Drainage The terra "drainage" is perhaps an oversimplification of water movement on the Grand Prairie. As much water is moved onto the land as off of the land. Inherently, however, the water problem was one of drainage. Since very little water can percolate through the clay pan, precipitation must be disposed of either by evapotransplration or runoff. The flat topography of the unbroken terrace results in sluggish drainage. Only around the margins of the terrace, where the flat surface is broken into the loessal hills, is drainage good. Some gullying, absent on the prairie, is found in these areas of greater slope. River and bayou bottomlands are also poorly drained and much is inundated each year. Some areas on the original prairie, ranging in size

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70 from a few acres to several square miles, were swampy. Normally these were the timber islands. After prolonged rains the grass areas, too, were likely to be waterlogged. Nuttall, in his early travel through the areas described the surface as sheets of water after rains (3, p. 110), Two factors have all but eliminated the drainage problem on the Grand Prairie. Drainage ditches criss-cross the Prairie as fences do in New England. The ditches also serve for transport of irrigation water, and water can be moved onto or off the fields at will. The other factor negating the drainage problem is the construction of reservoirs. Surface water has become so necessary in the scheme of Grand Prairie agriculture that the problem now is not to get rid of the water but to hold it. Surface runoff stays on the fields but a short time before it is in a ditch, and not in a ditch very long until it is in a reservoir. Later, at the proper time, it will be returned to the fields. Water is so sought after that much of it never reaches the principal bayous that drain the region. It is trapped andpumped into some farmer's reservoir, or it may be impounded behind. a small dam on the bayou itself. A number of such reservoir dams along a stream will literally stop the flow until the reservoirs are filled and the water allowed to pass. Formerly, a summer thunderstorm would cause a bayou to become a temporary torrent. But now a few miles downstream

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71 a drop of water may not pass to indicate the occurrence of a storm. The rainfall is gobbled up as if by a great dry sponge. Most of the bayous have a tendency toward intermittenancy anyway. The reservoirs now accentuate their dry peri ods . The most permanent stream on the Prairie is the lower part of Lagrue Bayou, fed by seepage springs. Other surface waters of the region seem effectively cut off from any ground water inflow by the underlying clay. Lagrue Bayou and its major tributary, Little Lagrue Bayou, afford the principal drainage of the Prairie. Other streams of note are Mill Bayou, Two Prairie Bayou, Big Creek, and Cypress Creek. Wattensaw Bayou drains and bounds the region on the north. Bayou Meto and White River are boundary streams and drain only marginal areas directly. The Grand Prairie is divided almost down the middle between the Arkansas River and the White River watersheds. Bayou Meto flows into the Arkansas and Lagrue Bayou empties into the White. Both rivers join the Mississippi some 20 miles southeast of the Prairie's southern tip. A cut-off interchange between the Arkansas and the White rivers marks the Arkansas County line and delimits the area mapped.

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CHAPTER III LAND USE Introduction The Grand Prairie, despite its original distinction based on physical characteristics, is best known today as a cultural manifestation. The region is essentially recognized as a distinct areal unit because of its land use. It is considered thus by its inhabitants and would probably be so considered by most geographers. Background The Grand Prairie is today a land of rice, soybeans, and reservoirs. But present land use is a relatively recent development, as early settlement in the general area of the Grand Prairie left the Prairie proper as a great void. First use of the Prairie was open grazing. At the early settlement of Arkansas Post apparently the only use put to the Prairie was to allow cattle to range freely. Occasional salt or corn was put out in order not to lose the animals completely. Otherwise, the cattle received no care or fodder and apparently provided for themselves through the winter. 72

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7 3 They were hunted up and killed as needed, usually without benefi.t of any stall fattening (3, p. 113). Later, as settlement intensified, the potential of the native bluestem grasses for grazing and hay was better utilized. Ry the 1800's the livestock industry was widespread over the Prairie. Both beef and dairy animals were important with beef predominating, Arkansas County, occupying the greater portion of the Prairie, became noted as a beef producing county and prior to the introduction of rice led the state in cattle production. When rice was successfully grown in 1904 and it became apparent that the Prairie was suitable for crops as well as cattle, cattle lost their absolute advantage. Rice proved to be especially suited to the Grand Prairie, The impervious clay pan and the flat topography were ideal for rice irrigation. Oats and lespedeza were found suitable also and fit well into the rotation plan with rice. Soybeans have now replaced all oth6r crops as second in importance to rice. Measured in acreage, soybeans are the most common crop on the Prairie. As crops were introduced and found satisfactory, cattle began to diminish in importance. The Grand Prairie experience a major shift in land use as grazing land gave way to cropland Particularly was the change noted on the better land of the region. Cattle disappeared first from the land most suitable for rice and held out longest on land the least suitable for any crops. Wet lands and sloping lands not suited to irriga-

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74 tion supported grazing long after cattle ceased to be the major source of farm income in the region, and that pattern holds true today. The distribution of cropland and pastureland on the Grand Prairie receives major emphasis in this study and is one of the methods used to delineate the Grand Prairie. Delineation of the Grand Prairie on the Basis of Land Use Initial investigation indicateda close correlation between land use on the Grand Prairie and the physical criteria used to delineate the Prairie. It is the objective of this chapter to show that the Grand Prairie can be delineated using land use as the sole criterion and thus illustrate that close relationship. A generalized land use map is presented for the entire Grand Prairie and immediate environs. Aerial photograph indices of the counties with a scale of 1 inch to 1 mile were used as the base. Aerial photograph interpretation was checked during 2 summers of field work. Changes after the 1958 photographs were taken were brought up to date by field observation. Only minor changes were required and mostly involved reservoir additions. In order to make possible a more detailed study of the use of land, a traverse was made across a representative portion of the region. The particular traverse was selected because it includes good examples of all major uses of land in the region and includes portions of all soil groupings, vegetative types, and physiographic regions.

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75 Boundaries that delineate land uses in the Grand Prairie region are strikingly similar to delimitation boundaries based on physical criteria. The general land use map illustrates this well, and the detailed analysis land use traverse bears it out in detail. In addition to aerial photograph interpretation, observations in the field, and personal interviews, it was deemed desirable to present statistical substantiation to the delineations. This was done by utilizating sample plot data from the National Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation Needs. Generalized Land Use The area for analysis includes all the land as outlined in Chapter I lying between the White River and Bayou Meto. This includes the Grand Prairie and enough fringing nonpralrie land to show any contrasting patterns of land use between the two. Familiarization with the area indicated the practicality of mapping 5 generalized land use divisions. They are (1) cropland, (2) mixed cropland-pastureland, (3) woodland, (4) reservoirs, and (5) towns and other non-farm built-up areas. Figure 15 is a generalized land use map and delimits these 5 divisions. The section selected for the traverse is also i llustrated. Cropland is defined as land that is almost exclusively used for the major crops of the area rice, soybeans, lespedeza, and oats. Fields are large, regular in shape, and un-

PAGE 86

MILES CORBET 1965 Figure 15

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77 broken by trees. Crops are rotated without pasture or fallow normally entering the rotation scheme. Isolated examples of pasture or fallow land are possible but certainly are the exception, and the few such plots are too small for cartographic presentation. Less than 2 percent of the land could be classified as either pasture or fallow (Table 1). The division of mixed cr op 1 and p as t ur el and Includes considerably more pastureland than found in the cropland division. It would be misleading to say that 2 percent pastureland is the breaking point between the 2 divisions of cropland and mixed cropland-pastureland. The change is not a gradual one but is quite marked and readily observable in the field. Actually, the proportion of the land in pasture in this division is generally about half. It is seldom less than a third and sometimes is three-fourths and more. The point stressed is that in the Grand Prairie region the division between these 2 land use divisions is not merely a statistical one but one that is observable on the site. The pronounced change In land use Is due largely to topographic change. It is, indeed, one of the significant findings of the land use study. Woodl and also is a marked and distinct land use in the region. Much of it is dense unbroken bottomland forest. There are areas, however, where the separation of woodland and mixed cropland-pastureland as divisions of land use is not as distinct. Some wooded areas are pastured or show evidence

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78 of having once been pastured. Such areas were for the most part field-checked and the distinction made for the individual case. Reservoirs are so numerous on the Grand Prairie as to constitute a significant use of the land. In few places of such size does reservoir impoundment occupy such a large proportion of the total area. Reservoirs are important in many places, but in the Grand Prairie their total areal extent is of special note. Predominance of Cropland From Figure 15 it is evident that cropland dominates the Prairie proper. The area delimited as cropland is for all practical purposes the same area as the Grand Prairie delineated by topography in Figure 7, corresponding almost exactly with the physiographic region of flat prairie land. Land use is seen, therefore, as an effective criterion for the delineation of the Grand Prairie. This, of course, is not unexpected as definite geographic relationships are present . When the original grass was turned on the flat prairie land it was discovered, somewhat surprisingly to many, that crops could be grown. The clay pan underlying the grass, and a cause of the grass, made rice growing particularly attractive. The flat land required few levees, and the clay pan confined the water to the surface. Rice acreage rapidly expanded and other crops were introduced into the rotation. The flat land favors the use of large machinery, and rice

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79 Itself is highly susceptible to mechanization. Fields tend to be large and are largely unbroken by trees or by natural drainage lines. Cropland is obviously favored as a use of the land on the Grand Prairie. Where the conditions change at the edge of the flat prairie land conditions that encourage the dominance of cropland also change. As the flat prairie surface slopes away into low undulating hills, large fields are less possible and machinery is less favored. The all important waterholding clay pan loses its effectiveness. The sloping land requires more rice dikes and water lift. Thus it is not surprising that the use of the land changes. The land use change from cropland to mixed croplandpastureland is strikingly marked by the physiographic change from flat prairie land to the surrounding loessal hills. Generalized land use patterns are almost the same as the physiographic regions of Figure 7, although constructed independently. In the areas of mixed cropland-pastureland the fields tend to be smaller and more irregular than in the cropland division, since they are often broken by trees and streams. Pastures are in many areas more common than crops. The pastures and the fields are interspersed and are often rotated. Idle land is more common than in the cropland division. Figure 16 is an aerial photograph of a portion of the Grand Prairie region. The location of the photograph is keyed on Figure 15, and it should be noted that the particular

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80 Figure 16. Vertical view of a portion of the Grand Prairie. This photograph is keyed to the generalized land use map (Figure 15) and shows areas representing the 3 major land use divisions: (I) Cropland, (II) Mixed CroplandPastureland, and (III) Woodland. Thick woodlands dominate along the course of Lagrue Bayou, woodlands are broken in the mixed cr op 1 and -p as t ur el and division, and trees are essentially absent from the cropland division. Note the levees that follow contours in the large rice fields on the Prairie.

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81 photograph was selected because it illustrates areas in the 3 major land use divisions. The boundary lines separating the generalized land uses on Figure 15 are transposed to the photograph. A study of the photograph and the boundaries thereon will give an insight into the degree of generalization necessary in preparing the generalized land use map. More detail is impra^ical in mapping such a large area. Pastureland is not mapped as a category of its own. In a few hilly areas around the fringe of the Prairie pasture almost completely displaces cropland, but in most areas it is a mixture pasture and cropland interspersed. Individual pastures and crop fields are too small to show cartogr aphi cal ly when preparing land use patterns for the entire region. Since that is not feasible it is best to combine the 2 and depict the category as mixed cropland-pastureland. The large rectangular fields of the cropland division in the southwestern half of the photograph show strong contrast to the smaller fields and pastures of the mixed cropland-pastureland division. The change is marked enough to be observed on this photograph and is usually so in the field. There are, of course, areas in the region where the boundary is less distinct and can not so readily be determined. The writer field-checked most boundaries and not a few were changed a number of times finally to settle on an uneasy compromise. Many of the secondary roads on this photograph, and throughout the region, were traveled in order to delimit land use boundaries when photography was Inconclusive.

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82 Besides the smaller sizes of the fields which help to differentiate the area of the mixed cr op 1 and-p as t ur el and division on aerial photography, the broken patterns of trees are also excellent clues. It was found that scattered trees are almost always indicative of pastures. Linear patterns of trees on the other hand usually coincide with drainage lines and fences. The closer drainage network in this division Indicates more sloping land and less suitability to crops. Fence lines are other indicators of pasture. It should be apparent from the photograph that much of the mixed croplandpastureland was originally wooded and only the vestiges of the forests remain. In contrast to the open cropland division which coincides with the original prairie. It was, and still is, essentially treeless. Figures 17 and 18 are ground views of representative examples of the cropland and mixed cropland-pastureland divisions of land use. They were both taken in areas that appear on the aerial photograph, and their view perspectives are keyed on Figure 16. The flat treeless cropland with its large fields in Figure 17 contrasts both from the air and the ground with the more sloping, partially wooded, smaller fields of the mixed cropland-pastureland division. In the cropland division crops are almost exclusively rice, soybeans, and lespedeza. Some oats are fall planted and followed in the summer with soybeans. Cotton Is conspicuously missing, as is corn. on

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83 Figure 17. Ground view of cropland. The large flat fields stretch unbroken to the treeline along Lagrue Bayou. Figure 18. Ground view of mixed croplandpastureland. Slopes, drainage lines, and trees break fields into smaller sizes, discouraging rice and encouraging pasture. View perspective of Figure 17 and 18 are keyed on Figure 16.

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84 In the mixed cropland-pastureland division rice and soybeans are still important, although rice loses its preeminence and is found only on the most select sites. Cotton and corn emerge as Important crops but are grown on a small scale. The more sloping portions are almost exclusively pasture. Woodlands along Bayous Woodland in the Grand Prairie region has historically been limited largely to the river and bayou bottomlands and timber islands on the Prairie. Again the land use map resembles the physiographic map, the woodland patterns corresponding with the bottomlands. Woodlands are also found in the loessal hills, however. As described in Chapter II, woodlands probably originally extended farther from the bottomlands out onto the Prairie. They certainly covered more of the loessal hills than they do today. Compare Figures 3 and 15. The mixed cropland-pastureland areas are believed to have been almost completely forested, with only pockets of grassland interspersed on ideal sites. Fringes of the area included within the present Grand Prairie boundary were likewise interspersed with woodlands. The vestiges of woodlands are almost completely erased from those fringe cropland areas. Vestiges are still present, however, in the mixed croplandpastureland areas, and they continue to dominate completely the wooded bottomlands. These patterns are clearly visible on aerial photography (Figure 16).

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85 The scattered tracts of woodland in the mixed croplandpastureland division are for the most part used for pasture if only partially, part time, or even haphazardly. If the woodlands are not pastured and are large enough cartographically, they are shown on the generalized land use map not as mixed cropland-pastureland but as woodland. The woodlands along the bayous occupy land that is low and often unsuited for agriculture. Practically all potential cropland on the flat prairie land has been cleared, and the wooded bayous represent sharp contrasts in land use when they are found penetrating deeply into the Prairie itself. Figure 8 was used to illustrate the physiography of the region; but it can be used just as effectively to illustrate land use, in this case contrasting the cropland on the Prairie with woodland along the bayous. Most woodland has been cut over. It is practically all hardwood, or at least deciduous. Oak, hickory, elm, box elder, and gum are common. Many cottonwoods and some cypress are found along the bayous. Coniferous trees are conspicuously absent, and the only evergreen is the holly. Much of the woodland is flooded each year, some naturally, some purposely. Woodland intentionally flooded in the fall is a great attraction for ducks. Woodlands thus used bring income to the farmers in hunting fees. It is as much a use of the water resource as it is of woodland, however, and this aspect of woodland use is reserved for Chapter V.

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86 With a familiarity of the 3 major land use divisions and a knowledge of the geographic bases for each, the reader is directed to Figure 19. Figure 19 is a photo-mosaic of the entire Grand Prairie and surroundings. It is much too small a scale for anything approaching detailed interpretation, and that is not its purpose. The mosaic, when used by the writer, was almost 8 feet high and was on a scale of 1 inch equals 1 mile. It served as a base for maps and was taken into the field in sections as an aid in land use analysis. Major surface features were readily observed, and the delimitations of the Grand Prairie were even apparent in some areas . Too large for insertion into the dissertation and too small a scale for practical use if reduced, the mosaic seemed to have no use in the final product. But photographed and reduced to page size, some of its most observable patterns are still discernible. It is presented here so that this satellite's eye view may add something to the reader's grasp of the region. Arrows are used to indicate the boundaries of the Grand Prairie so that a solid heavy line would not overshadow more subtle patterns. Comparing the mosaic with the generalized land use map, the Prairie is most distinguishable in the southern portions where it contrasts with the wide expanses of woodlands along the White River, Arkansas River, and Bayou Meto. In the north the Prairie limits are less easily differentiated by aerial photography. Lagrue Bayou and Mill Bayou are Identified by their wooded

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Figure 19. Photo-mosaic of the entire Grand Prairie region. Land use differentiations are apparent even at this scale, especially in the south where bordering bottomland woodlands offer contrast.

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88

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89 bottomlands. Little Prairie is easily detected. But can White River Prairie and Sassafras Prairie be identified? The mixed cropl and-pastureland division frequently "fuzzes" the demarcation between the cropland division and the woodland division. Reservoirs as a Ma.jor Use of Land Water resources are vital to the economy of the Grand Prairie. With the partial depletion of ground water resources, reservoirs are apparently the farmers' solution to an increasingly difficult water problem. Reservoirs play such an important part in the economy of the region that they are given major emphasis In this study. The needs, types, construction, costs, and multiple uses of reservoirs are discussed in Chapter V. At this point, however, the major patterns of reservoir distribution can be analyzed. Reservoirs range in size from less than an acre to more than 1,000 acres. The majority of them are in the 20to 40acre size. The smallest reservoirs depicted on Figure 15 are slightly enlarged for cartographic purposes. Reservoirs smaller than 10 acres are not shown. A noteworthy feature of the reservoir distribution is the concentration along the bayous, particularly the larger reservoirs. They are also congregated in the former timbered islands. Such is the case northeast of Stuttgart where the old timber islands of Lost Island and Maple Island are now practically all water Impoundments. Compare the location of

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90 these reservoirs with the original vegetation depicted on Figure 3. Vestiges of woodlands are still seen around the reservoirs, but their once irregular pattern has been cut and blocked until now the fields, reservoirs, and timber stands form rectangular patterns. Practically all land sultabl© for erops has bi©tt olKsued from gueh iilands. Remaining woodland is likely to be leveed and flooded into new reservoirs. A second reservoir pattern of note on Figure 15 is that the distribution is uneven over the region. Most are on the cropland division or on the bayou dissections that are deep within the cropland division. There are relatively few reservoirs on the mixed cropland-pastureland division, where in fact good reservoir sites are more numerous. The pattern verifies the fact that on the Grand Prairie reservoirs are built where the water is needed, regardless of site. Thirdly, the distribution of reservoirs on the cropland division is also uneven. This also follows the principle of need. The water problem is not uniform over the Prairie. Dropping water tables and well failures are most pronounced in a great elongated oval-shaped area trending southeast from Stuttgart (Figure 42). This is considered the core of the Prairie and was probably the largest unbroken area of natural grassland in the region. Heavy rice irrigation is carried on, and the immediate area offers few surface streams to supplement well water. Most farmers in this portion of the Prairie have had to install reservoirs or put down deep wells. Fig-

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91 ure 15 bears out that many of those reservoirs have had to occupy cropland. Detailed Analysis of Land Use To show a more detailed analysis of land use on a representative portion of the region, a traverse was favored over scattered samples because of its ability to show better a continuity of patterns and pattern changes with topographic changes . The area selected for the traverse is indicated on Figure 15. It is centered on the town of Alrayra, a rural community of 240 population. Stretching east and west across the entire region from the White River to Bayou Meto, the traverse covers a distance of 30 miles and has a width of 3 miles. The total area of about 80 square miles is about 6 percent of the entire region. The 3-mlle-wide traverse gives a better visual impression of land use patterns than would several narrow traverses at separated locations. The traverse crosses a truly representative portion of the region. All 3 major land use divisions are included: (1) cropland, (2) mixed cr opl and-p as t ur el and , and (3) woodland, plus numerous reservoirs. The cross-section was selected to illustrate best the contrasting land uses in the 3 physiographic regions: (1) flat prairie land, (2) loessal hills, and (3) river and bayou bottomlands as depicted on Figure 7. It also crosses what is locally considered to be the heart of the Grand Prairie, actually one of the largerundissected portions of the flat prairie land southeast of Stuttgart.

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92 Good examples of reservoir types are covered large and small, woodland and cropland. A Cross-Section of the Grand Prairie Region The traverse is shown 5 times: (1) Figure 20 topographic Map, (2) Figure 21 Aerial Photography, (3) Figure 22 Detailed Analysis Land Uses, (4) Figure 23 Generalized Land Use Divisions, and (5) Figure 24 Operating Farm Units (All in pocket ) . The aerial photography is taken from 1958 photograph index sheets of Arkansas County used by the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (100). The photographs were used for the base map in checking land use. Land use was mapped in the field, each plot being sighted visually. Photo interpretation was used for guide purposes only. There was remarkably little change in land use in the 5-year interval between the date of the photography and the time of the field survey in the summer of 1963, reflecting the stability of land use in the region. The only difference, and not a significant one, is the relative position of rice fields. Rice is rotated with usually a field in rice 1 year and in other crops 2 years, or possibly in 2 years and out 2 years. Rice merely moves about over the developed riceland of a farm exchanging places for the most part with soybeans. The overall pattern is not different from year to year. This shifting of rice from one field to another each season can

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93 be seen on an individual farm basis. A sample farm was selected and this aspect is illustrated further in Chapter IV. The most noteworthy point revealed by the detailed land use traverse is its confirmation of the generalized land use divisions. The 3 major divisions are remarkably distinct on th© traverse, ©specially the cropland division. The cropland division coincides very closely with the flat prairie land, indicating a close relationship between land use and topography. The large regular shaped fields stand out on Figure 22 as the most readily observable pattern of the Prairie proper. They also stand out on the aerial photography (Figure 21). In much of the region it is possible to approximate^ the Prairie boundary by merely delimiting these areas ol large fields. It is especially true In the southern part of the region where the large areas of bottomland forests offer strong contrast. Comparing the detailed analysis land uses traverse (Figure 22) with the generalized land use map (Figure 15) and the physiographic map (Figure 7), the large fields on the traverse are seen to reveal White River Prairie in the east and the Grand Prairie in the west. The northern fringe of Sassafras Prairie appears between the two on the southern edge of the traverse at and around position 18-A (Figure 22). The woodlands correspond to the river and bayou bottomland physiographic regions along White River, Lagrue Bayou, Little Lagrue Bayou, and a small area along Bayou Meto. The mixed

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94 cr op 1 a nd -p a s t ur e 1 a n d division (Figure 23) coincides with the loessa.l hills and is most apparent in i'iaure 22 on either side of L a g r u e Bayou and north of St. Charles. Of course, the land use lioundaries do not coincide perfectly with the physiographic boundaries in all cases. Land use reflects man's complex adaptations to the environment, not his simple conditioned response. The largest example of non-coincidence on the traverse is northwest of St. Charles at position 27-C where considerable woodland is still standing on loessal hills. These particular woods show up in .the photograph (Figure 21) as lighter shades than the bottomland forests . The large fields on the Prairie average about 40 acres i size, with some as large as 160 acres. The only thing that'-limits some of the soybean fields in size are irrigation and drainage ditches. If the ditches were not present soybean fields would probably average 160 acres. Rice, of course, is under allotment, and the sizes of rice fields are more limited by that factor than by any other. Ditches, not fences, are the dividers on the Grand Prairie. Fences are noticeably lacking on the flat prairie land but reappear on the loessal hills where cattle are of some importance. Also affecting the layout of fields are the ownership tracts. Figure 24 shows operating farms, classified as to owner operated or non-owner operated status (101). Most of the non-owner operated farms n i" c .'V tenants who share costs and profits with the owner, the tenant furnishing all the

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95 labor. A few of the non-owner operated farms are run by hired managers and a few by sons of owners. In most cases of non-owner operated farms the owner continues to reside in the area, usually in Stuttgart or De Witt. They also continue to have a strong voice in the operations of the farms. There is a trend toward more non-owner operated farms. Grand Prairie land is not for sale. There is a reluctance on the part of owners to sell the land even after age prevents them from farming the land themselves. Sometimes a son will operate the farm while the father retires to the city. In such a situation the farm is run much the same as if tenant operated, with costs and profits divided. As more of the original farmers reach retirement age they are relinquishing immediate control of the land to tenants. Some very able and prosperous farmers have been farming the Prairie most of their lives and have never owned any land themselves and do not expect to. The future trend will no doubt be towards more tenant operated farms. Land use is not changed by this shift from owner to tenant. An analysis of tenure type of the 50 interview farms (Appendix III) revealed that they are about evenly divided between owner operated and tenant operated, with only 6 operated by part owners (Table 27). There appears to be little difference in the land use between tenure types other than the fact that most of the largest farms are tenant operated and happen to include considerable woodland not actually part of the Prairie. This gives the tenant

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96 farms a size somewhat larger than the average 634 acres and proportionally a little less land in cropland 74 percent compared to the average 78 percent (Table 28). These differences are not considered to be significant and are strongly influenced by the presence of one very large tenant farm of 3,200 acres that is almost two-thirds woodland. On the majority of farms, less than 1,000 acres in size, there is much similarity in land use between the tenure types (Table 27) . Analysis of the traverse reveals one notable correlation between land use and size of operating units. It is best shown in the area of Lagru.e Bayou where woodlands follow the bayou itself, but on either side is an area of mixed cropland and pastureland. Figure 24 indicates a concentration •of small units in this area of mixed cropland-pastureland. It has been shown that the mixed cr op 1 and-p as t ur el and division corresponds almost perfectly with the loessal hills physiographic region. Thus, in addition to the decrease in the size of field plots there is a decrease in the size of operating farm units. People who live in the loessal hills are not the big farmers who operate rice farms on the Prairie. This is the least desirable land. Many of the residents are there simply because in the past the operators of the large land holdings were not interested in the sloping land. A large number of the inhabitants of the loessal hills in general, and of this portion of the traverse in particular, are Negroes; and it is a fact that practically all Negroes in the

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97 Grand Prairie region live in the loessal hills and bottomlands rather than on the flat prairie land. The writer does not know of a single case of a Negro farming any sizeable plot on what is truly the Prairie. Some of these people formerly worked on the rice farms, but mechanization made their labor unnecessary. They remain in the less desirable hill areas. Similar areas of small holdings are apparent, on the traverse north of St. Charles and in the extreme southwest near Bayou Meto. Most of the small tracts are owner operated. Unlike the large commercial farms of the Prairie, there is no need for professional managers. Instead of leasing the. land out when the owner reaches age, he usually turns it over to someone in the family or sells outright, possibly to one of the large landowners. There are a few large land holdings in the regions that are located off the Prairie, but most are not farming units. The large ownership tract at position 21-B in Figure 22 is mostly woodland and is part of a large and old estate. The areas of mixed cr op 1 and -p a s t ur el and as detected on the traverse have potential for improved pasture. Many of the small pastures indicated on the map are of very poor quality and most are unimproved. Many are overgrown with weeds and not a few appeared practically unused. Often 1 or 2 cows are kept for milk, and the pasture furnishes no significant income. When ownership tracts are so small the owners are either unable financially or otherwise unconcerned

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98 about improvements. It will not often pay regardless of effort on such a small scale. The land, however, does have the inherent ability to produce, and there are some excellent examples of high quality pastureland in the same area with similar topographic and soil conditions. Figure 24 Indicates ownership of operating farm units but it does not indicate that some of these farm units are only one among several under one ownership. There are several landowners individuals and corporations in Arkansas County who own more than 4,000 acres of Prairie farm land. Such land is usually not contiguous and is generally divided into 4 or 5 farms of about 900 to 1,000 acres each. Each farm is normally leased to a different tenant manager and each is tun separately in much the same manner as other farms. The potential for Investment on such farms is usually larger than if they were owned individually. Improvements in Irrigation facilities and machinery, and adoption of new technology is possible and more probable than on comparable sized individual farms. It is particularly beneficial if the farm units are contiguous or nearly so. In such a case an expensive deep well that can water the rice on 2 farms may be a sound investment; whereas, it might not be for a single farm unit. Or perhaps a large reservoir can be built to water more than one farm, or an expensive watering system installed and surplus water sold to neighbors. Large reservoirs, such as the one at 15-B on the traverse, often do water more than one farm. It is

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99 merely an advantage of scale, just as the large single farm has advantages over the small farm. Costs and returns of rice farms and watering systems are further analyzed in both of the following chapters. Traverse Analysis S ubstanti^ates ^G^tLg^jl iz ed, U_s_e Divisions The detailed field plotting of land use on the traverse makes possible a tabular comparison of acreage of the various specific land uses in each of the generalized land use divisions. Approximately 52,000 acres are included in the traverse. The traverse is classified into the same generalized land use divisions as indicated on Figure 15 and Figure 23. The detailed traverse offers a visual impression of the criteria used to delineate the generalized land use divisions throughout the region. Each division on the traverse has been measured for the acreage found in the various specific land uses. To be more meaningful they are reduced to percentages and presented in Table 1. Justification for the 3 divisions is strongly supported by the findings. The cropland division, which stands out so well in the pattern visually, also stands out statistically in the table. In the division all crops together occupy about 89 percent of the land, with pasture and woodland together occupying only about 3 percent. Compare this with about 39 percent of the land in pasture In the mixed cropland-pastureland division, and about 96 percent In woodland in the woodland division. As borne out

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IQl cent of the croplattd dlvlsioft to %e In pasture (Table 1). Pastttire »a the Prairie is aa naeeoHoniieal use of the land. Under almost ideal eoiiditioKs It will aet appieoximately $10 to $15 per i«re (115). This compares with the net return of mere than $100 per a«r@ for rl0« sad about $30 for soybeans. LlYe^stoak ©bviiOaslF eaaaot o©ap«t« with rle*. Bat since rice is under allotment and there is ample developed ricelaad to handle the alloted acreage^ more thaa two-thirds of the #TO]»laad is sarpslttt ri^i^laad ia aay o«# year. For this surplus riceland livestock must compete with soybeans. The prmmlemt ffrazing industry has already stt«ifttmbed to soybisaas. Ai tt«r# ln'r»»t«»at betame a#s|@ssary for rice irrigation facilities and farming machinery the farmers sought the most reffliaa©:f atli^e aires of the land. Soybeans have proved to be a rapplomoatmry eater'prlse to rice whereas cattle remained competitive. Soybeans not only give a greateT rotara per a»ro thaa «attle but effectively make ase of the Irrigatiea faellitiet a«d na«hiH«ry. Cattle 4o aot. Another reason for the absence of cattle on the Prairie Is th# farttors* attltad# toward tkoa. Aside from e«oaomle reasoas ao8t tmrm^s simply do aot waat to both®r with cattle, citing fence upkeep and insect pests as worrisome a«ista©#s, 0f tko farmers iaterTlewed only about oae-fourth kopt any oattle at all, and aoae la slgalficaat amoaats (Table 29). Of those who did not keep cattle and would give t reason, alaont all said that it 4id adt pay. Bat almost

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100 by measured acreage, pasture and woodland play a minor role in the cropland division. Woodland is only incidental and is mostly along small bayous and creeks in fragments too small to be differentiated into a separate woodland division. TABLE 1 TRAVERSE SPECIFIC LAND USES FOR GENERALIZED LAND USE DIVISIONS Mixed Cropland CroplandWoodland Land Use Division Pastureland Di vi si on P ercent Rice 25. 4 4. 6 . 3 Soybeans 54. 5 34. 6 .4 Lespedez a 6. 6 4 Cotton 6 6! 0 Corn 1 8 Idle 1 . 2 s! 4 . 5 Fallow 8 Total Crops 89. 2 49. 8 1.2 P asture 1 . 2 39. 4 . 3 loodl and 1. 9 7. 9 96.4 Reservoir 4. 9 4 . 4 Other 2. 8 2. 5 . 6 Total 100. 0 100. 0 100. 0 Percent of traverse in each division (Total 52,000 acres) 65. 5 13. 5 21 . 0 One of the most significant findings of the traverse analysis is the confirmation of the absence of pastureland on the Grand Prairie. The traverse showed only about 1 per-

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102 one half also voluntarily cited the trouble and bother involved as being a major consideration. Some complained that mosquitoes so annoyed cattle that they would not eat and gain weight. At times, mosquitoes in nostrils of cattle actually endanger the animals. Insecticide sprays and dips are such necessary expenses on the Prairie as to put the farmer at a competitive disadvantage with other areas. Despite intense study and experimentation with controls, mosquitoes continue to be a plague in the area. The writer soon discovered the folly of stopping on a summer night on the Prairie. Mosquito control has proved possible on an experimental basis in a limited area (60) (89). It has not proved to be practical on an area-wide basis. The numerous rice fields, bayous, reservoirs, and ditches render a single farmer's efforts useless. There were other arguments cited by farmers against cattle in addition to mosquitoes and the major complaint of the fence problem. One farmer observed that cattle spread and perpetuate red rice and other weeds. Another complained of the mud caused by the cattle on the flat prairie clay pan soil. More serious was one farmer's experience who had just lost 15 head of cattle because they had accidentally eaten poisoned seed rice. A number of farmers had formerly kept cattle and learned through personal experience that cattle do not pay on Prairie cropland. A few were mildly critical of neighbors for keeping cattle. Even land that can produce 20 bushels

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104 out the aereag© riitlo ©f beans to rice of sbo«t 2 to 1 that holds true over the entire Grand Prairie. ""^ Lespedeza is a fBor third In a raakiag of land Hses replaeed by reservoirs in some areas as the third Major use. Althongh ritse oeeuples only 25 pereent of the Prairie it is the money crop, returnlaa approximately 4 times the net per acre that soybeans do. But considering the difference In acreage a namber of farmeri ©lalm that after all costs are considered, soybeans 2 are almost as Important a soaree of laeome as rise* From Table 1 it is seen that «»ttO« and c©1f» together eoBprise less than 1 perceat of the acreage in the cropland ditlsioa ©f the Prairie. The abseaee of llvestoek Is largely the reason for the Insignificance of cora. Cotton Is not Impertaat 0« the Grand Prairie and never has been. While larreaadiBg areas were largely iafloeaeed by the cottoa economy of the South, the Grand Prairie was «0t. Prairie settlers were mostly from the Midwest, and their experience was in predttelnfl livestock aad grala. The eottoa plantation never developed on the Prairie. ^Of the farmers interviewed only 6 petfe*«t %M as M»0h is 40 fie*ttfflt of their cropland in rice whereat 02 j^ey^ent had over 50 perceat In soybeans (Table 29). ^An interview of 50 Pralrle rice farmers Indicated that more than half of them received 40 percent or more of their net income from soybeans. Ten percent actually received more income from soybeans than from rice. Additional lafojrmftloa ©a costs and retaras of various crops are Imelade^ la eippter IV.

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105 Prairie soils were deficlemt i« potash wliiek unused wilt on cotton. Soils were not tt§ fertile as the bottomlaad soils throughout most of the delta area, and those settlers wh© did plattt e©ttoa were uaftT^rably iM|>ressed with the Prairie's potential. CottOH is ffl«re importaut on the White RlYer Prairie, Sassafras Prairie»^ and Little Prairie thaa oa Grand Prairie proper partly because of tradition. St. Charles was as old riTer pert before the Civil War and a plantation system had derelirped somewhat in tkose areas. When riee was introduced later in the early 1900's it slowly but surely displaced eotton. This hold-over of eotton in tfce eastern and seathern portions of the region is evidenced on the traverse itself. Without the few fields on White River Prairie and ei«? particularly large field on Sassafras Prairie, eetton would be n^n-existent on the ereplamd division of the traverse. The Grand Prairie portion of the traverge the larsest portion las net a single cotton field in some 23,000 aeres (Figure 2g). Fertilization has remedied the potash deficiency and has aided soil fertilit;y overall. In addition, the large fields and the ability to water praetioally everything on the Prairie could enable the Prairie to compete with cotton on the bottOMlands. Other fistors, however, have an overriding influence, most notable probably being the la»k of cotton history in the area. For a while cotton and rice

PAGE 115

106 were beth gToWB la some areas, but as rice grew in importance farmers came to coBslcier cotton almost as a Bulsaaee. As the area lacked aay slflBtfieaat history of cottoB prodaetioB allotments assigned to farmers were small. Many of the rice farmers allowed their hired hands to work the small tottOB allotmeats themselTes as part of their Wages, aad It gave the employees* fanllles something to do. Rice is highly subject to mechanizatioBj and as it developed there was less aad less demaad for hired labor. As workers were released there was BO ©Be to work the cotton. As a rule the rice farmers did not want to bother with it themselves, havlig neither the time, eqaipaent, nor InelinatlaB. Some allowed laborers to keep the cotton allotment. Generally, eottoa allotneBts are small and d
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lOT A few farners stated that they plaHted their cettoti allotneat only once every 3 years merely to hold it leaally. Evett then, after platttlHfl It and havlHfl It measured by the Crop Stabil ligation Service, It was often liB«edlately plowed under. In 1963 almost 20 percent of the cotton allotment ©f Arkansas Cetiaty was reallocated within the «oaaty be>cause the rlee farmers did not nse It (114). Some held It, hoping that eventually they may be able to swap it for equivalent rite a^^eage. With the adwat «f aedej"! grass ee»ti?«l ©hewicals fer rice an additlenal oibstacle to cotton was lntie»duced. Poisons stt©h as for weeds in rlee will also kill broad leafed cotton. Such poisons are almost always applied with airplanes and some drift of the poison is Inevitable. If It should drift onto an adjacent eotton field It ooald kill the crop. The farmer has a choice of taking the rlgk or not spraying the rlee. If the farmer kills his own ootton It Is bad enongh» bnt If he should kill his nelghbor*is cotton he has a lawsuit on his hands. Enough have had the experience to spread the word. This factor In addition to the others makes cotton unpopalar and nnwanted on the C^rand Prairie. If a study were made of the Grand Prairie from a different approach it Is believed that the absence of cotton would be a better Identifying criterion of the region than would the mere location of rice distribution, for which the Prairie is justifiably noted. Rice is without oontradiction

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103 of soybeans per acre will give better returns than cattle. Average soybean yields on the Prairie are about 28 to 30 bushels. Prairie farmers are so orientated toward crops and away from livestock that many expressed surprise when asked why they kept no cattle. Their answer was something like "no pastureland, only cropland", never considering that their cropland could be used to grow feed for livestock or to pasture them. Seventy-two percent of the farmers reported having no pastureland (Table 29). If they had no woods nor hills they obviously felt they had no place for livestock. Most of the limited acreajje of pastureland shown on Figure 22 in the cropland division is marginal land and is found along the smaller bayous and limited woodland areas such as adjacent to Mill Bayou at position U-A and 12-A. One of the larger plots used for cattle on what is considered true prairie land is shown at position 7-B. In this case, and a few others like it, only breeding stock is carried. The owner's personal interest in cattle is a big factor. With some it is almost a hobby, and it is the same with a few Prairie farmers who raise and sell Shetland ponies. In Table 1 soybeans are shown to be the major crop in acreage in all 3 divisions, covering over half of the cropland division traverse (54.5 percent). The traverse bears

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108 associated with the Gr and. Pr a i r i e , but rice production spill out ofthe region, much more so than cotton production encroaches upon it. Figure 25 illustrates the d i s t r i 1) u t i on of rice production and cotton production in Arkansas. The outline of the Grand Prairie is fairly well identifiable as an area of concentrated rice production, along with the newer rice areas of northeastern Arkansas. But at the same time the region is just as effectively outlined in the negative on the cotton distribution map. Idle land is probably less in evidence on the Grand Prairie than in most other agricultural regions of comparable size in the United States. Idle land is not herein defined as by the Department of Agriculture where it normally pertains to cropland only and includes land in soil improvement crops and idle cropland. In that sense it amounts to about 5 percent of the nation's cropland (61, p. On the traverse of the Grand Prairie all land that is idle or not producing is included, not limited to idle cropland only, and still the total is just slightly over 1 percent (Table 1). This emphasizes the value attached to the Prairie as cropland, and very little of it is allowed to go unused. The peculiar shape of idle land at position 12-B on Figure 22 is a World War II auxiliary grass strip airfield. The 1 -square-mi 1 e section of land was turned over to the town of Almyra to administer after the war. The town in

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109 source: U.S. census of agriculture CORBET 1965 Figure 25

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110 turn leases it to farmers who have it all planted to soybeans with the exception of the landing strips themselves which are required by law to remain uncultivated. The small amount of fallow land that was detected on the traverse was only a momentary condition. The land was clean and tilled and some was subsequently planted to oats a few weeks later. Most of the fallow land had been harvested for oats earlier in the summer and for some reason was not replanted to soybeans. In some cases the farmer just did not have time after harvesting the oats to get the soybeans planted in time for a late crop. June 15 is about the critical date for the planting of soybeans, June 25 with irrigation. In some instances, the farmer could not afford the water for late soybeans so he just left the field in summer fallow. Oats could follow again in the fall, or soybeans or rice the next spring. In the cropland division only .8 percent of the land was fallow (Table 1). Oats do not appear in Table 1 or on the traverse because they were not on the land at the time of the field work in July-August. Interviews with farmers and county agents indicate that about 20 percent of the soybeans are double-cropped with oats in any one year. Applying this percentage to the soybean acreage on the traverse gives about 11 percent of the cropland division as being in oats in any one year. Oats are of decreasing importance in the region. Of the 50 farmers interviewed, 12 grew some oats but only 4

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Ill said it provided as much as 10 percent of their income (120). Those who do grow oats normally plant from one-third to onehalf of their soybean acreage in oats. The oats, in the ground over winter, are harvested in early June and a late crop of soybeans is produced. In late summer a visitor to the Prairie can observe soybeans in various stages of growth, some Hearing maturity and others, planted later after oats, only 5 or 6 inches high. The concentration of lespedeza on the traverse in the vicinity of 7-B is due to several seed farms specializing in that product. It probably results in the 6.6 percent of the land use shown in Table 1 as being slightly higher for lespedeza than for the Grand Prairie as a whole. Note that none appears on the portion of Sassafras Prairie checked. Only 2 fields occur on White River Prairie, both on the same farm at 26-A. Lespedeza is unimportant on the mixed croplandpastureland division. Rice, soybeans, oats, and lespedeza all allow effective use of the same farm machinery, including combines; and additionally important, fit well into the time schedule of the farmer's work. Continuing to analyze the findings presented in Table 1, it is observed that reservoirs on the cropland division of the traverse occupy more land than pasture and woodland combined 4.9 percent to the combined 3.1 percent. Reservoirs and the water problem in general are dealt with in

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112 Chapter V. Some specific points concerning their distribution as reflected by the traverse are pertinent at this time. The traverse confirms a concentration of the reservoirs on the cropland division in preference to the mixed croplandpastureland division and woodland division. It is in accord with the distribution of the need for reservoir water on the rice farms of the flat prairie land. Natural reservoir sites are more plentiful on the mixed cropland-pastureland division, but the need is less there. Close observance of the reservoir sites on Figure 22, however, reveals that most are built adjacent to streams, some of which are straightened to drainage ditches. Such land along streams was normally wooded, if only as a narrow ribbon. In that sense, many of the cropland division reservoirs were partially constructed on woodland. The large reservoir complex at 9-B, 10-B, on Figure 22 was formerly one of the timber islands. Remnants of woodland are still observable. Figure 26 illustrates the dead timber still standing in the easternmost of the 3 large reservoirs at 10-B. Farmers who have no access to streams or timbered areas must build reservoirs on cropland, and examples can be seen at 5-B, 11-B, 11-C, 14-A, 24-B, and 25-A. A small balance of 2.8 percent of the cropland division consists of towns, farmsteads, roads, cemeteries and other miscellaneous uses of the land (Table 1). It is a rather small proportion and would be even less so if it were not for the town of Almyra located in the center of

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113 Figure 26. Dead timber in a reservoir. Such scenes are common on the Grand Prairie, where levees have been thrown up around woodlands along a stream or around a timber island as this. Trees die in 2 or 3 years.

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114 the traverse. Some farmsteads are enlarged slightly on Figure 22 for cartographic purposes. An interesting phenomenon, presently found in most agri cultural regions, is the large number of abandoned farmsteads. In the case of the Grand Prairie it occurs in an area that was never even remotely densely populated. Ten percent of the farmsteads located on the cropland division of the traverse were found to be abandoned. Two factors stand out as causes. With increased mechanization fewer hired hands are needed, and some of the houses no doubt formerly housed them. The majority of the abandoned farmsteads, however, were obviously the farm headquarters. Larger houses, often two-story, with various equipment sheds and shelters are abandoned. Many houses are well kept with the lawns mowed but are unused. This second cause relates to the earlier discussion of owner operated or non-owner operated farms. In many cases the former occupants of the farmsteads retired from farming and moved to Stuttgart or some other town. They did not wish to sell the land so they leased it, often to the owner or leasee of another nearby farm who, of course, did not require the farmstead itself. In a few cases newer, more modern homes have been built on the farm premises leaving the older site unused. A tabulation of the acreage of specific land uses on the mixed cropl and-pastureland division in Table 1 indicates that cropland is still the dominant use of the land in that division also, but the percentage drops from 89 percent for

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115 that tabulated for the cropland division to 50 percent. Pasture, on the other hand, increases from a mere 1.2 percent to 39 percent, and this change in land use is the factor that largely differentiates the division. The acreage used for producing rice shows the greatest change, a decrease from 25 percent to less than 5 percent. Soybeans are still important and occupy almost three-fourths of all cropland in the division of cropland and pastureland. Cotton replaces rice as the second crop in acreage but still is less than one-fifth the acreage of soybeans. Cotton fields are very small and most are owned and worked by negroes. Corn, still a minor crop, is grown in small plots for local human use and for some livestock feed. Idle land and woodland are more common than in the cropland division of the Prairie. The woodland division of land use is the most homogeneous of the 3 divisions. It is the least affected by man's activities. Some scattered areas of rice, soybeans, and pasture are found within its boundaries but altogether account for less than 2 percent of the division's area. The most significant result of the traverse with respect to woodland is a confirmation of its concentration along the river and bayou bottomlands and its almost complete absence on the flat prairie land itself. What remains of the islands of timber on the Prairie will probably be cleared in the future for cultivation or diked for reservoirs.

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116 The woodland area at position 6-A on Figure 22 has a double symbol indicating the woods are temporarily flooded each fall for duck hunting. Land Use Analysis Through Sample Data In addition to (1) the generalized land use map constructed through aerial photograph interpretation and field observation and (2) the detailed analysis land use traverse, it is an objective to substantiate these land use findings with a statistical analysis of an independent source of data. The source chosen for the most applicable data is the National Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation Needs undertaken by the United States Department of Agriculture as a guide for more effective soil and water conservation (5) (9) (51). The inventory, usually referred to as the "Conservation Needs Inventory," was organized on a state and county basis for execution. In Arkansas each county was divided into 40acre plots, and stratified random samples were selected for detailed analysis. The sampling rate for the counties involved in this dissertation study was 1 percent and provided data of an acceptable degree of reliability for the Conservation Needs study (5, p. 73). The individual 40-acre sample plots were mapped in detail by the Soil Conservation Service as to (1) land use, (2) land capability class and subclass, (3) slope, (4) erosion, and (5) soil type. For the basic purpose of the Inventory the plots were surveyed by counties and their 1 percent

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1 17 sampling ratio expanded to give estimates of soil and water resources for the counties and the state and to provide guidelines for the conservation of these resources. Adaptation to the Study This dissertation concerns a region that does not coincide with the boundary of any county or group of counties. It was impossible, therefore, to use the final published Inventory data for any of the counties. On the other hand, the raw data of the sample plots are pertinent to the objectives of this study. The raw sample data are available on IBM cards identifiable as to specific sample plot. The problem was to select the proper samples for analysis. This was done by obtaining the base maps of the 4 counties on which the individual sample plots -were located (105). The Grand Pr ai r i e r eg i o n was superimposed on the county maps and appropriate samples identified. Figure 27 illustrates the Grand Prairie and the location of the sample plots used in this analysis. Once selected no further reference to the counties is necessary. The samples are divided into the 4 divisions depicted on Figure 27 that were delineated to show contrastin : and types. It was desirable but not possible to use the same divisions as the physiographic regions (Figure 7) and/or the generalized land use divisions (Figure 15). Such divisions could not be used because the loessal hills region and the river and bayou bottomlands region are too small to be reliably repre-

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Fiflure 27 .OS

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119 sented by the sampling ratio used in the Inventory. The sampling rate was designed for areas of 250,000 to 500,000 acres. Areas of smaller size require a larger sampling rate to maintain approximately the same degree of reliability (5, p. 73). Nevertheless, It was possible to make the "Prairie" division on Figure 27 to coincide with the flat prairie land physiographic region and likewise with the cropland land use division. This is desirable because in all 3 cases these areal divisions coincide with the Grand Prairie itself. The "Bayous on Prairie" of Figure 27 necessarily includes those portions on both the loessal hills and river and bayou bottomlands physiographic regions. In order to make the most effective use of the sample data the region of study was expanded for this one phase. "Fringe I" and "Fringe II" on Figure 27 extend beyond the limits of Bayou Meto and Wattensaw Bayou that delimit the area on the other maps. Fringe I is designed to encompass mainly the bottomlands associated with Bayou Meto, and in order to maintain reasonable sample reliability it was necessary to expand Fringe I to include similar lands west of Bayou Meto. Fringe II is designed to give still another contrast in land use and topography. Fringe II is largely sloping land associated with dissection by Wattensaw Bayou. It includes the loessal hills region just north of the Grand Prairie, and it also is extended to include similar land north of Wattensaw Bayou.

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120 Four areas have been delimited which correspond closely with the divisions of the Grand Prairie, both by physiography and land use. By tabulating the statistical data of the samples in the 4 areas and by making an analytical comparison of those groups of samples it is possible to check the previously described findings with a completely independent and reliable source of data. To compare these data it was necessary to sort the IBM cards into the 4 areal divisions. They were then sorted as to land use types and then broken down into land capability class and subclass, slope, erosion, and soil types. There is a separate IBM card for each individual plot of each type of land use for each 40-acre sample plot. Altogether there were about 500 cards used, and the total land area of the samples included in the study was approximately 6,120 acres. After the cards were sorted into the categories listed they were run through accounting machines and the acreage of each plot totaled. For example, in addition to the total cropland in Fringe I there is also a total of cropland in Fringe I that is class I land, or class II, et cetera. There are also totals of cropland in each area as to erosion, slope and soil types. These totals are tabulated for all land uses, for all 4 areas, for the 5 types of information surveyed in the Conservation Needs Inventory. A large number of classifications resulted. Tabulations of the sample data are given in Appendix II

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121 The actual acreages of the samples are tabulated. Complex in themselves, pertinent aspects of the tabulations are extracted, simplified into percentages, and analyzed in the text . Originally, for purposes of the Conservation Needs Inventory, the sample data were expanded by a coefficient to give estimates of total values for purposes of inventory and conservation planning. This was done on a county basis, each county having a specifically determined expansion coefficient. Sample data are not expanded in this dissertation study as portions of several counties are covered in the areal divisions and no single county expansion coefficient would apply. Instead, the absolute acreage of the samples are considered, and comparisons are made as percentages of those sample totals. Verification of Land Use Divisions by Sample Plots The principal factor of differentiation between the divisions to be analyzed for verification is land use. Table 2, extracted from Appendix II, compares land use on the 4 divisions of Figure 27. The most striking disclosure is Soil and land use data from the sample units were expanded at Texas A and M College to give figures representing the total acreages of conditions in the county. The expansion factor was based on the sample size, sample density, and county size. Only a small portion of Monroe County is included in the Grand Prairie region and that portion was not included in the sample plot phase of this study.

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122 the confirmation of the high degree of dominance of cropland on the Prairie, almost to the complete exclusion of other land uses. Cropland constitutes 95.9 percent of the land area in the sample plots that were picked up on the Prairie division. This corresponds with the comparable 89 percent cropland measured on the traverse (Table 1). The 2 percentages are reasonably close in agreement, each calculated from a sample study by entirely different methods. Actually, the 2 figures are even closer than they appear because in the Conservation Needs Inventory any samples that by random fell on water were discounted. On the other hand, reservoirs were included as a land use on the traverse. TABLE 2 SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS BY LAND USE Land Use Prairie Bayous on Prairie Fringe I Fringe II Percent Crop 1 and P as tur eR ange Woodl and 95.9 .0 4.1 27.9 11.3 60.8 53. 4 2.4 44. 2 39.8 23.0 37. 2 100. 0 100. 0 100. 0 100. 0 A second point of confirmation is the insignificance of pasture on the Prairie. Out of a total of 69 40-acre sample plots, or 2,760 acres sampled on the Prairie, no pas-

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123 ture whatsoever chanced to be detected. This again compares favorably with the small 1.2 percent pasture detected on the Prairie by the traverse. The woodland percentage of 4.1 is only slightly higher than on the traverse, where it measured 1.9 percent. It appears that in the case of the Prairie division, the findings from the sample data do indeed agree with and verify the Grand Prairie concept of a homogeneous land useregion. The Bayous on Prairie division, a combination of the loessal hills and river and bayou bottomlands physiographic regions, show characteristics of both in Table 2. A marked drop in cropland, a rise in pastureland, and a major increase in woodland is in keeping with conditions already described in those regions. Their distinction from the Prairie is clear enough, but the combination of the 2 regions disguises their differences from one another. Fringe I and Fringe II were devised to see if differences were apparent there, both from each other and from the Prairie. They may substitute for the river and bayou bottomlands and loessal hills respectively. Fringe I is mostly bottomland associated with Bayou Meto, but from personal reconnaissance obviously is not as homogeneous an area as the Prairie. Table 2 does indicate a different land use regime from that of the Prairie and supports the division between the two.

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124 Fringe II, mostly rolling land, is delineated to approximate conditions found on the loessal hills physiographic region and the mixed cropl and-pastur el and generalized land use divisions, but again is not as homogeneous as either of those areas. Analysis of samples surveyed in Fringe II reflect a different land use regime from that of the Prairie and also from Fringe I. The most pronounced difference between Fringe I and Fringe II is a large increase in pasture in Fringe II and a resulting decrease in cropland (Table 2). This, too, is in keeping with what would be expected judging from knowledge already gained about the Grand Prairie region. The flat, cleared land in Fringe I is used primarily for cropland; whereas, much of the cleared land in Fringe II is sloping and more is used for pasture. The larger percentage of woodland in Fringe II (Table 2) than in the mixed cr op 1 and-p as t ur el and (Table 1) is easily explained. Fringe II is a larger and more heterogeneous area than the mixed cropl and-pastur el and land use region, which was mapped and differentiated more precisely. Fringe II is large, of necessity, to include enough samples to provide comparable reliability with the other areas used. If Fringe II were mapped with greater precision, much woodland would have been cut out as a different land use division just as it was on the traverse. It is concluded that the delineations of the generalized land use divisions are reasonably confirmed by the independent check of the Conservation Needs Inventory sample plots. This

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125 is particularly true of the Grand Prairie itself, which can be more accurately outlined and compared by both methods. Although the fringe areas used in conjunction with the sample plots are not exactly comparable with the other land use divisions it is believed that significant relationships were used in their selection, and favorable comparisons have been shown between these fringe areas and the land use divisions as previously delimited. Physical Differences Confirmed In addition to land use it is possible to compare other meaningful relationships based on the sample data in Appendix II. Land capability classes, slope, erosion, and soils are all pertinent to the areal differentiations developed in this study. Physical delineations of the Grand Prairie were developed in Chapter II, but with the introduction of the sample plot data they are used at this point to compare physical characteristics. Table 3 compares the 4 sample areas of Figure 27 by land capability class and subclass. The sample data again confirm characteristics attributed to the Prairie. The poor drainage of the loessal terrace is reflected in the large amount of land with a problem of wetness. On the Prairie itself 84 percent of the land surveyed had a problem of excess water (sum of subclasses II W and III W). The wetness capability subclass is dominant in the other divisions also but less so in the rolling Fringe II, where the erosion subclass increases in significance.

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126 A significant result shown by the sample data is that no land below capability class III was found on the Prairie, The almost complete domination of cropland that has been shown to exist on the Prairie implies land of high capability class, or at least would seem to preclude the lower land capability classes. This reasoning is supported by the sample plots. TABLE 3 SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS BY LAND CAPABILITY CLASS AND SUBCLASS C ap abi 1 i ty Bayous on Class and Prairie Prairie Fringe I Fringe II Subclass^ P er cent I 10.5 0.9 12. 1 16. 4 II E 5.5 5.8 8.4 11.4 W 57.9 31.7 40. 7 29. 0 III E 9.7 16.3 W 26. 1 48. 4 37. 6 16. 4 IV E 1.5 1.4 W 0.9 V E W 1. 1 1.2 5, 5 VI E W VII E W 2.5 100. 0 100. 0 100. 0 100. 0 Land capability classes and subclasses are those defined by the Soil Conservation Service (52).

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127 It is seen that the Grand Prairie has relatively little class I land, a smaller percentage than Fringe I or Fringe II. This may seem strange considering the importance of the Prairie as an agricultural region. The reason is, of course, the wetness problem, without which some of the class II W land would undoubtedly be class 1. Sample data on slope, erosion, and soils also help to confirm the delineations of the Grand Prairie based on phyTABLE 4 SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS BY SLOPE CLASS Slope in Percent Pr airi e Bayous on Prairie Fringe I Fringe II P er cent 01 13 3-8 8-12 12-30 20 0-3 undul ati ng 0-6 undul ating 89. 1 10. 9 72. 1 17.8 7.8 2.3 91.2 6.7 2.1 64. 3 16.4 15.3 3.5 0. 5 100. 0 100. 0 100. 0 100. 0 Slope classes are those designated by the Soil Conservation Service ( 53 ).

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128 sical criteria. In Table 4 the flatness of the Prairie topography is indicated by the fact that over 89 percent of the surface has a slope of less than 1 percent and none with a slope of over 3 percent. The Bayous on Prairie, which includes the bottomlands of the streams that dissect the Prairie plus their borderina land, has a little more sloping land as expected. More pronounced is the slope difference in Fringe II, mostly loessal hill topography. Fringe I resembles the flat topography of the Prairie but is at a slightly lower elevation. Table 24 in Appendix II shows the slope broken down in sample acreage for each of the land use types in each division. Ninety-five percent of the land on the Prairie with slope of less than 1 percent is used for cropland. Erosion, related to slope, follows much the same pattern. In Table 5 the level Prairie is seen to have hardly any erosion problem at all with 99 percent of the land in class I. Fringe II, on the other hand, is the division with the greatest amount of sloping land and also has the greatest erosion problem of the 4 divisions. Comparing soil data of the sample plots with the general soil map is more difficult than comparing slope and erosion. The general soil map and its analysis are based on the most recent soil descriptions and soil associations. They differ somewhat from the soil units that were mapped in the Conservation Needs Inventory during the period of 1957 to 1959 and are not exactly comparable. Some soil descriptions

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129 have been changed and some combined into new associations. The soils that were surveyed in the Inventory are listed in Table 26 (Appendix II) along with their actual sample acreage. TABLE 5 SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS BY EROSION CLASS Ero s i on Class^ Pr air i e Bayous on Prairie Fringe I Fringe 1 1 P er cent 1 2 3 4 99.0 1.0 100. 0 90. 6 7.3 2. 1 100. 0 97. 3 1.9 0.8 100. 0 77. 5 13.5 7.2 1.8 100. 0 Erosion classes are those of the Soil Conservation Service ( 53^ pp. 261-264), and are defined as follows: Class 1. Little or no erosion -Ordinary plow depth will seldom or never reach the B horizon. 2. Eroded -Erosion is indicated by the presence of frequent rills or occasional shallow gullies; or patches of the B horizon are exposed and tillage mixes A and B materials; or combinations of these criteria. 3. Severely eroded -This is indicated by the presence of frequent shallow gullies; or an occasional deep gully; or most of the plow layer is in the B horizon; or combinations of these criteri a. 4. Gullied Land -The land has been eroded until it has an intricate pattern of moderately deep or deep gullies. Soil profiles have been destroyed except in small areas between gullies

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130 With the cooperation of the soil scientist who actually surveyed the Inventory samples and who also later prepared the general soil map for the counties, the sample soil units are divided into 4 groups, which as closely as possible agree with the 4 soil groups illustrated on the general soil map (Figure 13). In this manner it is possible, with a reasonable degree of conformity, to compare the sample data with the general soil map. Table 6 shows the 4 sample area divisions by soils. The soil units which were mapped in the Conservation Needs Inventory are grouped into the 4 soil groups comparable to the general soil map of Chapter II (Figure 13). The most notable result of the compilation is the positive correlation between the Prairie sample area division and the prairie soils group. Of all soils picked up on the random 40acre sample plots on the Prairie, 80.1 percent are those classed as prairie soils. Sixty-two percent are of one soil unit roughly comparable to the Cr owl ey-Stuttgar t association, the dominant soil on the Prairie (See Table 6 footnote^, and Appendix II). The prairie fringe soils, sloping borderland soils, and bottomland soils all together make up the other 19.1 percent of the soils found on the Prairie. These soils are on samples picked up primarily along the smaller prairie dissecting bayous that of necessity are included in the Prairie area. In the second sample area division, Bayous on Prairie,

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131 TABLE 6 SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS BY SOIL UNITS AND SOIL GROUPS Soil Soil Bayous on Groups^ Units Prairie Prairie Fringe I Fringe II Percent M5al 62. 1 24. 9 11.8 10 . 5 M5a 11.4 8. D . O 0 . 6 M5 6.6 1 . 7 0.7 2 7 Prairie Soils 80. 1 35. n U 1 O , 1 13 8 »J d X 1 . o o a 1 . 0 1 . L D 12.0 8 2 5 1 . /I 2 5 la 0 . Q O Prairie Fringe Soils 2.6 3. 8 12.0 10 7 6 10.2 15. 2 3.3 29 8 6al 2.2 7. 0 0.3 15 8 Sloping Border 1 and Soils 12.4 22. 2 3.6 45. 6 8a 4.9 34. 8 9.3 5. 0 8al 2. 6 16.4 2. 6 8 — 9.9 7. 2 3a — 17. 5 4al -7. 5 7 1 . 5 7. 5 8ab 1 . 0 4. 9 9 1 . 3 1 . 5 3al 0. 9 Sab 1 . 1 1 . 2 L8 0.9 4 0. 6 Bottoml and Soils 4.9 39. 0 66. 3 29. 9 Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

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132 TABLE 6 Continued The soil groups are devised especially for purposes of this report and are not to be confused with recognized soil groups used by the Soil Conservation Service. The 4 groups are the same as those developed on Figure 13, ^Soil Units do not necessarily agree with the soil associations of Figure 13 as the two were mapped at different times and using slightly different soil descriptions, The soil units reported herein were used in the Conservation Needs Inventories and are separated by the writer into groups to approximate those of Figure 13 as closely as possible. The soil unit symbols are further defined in Appendix II. the bottomland soils predominate. In addition to the bayou bottomlands, however, this sample area includes the stream dissected regions adjacent to the bayous and also some islands of prairie soils and considerable sloping borderland soils. Fringe I is designed to include the land located off the Prairie to the west slightly lower than the Prairie and includes as a part the Bayou Meto bottomlands. The soil samples agree with this difference in physiography. Soils that were found to dominate the Prairie terrace are of much less importance here, and the bottomland soils predominate with 66.3 percent (Table 6). Fringe II is devised to compare the dissected northern fringe of the Prairie as an example area of loessal hills. The soil samples taken from that area do indeed agree again with the physiography. In this hilly Fringe II area the sloping borderland soils are seen to be the most important, much more so than in any of the other 3 samples.

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133 Table 7 compares the soil samples with the 4 sample area divisions in yet another manner. It is the reverse of Table 6. Table 6 shows sample area divisions by soils, that is, the percentage makeup of the various soils in each of the 4 areas. Table 7, on the other hand, shows soil groups by sample areas, that is, the percentage of each area that make up the total sample acreage for any one soil group. Using this reverse method of comparison, the positive correlations of soils with areas again supports the soundness of the delineation of areas developed in this chapter. TABLE 7 SOIL GROUPS BY SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS Sample ' Prairie Sloping Area Prairie Fringe Borderland Bottomland Division Soils Soils Soils Soils P er cent Prairie 73.4 15.6 28.0 7.1 Bayous on Prairie 11.8 9.0 . 18.2 20.6 Fringe I 8.7 41.5 4.3 51.3 Fringe II 6. 1 33.9 49.5 21.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 The most significant res 7 is the positive correlation the area designated as Prairie ult of the compilation in Table between the prairie soils and on Figure 27. Of all soil

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134 samples that fit in the prairie soils group, 73.4 percent were picked up on the area designated as Prairie. This is the more convincing when it is realized that there are many isolated segments of the Prairie that occur in the surrounding fringes, having been dissected from the main body of the terrace. Significant also is the correlating high percentage of sloping borderland soils found in Fringe II. Very few of these soils are found in Fringe I, an area delineated to encompass largely flat bottomland topography. Bottomland soils, as to be expected, are picked up largely in Fringe I, and the balance are largely from the stream dissections of the other areas. Only 7.1 percent of the bottomland soils were picked up on the Prairie division, an indication of the homogeneity of soils on the Grand Prairie. In conclusion, the use of sample data from the Conservation Needs Inventory is not meant to show proof or disproof of any thesis developed in this study. It is, however, an attempt to make use of an entirely different source of information that has a bearing on the study. The areas that are delineated for sample study, of necessity, do not coincide exactly with the areal differentiations developed in this study. Nevertheless, the areas were delimited to agree as closely as possible and their use in this limited way is considered valid. In the case of the Prairie itself the areas are identical, and it is this area that is most vital for analysis.

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135 The analysis does show marked positive correlation be tween information tabulated from the samples and the thesis developed in this study concerning areal differentiation based on topography, soils, and land use. In that sense th sample data are offered as substantiating evidence.

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CHAPTER IV THE CASE FOR RICE Introducti on Rice is not a widely grown crop in the United States. Arkansas is one of 5 states in which it is commercially important, and the Grand Prairie is the oldest and most concentrated rice growing area in the state. Rice production is the principal economic activity on the Grand Prairie and is the region's most notable and identifying characteristic today. The region has particular advantages for rice, and the industry has developed into one of the most specialized and highly mechanized types of farming in the nation. ObJ ecti ves It is the purpose of this chapter to analyze the Grand Prairie rice industry in all of its ramifications: its natural advantages, its efficient methods of production, something of the economics of production, and its comparative advantages over other uses of the land. A concise description of certain rice production methods in the region serves as a framework to describe the agricultural character of the region and to illustrate the relationships that exist between land use and the natural en136

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137 vironment. The Grand Prairie is particularly adaptable to rice, but this can best be appreciated when there is adequate knowledge of rice culture itself. Although the industry is suitable and profitable because of the region's natural assets, rice production is neither exclusive nor necessary. Other agricultural pursuits are possible and are practiced in limited fashions. In areas surrounding the Grand Prairie region cotton is the principal crop, and cattle also play an important role in the overall farm economy of the surrounding area. Neither is significant on the Prairie. An objective of the study is to determine those reasons which help to explain the region's importance as a rice producer and its non-importance as a cotton or cattle producer. In addition to the physical environment other factors favor rice over competitive uses of the land. The rice farms are big and efficient operations and require huge investments in land and machines. The sizes of the investments discourage lesser uses of the land. With an examination of investment costs and an analysis of per acre costs and returns for rice versus competitive uses of the land, it should be possible to discern if rice does indeed enjoy a comparative advantage. Rice distribution patterns on the Prairie indicate a response to both the physical and cultural environments. Rice is an allotment crop and this man-imposed restriction is an important determinant of land use in the region. Rice is rotated with soybeans, oats, and lespedeza on a huge ex-

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138 panse of developed riceland. Rice has first call on all farm resources. The supplementary secondary crops are designed to make optimum use of the resources that are in excess of the requirements for rice. The objectives of the chapter are thus (1) to describe briefly certain methods of rice production technoloay on the Grand Prairie in order to perceive the area's natural advantages for the industry more fully, (2) to examine the economics of the industry for comparative advantages over competitive uses of the land, and (3) to analyze the distribution of rice fields as related to the natural environment and effects of restricted acreage. Methodol ogy A formal questionnaire was utilized while interviewing 50 rice farmers representing all parts of the Grand Prairie. The questionnaire and a map showing the distribution of the farms used in the interview are presented in Appendix III along with the tabulations of certain interview data. Informal interviews were conducted with additional farmers, county agents, and personnel of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Agricultural Experiment Stations, and the Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Crop acreages, farming practices, and farmer opinions were recorded. The questionnaire was also used to obtain Information on irrigation practices and the water problem, the results of which are reported in the following chapter.

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139 Aerial photographs and land use maps from Chapter III were analyzed for rice distribution patterns. Photographs of individual farms showing fields in crops were obtained from the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. Rice allotment data were obtained from the same office. Costs and returns data were acquired from Interviews and from studies carried out by the Farm Production Economics Division, Economics Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Publications of the Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Arkansas, give the latest data on Grand Prairie farming methods and technology. They incorporate much research conducted by the Rice Branch Experiment Station, Stuttgart, Arkansas. A monthly periodical, The Rice Journal , is a good source of information on farming procedures and innovations in rice production. Some of the Experiment Station bulletins are technical and are not suited for purposes of this study, but they are considered by the writer to be the most reliable, most detailed, most current, and together the most complete sources of information on the subject. The reader is directed to these sources for additional information on rice technology. Farmers provided much information first hand, and numerous farms were visited by the wri ter . History of Rice on the Grand Prairie In August and September of 1896, W. H. Fuller, accompanied by H. H. Puryear, made a hunting trip by wagon from

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140 Fuller's farm near Lonoke, Arkansas, to the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Eight miles north of Crowley, Louisiana, they saw rice fields owned and operated by the Abbott brothers of Crowley. It was the first time either of them had seen rice growing, and they spent 2 days studying the farm operations. Fuller was convinced conditions were essentially the same as those existing on the prairies of Lonoke County, Arkansas (68, p. 72). Returning to Lonoke Mr. Fuller planted 3 acres of rice experimentally in the spring of 1897 on his farm 8 miles southeast of town in the northwest corner of the Grand Prairie. He drilled 2 4-inch wells and installed a pumping plant. Some of the seed germinated, grew, and headed out, but because of a breakdown in the pump and subsequent failure to irrigate properly the rice did not reach maturity. The experiment convinced Fuller that rice would grow on the Grand Prairie, and the next year Fuller moved to Louisiana and engaged in rice farming for 4 seasons in the state's prairie areas to become familiar with culture methods. Fuller returned to Lonoke in 1903 and was able to convince some influential people in nearby Hazen and Carlisle of his plans. They offered him $1,000 if he could raise a crop of rice of not less than 35 bushels per acre on 70 acres. Fuller was aware that water was the key to success. He returned to Louisiana and purchased a well rig and seed rice. He Installed the well in the winter of 1903-04 and in the following spring planted 70 acres to Honduras rice. He

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141 harvested 5,225 bushels for a yield of 74 bushels per acre and received the $1,000. The crop sold for a dollar a bushel and his cost of production plus the well was $3,147, netting a profit of $2,078 (17, p. 8). That same year a branch of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station raised 750 bushels of rice on 10 acres near Lonoke. After Fuller's success in 1904 news spread quickly and real estate values increased rapidly. Farmers from other areas came and saw the thousands of acres that had never been plowed. The German settlers who had been slowly moving into the area during the last quarter of the nineteenth century were quick to adopt the new industry. With the introduction of rice additional persons were attracted from the northern prairie states. The absence of a cotton tradition in the background of these early settlers is partly responsible for the Grand Prairie's differentiation today. Cotton did not grow well on the Prairie, and the cotton growers from the South were adverse to settling there. A different physical environment coupled with a populace with a different background have given the Grand Prairie its regional identity. Rice later spread from the Prairie to areas in northeastern Arkansas where loessal soils were similar. In 1912 rice production was begun in the Sacramento Valley of California. During the period of high rice prices following World War II rice was introduced into new areas in the Mississippi River and Arkansas River floodplains, and in

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142 1949 Mississippi joined the ranks of the major rice produci ng states . Today, Texas, Louisiana, California, Arkansas, and Mississippi produce 99.4 percent of the United States rice (80). A few other states grow insignificant amounts. Figure 28 shows the rice growing areas of the United States and of Arkansas (106) (19, p. 43). Table 8 shows the production by states. TABLE 8 RICE PRODUCTION IN THE UNITED STATES, 1964^ Total Acreage (1000 Acres) Percent of U.S. Acreage Total Production ( 100 Pounds ) Percent of U.S. Production Yield Per Acre (Pounds ) Texas 464 25. 8 18,734,841 26. 2 4,040 Arkans as 433 24. 1 17,841 ,010 24. 9 4, 120 (Grand Prairie)" (155) (8. 6) (6, 570, 125) (9 2) (4,240) Louisiana 516 28. 7 16,911 ,907 23 6 3,280 California 324 18. 0 15,825,700 22 1 4, 840 Mississippi 50 2. 8 1,909,845 2 7 3,790 Others 11 6 321 ,513 5 2,920 Total 1 ,798 100. 0 71,544,816 100 0 3,920 ^Source: adapted (80). ^For purposes of this table Grand Prairie statistics are the sums of those for Arkansas, Prairie, and Lonoke Counties. With respect to rice, discrepancies between the data for the 3 counties and the Grand Prairie region are minimal and should be within 5 percent correct.

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143 source: U.S. CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE CORBET 1965 Figure 28

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In 1964 Arkansas accounted for 24.9 percent of the UnitedStates total rice production. The Grand Prairie region accounted for 37 percent of the state total and. therefore, about 9 percent of J,he national total. Prior to 1943 about 80 percent of the Arkansas rice was arown on the Grand Prairie. The overall state acreaae had been increasing until the portion in 1943 for the Prairie was 63 percent (82, p. 129). Rice acreage has continued to increase outside the region while it has remained fairly constant on the Prairie. The Grand Prairie remains, however, the core of the state's rice industry and the area of most concentrated acreage. Arkansas, Prairie, and Lonoke Counties rank first, second, and third respectively in state rice production (80). Total United States rice production is small in comparison with the world total, contributing a little over one percent (67, -p. 6). Nevertheless, the United States role is significant because about half of the American rice crop is surplus for domestic needs and available for export (28) (29) (81). The United States ranks third, behind Burma and Thailand in rice exports. Since 1960 about 15 percent of the annual world trade in rice has been American, only slightly less than the shares for Burma and Thailand. The United States has been gaining in recent years on those 2 traditional rice exporters. In 1963 the American share was approximately 17 percent compared to 19 percent for Thailand and 24 percent for Burma (S6, p. 26). The 19m -5^ percentage averages were 13, 28, and 27 percent respectively.

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145 In addition to its export role the United States has a highly developed rice technology. It has given the industry efficient mechanization, high yielding plant varieties, inno vations in irrigation and fertilization, new harvesting and storage practices, and modern milling and marketing of rice. Rice is a modest part of American agriculture, of minor importance in diet, and of almost no importance as a tradition. The crop is grown on less than 2 million acres. Per capita consumption is less than 7 pounds. By comparison wheat is grown on some 50 million acres and consumption is 120 pounds per capita (91, p. 4). It would not be thus if this continent had been settled by the orientals instead of the occidentals, and if that had been the case the lower basin of the Mississippi River would at present probably be one of the great rice growing regions of the world. Methods of Production Rice culture is one of the most highly mechanized agri cultural pursuits in the United States. The Grand Prairie industry is no exception. In the United States rice is produced with less than 2 man-days per acre for all planting, growing, and harvesting (67, p. 2). The world average is 200 man-days per acre and in some countries it is as many as 400. Much of the seeding and most of the fertilization is done by airplane. Tractors prepare the land and large combines harvest the grain. Modern mills clean and package the rice.

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146 Certain selected aspects of rice production methods on the Grand Prairie not only serve to illustrate the region's adaptability to rice but also offer some insight into the economics and mechanized nature of the industry. As rice is an allotment crop it is essentially limited by the land production factor. As a substitute for the land factor, as well as for labor, farmers have substituted capital in the form of investments for machinery, irrigation facilities, and sophisticated methods of fertilization and grass control. The nature of the industry also favors certain supplementary farm enterprises and precludes other activities that are competitive. Land Preparation The land is plowed, disked, harrowed, dragged, leveled and diked. The level land of the Prairie terrace is an asset for the region and simplifies land preparation, particularly with respect to levee construction. The levees follow contours using an interval of 2 to 4 inches and must be surveyed and constructed with precision, often requiring professional surveyors. In addition to requiring time and labor for construction and maintenance, the levees take up room, and although planted to rice themselves usually represent considerable land where rice yields are lower than average. Any factor that allows cost cutting on levees is eagerly sought by the farmers. An experiment at the Rice Branch Experiment Station tested the feasibility of using plastic

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147 strips as levees. Although yields were increased somewhat, it did not appear to warrant the added cost of the plastic (72, p. 36). A recent trend on the Grand Prairie is increased investment in the precision leveling of land prior to seedbed preparation. One such farmer who feels that precision leveling pays is L. F. Sei dens tr i cker , who owns a 980-acre rice farm in Prairie County. Mr. Seidenstr icker leveled 25 acres and reduced the necessary number of rice levees to half. On one 14-acre plot he changed the slope from a 7 foot fall over 850 feet to a fall of 2.5 feet and decreased the number of levees from 27 to 13. In addition the old winding levees were replaced by straight levees oriented at right angles across the field. They are uniformly spaced with a contour interval of about .2 foot. The writer had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Seidenstricker and of observing the leveling work in progress (118). Seidenstricker was enthusiastic about the advantages of precision leveling. Formerly the water stood deeper in some spots on the fields despite the greater number of levees. Levees would often break on the low sides of the field while backing water up to the high sides. When draining, some parts of the field dried out before the rest, or stayed wet longer, resulting in uneven maturing of rice. Seidenstricker feels that these problems will be solved, and that more efficient watering with less water will also result. It also makes possible more precise use of insecti-

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148 cldes, herbicides, fertilizers, and lime. Combines will be able to pick up a greater percentage of downed rice. Also, soybeans can be furrow irrigated instead of by flood where formerly there was the problem of erosion and uneven watering. And most of all he expects increased yields to result from this combination of advantages. In surveying for precision leveling engineers place stakes in the field at regular intervals and leave the tops of the stakes at the desired level of the field. On the high side of the field the stakes are in holes. Red flags are used for cuts and white flags for fills. Land is bulldozed and leveled with special land leveling machines until it matches the stakes. On the cut side top soil will be removed and less fertile subsoil possibly exposed. Since Sei dens tr i cker had an 11-inch cut on the high side he had each plot tested for fertility and did receive different soil treatment recommendations. Soil pH varied from 4.9 to 6.0 and recommendations for lime from 3 tons per acre to none at all. Potash and phosphate differed, but all the plots received equal nitrogen. Some farmers have experienced a reddish color on the cut sides but it gradually disappears. At first, yields are usually greater than before in the fills and less on the cuts, but with the heavy fertilization program used on the Prairie such differences soon disappear. It is difficult to ascertain the costs and benefits of such Investment in precision leveling. Sei denstri cker used

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149 Figure 29. Land leveling for more efficient irrigation. The rotary scraper, one of several types of leveling machines used on the Grand Prairie, has an advantage in that it can be used with the farm-size tractor. Figure 30. Water leveling to maintain uniform water depth. The rice field in the background has been water leveled, and the near field is ready to level. Fields had previously been land leveled by heavier equipment, and this light duty scraper may be used annually to maintain a smooth surface. It takes about one hour per acre to water level such fields. Note the straight levees that are possible with leveled fields. Courtesy Soil Conservation Service

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150 his own equipment for the most part, and a detailed cost figure was unobtainable. However, he estimated that he moved 30,000 cubic yards of dirt and calculated his cost at about $3,000. At the going commercial rate of 15 cents per cubic yard it would have contracted for $4,500. This estimated cost of $214 per acre is prohibitive in itself, but Sei denstr i cker admitted that he was experimenting. He personally felt that any investment in his land was a wise investment whether it paid immediate dividends or not, as he was thinking in terms of the long range benefits that would accrue to the value of the farm. He felt that the operation added a value of $300 per acre to the individual field making it worth $600 per acre. He did not think it was practical over large areas. Perhaps Sei denstri cker ' s costs estimates were too high. Research by Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station personnel indicates that with the 15 cents per cubic yard costs figure, land leveling would cost approximately $66.50 per acre for conditions similar to that of S ei d en s tr i c ker (84, p. 17). Perhaps the 14-acre field described above had slightly more slope than that used in the study. If more than 700 cubic yards of earth per acre have to be moved it has been deemed too costly for ordinary field crops under present conditions and prices (19, p. 3). Probably rice would justify greater leveling costs than any other extensively grown crop. Another farmer's costs were $2,500 for leveling 34 acres, or $74 per acre (63, p. 20). The Agricultural Con-

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151 servation Service contributed $850, however, for a net cost to the farmer of $1,650. The farmer figured that the land leveling brought him a savings of $195 a year, or $5.73 per acre, and was calculated as follows: $ 60 Better distribution of water saved 30 percent on pumping cost. 20 Making levees straight across field saved annual engineering survey fee. 75 Labor of walking levees and repairing spills eliminated. 40 Levees reduced from 21 to 6 saved plowing up. $195 Total annual savings for the 34-acre plot. There are other advantages to precision land leveling that vary from farm to farm and must be evaluated with the Individual case: 1. Increased yields due to better watering and fertilization. 2. Elimination of some canals and ditches and therefore less maintenance. 3. Possible added acreage by elimination of ditches. 4. Water easier and faster to move. 5. Easier on combines and other machinery in the fields and therefore less maintenance. Before leveling it is wise to have a detailed soil survey made. It may be that the cut will expose subsoil with a high sodium content or some other undesirable trait. Technicians with the Soil Conservation Service will help with the soil survey, help plan and design the field layout, and check the work in progress. Most farmers are eligible to receive payments from the Agricultural Conservation Service for land leveling which help to offset the cost.

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Seeding There are several ways of seeding rice: water seeding by airplane and dry bed seeding. pUis s ubv ar i a t i on s of both. Seeding on the Grand Prairie occurs from about April 25 through June 20, depending on p 1 an t var i ety . soil temperature, weather conditions, and method of seeding. Certain varieties of rice can adapt to their seeding date. If they are planted late they will mature over a shorter period of time than if they were planted early. This makes possible a relatively long time interval over which rice can be planted and still yield, a fact that has been important to rice farmers. The varieties of rice grown in the United States are classified into short-, medium-, and long-grain types. Higher prices are normally paid for the long-grain, with correspondingly less for the medium-, and short-grain types (33. p. 5). In selecting a variety to grow, however, there are important considerations other than kernel size and price. Such qualities as soil fertility, growing season, yield, stiffness of straw, resistance to disease, tolerance of alkalinity, and. harvesting, drying, and milling characteristics are all important (37, p. 'ID. Growers of large acreages may wish to plant several varieties that differ in date of maturity and grain size. In 1964 the long-grains comprised 64 percent of the Grand Prairie crop, Bluebonnet 50 being the principal variety. A few farmers have been water seeding by airplanes for

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153 as many as 15 years, and the practice has increased in popularity. In 1952 about 10 percent of the Arkansas rice acreage was planted by plane (43, p. 6). In I960 over half the crop was estimated to be water seeded by airplane and the proportion is still increasing (119). Four men, including the pilot can seed 400 acres a day, whereas 4 men drilling seed can plant about 35 acres a day (97, p. 26). Water seeding results in better yields through better stands and better control of grass. In Arkansas yields have ranged up to 50 percent higher and averaged 27 percent higher than for dry land seeding (43, p. 6). Water seeding is especially helpful on land that is full of grass seeds. Rice will come up through the water while most grass and weeds will not. Water seeding requires slightly broader and higher levees because of wave action and about 20 percent more total water than dry bed seeding. A study was made by the United States Department of Agriculture comparing the costs and returns for water seeding of rice versus dry land seeding. Table 9 shows the results and indicates a net advantage to water seeding due to yield increases. Costs for water seeding are a little less for tractor work but total labor costs are slightly higher due to increased levee work, plus the added costs for the aircraft and increased pumping. The net advantage to water seeding after all expenses was $28.11 per acre.

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154 TABLE 9 COMPARISONS OF COST PER ACRE FOR WATER SEEDING BY PLANE AND DRY LAND SEEDING BY GROUND EQUIPMENT^ Amount and Cost by Method Item Unit Ground Equipment Airplane Quantity Dollars Quantity Dollars Seed Bushels Pumping costs Dollars Labor, preharvest Hours Tractor and Equipment Hours Custom work, plane Dollars Harvesting and drying cost for yield increase Dollars Total Expense Net difference in expense Yield increase Net advantage 2.3 11.6 3.7 8. 05 11.00 5. 80 9. 19 34. 04 2.3 13. 5 3,6 13. 5 8. 05 13. 20 6.75 8. 65 1 . 00 3. 38 41 . 03 6. 99 35. 10 28. 11 Based on 1952 costs and prices. Source: (43, p. 10). Conditions are constantly changing, however, and the situation varies from farm to farm. Relative labor and equipment costs are about the same today, but new developments in the industry influence farmers' decisions. Very recently, in the last 3 or 4 seasons, modern herbicides have been effective in controlling grasses and weeds, lessening the importance of water seeding as a method of grass control. Secondly, much

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155 Figure 31. Loading seed rice on airplane. This plane has just been loaded and is about to take off. It will water seed the rice on a nearby field and be back in about 15 minutes for another load. Figure 32, Seeding rice in water by plane. Yields are usually increased by water seeding due to better stands and better grass control. A flagman stands on the distant levee to mark the plane's run.

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156 of the Grand Prairie region has experienced increasing water problems, both in supply and alkalinity. And both detract from water seeding possibilities. Improved rice varieties and better fertilization procedures are lessening yield differences. In view of these developments it is felt by the writer that the use of aircraft for water seeding will not increase significantly and may, in fact, decline. This will in no way detract from the use of aircraft in other activities on the rice farm, and spraying for weed control and application of fertilizer by aircraft will remain a vital part of Grand Prairie rice culture (35). Irrigati on Rice is grown similarly to wheat, oats, and barley, with the exception that rice is flooded from 60 to 90 days during its growing season. If there is ample rainfall it may not be necessary to flood rice at all, but that situation is the exception and rainfall is never as certain a source of water as irrigation. Moreover, the purpose of flooding rice is less to supply moisture for growth than it is to control grass and weeds. Irrigation is thus employed for growing rice whenever practical. The Arkansas Grand Prairie has the necessary prerequisites for large scale rice irrigation: flat land, impervious subsoil, and a huge reserve of ground water. Rice in the Grand Prairie region is grown on the level surface of the undissected loessal terrace and the developed riceland coincides with the area of original prairie grassland, about

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157 90 percent of which has a slope of less than 1 percent.''" None of it is over 3 percent. The clay pan that is generally 12 to 18 inches below the surface extends throughout almost the entire Prairie and affords the region one of its principal advantages for rice. When the clay is wetted it swells and results in a texture so compact that it effectively stops ail downward percolation of Water. Without such a "stopper," large amounts of irrigation water would be lost through the bottom of the rice fields. This would increase pumping costs, put added strain on the water source, and make it more difficult to maintain stabilized flood depths. An analysis of overall water control on the Grand Prairie has been designated as a major objective of this study. The water problems, and the solutions which give character to the region, are the subjects of the following chapter. It will suffice at this point to relate some of the more significant procedures of water handling as techniques of rice farming on the Prairie. Rice in Arkansas requires about 33 inches of water under present production methods to produce the heavy yields for which farmers strive. About 11 inches is supplied by rainfall during the growing season. The other 22 inches comes from wells and reservoirs. A figure of 89.1 percent was derived using Conservation Needs Inventory sample plot data (Chapter III, Table 4).

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158 Only minor differences exist in the culture of rice between using well water and reservoir water. During the plant growing season fields are normally drained of reservoir water only once. Well water may have to be drained 1 to 3 times depending on the mineral content of the water. Rice prefers a slightly acid soil, a pH of 5,0 to 6.0. The well water from the Quaternary deposits contain small amounts of calcium and magnesium salts. When used over many years and allowed to stand on the land for long periods, mineral accumulations affect the pH of the soil. The soil pH of many rice fields has been changed from slightly acid to slightly alkaline. Rice is extremely sensitive to soil alkalinity, and yields are materially reduced. Reservoir water, not encumbered with the dissolved salts, is advantageous in this respect. Alkalinity is part of the water problem and is considered more completely in the following chapter. Reservoirs as a water source make faster flooding possible, encouraging water seeding. Faster flooding and fewer drainings mean a saving in labor and also aid weed control. With either type of water source, wells or reservoirs, water is delivered by ditches, canals, or pumps to the highest fields, and the water passes successively into lower fields by gravity through openings in levees. The openings are controlled by manual gates placed in the levees when the levees are built, or the levees may merely be broken and closed by shovel. Designated overflows prevent rain damage.

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159 After seeding, whether water seeding or dry land seeding, the first flooding comes in about 4 to 6 weeks when the rice plants are 6 to 8 inches high, except in the cases where water is left on the fields continuously after water seeding. If rain causes the soil to crust just after dry bed planting the field may be preirrigated to soften the soil. Flushing the field with a temporary watering may also be employed to aid germination, but when it is necessary to preirrigate for this purpose the land should be drained promptly after seeding or the underground seed will rot. The first irrigation flooding is to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. As the plants grow taller the depth is increased gradually to a full flood of 4 to 6 inches. ' The water is usually held no higher than this while the plant reaches 46 to 48 inches in height. Water can be deepened and may reach a depth of as much as 20 inches if the levees have been constructed to hold that much water, but there is no advantage to such deep water. Rice can be completely immersed in water if it should be desirable for grass control, but slender stretch-growth results and requires that the water be lowered slowly. A rapid removal of supporting water will cause the plant to fold over. Although the plants would eventually recover, their rate of growth may be retarded and their maturity delayed. Also, the slender growth induced by deep water may cause severe lodging when the plant becomes heavy headed at harvest time. With the exception of only temporary drainings, the

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160 rice is left flooded until about 2 weeks prior to harvesting in August, September, or October, depending on variety and planting date. The water holding ability of the clay pan subsoil is an advantage for the region that pays the farmer dividends in saved pumping costs. To hold a uniform flood on the rice, however, water must be added to offset transpiration and evaporation. Nearly 17 inches of water will evaporate from an open water surface in the region during the rice growing months of June, July, and August (17, p. 20) Regardless of seeding method, rice plant variety, or source of water, it Is necessary or at least highly desirable to drain the rice field temporarily at least one time during the growing season and perhaps more than once. Drainage controls certain aquatic plants, straighthead disease, and the rice water weevil. It also allows for dry land appli cation of fertilizer which has proved to be more effective than application in water. The field is drained and the soil allowed to dry until it begins to crack and the rice begins to turn brown on the tops. It Is then reflooded but may be drained again later in the season if the mineral content of the water is high or if certain pests and diseases persist. The availability of good water and the ability to get it off and back on the land quickly are important to the farmers' success in getting a good stand of rice and keeping it from being overtaken by grass. If the field cannot be reflooded quickly after the necessary drying out, grass can get ahead and be very difficult to control.

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161 When the rice is fully headed and starts to droop and begins ripening and turning yellow in the upper parts the final draining occurs to permit maturing and harvest. The final dry period varies but it is commonly from 10 to 14 d ay s . Good drainage is as necessary as good irrigation. It is important that when a field is drained no damp spots remain to decrease yields. Correct irrigation procedures can be the most effective means of combating certain pests and diseases, but without quick and thorough drainage its effectiveness is diminished. Good drainage is required also for drying out soil sufficiently to support the heavy harvesting equipment. Fertilization Rice yields have continued an upward trend on the Grand Prairie from an early long-time history of 50 bushels per acre to today's approximately 100 bushels per acre. The 1964 average yield for Arkansas was 4,300 pounds per acre (45 pounds to the bushel), surpassed only slightly by Japan's 4,386 pounds and compares to India's 1,378 pounds and Thailand's 1,422 pounds per acre (56, p. 28). Better quality seed, new varieties of plants, more efficient cultivation and watering techniques, and disease, grass, and insect control have all been important in increasing yields, but probably most responsible of all is fertilizer. Very heavy fertilization of rice is an unquestioned farming practice on the

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162 Prairie and along with the other practices mentioned attests to the advanced stage of technology that characterizes the industry. In the early history of the rice industry on the Grand Prairie when the virgin grassland was turned for the first time, yields of 75 to 90 bushels were produced in the first year but fell off rapidly to 50 bushels and not of good quality at that (94, p. 20). Many of the early rice failures or partial failures were due to poor water control, but the fact that rice is a very heavy feeder must not be overlooked, and the low inherent fertility of the soil was rapidly depleted. Nitrogen is the principal fertilizer ingredient used by Arkansas rice farmers. Direct application of phosphorus and potassium seem to have little effect on rice fields. Nitrogen is applied at heavy rates of up to 160 pounds per acre in some cases. Changes in growth characteristics and yield increases are marked, depending on soil and plant types, watering procedures, and time and method of fertilizer application. On the Grand Prairie almost all of the fertilizer is applied by aircraft in much the same manner as in water seeding. A small percentage is bubbled into the water, and some is applied at the time of seeding. Most is applied about midway in the growth cycle as it has been found that benefits are greater at this time. Early application encourages weeds, and application later than mid-season often encourages a

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163 late crop of tillers which may just be in bloom when the first crop is maturing. With the greater yields now obtained by heavier fertilization, the optimum time, and even the permissable time for application, becomes more narrow. Practically all farmers feel it is desirable to drain their rice fields when the plants are 6 to 8 weeks old to allow dry bed fertilizer topdressing. To obtain equal benefits, fertilization rates under flooded conditions must be increased 30 to 50 percent. Ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, urea, and anhydrous ammonia are all commonly used. Anhydrous ammonia may be bubbled into irrigation water at the first or second flooding with good results if proper methods are used. Anhydrous ammonia may also be injected into the soil at the time of seeding and if injected 4 to 5 inches below the seeds should not encourage weeds. Any broadcast fertilizer early in the growth cycle will encourage weeds and the rice will not be able to receive the full benefits. The dependence of the modern rice culture on nitrogen addition makes fertilization a critical phase of the farm operation. In addition to the hazards of too early or too late app li cati on,, the resulting heavy heads on rice increases the risks of lodging. Any time there are 100 bushels per acre standing in the field a small amount of wind or rain can down the rice. Bluebonnet 50 is the favored variety partly because it has one of the stiffest straws and can accept the heavy nitrogen rates. It will continue a yield

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164 increase with applications up to 135 to 160 pounds of nitrogen per acre without lodging (8, p. 34). Nato, a mediumgrain rice and the second most common variety grown on the Grand Prairie, often lodges with 100 pounds of nitrogen application. It is estimated that each $1 invested in proper rice fertilizer will return $5 in benefits. With applications ranging up to over 100 pounds per acre the significance of the economics of rice fertilization are immediately apparent. If a particular plant variety will not take the investment it discourages the use of the variety. The proper amount of nitrogen to put on a crop of rice is always an important question for the farmer. Added nitrogen continues to add to the yield in most cases even after its application becomes impractical. Diminishing returns foretell the economic limit before the physical limit is reached. Farmers rely on Agricultural Experiment Station recommendations and their own experience. Average yields show an increase from one-fourth to one-half bushel per acre per pound of nitrogen applied at rates of 40 to 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Yield increases per pound of heavier fertilization are lower, but total acre yields and total cash returns over fertilizer costs continue to be greater (7, p. 30) The point where costs and returns break even depends on a number of variable factors such as watering practices, water availability, plant variety, rotation procedures, grass control, insects, and farmer's available time. Many farmers see

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165 fit to use 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre and some higher at 120 pounds and more. While such heavy applications continue to increase yields in most cases, they may not be practical. In tests little benefit was obtained by increasing the nitrogen rate from 80 to 120 pounds. The 5.5 bushel per acre yield increase was not sufficient to be significant (59, p. 7). Related to fertilization are the efforts to control the soil pH problem. Soybeans are the major crop in rotation with rice and in contrast to rice do best with the higher pH. Rice is seldom put on the same field more frequently than 1 year in 3, or at the most 2 years out of 4, Soybeans are on the field usually at least 2 out of 3 years and by using up the excessive calcium and magnesium salts reduce the pH of the soil, making it more favorable for rice to follow. Sometimes lime is actually needed as an additive to the soil when planting soybeans, and the crop is known to respond to liming with increases of 5 to 12 bushels per acre when the soils are in that condition (62, p. 27). Usually, however, lime is recommended for Prairie soils only on fields where there is no lime in the irrigation water. Rice fields that have been irrigated with bayou or reservoir water over a number of years instead of with well water often require liming for soybeans. Soybeans are also a nitrogen fixing legume, and where soybeans are planted before rice nitrogen application may be reduced 20 to 30 pounds per acre (62, p. 27), The nitrogen assimilation occurs through bacterial action on the plants'

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166 Figure 33. Drained rice field nearing harvest time. This field normally yields over 100 bushels per acre. Note lodging of the heavyheaded rice at the edge of the field along the reservoir levee. The field has large levees on all 4 sides and is rotated with the reservoir on the top left of the photograph, presently under water. Courtesy Soil Conservation Service

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167 roots. It so happens that when the pH of the soil is low nitrogen assimilation is retarded, and not only will there not be any nitrogen residue for rice but the soybean plant itself may suffer from nitrogen deficiency. The major advantage of liming for soybeans, therefore, is to increase the pH so nitrogen assimilation will be enhanced. Through rotation of rice with soybeans and adjustments in rate of liming a favorable pH can be maintained for soybeans that will not be excessive for rice. By the addition of nitrogen and extraction of excessive salts, soybeans form a complementary position with rice. For a more complete understanding of the role of fertilization in the farm operation some cost figures are desirable. Based on interviews with farmers, flying contractors, and county agents, the following figures have been generalized. Cost of fertilizer per unit and application fees are fixed, but because each farmer's fertilizer requirements are different or his wishes vary no one cost per acre for fertilization is applicable for the whole region. Charges for aircraft application are normally $1 per 100 pounds of fertilizer; or some contractors will charge an hourly rate of $40. The writer observed one operation in progress where the aircraft carried 11 80-pound bags each trip and made 5 to 6 trips per hour, earning about $44 to $52 an hour. The farmer was putting 100 pounds to the acre, so it cost him only $1 per acre for application plus the fertilizer costs. He was applying a 33 percent nitrogen mix-

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168 ture that cost $65 per ton, or a total cost of $4,25 per acre for 33 pounds of nitrogen plus in this case some phosphate and potash. If for simplicity we assume a nitrogen rate of 100 pounds per acre it would cost the farmer $12,75 per acre using that particular fertilizer mix. Another farmer that was interviewed used a 45 percent nitrogen mix costing $99 a ton. It would have cost him about $13.25 for the 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre. This is close to the figure calculated using data from a cost survey conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (22, p. 24). Their figure of 13 cents per pound for nitrogen fertilizer added to the same application fees give a comparable cost figure. Varied concentrations of fertilizers result in slightly different application fees to put 100 pounds of nitrogen on the ground. The cost of phosphorus is 8 cents a pound and potassium 5 cents. A typical application of 40 pounds of phosphorus would cost $3,20, and 60 pounds of potash $3.00, plus cost of application. These 2 constituents are often worked into the bed at seeding or applied on another crop rather than air applied with nitrogen. If anywhere in the agricultural community fertilizer expenses are rightfully accepted as investments rather than costs it is true on the Grand Prairie. The pressure for profits and the high technology in all other aspects of rice culture requires maximum yields. A natural resource, the soils of the Grand Prairie, had advantages and disadvantages for rice culture. The advantages were capitalized on, and

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169 the d i s adv an t aa es were studied, knowledge applied, and problems a-m eliorated. Yields are hi a her than ever before and higher than the land could ever have produced in its natural condition. As experiment's continue and knowledge increases, further increases in yields are expected as advancing technology permits additional substitutions among factors of production. Detailed fertilization recommendations are available to the farmer (7) (8) (35) (37) (59) (62) (76). Disease, Insect, and Crass Control Of no less importance than fertilization is the control of diseases, insects, and grass. Without modern control techniques yields for rice producing areas in the United States would be reduced to perhaps one-fourth to one-half of present yields, despite modern fertilization. Somewhere in the past man learned that by letting rice grow in water he could keep grass infestation within manageable limits. All of the sophisticated watering techniques and elaborate irrigation systems that have been developed since that time for rice have had as the primary purpose the control of grass and weeds. Diseases Rice diseases are many and control measures vary. Detailed description and recommended treatments are available to the farmers through the Agricultural Experiment Stations and the United States Department of Agriculture (6) (27) (36) (37). It is not within the objectives of this study to present detailed descriptions and trealments of rice diseases or pest

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170 problems, but a basic familiarity with the problems and techniques of remedy are helpful in understanding the industry. To mention a few of the most common diseases: stem rot and leaf spot are fungi, and white tip is caused by a nematode. Control is aided by seed treatment and proper cultural practices. Straight head is a physiological disorder and is apparently caused by abnormal soil conditions oftentimes occurring where excessive undecayed plant material remains in the soil. The heads remain erect as kernels fail to form properly. Cultural practices seem to be the best control. Development of plant varieties that offer resistance to the diseases are a principal means of combating diseases. Bluebonnet 50 and Nato are both somewhat resistant to straighthead although no variety of rice is immune or even highly resistant to the disease. Insect Pests The principal insect pests to Arkansas rice are the rice water weevil, grape colaspis (lespedeza worm), and the rice stink bug. The larvae of the water weevil feed on the roots of the rice plants and reduce the stand and retard growth, causing a loss in yield. Root-pruned plants may even float to the surface. The adult water weevil meanwhile feeds on the leaves of the plant, but as this feeding is of no economic consequence treatment is aimed at the larvae. Control of the water weevil is accomplished through seed treatment with insecticides such as aldrin, plus opportune

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171 drainage of the rice field. Allowing the land to dry out thoroughly before reflooding disposes of the larvae. The grape colaspis larvae (lespedeza worm) also feed on rice roots, and in addition the overwintering larvae will feed on the germinating rice seed in the spring, reducing stands. The insect is likely to be a pest following lespedeza or soybeans in the rice rotation. Seed treatment with aldrin have given good control of the pest. Treatment is heavier than that for the rice water weevil and sowill control that insect also. The third of the major insect pests is the rice stink bug. The insect overwinters in grass stubble and is often associated with grassy rice. It will feed on grass before migrating to the rice, where it feeds on the young kernel. Both nymphs and adults insert their long slender beaks through the hull and suck the inner part of the kernel in the milk stage or the soft dough stage causing "pecky" rice. It reduces yields and decreases quality and, therefore, price. Applications of malathion or sevin will give good control. Since the stink bug spends a part of its life feeding on grass before it moves to the blooming rice good grass control is an effective control of the insect. There are other insects of lesser detrimental nature to rice. Specific information on the nature and control measures of these pests are available to the farmers (15) (39) (40). Pests of another nature are birds. There are 3 species

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172 that have been found detrimental to rice in Arkansas the red-winged blackbird, the cowbird, and the bronzed grackle. Investigations show that these birds feed in large numbers in the rice areas, and in season rice is the major item of their diets. Estimates of their average consumption range from one-half to one and one-quarter bushels per acre (34, p. 87). It does not sound like much considering 100-bushel yields, but based on the value of about $2.30 per bushel a farmer with 100 acres in rice will understandably feel that he has an investment worth saving. Statewide the loss runs into millions of dollars. An individual farmer may be hard hit or escape with little damage. Many devices have been tried to protect the fields from the birds with varying success. Trapping, shooting, and poisoning to reduce their numbers are generally impractical. Emphasis is put on frightening the birds off the fields during the critical days before harvest. Rope firecrackers, skyrockets, flash bombs, scarecrows of all descriptions, and even aerial patrols are used. Common on the Grand Prairie are carbide exploders that are positioned in varying places in the field and at intervals explode with a loud report. They operate on the principle of water dripping into a carbide tank generating acetylene gas which explodes when pressure reaches a predetermined point. Some types with a small tank of acetylene gas will fire continuously at a five-minute interval for more than a week without attention. Cost is about 15 cents per day. If the

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173 exploders are as effective on blackbirds as they are on unwary observers they should be a success. They have to be moved periodically because the birds will get accustomed to anything if it stays in one place long enough. A stationary scarecrow has been described as a perch for hungry blackbirds One of the most effective measures against the birds is the .22 rifle. The purpose is not to shoot all the birds with the rifle but to frighten them away. One man on an elevated platform may effectively keep birds out of a 160acre field by placing shots in whatever region or corner they choose to enter. It is considered somewhat of a sport, making it less monotonous than it sounds. The farmers generally are not pressed for time when the birds are most worrisome as the fields are maturing for harvest. In August and September many farmers may be observed sitting atop their trucks with rifle in hand. Chemical Grass Control Grass and weeds in rice fields compete with the rice for water, plant nutrients, and space and light. They increase harvesting and drying problems, result in decreased yields, and lower the quality and market value of the milled product. A number of tried and proved techniques of grass control must be utilized to defend the rice effectively. Proper seedbed cultivation and irrigation are primary grass control measures, but the recent development notable in the industry is the use of chemical herbicides generally applied

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174 by aircraft. For some years 2,4-D has been effectively used on rice fields for the control of broadleafed weeds such as curly indigo, coffeebean, and ducksalad. The herbicide is highly injurious to cotton and soybeans and requires care in useage. It will not damage rice, a grass, but unfortunately neither will it control b ar ny ar dgr as s . Heavy infestations of bar ny ardgr as s , herein referred to as "grass," can cut rice yields as much as 50 percent. Grass control increased yields an average of 41 bushels per acre in 10 experiments over a 5-year period on the Rice Experiment Station at Stuttgart (36). This represented an average annual net gain of $76 per acre. The recently developed herbicide was first released to farmers in 1961 after having undergone years of development and testing. It is known as propanil or DPA and is sold under the trade names of Stam F-34 and Rogue. The results of using the herbicide have been very encouraging and is another instance where American technology leads the industry and has enabled the American farmer to produce very heavy yields with little labor. In commercial trials conducted nationally in 1961 400 farmers growing rice on 20,000 acres obtained average yield increases of 54 percent valued at $79,20 per acre (4, p. 4). In 1963 60 percent of the Arkansas rice was treated with propanil and grass control was considered fair to good on 91 percent of the 254,000 acres treated (78, p. 34) Poor control was due to a number of possible causes such as

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175 grass too high, incorrect application, weather conditions, and poor watering procedures. Present costs for the use of propanil run $10 to $12 an acre, and at present prices a 5-bushel per acre increase will pay the cost. A Rogue advertisement boasts of a $2 to $5 return for each $1 invested, an average yield increase of 25 bushels per acre, and an additional profit of $36.75 per acre after the Rogue is paid for. As part of the national trial of Stam in 1961 increases of treated fields over untreated fields for 15 Arkansas farms were value increases in yields ranging from $41.31 to $183.60 per acre (65, p. 38). The average yield increases for the Arkansas trials were 73.8 percent. The 1961 cost for the propanil and its application averaged $14,75 per acre. Propanil is applied early in the culture of rice normally before the first full flooding. The grass must be caught before it becomes too large to control, preferably at the 1 to 3 leaf stage when it is about 3 inches high. The time varies but it is usually about 2 to 3 weeks after seeding. It is applied as a spray mixed with water and can be applied by ground equipment or aircraft. Three pounds of active material mixed with 8 to 10 gallons of water for aircraft delivery will control barny ardgrass , millet, purple stem bayonetgrass , and crabgrass. The rice plants normally have a yellowing of the leaves 2 to 3 days after treatment, but it soon disappears and the rice suffers no ill effects. A rain within 6 to 12 hours after application may wash

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176 off the propanil before it is effective on the grass. The herbicide is for postemergence only and kills only the grass which is exposed. There is practically no residue effect, and it is necessary to flood the field within 2 to 4 days after application to prevent an emergence of a second crop of grass. The grass must be actively growing for the herbicide to be effective. Following a rain is a good time to catch the grass in active growth, or a quick flushing may be required to set the grass up for the kill. The farmer must watch his fields very closely to catch the grass at just the right time. Grass that is stunted and growing slowly due to dry soil or cool temperatures is resistant to propanil as is grass that has reached the 4 leaf stage, 3 to 5 inches in height. Propanil is injurious to broadleafed crops such as cotton and soybeans and must be used in their vicinity with much care. Aircraft spray drift is especially troublesome. The close tolerance in the use of this new herbicide is another reminder of the sophisticated technology of the American rice industry. It emphasizes the need for research and testing and particularly illustrates the necessity of an enlightened farmer with a good understanding of modern technology. The discovery of these unique chemicals has been hailed as the most significant advance in rice production in many years. Besides the most obvious advantage of increased yields there are other advantages of chemical grass control the im-

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177 portance of which are less readily seen but the future possibilities of which are promising: (1) Not only are yields increased but the purer stands result in higher quality and bigger prices. (2) There are savings in the harvesting, hauling, drying, and cleaning of the weed-free rice. (3) The stink bug uses b ar ny ar dgr as s as a host before moving to the rice. If propanil controls the grass then it will not be necessary to otherwise control the stink bug. (4) Seed treatment for the water weevil, lessened in effectiveness where there is heavy grass infestation, will also be enhanced. (5) With grass control nitrogen can be added earlier with the assurance the rice will receive the full benefits. Otherwise it is necessary to wait for the grass to head before application. It has always taken extra fertilizer for rice because a certain portion feeds grass. (6) Better grass control will bring savings in irrigation costs. Less water will be required for grass suppression saving both on pumping costs and labor. (7) It will also conserve water, allowing more irrigation of soybeans. (8) There will be less need for water seeding whose main advantage is grass control, again saving water costs and eliminating some aquatic weed pr obi ems . (9) With grass chemically controlled it will be more practical to produce rice in successive years on the same land since the principal purpose of rotation is to control grass. It is expensive to dike and levee a field for only one season of rice. (10) Other known varieties of rice can be grown if grass competition is eliminated. Vegold and Belle Patna are very short-season long-grain varieties but compete poorly with grass.

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178 Harvesting and Processing When rice is fully headed and starts to droop and turns yellow in the upper parts the fields are drained for the final time before harvest. This allows the grain to mature and the field to dry out. The time varies but harvest usually follows in 10 to 14 days when the last kernels in the lower parts of the heads are in the hard dough stage. Harvest on the Grand Prairie generally begins in the earliest fields in middle August, reaches a peak in September, and weather permitting is completed in late October. A few late fields may be harvested in November, and unseasonably wet weather may extend much of the harvest into that month. Harvesting is accomplished exclusively with self-propelled combines. Scenes of the old binders, shocked rice, and threshing that were common prior to the mid 1940's are non-existent today. Success of the combine has been dependent upon the development of artificial driers, as the moisture in combined rice must be lowered without delay in order to maintain grain structure, good milling properties, and keeping qualities. There are many technical considerations in selecting the proper time to harvest and in the correct drying and storing of rice which cannot be included in this study (26) (30) (31) (32) (41) (55). The farmer's decision to sell at harvest time when prices are probably lower or to store the rice and sell at a later time must be based on current and presumed future prices,

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179 Figure 34. Unloading threshed rice from combine to rice cart. The cart will transfer the grain to a truck waiting on firm ground, which will then deliver it to the drier. Figure 35. Combining lodgedrice. The spring teeth on the blades enable the combine to pick up about 95 percent of the rice that has fallen down. Another combine and 2 tractor-pulled rice carts are in the background. Courtesy Soil Conservation Service

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180 storage costs, and storage facilities available. Many of the Grand Prairie rice farmers are members of the Arkansas Rice Growers Cooperative Association with home offices in Stuttgart. The Cooperative owns driers, elevators, and mills, and packages and markets the rice. The Cooperative was organized in 1921 as a result of chaotic conditions that followed World War I. Rice prices that year plunged from an anticipated $3.00 per bushel to 32 cents per bushel, if a market could be found at all (93, p. 27). The Association struggled through those early years and did not reach its full effectiveness until the advent of the combine-drier system in the middle 1940's, which made the cooperative ownership of the expensive driers and storage facilities especially advantageous. The Cooperative Association has been successful not only in processing and storing the rice but also in its marketing. In 1963 member farmers received 14 cents per bushel above the Arkansas average price (93, p. 27). When the farmer delivers his rice to the Association's driers he receives payment for 70 percent of the rice's value (116). Additional payments are made when the rice is sold. If prices are high the farmer shares in the benefits. If they are low he shares in the lesser price. In order to set a fair value on the farmer's rice a sample is taken from each load and intensively examined. The moisture content, plant variety, percentage of broken kernels, uniformity of maturity and hardness, and the amount

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181 Figure 36. Rice laden truck leaves for market. Arkan sas Rice Growers Cooperative Association's elevators and mills in Stuttgart ship products by truck and rail. Television jingles and brand symbols help sell Stuttgart's product.

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182 of foreign matter such as grass, dirt, and weed seeds are all taken into consideration in setting the price for the rice. A small portion is even milled in miniature equipment to determine milling qualities. Milling qualities refer to the percentage of whole kernels and total milled rice that is obtained from a given quantity of rough rice under average milling conditions. Rice is similar to wheat, oats, and barley in that the hulls or husks are removed from the grain before it is eaten by humans. Unlike wheat, however, the object in rice milling is to preserve the whole kernel or as much of it as possible. Wheat is ground into flour so milling is not nearly so critical as it is with rice, whose price is largely determined by the percentages of whole kernels and broken pieces. The milling of rice is probably the most automated phase of a highly mechanized industry. The milling capacity of this country exceeds the rice production. Some mills operate only 8 months of the year, but sometimes work double shifts during harvest season. The rice mills at Stuttgart work a normal shift the year round. The excess of milling capacity results in keen competition in the industry and has encouraged most efficient methods. Other Activities on Rice Farms Rice is unchallenged as the principal economic activity on the Grand Prairie. Yet there are other crops and activities of importance that deserve mention. Rice must be rotated in

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183 order to maintain high yields. The other activities on the rice farm are designed to aid and facilitate this rotation. In any given year rice occupies only about one-fourth of the developed riceland. Idle land and fallow land have been shown in the land use analysis as being relatively insignificant factors in the region, so the other activities involved actually account for up to three quarters of the land use occupance. The importance of soybeans on the Prairie and the unimportance of cattle and cotton have been illustrated in Chapter III on land use. At this point it is desired to examine the activities other than rice as they fit into the general scheme of rice production on the Grand Prairie. Soybeans In acreage, soybeans are the major crop on the Grand Prairie, in recent years occupying about 50 percent of all cropland.'^ It is second only to rice as an income producing crop. There has been a marked expansion of soybean acreage since 1955 when rice allotments went into effect. It is related to an overall increase in soybean production in the lower Mississippi Valley; Arkansas acreage quadrupled in the 10 years 1950-60 (38, p. 1). Soybeans have been grown on A survey of crops on the land use traverse showed soybeans on 54.5 percent on the cropland land use division of the Grand Prairie region. The interview of 50 rice farmers showed that 82 percent had over 50 percent of their cropland in soybeans (Table 29).

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184 more acres in Arkansas than any other crop since 1956. There were only 63,000 acres planted in soybeans in Arkansas in 1940, and the average yield was 12 bushels per acre. The 1964 state average yield was 21,6 bushels per acre taken off of some 2,981,000 acres (14). Factors accounting for increases of soybean production ivere particularly favorable on the Grand Prairie. In 1955 acreage restrictions were imposed on rice, reducing its acreage about 30 percent. This brought about a reduction in the incomes of rice farmers and released considerable resources in the form of land, irrigation water, farm equipment, and labor that were previously committed to rice. Farmers turned their attention to secondary crops as a means of adding income and as a means of using the resources diverted from rice. Soybeans have proved to be the most profitable and most convenient supplementary crop to produce on the highly specialized rice farms of the Grand Prairie. In the 3 counties which comprise the bulk of the Grand Prairie, and which themselves are mostly composed of Prairie Arkansas, Prairie, and Lonoke Counties the soybean acreage increased from 68,000 acres in 1955 to 545,000 acres in 1963, an increase of 8 times (22, p. 5). Prior to 1955, soybeans, oats, and lespedeza were of about equal importance in the region. Oats and lespedeza are still grown, but as the acreage of soybeans increased the importance of oats and lespedeza declined. Not all of

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185 the soybean acreage increase came at the expense of other crops. Idle cropland formerly used in rice rotation was put into soybeans. Prior to rice acreage restrictions 25 to 30 percent of the land was idle or summer-fallowed (20, p. 6). By 1959 this had been reduced to 5 percent, and the traverse mapped by the writer in 1963 revealed only 2 percent of the cropland idle. Soybeans also served to remove most of the last vestiges of the livestock industry from the Prairie. The increase in the production of soybeans was facilitated by the ease in which its cultivation fits in with rice culture. It requires little hand labor and is subject to the same high degree of mechanization as rice. With little change the same machinery for rice can be used in planting and cultivating soybeans, and they can be harvested with the same combine. The time for planting and cultivation of soybeans fits well into the rice schedule, and the soybean harvest comes after the rice harvest. Despite the tremendous increases in production, the demand for the versatile soybean continues to run ahead of the supply. As a result prices in most years run above the national support price, and farmers are encouraged to plant as much as possible. Soybeans are one of the remaining major crops without any planting restrictions. Many farmers feel that soybeans will eventually come under acreage restrictions, and no doubt there is some present inducement to plant to the maximum in order to provide a favorable crop history on which future allotments are likely to be based.

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186 Rotations on rice farms of the Grand Prairie have narrowed within recent years, most rotations now involving only soybeans and rice. Most common is 1 year of rice followed by 2 years of soybeans, but also found are various combinations of 1 to 2 years of rice rotated with 1 to 3 years of soybeans. A recent trend is 2 years of soybeans rotated with 2 years of rice. Rotation aids both crops in weed and disease control. Formerly rice was moved every year, particularly after allotments restricted rice acreage. Often land was not in rice more frequently than 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 years. However, it is expensive to move rice each year because of the irrigation levees and heavy fertilization practiced. With the better chemical control of weeds and diseases today, the trend is to plant rice in the same field for 2 years before rotating it. Soybeans normally do not need nitrogen fertilizer, and rice following soybeans often requires 20 percent less nitrogen than it otherwise woul d . Grand Prairie soils are not particularly suited to soybeans, and without fertilization and irrigation yields per acre would be considerably less than the yields on the surrounding alluvial soils. Although ideal for rice, the shallow soils underlain by the clay pan do not provide for good moisture conditions for soybeans and tend to burn the soybeans or drown them. On the other hand the irrigation facilities that were developed for rice give the region an advantage for soybeans. In few areas, and none so large as the Grand Prairie, can soybeans be watered so efficiently.

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187 All soybeans are not irrigated, however, as all farm units do not have sufficient water over the needs of the rice. Of farmers interviewed only 74 percent had water sufficient to irrigate all of their cropland (Table 29). Rice gets first call on the water, and soybeans get what is left. A little irrigation of soybeans may be worse than none at all by causing the surface to crack and allowing air to penetrate and dry out the soil. Some farmers can water a little but not enough. A possibility would be to grow less rice and water more soybeans, but under present prices and yields it would mean a cut in total profits for the farmer. Further discussion of the budgeting of water is presented in the following chapter. The development of higher yielding shatter-resistant varieties of soybeans that are adapted to southern conditions has been a factor contributing to the profitable expansion of soybean production on the Grand Prairie. The Lee variety is most commonly planted. It holds its pods well, is not prone to shatter, and does not have its yields reduced excessively if planted late. Under average conditions and with irrigation, soybeans can be planted as late as about June 25 and make a crop. Soybeans are grown in much the same manner as other clean tilled row crops, and the only possible distinction to their cul t i vat i on en the Gr and Prairie is their widespread irrigation. Detailed information on soybean varieties, di-

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188 seases, and cultivation, fertilization, and irrigation procedures is available from the Agricultural Experiment Stations (10) (20) (38) (54). Based on the success of the Arkansas Rice Growers Cooperative Association, a sister organization, the Arkansas Grain Corporation, was formed in 1958 to store, process, and market soybeans. The plant at Stuttgart is one of the largest soybean processing and oil extraction plants in the country. Soybeans are handled in other parts of the state by the corporation, and a large new processing plant has recently been completed at Helena, Arkansas. The Grain Corporation has had notable success. In the period 1947-57, Arkansas soybean growers received 13 cents less per bushel than the average price. Since the cooperative was formed soybeans grown in Arkansas have brought 20.56 cents a bushel more than the average (75). The soybean, once held in low regard, has come to be the second major money crop on the Prairie and on not a few rice farms equals the net returns on rice. Oats. Lespedeza, and Cattle Oats and lespedeza, once of equal standing with soybeans on the Prairie, have been relegated to minor positions. Unstable prices, several years of unfavorably wet falls and winters, and increasing reliance on soybeans have caused many farmers to stop growing oats. The very flat fields of the Prairie are not particularly suited to oats, a crop which re-

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189 Figure 37. Soybean storage and processing plant. Arkansas Grain Corporation's plant at Stuttgart is one of the nation's largest. Rice fields surround the plant. Soybeans were in these fields the previous year.

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190 quires good drainage. The bulk of the oats on the Grand Prairie are grown for seed because of their cleanliness and not due to any superiority in quality. The Grand Prairie has been singularly free of certain weed pests making it advantageous to concentrate on producing clean seed crops, not only for oats but also for soybeans and lespedeza. The relative freedom from Johnson grass is of particular significance. Modern transportation and mobility of population have resulted in the introduction of these nuisance plants, however, and the Prairie's inherent advantage has been lessened. Under favorable conditions lespedeza is a highly profitable crop, its gross returns equaling the $200 to $250 per acre for rice. Irrigated rice, however, is one of the surest and most reliable crops known, whereas lespedeza is one of the most unsure and least reliable. Under reasonably good conditions it is not unusual to obtain 1,000 pounds of lespedeza seed to the acre and with less irrigation and fertilizer costs than rice. But lespedeza is particularly subject to weather damage when nearing maturity. A single thunderstorm can knock seeds to the ground and quickly reduce a 1,000-pound yield to 200 pounds. On the commercial rice farms of the Grand Prairie the large plantings of 20-, 30-, and 40-acre fields of lespedeza are great gambles. Price fluctuations are also a problem. Because of the great risks and uncertainties of the crop, farmers are inclined to plant the less remunerative but more reliable soybeans.

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191 Cattle are no longer of any notable significance on the Grand Prairie. Reasons for the industry's demise were accounted for in Chapter III, but they can be summarized in one word soybeans. It is largely a matter of economics. Livestock cannot match the returns produced by soybeans, and in addition, soybeans are a supplementary enterprise on the rice farm whereas cattle are competitive. In the rice areas of Louisiana and Texas the normal rotation is between rice and cattle, as soybeans are not grown in the region. Economics of Rice Production In the past 2 decades rice farming on the Grand Prairie has been characterized by a series of new developments in production methods and procedures that have greatly altered the industry. It has progressed from the days of the binders and threshers to the use of combines, artifical driers, and airplanes. Highly sophisticated methods of disease, insect, and grass control are employed, and better varieties of seeds and great quantities of commercial fertilizers are now required in the normal operation of the farm. Investments in machinery and irrigation facilities involve tens of thousands of dollars per farm. The rice farms have become so mechanized and efficient and competitive that it is necessary to operate on a small margin of profit. It is thus necessary for the farmer to be familiar with the economics of his operation if he is to obtain the maximum returns from investment. As rice production became technologically more complex it became more and more restricted to large-scale farm opera-

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192 tions that could afford large investments in land, machines, and irrigation facilities. The trend over the last several decades nationwide has been toward the consolidation of farms into larger operating units and the phasing out of smaller, less efficient farms. This has been true with practically all aspects of American agriculture and it is especially so with rice. Rice is grown on highly specialized farms where it has first claim on all production facilities. Other such supplemental enterprises on the farms are designed to fit in with the rice farming procedures and to make best use of the rice facilities. Only with the most modern up to date methods and procedures can the farm operation be competitive. Large Investments Required A narrowing of cost-price margins plus allotment restrictions on rice have encouraged farmers to maintain income through an increase in yields. Average rice yields in Arkansas in 1964 were 4,300 pounds per acre compared with 3,825 pounds in 1961 and 2,600 pounds in 1954 (70, p. 21). The continued increase in yields has required higher capital investments associated with increased mechanization and the utilization of the latest technological advances. For a better understanding, costs may be broken down for such items as land, machines, labor, water, and materials. The amounts of investments in land that are required to produce a given income from agriculture are often overshadowed

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193 by studies involving per acre costs and returns. A study was made of Grand Prairie rice farms for the years 1961-62 to dis cover the size farm necessary to give an operator a net income of $6,000 and $9,000 annually (71, p. 35). Findings are summarized in Table 10. For an income of $6,000 an investment of $42,240 for land was required, and a $9,000 income required an investment of $72,800. The earnings are for labor and management after accounting for all direct production costs and nominal charges for capital invested in land, farm improvement, and farm machinery. Production practices were assumed to be those in common use at the time, and the prices paid and received were the averages for 1961-62 on the Grand Prairie. Ample water supply was assumed to be available to sustain present yields. Allotments for rice in 1961 averaged about 25 percent of the cropland on Prairie rice farms. These investment figures are for land only and do not include farm machinery, water facilities, or other costs of the farm opera tion. The land price of $160 per acre is considered low. Later studies assume an average value of $200 per acre which includes all land on the average farm, not just cropland (22, p. 11). Interviews with farmers indicate that Grand Prairie cropland is valued at about $400 per acre if one could find it offered. With a value set higher than $160 the investment for land would be even larger than the $72,800 required for the $9,000 income.

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194 TABLE 10 FARM SIZE AND AVERAGE LAND INVESTMENT REQUIRED FOR SPECIFIED LEVELS OF INCOME IN THE GRAND PRAIRIE^ Exp ect ed Income Unit $6,000 $9,000 Total land in farm Acres 264 455 Crop 1 and Acr es 193 333 Crnn arrpanps; Rice Acres 48 83 soybeans, irrigated Acres 74 127 soybeans, dryland Acres 71 123 h Total investment in land Dol lars $42,240 $72,800 Source: adapted (71). b Assumes land price of $160 per acre exclusive of improvements and water available to irrigate the rice and half the soybeans. With the exception of land, farm machinery represents the largest investment on rice farms. Total investment in equipment varies roughly according to farm size but also varies from farm to farm of similar sizes. It would be very difficult to arrive at an average figure for equipment investment and probably would not be too meaningful. There is, however, a rather definite minimum amount of equipment necessary for rice production. This includes tractors, land preparation

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195 tools, seeders, combine, carts, and trucks, leaving out pumping equipment for the moment. A study based on 1954 prices evaluated the machinery investment for a relatively small Arkansas rice farm of about 250 acres of cropland at just under $20,000 not including well and pumping equipment (42, p. 6). The writer's attempt to evaluate the same equipment at 1962 prices resulted in a figure of over $25,000 (23, p. 8). Larger farms (and most Grand Prairie rice farms are larger) require higher investments primarily due to increased numbers of trucks and tractors. Of the 50 rice farms selected for interviews the average cropland acreage was 490 acres (120). Well and pumpinq equipment can vary from a minimum of about $5,000 to more than $30,000 if one of the deep wells is employed. Irrigation costs are subjected to closer examination in the subsequent chapter. Machinery costs continue to keep capital requirements on the upswing. In 1940 an Arkansas rice farm operated by a farmer and a full-time worker required an average investment in equipment of $5,000. By 1960 the operator was doing nearly all the work himself and cultivated half again as much land as he had 20 years before. But his machinery costs had reached $30,000 (98, p. 13). With such large investments and a close profit squeeze it behooves the wise farmer to keep accurate cost and receipt accounts. Many farmers employ professional accountants to

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196 help them remove wastes from their farm operations. One case was uncovered where a grower with 160 acres of land had invested $60,000 in machinery. Depreciation each year was more than the total annual income from the farm. There was no chance for profit, and once the fact was revealed the farmer sold off excess equipment (74, p. 7). The accountant responsible for the disclosure was of the opinion that many farmers own more machinery than justified by the farm income. Expensive combines and heavy tractors require large returns to pay for their costs. Many may never harvest enough rice to pay. But what can be done? A rice farmer must be able to turn the land and harvest the crop. Cooperatives, machinery pools, and farm consolidation are possible answers, and the latter has been described to be the trend in recent years. The cost of a tractor or combine is the same for farms of all sizes, but the cost per unit-of-use varies with farm size, total hours of use per season, and the number of years in use. Some representative purchase costs and per unit-ofuse costs for certain items of equipment is shown in Table 11. A combine is the most expensive piece of equipment and the most costly per unit-of-use. Small farms use equipment less in a season but tend to cut costs by keeping the equipment over a longer period of time. For instance, a study revealed that small rice farms keep a tractor for an average of 21 years, whereas large

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197 TABLE 11 ESTIMATED COST PER UNIT-OF-USE FOR CERTAIN EQUIPMENT ON GRAND PRAIRIE RICE FARMS OF MEDIUM SIZE^'"^ Equipment Aver age Use Years Annual Use Hours Price 1961 Dol 1 ars Cost per Hour of Use*^ Dollars Combi ne 8 217 10,000 9. 97 Tractor (40 to 49 H.P . ) 8 800 5 , 000 1 . 68 Moldboard plow i5 133 500 . 59 Disk, tandem 15 133 975 . 92 Grain drill 20 60 600 . 99 Mi les Cost per Mile Truck (IJ^ ton) 20 3,000 3, 100 . 20 Truck ton) 4 11 ,000 2,300 . 09 ^Source: adapted (23, p, 8). A rice farm of medium size is defined as one having 400-699 acres of cropland. A small farm is one with less than 400 acres of cropland and a farm with more than 700 acres is a large farm (23, p. 5). ^Includes both fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs represent depreciation, interest on investment, taxes, and insurance. Variable costs include repairs, lubricants, and fuel. farms keep one an average of 8 years (23, p. 8), Cost per unit-of-use is cut, but it is offset somewhat by increased maintenance repair costs. Since much machinery is used only

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198 Figure 38. Typical farmstead with machinery on the Grand Prairie. Tractors, plows, disks, levelers, seeders, and combines involve investments in the thousands of dollars. The combines and trucks are generally kept indoors, such as in the quonset build ing shown here. Investments for family housing are typically much less than machinery investments.

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199 a relatively short time each year it can cause maintenance problems through unf ami 1 i ar i ty . Repair work is done during the off season if at all possible, and it is a small cost indeed compared to the loss incurred if a machine is broken down when it is needed. Labor is a relatively minor investment on the highly mechanized rice farms. On small rice farms most of the labor is furnished by the family with perhaps a hired seasonal worker plus some exchange work with other farmers. On a medium sized farm the operator usually furnishes about onefourth of the labor and hires the rest. On the large farms the operator generally performs management functions only and hires all labor required for crop production (23, p. 5), While machinery costs have gone up labor requirements have gone down. In 1954 about 14.4 hours of labor were required per acre for producing Arkansas rice of which 11.9 hours were in the pre-harvest operations (70, p. 21). In 1961 the total labor required per acre was 11.8 hours, down 2.6 hours. The reduction is attributed to a wider use of levee gates and larger equipment in land preparation, seeding and harvesting. But wage rates have increased more than labor hours have been reduced so there has been a slight increase in overall labor costs. Seasonal labor performs an estimated 20 percent of the labor requirements in the Grand Prairie (22, p. 7). Costs of materials such as fertilizers and chemicals were discussed earlier. Such costs vary considerably with

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200 their rates of application, however, and are best considered with an evaluation of costs and returns per acre. Costs and Returns per Acre Total investment in land, machinery, labor, and materials will vary considerably from farm to farm on the Grand Prairie. With some representative investment figures having been presented, additional insight into the economics of rice production may now be gleaned from an analysis of the costs and returns per acre. These, too, will vary with farm size and from farm to farm of the same size using different farming procedures. When interviewed, farmers were rather uniform in reporting a gross income off rice of about $200 per acre. They were not in as much agreement about net income, but most believed it would be something over half the gross. Of course, an exact figure would require each of them to carry out detailed accounting and then be willing to give the results to the interviewer. As' a matter of fact, it is felt by the writer that the farmers did indeed have detailed accounting, and that their estimates of net income were actually very accurate judging from their close agreement with findings shown in Table 12. The figures would change slightly from year to year, and one would not expect all farmers to have the same expenses in producing a crop even though they might obtain about the same yield and receive the same prices for theirproduct.

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201 TABLE 12 ESTIMATED COSTS AND RETURNS PER ACRE OF RICE ON A MEDIUM SIZED FARM ON THE GRAND PRAIRIE^ Rate or Value Unit Quantity Price per Acre Dollars I tera Income (gross) Rice cwt. Exp en s es 38.25 5.00 191.25 Seed cwt . 1 . 10 8 89 9 .78 Ferti liz er Nitrogen lb. 70. 00 0 13 9 10 Potassium lb. 60. 00 0 05 3 00 Nitrogen application (aircraft) cwt , 2. 12 1 00 2 12 Herbicide (2,4-D) . a c . 1. 00 2 00 2 00 Tractor operation hr . 3. 44 5 94 Equipment operation hr . 3. 44 2 72 Combine operation hr . 0. 62 9. 97 6 18 Truck operation mi . 17. 62 0. 20 3. 52 Pickup operation mi . 27. 00 0. 09 2. 43 Irrigation ac . 1 . 00 11 . 87 11 . 87 Drying cwt . 38. 25 0. 33 12. 62 Total specified expens es 71 . 28 Returns to labor, land, and man agement 119. 97 Labor (Hired) Regul ar hr. 9. 36 1. 25 11 . 74 Seasonal hr . 2. 35 0. 65 1 . 53 Total hr . 11 . 74 13. 27 Returns to land and management 106.70 ^Source: (23, p. 22).

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202 Table 12 has been adapted from studies carried out by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and concerns returns on rice only. It confirms the accuracy of the farmers' estimates of gross and net income. Gross income from rice was found to be $191.25 per acre and net income $106.70. Table 12 data are based on costs and prices received for the 1961-62 period and apply to the levels of technology commonly in use on the Grand Prairie at the time. A medium sized farm with 400 to 699 acres of cropland is considered because it is believed to represent best the overall situation on the Grand Prairie, Since the study the new chemical grass control agent, propanil, has come into wide use and presently costs $10 to $12 per acre. This cost has been more than offset by increased yields. A Comparative Advantage for Rice Rice is the most profitable crop grown on the Grand Prairie, and there is little chance of its being displaced by any competing use of the land. The net returns of $106.70 per acre overshadows the $25-$30 net returns of the second most important crop, soybeans, and would also seem to preclude any outside activity from entering and displacing rice. The natural environment of the region favors the production of rice and disfavors the only other crop money-maker that could conceivably compete in returns cotton. Cotton did poorly on the Prairie soils and thus never gained a foot-

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203 hold. As explained, Prairie soils are not as inherently fertile as the alluvial soils of the lower Mississippi Valley, and the potash deficiency had particularly discouraging effects on cotton. The soil's poor moisture conditions were also detrimental. Modern technology has to an extent overcome the original handicaps to cotton, and if desired, cotton could be grown on the Grand Prairie today with reasonable success. Commercial fertilizers can supply the soil mineral deficiencies, and the extensive drainage and irrigation facilities for rice help remedy the soil moisture conditions. These corrective actions involve costs, however, and the region would be at a disadvantage when competing with the traditional cotton growing areas. With comparable inputs, cotton would continue to give lower yields on the Prairie than on the al luvi al soils. Other factors have been described in Chapter III as all being partly responsible for the absence of cotton on the Grand Prairie today: (1) the lack of a cotton history and, therefore, a nearly complete lack of any allotments, (2) requirements of additional farm machinery not normally kept on the highly specialized rice farms, (3) difficulties of labor, (4) problems with injurious sprays, and (5) rice farmers' general negative attitude towards cotton. A 1954 study of costs and returns for cotton production on rice farms showed the crop to be a poor second to rice (42, pp. 16-28). Gross income per acre of cotton was $94.45,

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204 and for rice $130.00. Net income was $31,46 and $65.11 respectively, less than half for cotton. Input costs rates and prices received have changed since 1954, but it is believed that the relative positions of the 2 enterprises would remain about the same today. Labor is the largest expense item for cotton and was 4 times the labor costs for rice. Rice had higher costs for fertilizer, irrigation, and drying, but still gave higher net returns. High labor requirements, the need for additional equipment, the low value of production on the Prairie as compared with rice, and the professed nuisance aspect are major reasons why cotton is not grown on more rice farms and is not a challenge to the leadership position of rice. Soybeans are the second most important crop on the Grand Prairie, providing roughly 40 percent of the farmers' gross income and occupying over half of all cropland (77, p. 15) (20, p. 3) (120). Soybeans and rice together provide more than 90 percent of the income for farmers of the area (22, p. 6). Lespedeza and oats account for the most of the rest. Livestock is insignificant as a source of income. Table 13 shows the percent of income from the major crops for the group of rice farmers interviewed by the writer. Eighty percent of the farmers interviewed received half or more of their net income from rice, and none reported less than 40 percent (Table 13). But at the same time almost threefourths of the farmers also received at least 40 percent of

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205 TABLE 13 PERCENT INCOME DERIVED FROM MAJOR CROPS ON THE GRAND PRAIRIE^ Percent Net Income Rice Soybeans Other (P ercent of Farmers Reporting) 90 80 2 70 c 0 60 30 10 50 43 35 40 20 28 30 20 20 5 1 2 10 2 23 0 65 100 100 100 Compiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963, their income from soybeans. A 50-50 income from rice and soybeans was the most common answer given. All rice farmers received some income from soybeans, and only 2 percent reported it as being less than 20 percent. Income from other farm sources was minor. Only 12 percent obtained as much as onefifth of their incomes from sources other than rice and soybeans, and 65 percent received no farm income whatsoever outside of rice and soybeans. The returns per acre for soybeans on the Grand Prairie vary primarily with respect to irrigation. Using the same medium sized farm as was done with rice, and the 1961-62 cost

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206 rates and prices, Table 14 shows that non-irrigated soybeans returned $25.63 net per acre to land and management, and irrigated soybeans gave a larger return of $30.33. The yield increase more than paid for the added cost of irrigation, estimated at $3.92 per acre, and the small added costs in equipment useage required for the greater yields (23, pp.24, 26) . TABLE 14 YIELDS AND RETURNS FOR NON-IRRIGATED AND IRRIGATED SOYBEANS ON THE GRAND PRAIRIE^ Soybeans Yield Price Gross Net Bushel s Dollars None-irrigated Irrigated 24. 00 30. 00 2. 35 2.35 56. 40 70. 50 25. 63 30. 33 ^Source : adapted (23, Tables 32 and 36, pp. 24, 26). The net return for rice was $106.70 compared to the $30.33 for irrigated soybeans. If the same relative positions of returns of cotton to rice in 1954, that is $31.46 for cotton to $65.11 for rice, were projected to the 1962 period, cotton should give more returns than soybeans and would seemingly tend to replace soybeans on rice farms. But for reasons presented such is not the case. Soybeans fit extremely well into the time, labor, land, and equipment schedule for rice, and for the large majority of Prairie farmers the crop is con-

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207 sidered to be the most practical and profitable means to utilize surplus resources that are and will remain primarily oriented towards rice production. Cotton, on the other hand, competes with rice for those same resources. Lespedeza and oats, formerly of comparable position with soybeans in providina supplementary Incom© to rice, have been relegated to a minor position and together account for less than 10 percent of the farm income on the Grand Prairie. Lespedeza is grown mostly for seed on the Grand Prairie, and under ideal conditions can give handsome returns, considerably more than soybeans or oats but less than half that of rice (42, p. 25). It can just as easily be almost a total loss, as yields can be showered down to onefourth in a matter of minutes. The uncertainty of the crop in yields and prices has caused it to decline as soybeans have ascended. Oats are in much the same position as lespedeza and have lost most of their former importance. They do fit well into the rice farm organization and are generally double cropped with soybeans. But a number of wet falls and winters in recent years, plus unstable prices, have caused an acreage decrease in the region. The level surface of the rice fields is not particularly suited to oats, which require good drainage. An analysis of costs and returns was made for oats grown on the flat riceland of the Grand Prairie (land of less than 1 percent slope). It is interesting to note that under present technology with yields estimated at 45 bushels per acre, there

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208 is an actual net loss to land and management after all machinery, fertilizer, and labor costs are subtracted (23, pp. 18, 30). With better technology and yields increased to 70 bushels, a return of about one-fourth that of soybeans can be expected (23, pp. 19, 31). As long as oats are double cropped with soybeans and do not compete for resources on the rice farms they are a profitable supplementary enterprise, but when they do reach the point where they compete for those resources, and for example keep soybeans off the field, they become unprofitable. The point where oats reach this competitive position, of course, depends upon the circumstances of the individual farmer. The disadvantages of cattle have been discussed. With so few cattle on the Prairie today no costs studies are applicable. Not a single farmer in the questionnaire survey reported any significant income from livestock. The net returns of $10 to $15 per acre from cattle on the Prairie will be only about half the net returns on even unirrigated soybeans (115). In conclusion, it is seen that of the agricultural enterprises on the Grand Prairie rice overshadows all in total income and in per acre return. The nearest competitor, soybeans, provides less total income on more than twice the acreage, giving a net return of about one-fourth that of rice. Other rice farm enterprises are even less competitive. Cotton is the crop outside the region which would seem to offer greatest competition to rice, but for reasons of natural

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209 uns ui t abi 1 i ty and lower returns, cotton is not a serious con tender for farm resources. Rice as an Allotment Crop Rice allotments went into effect in 1955 as a measure to keep American rice production more in line with domestic and foreign markets. Before World War II United States rice production was less than 25 million hundredweight. After the war world scarcity of rice encouraged the United States to fill the gap, and production reached 64 million hundredweight by 1954. Over half of the annual American crop was being export ed. But by 1953 the traditional Asian producers had recover ed from the war's disruptive effects, and their increasing production brought stiff competition overseas to American rice. World prices declined below our support levels and, we could no longer export at 90 percent parity. Our rice exports dropped from 25 million hundredweight to 14 million hundredweight, and a huge surplus started to build up (64, p. 21). After a record crop in 1954 with a record carryover, acreage restrictions were imposed in 1955, and rice acreages were cut approximately 30 percent. An additional 15 percent cut in acreages was effected in 1956, and the maxi mum acreage was set at 1.65 million acres. In 1962 a 10 per cent increase was allowed. Changes in Rice Farm The imposition Operations of acreage restri cti ons on rice brought

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210 about important changes in farm operations on the Grand Prairie. The reduction in rice production that was hoped for did not occur as farmers substituted fertilizer for land. In the first year of acreage controls average rice yields went up 20 percent, and the country had the second largest crop on record at the time (64, p. 21). Prior to the acreage allotments, about 40 percent of the cropland on the Grand Prairie was seeded to rice each year (20, p. 6). Thirty to 35 percent was in secondary crops soybeans, lespedeza, and oats being roughly equivalent. The balance, 25 to 30 percent of the land, was idle or in summer fallow. Presently, rice is planted on about 25 percent of the cropland, soybeans occupy over half, and lespedeza most of the rest. Idle land is now almost nonexistent on the Prairie cropland. The change to the reduced rice acreage caused farmers to re-evaluate their operations. It caused much land and water resources to be released and made available for other uses. With ample cropland rice was rotated yearly, and as a rule a field was in rice no more than 1 year in 4 and on some farms 1 year in 6. The rotation scheme has now narrowed appreciably. The restrictions on rice were largely responsible for the parallel increases in soybeans, and farmers seeking to increase incomes not only increased fertilizer inputs on rice but also on soybeans. Nationally, since allotment became commonplace there has been a greater per acre yield

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211 increase in secondary crops than on the quota crops themselves (11, p. 19). This has been due primarily to increased use of fertilizers on the secondary crops and to a lesser extent to the fact that some of the better land formerly used for the quota crops was now available for the secondary crops. Economic and physical possibilities for improving yields of quota crops have been many years ahead of such possibilities for non-quota crops, so as resources became available for the non-quota crops results of improvement were immediately apparent. One might say that it gave the secondary crops a chance to catch up. The findings at the national level certainly apply to the Grand Prairie in the case of shifting resources from rice to soybeans. Rice retains its undisputed first place on the Prairie, but the phenomenal increase of soybeans has been the most significant change in the region in the last decade. When water resources permitted, supplemental irrigation was used on crops other than rice by a few rice farmers in the early 1950's. But the practice became commonplace in 1955 and 1956 when unused well capacity became available be^ cause of the cut-back in rice acreage. The economic advantages of irrigating soybeans have been recounted. The problem of budgeting irrigation water between competing crops is examined in the next chapter. The rice allotment on individual farms is closely related to the total amount of cropland on the farm and is presently about 25 percent. This is a logical development

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212 as the allotments were based on each farm's history of rice production. Before the government restrictions on rice the crop's limitations were determined by 2 factors: (1) land available for rotation and (2) water available for irrigation. Land for rotation was actually the primary factor, and before restrictions rice almost invariably occupied onethird of the farm's cropland. This was because of the rotation scheme that permitted land to be in rice only 1 year in 3, On most farms water supplies were adequate to irrigate that much rice and more. Some farmers irrigated soybeans in limited fashion. Many farmers had anticipated acreage restrictions and had raised rice acreages to the onethird land limit in the early 50 ' s in order to attain a favorable crop history for the coming allotments. In relation to this point, the 50 farmers that were interviewed were asked the question, "If allotments were significantly increased or removed altogether, by what percentage do you think you would expand your present rice acreage considering your land and water resources?" Surprisingly, the amounts were not as high as might be expected. Only about one-fourth of the farmers would increase rice more than one-third of the present acreage. It is interesting to note that a one-third increase would bring rice acreage approximately to what it had been before 1955, about one-third of the cropland in other words. Twenty percent of the farmers would not increase their rice acreage as much as 10 percent, and 8 percent would not increase rice acreage at all (Table 29)

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213 Fifty-eight percent of the farmers fell in the bracket of from 10 to 39 percent increase, When asked what the limiting factor would be on this hypothetical increase, 66 percent stated that land would limit the increases because of the 3-year rotation which they thought best. The other 34 percent said that water for irrigation would be their limiting factor, but most of these, too, mentioned the land limitation. Three farmers said they would increase their rice 100 percent, up to 50 percent of their cropland, and practice a 2-year rotation of rice and soybeans, being aided greatly by the new chemical grass control agents. One of the 3 said if all restrictions and price supports were off he would probably have to go to the half and half situation as would all the others, but he did not know how long he could do it and he certainly did not want to try. One farmer even suggested that he could grow rice on all of his cropland as he had the water available. Furthermore, he believed that with a little more money invested annually for fertilizer and grass control he could grow rice continuously without any rotation. He was alone in this thinking and was in disagreement with the experiences of farmers and agricultural officials which seem to indicate that even with all the fertilizer desired there are decre^^ ing yields with continuous cropping of rice due to poor soil structure and lack of organic matter.

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214 Rice Distribution Patterns Figure 39 illustrates a representative rice farm on the Grand Prairie. The 686-acre farm is located about 9 miles southeast of Stuttgart and is typical of the mediumsized farms on the flat loessal terrace. The rice allotment is 160 acres, one-fourth of the farm's 640 acres of cropland. Some 260 acres of soybeans are grown annually and about 130 acres of lespedeza. The 80-acre reservoir is constructed on cropland. The patterns of rotation for the 5-year period 19601964 show the crop movements on the farm. Rice, soybeans, and lespedeza are shuffled about the farm, but the whole plan of the rotation scheme is to favor maximum rice yields. With rice restricted to about one-fourth of the developed riceland, most farmers still feel that sustained yields and grass control can best be insured by moving the rice annually. The rotation illustrated in Figure 39 shows no particular pattern, as the whole farm is developed riceland other than the reservoir and farmstead. And when interviewed the operator of the farm expressed a desire to rotate the reservoir with rice and possibly would do so in the future. A representative view of the general distribution of rice on the Prairie is seen on the land use traverse (Figure 22). The rice fields are distributed in what may be de-

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215 PHOTO 1958 1962 I960 1963 5000 -I i FEET 1961 RICE SOYBEANS OATS SOYBEANS 1964 LESPEDEZA RESERVOIR FARMSTEAD CROP ROTATION REPRESENTATIVE GRAND PRAIRIE RICE FARM CORBET 1965 Figure 39

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216 scribed as a "shotgun scatter" on the cropland division of generalized land use divisions and in general are absent from the mixed crop 1 and-pasturel and division and the woodland division. This overall pattern will not vary from year to year, but the specific fields in rice on individual farms will, as illustrated in Figure 39. The intensity of the rice pattern will not vary either as long as the allotments remain the same. The traverse was carried out in 1963, but patterns would be essentially the same in 1962, 1964, or 1965, with only a shuffling of rice, soybeans, and lespedeza on the individual farms. Tables 15 and 16 show the number of farms in Arkansas County by the total size of farm and by size of rice allotment categories. Arkansas County encompasses the southern half of the Grand Prairie (Figure 1). Figure 40 shows the Prairie and non-Prairie divisions of Arkansas County. The Prairie on Figure 40 is essentially the same as the cropland division in Figure 15 and the flat prairie land physiographic region in Figure 7. From Table 15 it is readily seen that the farms on the Prairie are larger than the non-Prairie farms located in the loessal hills and bottomland regions of the county. This fact was illustrated on the traverse and is depicted graphically in Figure 24. The average farm size on the Prairie is about 630 acres, and the average non-Prairie farm has about 150 acres. Approximately the same number of farms are Prairie and non-Prairie, 557 to 598, but the sizes of the

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217 CORBET 1965 Figure 40

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218 TABLE 15 NUMBER OF FARMS BY SIZE, ARKANSAS COUNTY^ Size of Farm Acres Total Number of Farms^ Number of Farms on Prairie Number of Farms non-Prairie Less than 50 176 4 172 50-100 169 16 153 101-150 91 16 75 151-200 139 70 69 201-250 55 31 24 251-300 45 26 19 301-350 63 47 16 351-400 65 54 11 401-450 32 30 2 451-500 49 38 11 501-550 25 20 5 551 -600 28 23 5 601-650 30 23 7 651 -700 16 13 3 701-750 21 17 4 751 -800 16 11 5 801 -850 1 4 II 3 OCT n n f\ 8d 1 -900 4 4 0 901-950 5 4 1 951-1, 000 9 9 0 1 ,001-1 , 100 19 16 • 3 1 , 101-1 , 200 14 13 1 i,
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219 TABLE 16 NUMBER OF FARMS BY RICE ALLOTMENT SIZE, ARKANSAS COUNTY^ Allotment Total Number Number of Farms Number of Farms Size of Farms'^ on Prairie non-Prairie Acres 0 357 1 356 1-20 159 20 139 21-40 101 59 42 41-60 117 86 31 61-80 92 83 9 81-100 83 77 6 101-120 52 51 1 1 P 1 1 40 J. £-> X — X ^ V/ ^0 3 141-160 38 35 3 161-180 29 28 1 181-200 18 17 1 201-220 14 14 0 221-240 6 6 0 241-260 13 13 0 261-280 7 7 0 281-300 4 4 0 301-400 11 11 0 401-500 11 11 0 501-600 3 3 0 601-700 2 2 0 701-800 0 0 0 801-900 1 1 0 901-1 ,000 1 1 0 1 ,001-up 3 3 0 Total 1,155 563 592 ^Compiled from records of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, De Witt, Arkansas, August, 1965 (12) . '^These farms have either cotton or rice allotments. There are approximately 20 additional farms in the county which have no allotment for any crop and, therefore, are not included in the records.

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220 farms in the 2 categories vary significantly. Considerable land along the White River and Bayou Meto is forested game and wildlife refuge, accounting for the overall lesser land in the non-Prairie farm division. Small farms particularly are concentrated off the Prai rie. Of all farms 150 acres and less in size 300 are nonPrairie, and only 36 are on the Prairie (first 3 categories of Table 15). As the farm size increases the trend reverses and the larger farms are predominantly on the Prairie. Some of the larger farms, over 1,000 acres, have considerable woodland and are partly on and partly off the Prairie. But in such cases, personal experience of the writer plus interpretation of aerial photography indicate that the cropland of such compound farms is with few exceptions predominantly on the Prairie. Even the few large farms listed as non-Prai rie have much of their cropland on the Prairie. In classify ing the farms the objective was to place the farm in the group which best characterizes the farm's operation. As the rice allotments are generally in proportion to the amount of cropland on a farm it is to be expected that allotments will be larger on the Prairie farms than on the non-Prairie farms; But allotments are also based on farm rice-history, and since many of the non-Prairie farms do not have a rice-history they do not have allotments. Table 16 shows that 357 farms in Arkansas County have no rice allotments, and 356 of these are non-Prairie farms. Most of these farms are small and have small cotton allotments, usu-

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221 ally less than 10 acres and frequently less than 5 acres in cotton. Rice allotments of less than 20 acres are mostly nonPrairie, only 20 farms on the Prairie having allotments that small and 139 non-Prairie farms having rice allotments in that size. Allotments of the 21-40 acre size are more evenly divided, with the Prairie farms slightly outnumbering the non-Prairie. Again it is found, as was the pattern with total farm size, that as allotment size increases the farms become preponderantly Prairie farms. There are no non-Prairie farms with rice allotments larger than 200 acres and only 9 with allotments larger than 100 acres. The total rice allotment for Arkansas County is 76,780 acres, and of that amount approximately 90 percent is located on the Prairie division. The average rice allotment on the Prairie farm is about 109 acres and on the non-Prairie farm about 11 acres. Much of the rice that is grown on the non-Prairie farms is actually grown on sites on the individual farms that resemble conditions on the Prairie and in fact are isolated residual segments of the dissected Prairie terrace. The few larger rice allotments on the nonPrairie farms for the most part are found in the west-central portion of the county in the relatively level Bayou Meto bottomlands.

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CHAPTER V RESERVOIRS AND THE WATER PROBLEM Introduction The water problem has become an increasingly critical element in the economy of the Grand Prairie. The huge demands of rice have caused partial depletion of the ground water sources and have necessitated supplementary uses of surface water. As a result hundreds of reservoirs have been constructed, and they have become a noteworthy use of land as well as a major cost item in farm operations. It is the purpose of this chapter to examine the water situation including the changes in traditional ground water sources and the recent emphasis on reservoirs. Specifically it will be shown that the problems associated with the water resource and the solutions to those problems give the Grand Prairie region much of its character and distinctiveness, and secondly, that recreational uses of reservoirs are compatible with the agricultural uses of the reservoirs. Ground Water Early irrigation of rice on the Grand Prairie was with ground water because it presented the cheapest and most readily available water source, and it could be accomplished 222

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223 by private initiative with relatively little capital investment. Abundant ground water was reached at depths of 75 to 150 feet, and the supply seemed inexhaustible. The Grand Prairie is underlain by a huge sand aquifer that was saturated to overflowing at the time. Ground water was in the beginning, and has remained until very recently, the principal source of irrigation water in the region. At present, ground water and surface water are split approximately 50-50 as sources for irrigation water on the Grand Prairie. Quaternary Aquifer Underlying the entire Grand Prairie region is a huge sand aquifer of Quaternary age. Overlain by a layer of silt and clay, it is first encountered at 5 to 60 feet below the surface and ranges in thickness generally from 25 to 140 feet. Most wells that pump water from these water-bearing sands are 75 to 150 feet deep. The aquifer extends beyond the region itself, underlying an extensive area stretching from Little Rock to Crowley's Ridge to the Arkansas River, The aquifer slopes from the northwest to the southeast as does the present surface topography. Apparently the aquifer is continuous over this area, but the silt and clay capping layer is particularly well developed on the Grand Prairie, accentuated by the clay pan soil that underlies the surface at depths of 12 to 18 inches. The aquifer consists mostly of sands, with coarser sand and gravel near the base. The deposits were laid down dur-

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224 ing the Pleistocene Period and for the most part are considered exceptionally uniform for continental deposits (44, p. 48). Finer sands mark the top layers of the aquifer and are in turn overlain by the silts and clays. Sediments have not been satisfactorily differentiated into Pleistocene and Recent and are thug referred to collectively as Quaternary. The base of the aquifer is much more uneven than the top, as the Quaternary materials were deposited on an uneven surface of Tertiary age. The difference in elevation between the highest and lowest points on the Tertiary surface (and, therefore, the base of the aquifer) is 75 feet. The Tertiary surface was more rugged than the present surface topography and probably marks an erosional surface with a wel 1 -i ntegr ated drainage pattern. The Tertiary surface is marked by impervious clay deposits which seal the bottom of the Quaternary aquifer. Beneath the Tertiary clay are other sand aquifers of Tertiary age, and a few wells on the Grand Prairie penetrate into these aquifers. The total potential quantity of water available from these deep sources, however, is equal only to a small portion of the amount presently being pumped from the Quaternary aquifer (44, p. 11). Still deeper Tertiary aquifers contain salt water and are of no use for irrigation. Tertiary deposits extend down to depths of 3,000 feet and rest on marine deposits of Cretaceous age. Deposits of the Quaternary age supply 90 percent of the ground water used in rice irrigation on the Grand Prairie,

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225 with an average of approximately 115,000 acres of rice having been watered each year from that source (17, p. 15). Wells into the Quaternary aquifer are normally drilled all the way to the bottom of the water-bearing sands and stop when the Tertiary clays are reached. Because of the uneven Tertiary surface the depths of the wells vary from about 85 to 200 feet, and may vary considerably even when in close proximity to one another. Such wells deriving their water from the Quaternary deposits are called "shallow wells" to differentiate them from the 40-odd wells on the Grand Prairie that penetrate about 450 to 1,100 feet into the Tertiary aquifers and which are called "deep wells." The most dependable of the shallow wells, and at the same time the ones with the greatest yields, are those whose bottoms reach the depressions of the Tertiary surface. Here the water-bearing sands are thickest, and the subsurface water has the greatest head. Wells whose bottoms happen to fall on top of the Tertiary ridges are the first to lose head, decrease flow, and perhaps go dry as water tables drop. Shallow wells generally have an outer casing, 18 to 28 inches in diameter, that extend from the surface just into the water-bearing sand and gravel. From there a smaller casing and screen, usually 12 inches in diameter, extends to the bottom of the aquifer and is surrounded by a gravel pack. A smaller suction pipe is inside the screen and delivers the water to the surface discharge pipe, both of which are generally 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Pumps are usually

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Figure 41. Irrigation well with diesel power plant. A standpipe provides head for the pipeline which distributes the water. The levee of a cropland reservoir may be seen just beyond the house. Courtesy Soil Conservation Service

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227 electric, some diesel. Deep wells are constructed similarly except casings of 2 different sizes in the same well are less common. In addition to electricity and diesel fuels, butane and natural gas sometime furnish the energy for the deep wel 1 p ump s . The yields of shallow wells in the Prairie range from less than 400 to as much as 3,000 gallons per minute. The average well yield is about 650 gallons per minute, which will irrigate about 70 acres of rice. Yields depend upon water head, pipe size, and pumping capacity. Many well yields have been decreasing because of the lowering water table and consequent loss of head. Dropping Water Tables Throughout most of the Grand Prairie region the Quaternary water-bearing beds were originally completely saturated. When the first wells were sunk through the capping silt and clay and into the aquifer, artesian pressure caused the water to rise from a few feet to many feet above the top of the aquifer (16, p. 14). When first tapped, little thought was given to the potentials of the water supply or of its source. Irrigation for rice expanded rapidly, and in a very short time, by 1916, more water was being withdrawn from the aquifer than was being recharged through natural processes (17, p. 20). The decline of ground water levels was regarded with little concern in the early years of rice production. But by 1930 the water level in the shallow wells was dropping 10 to

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2 28 14 inches a year, and a few wells that apparently were limited by .the Tertiary ridges had completely gone dry. Instead of a gradual slope of the piezo metric surface from northwest to southeast, a great depression or trough was forming in the ground water level extending northwest to southeast down the core of the Prairie, It lay about midway between the eastern and western boundaries of the irrigated area and obviously was being caused by the heavy pumpage for rice in that area (13). This cone of depression has since been intensified as water withdrawn has continued to exceed the natural recharge and at even greater rates. Figure 42 shows contours of the ground water surface in 1959 (104). The depression is most pronounced as an elongated trough running southeast from Stuttgart through the heart of the Prairie. The average water level decline in the region from original-like conditions in 1910 until 1958 was approximately 1 foot per year (44, p. 14). The drawdown on the water table has been less pronounced around the edges of the Prairie where withdrawal has been less concentrated and recharge fr'om outside the region is more beneficial. Since 1915 the yearly rice acreage in the region has not been less than 100,000 acres and has averaged 135,000 acres (44, p. 14). Since 1955, when present allotments were. begun, acreage has been about 127,000 acres. Using the calculated figure of 22 inches, or about 1.8 acrefeet of irrigation water required by rice per season in addition to rainfall, and applying it to the 115,000 acres

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lEwaffi:! uj. «a«»L. -WWif , corbet mm

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230 that have been watered by shallow wells over a period of many years gives a figure of 207,000 acre-feet of water (67.5 billion gallons) withdrawn annually from the Quaternary deposits. By comparison, total annual municipal water withdrawal for some 20,000 persons on the Grand Prairie is estimated at 2,240 acre-feet (.7 billion gallons), not much more than the pumpage rate of 2 irrigation wells. Total domestic farm use is roughly the same and industrial use even less. In light of the tremendous withdrawal of ground water for rice, attention has been centered on potential supplies and recharge characteristics of the aquifer. Almost no surface recharge occurs in the region itself because of the impervious clay capping layers. As described, the aquifer underlies a much larger area, and the ground water beneath the Prairie terrace is thought to enter subterraneous ly from the northwest. Based on all available data, the annual recharge or inflow into the water-bearing beds is estimated to be 135,000 acre-feet (16, p. 46) (44, p. 30). This is calculated to be enough water to irrigate 75,000 acres of rice; but it has been shown that some 207,000 acre-feet have been withdrawn each year to irrigate 115,000 acres. There has, therefore, been a net dewatering of a large part of the aquifer, evidenced by the large trough of drawdown in Figure 42. The dewatered part of the aquifer southeast of Stuttgart is on the order of a thickness of 35 feet, and computations indicate a dewatered volume of about 300 billion cubic feet

PAGE 241

231 having a storage capacity of about 2 million acre-feet of water (44, p. 31). This amount of water that has been withdrawn and not recharged is enough to irrigate Grand Prairie rice crops for 7 years. The thickness of the remaining saturated zone of the aquifer is the critical element for present water extraction As the piezometric surface has declined and reduced the head of water on the wells, only the deepest of the shallow wells have not experienced decreased yields. Wells that yield 250 to 700 gallons a minute generally have a saturated zone of 25 to 40 feet remaining. Shallow wells yielding from 700 to 1,500 gallons per minute have saturation zones over 40 feet thick. A saturated zone of less than 25 feet thickness generally will not yield over 300 gallons per minute, and such a well is not considered economical for rice irrigation Any area where the saturated thickness is less than 25 feet may be considered seriously depleted. Such areas are principally along the cone of depression but may be more erratic in their distribution because of the uneven bottom of the aquifer. Seventeen of the 50 farmers interviewed had ceased to operate 1 or more shallow wells because of decreased yields or complete well failure. The majority of the other farmers also reported declining well flow. Interviews with the farmers verified that the water problem is not uniform over the Prairie. Farmers in both the northern and southern ends of the region reported that they had not experienced the falling water tables to the extent as had

PAGE 242

232 the farmers in the central portion of the Prairie, A continued decline in the water level will cause serious depletion in a larger portion of the region. Since 1953 there has been a concerted effort to investigate possibilities for artificially recharging the aquifer. A site on the grounds of the University of Arkansas Rice Branch Experiment Station 7 miles east of Stuttgart was chosen for experimental work. The work was done by the United States Geological Survey in cooperation with the United States Corps of Engineers and the University of Arkansas. The most feasible method of artificial recharge was found to be through wells, and tests were run using regular irrigation wells and wells especially constructed for recharge. The studies were concluded in 1962, and the findings have recently been published (17) (44-49). A total of 23 million gallons of water were injected into the aquifer through 23 test wells. The source of the water that was injected was a nearby irrigation reservoir where water had been stored after having been pumped from a small stream. Problems of sediments plugging both the wells and the aquifer seem to be the major hinderances to artificial recharge. To eliminate the problems it would require the injection water to be treated for suspended material, dissolved chemicals, microorganisms, and air and gas containment. In addition, it was found necessary that the injected water be chemically compatible with the native water and have approximately the same temperature. If these conditions are not

PAGE 243

233 adhered to it is concluded that not only will the wells and nearby sands become clogged preventing injection, but a sizeable portion of the aquifer itself may become clogged, rendering it less likely to ever becoming recharged either naturally or artificially. The water can be treated to overcome these problems, but costs for recovery of such treated and injected water are estimated to run more than $30 per acre-foot, and under present conditions it is economically not feasible as a means of solving the water problem of the Grand Prairie (48, p. 25) (49, p. 55). For more specific information on the aquifer and principles and possibilities of artificial recharge the interested reader is referred to the references at the close of the preceding paragraph. Alkalinity The changes in the pH of the soil brought about by the use of ground water for irrigation have been mentioned. As early as 1936 adverse effects were noted on rice yields. Virgin soils in the Prairie were acid, with a pH of about 5.0, but much of the region now has a soil pH of 7.0 and some older rice soils even as high as 8,0. The water from the Quaternary beds have small amounts of calcium and magnesium carbonates, and when these waters are held on the land for long periods of time contact with air causes calcium and magnesium salts to be precipitated out of the water. Each acre-foot of water supplied by the shallow wells

PAGE 244

234 average 1,048 pounds of total salts, and the 1.8 acre-feet normally applied each rice season is equivalent to the application of about three-fourths of a ton of lime per acre (88, p, 45). Eight or 10 seasons of rice is enough to cause an increase in pH up to 7.5, where rice yields begin to fall off rapidly. In some rice fields there is a noticeable difference in the rice plants in the portion of the field where the well water first enters the field. There is often a yellowing of leaves and reduced growth due to the precipitation of salts concentrating in that part of the field. Well water is sometimes run into canals and allowed to stand for a few days to encourage precipitation and sedimentation prior to running it onto the fields. This also allows the water to warm some from its normal 65*^ Fahrenheit, but this is of lesser importance. The poor internal drainage of the Prairie soils makes it almost impossible to lower the pH by flushing. Ammonium sulfate is recommended on some fields to lower the pH through reaction with the sulfur. Another remedy, of course, is to use water free of the troublesome minerals. Reservoir water is highly favored for this purpose. Also, water from the deep wells does not have the same hardness as the water from the shallow wells. But one of the most practical and effective methods to cope with high soil pH is to maintain a lower pH by planting soybeans in rotation.

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235 Analyses of test wells indicate that the quality of the ground water is relatively uniform during a pumping season and from place to place in the region. Other than the hardness, the water is of good quality. It is clear and nearly odorless, and samples indicate that the water is safe for drinking (47. p. 9). Some of the municipal waters are treated by filtering, aeration, and ch 1 or i n at i on , and some are untreated. Only recently have farmers started to use water softeners for farm domestic use. Reservoirs In view of the problems with ground water and the probability for a continued deterioration of the situation, inevitable changes must affect farm operations on the Grand Prairie. Farmers who are immediately faced with the problem have had to make decisions based on several alternatives: (1) a substitution of crops for rice that require less irrigation water, (2) sinking additional shallow wells to offset decreasing yields of present wells, (3) installation of expensive deep wells to tap the Tertiary aquifers, and (4) a greater use of surface water for irrigation. In general, the above alternatives are found to be of increasing favor as listed. A greater reliance on surface water has resulted in the construction of hundreds of reservoirs on the Grand Prairie, Their importance will increase and their numbers will grow as ground water levels continue to decline and the alkalinity problem compounds itself.

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236 Advantages for Reservoirs The most obvious advantage for reservoirs is that they provide the much needed supplemental source of irrigation water. As wells progressively failed to supply adequate water for irrigation, reservoir entrapment of runoff offered the most practical and least expensive way to obtain the needed water. Reservoir water is low in dissolved salts, and thus alkalinity is not a problem. Fields with a high soil pH resulting from years of watering with shallow well water quickly lose their alkali symptoms when irrigated with reservoir water. However, the alkali remedy is of secondary importance as a factor in the increased use of reservoirs and comes primarily as a side benefit to those farmers who need reservoirs as a source of water. Although rarely has a farmer installed a reservoir with the alkalinity problem as the principal reason, many farmers do use canals for sedi mentation before putting the well water onto the rice. The majority of farmers who use reservoirs also continue to use some well water, and oftentimes the well water is pumped into the reservoir for settlement prior to irrigation use. With the use of reservoir water fewer drainings of the fields are necessary, saving on both pumping and labor costs in addition to the conservation of the water itself. Each time the water is removed from the rice the opportunity for rapid encroachment of weeds and grass is increased. Unless the water supplies are sufficient to permit rapid reflooding

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237 grass and weeds may get out of control and cause marked reduction in rice yields. The large volume of water that is available in a reservoir makes possible rapid flooding, and this advantage is very popular with farmers who have switched to reservoirs. Normally the volume that can be pumped from wells in a like period of time Is much less, and some farmers complain that it takes them 2 or 3 days with wells to fill up the canals before any water reaches the fields. The drainage of the fields for dry land topdressing of nitrogen is a critical operation for farmers who have limited water movement capacity. A farmer who waters a particular field with a well of 350 gallons per minute capacity may have to break the field into portions for drainage in order to be able to get the flood back on before grass can get a start. Most farmers with reservoirs can deliver 2,000 gallons per minute to the field. The same advantage to reservoirs applies in the initial planting and flooding. Farmers who employ both wells and a reservoir can pump from the wells into the reservoir at times when their flow is not needed and thus build up a reserve of water for rapid floodi ng . A reservoir often provides the farmer with more total water than before and may enable him to irrigate both his rice and soybeans, whereas many farmers using wells alone cannot afford to water soybeans. And yet total pumping costs could be expected to be less depending upon the site of the reservoir on the farm and the extent to which gravity can be

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238 used to fill the reservoir or to distribute the water. Some reservoirs require pumping to move water both into and out of the reservoir, whereas others may require pumping only one way. The locations and types of reservoirs are determined by both geographic and economic situations on the individual farms. Type and Distribution of Reservoirs Some rice farmers who enjoyed a favorable situation early used surface water for irrigation soon after rice was introduced into the region. At that time it consisted merely of pumping water from a stream onto a field. But as more and more rice was grown and the demands for water increased tremendously, reservoirs were constructed to conserve the surface water. The physical environment, economic considerations, and individual farm situations immediately began to mold character and distinction into the type and distribution of reservoirs. Woodland Versus Cropland Reservoirs The first reservoirs were constructed on natural woodland sites of low value. They were concentrated along the streams that dissected the terrace and in the timbered "islands" that were associated with the lower, wetter portions of the Prairie. Although a few furnished water for rice, the primary purpose of the early reservoirs was to flood woodland for the attraction of ducks.

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239 Many early reservoirs were simple in design and entailed relatively little planning or investment. An earthen dam thrown across a small stream caused water to back up and to flood the woods along the stream. Water was usually allowed to drain off in the spring after duck season in order not to kill the trees. As the land was slightly sloping near the stream a natural catchment basin was usually possible with a levee required on only 1 side or on 2 sides at most. In those early years of rice production little need was seen for the collection and use of surface water for irrigation, as the shallow wells were less expensive and the ground water supply seemingly inexhaustible. Reservoirs designed principally to furnish irrigation water are relatively recent developments. They, too, were first concentrated along the streams and timbered islands where land was otherwise unproductive, construction was simplified by the slope of the land, and the reservoir could be easily filled by runoff. As the need for conserving surface water became more apparent, more and more reservoirs were constructed. The early wooded reservoirs were characteristically large, many over 100 acres in size. As the choice sites for the woodland reservoirs were used up, more productive land had to be incorporated into the reservoirs and their average size diminished. The majority of the reservoirs built in recent years are located on cropland and have required relatively high investments in land and capital. Of 106 Grand Prairie

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240 reservoirs analyzed in a study in 1957, 48 percent were wholly upon cropland and 35 percent were all woodland (21, p. 5). The others were a combination of cropland and woodland. Figure 43 (pocket) shows the distribution of reservoirs in the Grand Prairie region. Reservoirs existing as of 1958 are differentiated from the reservoirs that were added annually 1959 through 1962. Reservoirs existing in 1958 were mapped from aerial photography of that year (99) (100). Reservoirs added in 1959, and annually through 1962, were mapped using records in the respective county Soil Conservation Service offices. All reservoirs were checked by observation in the field. Reservoirs less than 10 acres in size are not shown. The distribution of reservoirs with respect to the generalized land use divisions is shown on Figure 15. The locations of the large reservoirs correspond closely with the woodlands along the streams and with the original timber islands (Figure 3). Practically all such woodland reservoirs existed before 1958, and most of them are among the earliest ones in the region. The smaller reservoirs, and the ones of most recent construction, are largely located on the cropland division of land use, and as previously defined this is the region of true Prairie environment. These smaller reservoirs have been built on cropland through necessity. As the ground water level declined, those farmers who were the most affected and who had no access to

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24i surface streams were forced to install reservoirs. Particularly to be noted from Figure 43 is the concentration of the newer cropland reservoirs coinciding with the cone of depression that has developed in the water table running roughly southeast from Stuttgart. Fewer reservoirs have been added in the northern and southern ends of the region. By 1958 there were approximately 275 reservoirs on the Grand Prairie 10 acres and larger in size, plus a much greater number of irrig-Hion canals, ditches, and other small water bodies that aid in storing runoff. Table 17 shows the number and sizes of reservoirs added annually from 1959 to 1962. While the total number of reservoirs TABLE 17 RESERVOIRS ADDED, 1959-1962^ Number of Reservoirs 1959 1960 1961 1962 6 5 5 6 6 12 8 4 5 4 6 3 4 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 12 0 1 Total number reservoirs added 23 23 20 14 Total acreage added 1,486 940 756 408 Average size in acres 65 41 38 34 Compiled from records of the Soil Conservation Service, Arkansas, Prairie, and Lonoke Counties (50). Reservoir Size Acres 10-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-up added annually shows a decline over the period, the acreage i

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242 reservoirs added shows an even greater drop. This is because the reservoirs being added are practically all going on cropland and are smaller in size. Twenty-three reservoirs averaging 65 acres in size were added in 1959, but in 1962 only 14 reservoirs were added and averaged only 34 acres in size. Annual reservoir additions should continue to decline as headway is made against the water problem. Most of the farmers who have experienced the worst of the ground water difficulties have by now arrived at some sort of solution. Additions will be necessary if the ground water level continues to drop as expected, but much of the catching up has been accomplished. It would be very difficult to determine the exact proportion of the new reservoirs that occupy cropland. An attempt was made to do so but findings were not conclusive. A study of aerial photography and interviews with farmers indicate that even when a reservoir must go on cropland it will usually go astride a small stream or ditch, and so in most cases at least a portion of the land was not productive before. Some farms, of course, have no streams and consist of 100 percent cropland. When the wells on such a farm fail and a reservoir is deemed to be the best solution, only cropland is available for inundation. It is estimated that about 75 percent of the reservoir acreage installed since 1960 has gone on cropland.

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243 Figure 44. Reservoirs on the Grand Prairie. (A) Taking advantage of woods and slope along Mill Bayou. (B) Cropland reservoir near Stuttgart, levees on all sides. (C) Reservoir oriented along a small stream, originally wooded with dead timber still standing in water. (D) Two cropland reservoirs, no woods or streams in sight. Courtesy Soil Conservation Service

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244 In an attempt to shed additional light on cropland versus woodland reservoirs the 50 rice farmers were asked to categorize their reservoirs and portions thereof as being situated on cropland or woodland. The resulting data are tabulated and presented in Table 30 in Appendix III. Out of a total reservoir area of 4,196 acres on the farms, 24 percent is on cropland and 76 percent is on woodland. The average reservoir acreage per farm is 105 acres, 25 acres of which are on cropland and 80 acres on woodland. Table 18 summarizes some of the data from the Appendix. Of the total 4,196 reservoir acres, 15 percent are in allcropland reservoirs averaging 43 acres in size. Sixty-seven percent of the reservoir acres are found to be in all-woodland reservoirs and as expected average much larger in size than the all-cropland reservoirs. The mixed cropland-woodland reservoirs more c 1 o s e ly r es emb 1 e the all-cropland reservoirs in size and account for 18 percent of the total. The type of structure of a reservoir and its source of water depends upon whether or not it is a woodland or cropland reservoir, its accessibility to natural runoff, slope of the land, and, of course, the capacity required for desired irrigation. The costs of construction and operation are determined by such factors as the amount of levee necessary to enclose a reservoir of given acre-feet capacity and the amount of pumping required to fill the reservoir and to move the water onto the land. An examination of these costs will be presented later.

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245 TABLE 18 CROPLAND-WOODLAND RESERVOIR ACREAGE ON INTERVIEW FARMS^ Total Percent Average Size Type Reservoir Acreage of Total (Acres) All-cropland 645 15 43 All-woodland 2,807 67 216 Mixed croplandwoodland 744 18 62 Total 4,196 100 105 ^Compiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963 (Summarized from Table 30 in Appendix III). Source of Water The source of water for a reservoir is a critical consideration in the feasibility of the reservoir's use. The main purpose of a reservoir is to collect surface runoff during times of plenty and to store water for use at a later time. The most elementary types of reservoirs are placed directly on or adjacent to streams in order to store a stable source of water in what otherwise might be an intermittent and undependable natural flow. In such situations water normally is acquired during the fall and winter months and stored for use in the spring and summer months when demands on all water sources are high. The region's early stream-fed reservoirs were abundantly supplied with water. However, as more reservoirs were es-

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246 tablished along Lagrue Bayou, Little Lagrue Bayou, Mill Bayou and other streams in the region the natural stream source of water became less reliable. One farmer near Almyra, who was among the first to see the need for catching and conserving surface water, in 1927 put a dam on Lagrue Bayou where there were no dams above him for 18 miles (94, p, 20), By 1950 when 20 to 30 large pumps had been placed above him on the stream he had to resort to other means of saving water as the bayou had literally almost dried up, Arkansas follows the riparian doctrine with respect to use of water. The state does not have a water code recognizing the doctrine of appropriation; consequently, there is no protection against damage by later subsequent appropriations. Nor are there any regulations that give rights to nonriparian lands. There is also no protection against over-development of ground water resources. Furthermore, Arkansas law does not establish an order of preference in the use of water as between domestic, irrigation, municipal, et cetera (109, p. 7), With a scarce water resource Arkansas rice farmers are not in an enviable position law-wise. One can see the importance attached to the source of water for filling reservoirs. Many rice farms do not have access to any stream, be the stream overpumped or not. This is particularly true on the unbroken larger expanses of the Prairie where the rice farms are most concentrated. In these cases, where water needs are most intense, not only are there likely to be no woodlands available for inexpenseive reservoir sites, but

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247 there are also likely no ready sources of water to fill a reservoir. A few rice reservoirs are filled by wells, but in these cases the reservoirs are serving only half of thei purpose they store water for later use, but they fail to collect any surface water during times of plenty. It is with respect to collecting surface water that water management on the Grand Prairie has made some of its most noteworthy accomplishments. Some of the farms have de veloped a surface water collection and distribution system complete on the farm itself and are dependent on no transient stream or even wells. Such a system is referred to as a "return system reservoir." It takes advantage of the natural rainfall to the fullest extent by picking up all of the drainage or as much of it as possible that-occurs on th< farm itself. It is not unusual for the system to pick up 100 percent of the runoff that would otherwise leave the farm. The water is collected by field ditches and passed into a canal system from where it is transferred into the reservoir. This collection may continue all year, giving a plentiful supply that can be applied quickly when needed. TVhen the flooded rice fields are drained for mid-season fertilization or for harvest at the end of the crop season, drainage is picked up by the return system and delivered back to the reservoir for use again. No water need leave the farm, and the only loss is through plant useage and evaporation. Any excess water can be passed off. A return system reservoir may be designed in several

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248 different ways, depending upon the geographic situation of the individual farm. 11 there is any woodland on a farm or if a natural drainage line is apparent, the reservoir will almost invariably go on that low spot on the farm. In that case all water can move toward the reservoir by gravity. If a reservoir is filled by gravity then it certainly will be necessary to pump water from the reservoir to the fields. The reservoir that appears on Figure 8 in Chapter II is a gravity-fed, return system reservoir. Water is pumped into a back-graded canal that delivers water to the high point on the farm where gravity then distributes the water to the fields and finally back to the reservoir. Figure 45 illustrates a small cropland reservoir that also utilizes a return system. In this case the reservoir is not on the lowest spot on the farm, so a back-graded ditch delivers water to the vicinity of the reservoir where a relift pump puts it into the reservoir. From the reservoir the water can be transferred to the canal which delivers it to the high point of the farm. Since the system was installed on this farm in 1960, the farmer has not operated his 1 shallow well. Practically all reservoirs on the Grand Prairie have some facilities for picking up field runoff, but it is developed to its highest degree and efficiency with such cropland reservoirs that have no other source of water. Some farmers have an advantage of being able to pick up some of

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250 their neighbors' runoff; conversely, some farmers have the disadvantage of losing much of their own runoff because of topography. Underground Pipe Paralleling the increase in the use of reservoir water is an increase in the use of underground pipe. The pipe has not been limited to use with reservoirs, for its advantages apply to farms that are irrigated with wells as well. However, the pipe has presented a distinct asset to the return system reservoir as it allows water to be delivered to the high point of the farm underground under pressure and eliminates the need for large back-graded canals. Mentioned was the complaint of farmers that it often requires several days to fill the large canals before water reaches the high point of the farm. Underground pipe, on the other hand, delivers water instantly to the high point in each field, where an "alfalfa" valve is opened and releases the pressurized water It can be shut off just as rapidly, and there is no idle or wasted canal full of water. There is also a conservation of water that would otherwise be lost through seepage and evapo ration from the open ditches and canals. 'By eliminating many ditches and canals, the pipes save costs in ditch construction and maintenance and at the same time add income to the farm by the addition of cropland that was formerly occupied by the ditches. For each 1,000 feet of canal, if built according to Soil Conservation Service de

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251 sign, 6 to 8 acres of land are taken out of use. One farm, of little more than a section in size, had more than 27 acres taken up by the canal system, most of which was reclaimed after the installation of underground pipe (95, p. 22). Pipe are buried 30 to 36 inches deep, allowing all farm machinery to pass over them. Plastic pipe, concrete pipe, and asbestos-cement pipe are used in sizes from 8 to 18 inches in diameter. Twelve inch pipe is used to deliver 1,000 to 1,500 gallons per minute. The costs for pipe varies from about $2.00 per foot for the commonly used 12 inch asbestos pipe to $4.35 for the 18 inch pipe (117). Concrete pipe and plastic pipe run a little less. Some farmers install their own pipe and save out of pocket installation costs of about 75 cents per foot. As with reservoir costs, farmers can receive financial assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Program of from 86 cents to $1.90 per lineal foot depending upon size (96, p. 7). Savings in pipe installation costs are made possible by taking the pipe the most direct route from water source to point of water release, directly across rice fields if necessary, something impractical with open canals. The use of underground irrigation pipe is increasing rapidly on the Grand Prairie. One farmer, who was among the first to use the method on a large scale, has installed almost 7,000 feet of underground pipe on his farm. He believes that the land reclaimed from canals, savings in water, and improved

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252 irrigating efficiency will repay him more than 6 percent interest on the money invested in the pipe (87) (118). Costs of Construction and Operation The costs of construction and operation of reservoirs are closely related to the described factors of type and distribution; that is, the kind of land on which the reservoir is situated, its size, site, and source of water. Analyses can effectively be divided into costs for land, levees, and pumpage. Land Costs Land is the major item of cost for Grand Prairie reservoirs and particularly so when the reservoir is situated on cropland. Grand Prairie riceland is valued at about $400 per acre, and oftentimes farmers have had to use this price land for reservoir impoundment. But given any choice at all the poorest land on the farm is chosen, woodland if possible; and if it must be cropland, it is frequently land of more than 1 percent slope and, therefore, marginal for rice. On the interview farms total reservoir acreage was shown to be 4,196 acres, 24 percent of which was on cropland and 76 percent on woodland. This is somewhat misleading because of a number of huge woodland reservoirs, up to 700 acres in size, that give the woodland reservoirs a large percentage of the total acreage (Table 30). Actually, more than half of the farmers were dependent upon cropland reservoirs to some extent, and almost 40 percent of the farmers had nothing but

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253, cropland in reservoirs. Thirty-two percent had nothing but woodland in reservoirs, and the rest had a combination of both cropland and woodland incorporated into reservoirs. As the woodland sites are used up the cropland percentage will increase. Prior to 1950, only 4 percent of the reservoir acreage is estimated to have been on cropland (21, p. 21). The farmers' evaluations of the cropland that was included in their reservoirs ranged from $250 to $400 per acre and woodland $20 to $75 per acre. Evaluations of woodland were based on their worth before reservoir use. For reservoir use their worth is much more, in effect equal to the value of cropland since if the woodland is available it eliminates the need of using cropland. One farmer replied that the little amount of woodland on his farm had been transformed from the least valuable to the most valuable land on his farm now that it had been developed into a reservoir . The farmers were questioned as to the adequacy of their present water supply. With the present reservoirs practically all farmers had adequate water for their rice, and many had enough for their soybeans. When asked the hypothetical question should additional water be needed, 68 percent leaned toward the employment of additional reservoirs rather than wells (Table 31). They believed reservoirs to be the most economical and practical source of water even if it entailed using cropland. If additional reservoirs

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were needed, 80 percent of the interviewees would have no choice but to use cropland as no more woodland was available to them. Those who favored wells for additional water had sound reasons. Most were in the northern and southern portions of the Prairie outside the great zone of ground water depression. Others had no watershed to fill the reser voirs, and some reported that their farms were so limited in size that they simply could not afford having cropland out of use and would by necessity have to use more wells, possibly expensive deep wells. Levee Costs The land costs for reservoirs are often hard to calculate and differ with the individual farm sites, but other reservoir costs are more concrete and capable of comparison. The major costs in establishing a reservoir other than land costs are the costs of levee construction and investment in the pumping facilities. Cropland reservoirs entail more expense in levee costs because they are on level land and require levees on all 4 sides. Woodland reservoirs and marginal cropland reservoirs can often confine the water with levees on only 3 or 2 sides or possibly only on 1 side. Water is stored as deep as practical in order to cut down on surface area. Cropland reservoirs normally are bull to hold 5 to 6 feet of water. A typical levee will be about 8 or 9 feet high, have a broad base with a width of 7 or 8 times the height, and be about 8 to 10 feet wide at the top. Figure 46 shows a reservoir levee under construction.

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255 I i Figure 46. Reservoir levee under construction. The view is on the inside of the r es ervo i rt o -be , where level cropland will be inundated 5 to 6 feet deep. With the exception of the borrow pits, the entire reservoir is above the general surface of the area. Courtesy Soil Conservation Service i f III 1

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256 The levee has a 4:1 slope on the inside and about 3:1 on the outside. Most of the floor of the reservoir is original cropland surface. A borrow pit just inside the levee provides the earth for the levee. Water in the pits will be 8 to 10 feet deep and provides the more permanent reservoir for the pumps. In late summer many of the reservoirs are observed to be dry except for the water in the borrow pits. Most of the levee work is done by contractors. In Arkansas County alone there are 11 earth contractors equipped with 2 dozen draglines and a dozen bulldozers (96, p. 6). At least 3 farmers own their draglines. In addition there are several pump installers and pipelaying firms. Present contract rates are about 15 to 16 cents per cubic yard of earth moved. The total levee costs are determined by the length and cross sectional size of the levee. A reservoir 100 percent leveed will cost more per acre enclosed than will one with a lesser amount of the boundary leveed. A reservoir only 25 percent leveed will cost only about a third per acre as much as one 100 percent leveed. Offsetting the lesser amount of levee to some extent is the tendency to build the levees higher for only partially enclosed reservoirs in order to store water deeper, on the levee side to offset the feather edge on the unleveed sides. The larger the reservoir the lower the cost per acre enclosed, other things being equal. Table 19 shows the average levee costs for a sample of 106 reservoirs on the

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257 Grand Prairie. Completely enclosed reservoirs of less than 25 acres cost about $189 per acre to levee. As the size goes up so does the total cost per reservoir , but the cost TABLE 19 COSTS OF LEVEE CONSTRUCTION FOR COMPLETELY ENCLOSED RESERVOIRS^ Average Costs of Construction'^ Size of Average Fill Reservoirs per Reservoir Per , P er Reservoir Acre Acres Cubic Yards Do 1 1 ar s u 0 1 i a r s Less than 25 21,459 3,088 189 25-49 37,996 4,957 140 50-100 50,067 . 7,400 109 101-up 133,566 33,685 93 ^Source: adapted (21, p. 8). '^Based on 1958 charges of 13 cents per cubic yard. Rates in 1964 were 16 cents per cubic yard and would give slightly higher costs. per acre goes down. Reservoirs over 100 acres in size cost only $93 per acre to levee. There are relatively few reservoirs on the Grand Prairie larger than 50 acres that are leveed on all sides. Most such reservoirs are in the 20to 40-acre size group. Farmers can receive 8 cents per cubic yard assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Program administered by the Agricultural Stabilization and Conserve-

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258 tion Service, provided no farmer can receive more than $2,500 in any single year. The program is directed towards water conservation and also aids farmers in installing underground irrigation pipe, stock ponds, and other water conserving measures. A few farmers have installed so-called "underground" reservoirs. Instead of excavating a borrow pit and throwing up an above-ground levee around unexcavated cropland, the entire reservoir is excavated and the water level is confined at or slightly below ground level. There are no levees to maintain or to occupy crop space. The earth that is excavated and which would normally form the levees is distributed over the farm in the low places and thus helps in leveling cropland. These reservoirs are usually deeper, averaging about 10 feet, and can store more acre-feet of water on less land than can the more common above ground reservoirs. Probably the first farmer in the region to employ underground reservoirs is L. F. Sei dens tr i cker of Prairie County (118). Mr, Sei den s tr i cker put in 2 such reservoirs in 1962, one 150 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and 1,200 feet long, and another 80 feet wide, 8 feet deep, and 1,400 feet long. The 2 reservoirs were centered along a small natural drainage ditch that crossed the farm on its lowest portion. A big advantage of the underground reservoirs is that they fill completely by gravity. The 2 reservoirs cost $9,800 to construct. The cost for spreading the fill actually cost more than digging the deep area. The expense per acre-foot of

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259 storage is probably a little more than for a surface reservoir, but savings are realized by not having to pump into the reservoir, no levees to maintain, and less cropland taken out of production. It also enabled Sei denstri cker to retire 1 shallow well completely and to draw less on the others, saving pumping costs. He uses underground pipe to deliver the water from the reservoir to the high points on the farm. The wells and the reservoirs are interconnected, and water can be switched all over the farm. Prior to construction of the reservoirs, 20-foot holes were bored to test the soil for water holding ability. No sand was encountered, only silt and clay, and water loss through seepage is insignificant. If the sands of the aquifer had been detected, construction of the underground reservoir would have been impractical because of the excessive loss of water through downward percolation. Pumping Costs Practically all reservoirs require pumping facilities, either to pump water into the reservoir or to pump from the reservoir to the fields. Approximately two-thirds of the reservoirs are equipped to pump water in both directions. Types of pump installations and total pumping costs are determined by the capacity of pumpage that is required, the kind of power used, and the extent to which gravity can be used to move water. Diesel engines and electric motors are used. Capacity may be up to 8,000 to 10,000 gallons per

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260 Figure 47. Ditch relift pump. This $3,000-plus installation will lift the water from the ditch and discharge it into the adjacent reservoir. When drained off the fields much of the water returns to this ditch to be used again. Courtesy Soil Conservation Service

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261 minute. Oftentimes the high capacity installations are necessary to take advantage of streams that have intermittent flow. The high capacity pumps designed to fill the reservoirs are normally the most expensive of the pumping facilities, and an installation that can deliver 8,000 gallons per minute will cost about $3,500 to $4,000. The motor accounts for about half the cost, fuel engines running a little more than electric motors but operating costs being roughly comparable, about $9 to $12 a day. (21, p. 11). Smaller capacity pumps that are used for discharging water from the reservoir cost about $2,000 or less. A figure of $2,500 to $3,000 is a close average for all reservoir pumping units in the region. Again, the larger reservoirs have a lower pumping cost per acre of reservoir because of more efficient use of the equipment . Maintenance Maintenance is a reservoir cost of note because of the levees' proneness to erode on both the inside and outside slopes. Wave action on the inside is particularly worrisome. Immediate seeding to bermuda or fescue is recommended to hold the loose dirt. Willows are often planted to break wave action. Brush, timbers, and even old tires are staked to the shores to help protect them from the incessant erosion. Muskrats damage reservoir levees as well as canals and ditches Almost annually, portions of the levees have to be repaired, and practically all levees require major repairs on eroded

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262 Figure 48, Wave action on reservoir levee. This reservoir was filled too full too soon after construction and at the wrong time of the year, before a protective cover could be established. The brush helps some. Figure 49. We 1 1 -mai nt ai n ed reservoir levee. This levee was seeded to bermuda and planted with willows the first year. Very little erosion has taken place, and the need for expensive repairs has been lessened. Courtesy Soil Conservation Service

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263 sections every 3 to 5 years. Some of these repair jobs may cost thousands of dollars. The annual cost of maintenance and repair is estimated at about $1.30 per 100 feet of levee (21, p. 12). One farmer reported he plans on $1,500 a year for maintenance for 2 cropland reservoirs of 25 and 35 acres in size (120). Total Costs It is difficult to give an overall average cost of reservoirs considering the variablesof land costs, percentage of leveeing required, different pumping situations, and the fact that some farmers use an underground pipe system with the reservoir and some do not. Cost figures were acquired from the farmers that were interviewed, and a wide range of figures were reported. Table 20 lists some of the representative figures cited. The biggest bargain apparently was $8,000 for a 50-acre reservoir that went onto woodland. One of the most expensive ones cost $21,000 for a 30-acre reservoir but included an elaborate system of pumps and pipes. The average cost was calculated to be about $290 per acre, but varied considerably among the individual farms. Cost Per Acre Irrigated The cost per acre irrigated by reservoir water differs because of the same variables as apply to total costs plus another factor the number of acres irrigated per acre of reservoir. The acreage watered ranges from less than 1 acre of rice for each acre in the reservoir to as high as 4 acres

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264 TABLE 20 INTERVIEWEES' ESTIMATED COSTS FOR SOME REPRESENTATIVE RESERVOIRS^ Reservoir Size'^ Total Costs Costs per Acre (Acres) (Excluding Land) (Excluding Land) Dol lars 10 5,000 500 15 5,000 333 30 6,000 200 30 21,000 700 35 11,000 314 40 8,000 200 40 10,000 250 40 20 , 000 500 50 8,000 160 50 17,000 340 60 20, 000 333 65 12,000 215 80 20,000 250 100 24,000 240 545 187,000 290 ^Compiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963. '^Res ervoir typ es varied widely from all-cropland to allwoodland and from all sides leveed to 1 side leveed, but the majority were constructed to store water an average from 5 to 6 feet deep over the acreage given. for each acre of reservoir. For completely enclosed reservoirs whose purpose is principally irrigation, an average of 1.7 acres of rice are irrigated for each acre in the reservoir (21, p. 14). The cost per acre irrigated is probably not the same for any 2 farmers, but some approximations are in order. Table 21 shows the results of a study on the costs of irrigating from reservoirs.

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265 TABLE 21 ESTIMATED COSTS FOR IRRIGATION FROM RESERVOIRS OF SPECIFIED SIZES^ Size of Reservoir (Acres) Item 20 40 80 160 Acres Acreage irrigated per season'^ 34 68 136 272 Dollars Total seasonal costs Overhead costs Interest on investment^ 322 550 968 1 ,791 Depreciation (pump and motor ) 160 180 227 413 Operating expenses Pump operation 135 271 541 1 ,083 Levee repairs and miscellaneous 37 53 75 106 Total 654 1,054 1,811 3,393 Costs per acre irrigated Fixed costs 14.18 10.74 8.79 8.10 Variable costs 5. 06 4.76 4. 53 4. 37 Total 19.24 15.50 13.32 12.47 ^Source: (21, p. 14), 1958 data. '^Based on average of 1.7 acres of rice irrigated per each acre of reservoir. Interest on land, construction, and pump installation. Since the costs vary with size of reservoir, 4 representative sizes are considered in Table 21. Assuming that the 40-acre reservoir irrigates 68 acres of rice (based on

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266 the 1.7 acre average), the total seasonal cost of the reservoir is $1,054, only $324 of which are operating or cash costs. The cost per acre irrigated is $15.50 for the 40acre reservoir, but in direct cash (variable costs) the cost is only $4.76. This is consistent with the estimated costs per acre Irriflated that wer© oommonly given in interviews, the figure being from $4 to $8 per acre (120). In interviews, farmers tended to respond with operating costs only, thinking of costs after the system is installed. This was deemed satisfactory by the writer as the operating or variable costs could be expected to be more uniform from farmer than would the fixed costs based on the widely varying situa tions for individual reservoirs. In other words, the variable costs are approximately the same, but the fixed costs vary widely. With the smaller 20-acre reservoir in Table 21 cost per acre irrigated is higher, $19.24, while with the larger reservoirs costs per acre irrigated are less, $12.47 for reservoirs 160 acres in size. Here again, fixed costs differ more than the variable costs which have a narrow range of only $5.06 to $4,37. If the 20-acre reservoir should water only 20 acres of rice instead of the average 34 acres, cost per acre irrigated would jump from the $19.24 to $32.70 A farmer will, therefore, not only try to get the most storage and pumping capacity possible for his investment, but he will also apply those capacities to as broad an irri-

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267 gated acreage base as feasible in order to receive maximum benefits for his investments. Reservoirs Versus Wells Of much import to water resource management on the Grand Prairie are the relative costs of supplying irrigation water by reservoirs versus wells. Well installations also vary in costs but much less so than reservoirs. A typical shallow well that will deliver about 800 gallons per minute costs about $4,600 and includes drilling the well and installation of the casing, screens, pump and a 40-horsepower electric motor (42, p. 13) (20, p. 32). Fuel engines cost about one-third more. Such a. well can irrigate from 90 to 110 acres of rice. It would require a reservoir of 50 to 60 acres to water equivalent rice, and costs would be on the order of $14,500 to $17,500. A survey of well irrigation costs on the Grand Prairie showed that total costs averaged $14.42 per acre irrigated (21, p. 15). Of this total, fixed costs amounted to $3.83 and operating costs $10.59. Comparing the $14.42 total with the total cost per acre irrigated from reservoirs in Table 21, it is seen that the average cost of irrigating from wells is lower than the cost of irrigating from 20-acre and 40-acre reservoirs but more than from the 80-acre and 160-acre reserAn average watering of 1.7 acres per acre of reservoir is assumed and an approximate cost of $290 per acre of reservoir installations.

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268 voirs. The differences are small, however, and are based on averages. Individual differences may widen the gaps or reverse them. In some farm situations reservoir irrigation is much cheaper than well irrigation. If the operating or variable costs alone are considered, reservoir water is cheaper. All 4 sizes of reservoirs in Table 21 have operating costs of approximately $5 per acre irrigated. This compares with the well operating costs of $10.59 per acre irrigated, more than twice as much. Reservoirs require larger initial investments than wells but once built, operate to furnish water cheaper than wells. Actually, reservoirs never were devised as a cheaper method of supplying water but came about through necessity as a source for water. The farmers who are now faced with the decision to install a reservoir, moreover, are not normally given the choice between a reservoir or a shallow well, but the choice is more than likely between a reservoir and a deep well. The reservoirs are being constructed in those areas in which shallow wells have already proved to be unsatisfactory. Deep wells have been defined as those that tap the Tertiary aquifers lying below the more prolific Quaternary deposits. There are only about 40 deep wells on the Grand Prairie. They range in depth from 440 to 1,100 feet, and most are about 800 feet deep. In general, their depth increases from the northern part of the region to the southern part of the region due to the position of the subterranean strata. Deep wells obviously

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269 are not the solution to the water problem for the region as a whole; however, they may offer a solution to the individual farmer . The deep wells are very expensive, most costing at least $25,000 and some $30,000 and $40,000. Motors may be electric or fuel; some use butan©, and a f@w recant ones employ natural gas. They generally pump about 3,000 gallons per minute. Water rises through artesian pressure to within about 100 feet of the surface so water may not have to be pumped any higher than from the shallow wells. But already a number of farmers who employ deep wells are experiencing dropping water levels there also. In one case a deep well has had to be deepened 3 times in the past 11 years. With initial investments comparable to that of reservoirs, operating expenses higher than that of reservoirs or shallow wells, plus the apparent limitations on the deep water resources, it does not appear that deep wells provide a satisfactory answer to the water dilemma. A deep well is feasible in an area where the Quaternary aquifer is the most seriously depleted and where a reservoir is impractical due to either the i n advi s abi 1 i ty of using cropland or an inability to fill the reservoir from available surface water. Water Budgeting Regardless from what source the irrigation water comes, it is a resource that befits wise allocation to enterprises offering the greatest benefits. Practically all farmers on

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270 the Grand Prairie have enough water to irrigate their present rice allotments, so presently there is little problem of water budgeting. Rice by far gives the greatest returns for water allocation in the region, and there is no competing enter prise that will draw water away from rice. Any watering capacity in excess of rice needs is applied to soybeans. The net returns gained from irrigated soybeans over non-irrigated soybeans on the Grand Prairie have been shown to be about $8 per acre (Table 14). The amount of water required to irrigate an acre of rice will irrigate 2.5 to 3 acres of soybeans. But to take water from rice to put on soybeans under the present price structure would bring a sizeable loss to the farmer. To take out 1 acre of rice and make that land and its allocated water available to soybeans would present the farmer a net loss of $36 (20, p. 24). Using the figure of a 1960 study, the loss of 1 acre of rice would reduce the farmer's income about. $87. But the increase brought about by the additional soybeans on this area, plus yield increases due to irrigation of these and additional soybeans by the water released from the acre of rice would increase income by only $51, giving the $36 loss. If conditions changed to alter prices for the 2 crops, however, there could result some shifts in water allocation. A relaxation of rice allotments might cause the price of rice to decline relative to the price of soybeans and thus result in more equal comparative returns for the 2 crops as

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271 alternative users of the same resources. At some point in a relative increase of soybean prices to rice prices it would pay to shift water resources from rice to soybeans. Multiple Uses of Reservoirs Reservoirs tie up considerable land resources, and they have involved such large investments on Grand Prairie rice farms that within the last decade much attention has been given to the possibilities of deriving additional benefits from them other than irrigation. The first reservoirs were primarily for duck hunting purposes, but as conditions changed and more reservoirs were installed their overriding purpose became rice irrigation. But some income is gained through additional uses of the reservoirs, and though it is not to be expected that these supplementary incomes will cover the costs of the reservoir they do serve to reduce the charge that would otherwise be borne by crops alone and rice in particular. Commercial fish farming, sport fishing, and The returns reported in the previous paragraph are based on 1959 average prices of $2.13 per bushel for rice and $2.03 per bushel for soybeans. Average prices for 1964 were $2,30 for rice and $2.60 for soybeans. If the price for soybeans were to remain at $2.60 and that for rice were to decline to around $1.95, rice and irrigated soybeans would produce approximately equal returns off the shifted resources herein described (20, p. 25). At any rate, approximately 75 percent of Grand Prairie soybeans are presently irrigated, and farmers' goals are to irrigate both all the rice and all the soybeans regardless of price, which would in the final analysis eliminate any problems of water budgeting.

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272 duck hunting are multiple uses that have brought additional benefits from the irrigation reservoirs. Fish Farming A few fish have been grown in privately owned waters in Arkansas for many years, but these were usually confined to small ponds or lakes and were limited to recreational purposes. Growing fish commercially for food in reservoirs has received widespread interest in Arkansas since about 1955. Relatively few individuals have actually tried the enterprise, and even fewer have had what might be called success with the endeavor. It has not been limited to the Grand Prairie but has been attempted by advocates in many of the delta counties throughout eastern Arkansas. The concentration of reservoirs on the Grand Prairie make whatever potentials that lie with the enterprise particularly important to the Prairie, however. The industry is relatively new to the region and few farmers have had any experience at all. Those who have have largely done so through trial and error. Stocking rates have differed, water sources and water handling procedures have varied, and some fish reservoirs were fertilized while others were not. Some farmers were able to sell their fish at reasonable prices and others were not. Because of its newness and the limited experience available, it is difficult to reach sound conclusions on the industry at this time. To help solve some of the many problems inherent with

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273 fish farming, the Fish Farming Experimental Station was put into operation in April, 1962, near Stuttgart . The station has modern laboratory facilities and fish hatchery, nursery, and growing ponds. Studies are being conducted on species of fishes most suitable for culture in rice reservoirs and such problems as fish diseases, parasites, and stocking, growing, and harvesting procedures (110). Experiments have only a short history, and the industry which has been developed to its present stage almost entirely through efforts of the farmers themselves with a minimum of technical guidance is still uncertain and faced with many obstacles. Fish farming on the Grand Prairie is not an end in itself; it is merely another effort to make maximum use of rice facilities, in this case, reservoirs. It was begun out of curiosity when some farmers thought they might be able to grow some minnows in their irrigation reservoirs for sport fishing bait. Actually, minnow growing is a highly specialized type of fish farming and was found to be unsuitable in the rice irrigation reservoirs. A number of large minnow farms are located in the vicinity of the Grand Prairie, but the enterprise is of no consequence in the region itself. The possibilities of fish farming on the Prairie are complicated by the fact that some of the reservoirs are ro''The station functions under the auspices of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

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274 tated with rice. Secondary to the critical need for water, one of the factors that encouraged farmers to build cropland reservoirs was that they could be rotated with rice. Rice must be rotated with something, and it was usually soybeans or idle-fallow land. Some of the farmers leveed up several of their most suitable fields and rotated the reservoirs with the rice as if the reservoirs were another crop. This served 2 purposes. First, it provided the much needed water without withdrawing land from the rice rotation cycle. Second, it has been proved that keeping land under water for 2 years is one of the best possible conditioners for land to be planted to rice. It eliminates noxious weeds and probably benefits the general condition and structure of the soil. There are rather definite but not too well understood indications that soil fertility is enhanced by water inundation and the associated flora and fauna (73, p. 155), Rice planted on land having been in reservoir 2 years usually gives substantial increases in yields even without fertilizer (24, p. 9). Many reservoirs, of course, are not rotated with rice and procedures of fish farming in those cases are less restricted. But for any type of fish farming in reservoirs to be practical on the Grand Prairie it must be adaptable to the principal purpose of rice irrigation. It is well to consider the major problems that have been encountered in this fledgling industry. Rice has first call on water resources. If a reser-

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275 voir is stocked with fish it is unwise to lower the water below a depth of 2 feet or 18 inches at the least. The shallow water eliminates cool water recluses, and coupled with the crowding, dangerously lowers the oxygen content of the water. Unless a farmer has surplus reservoir capacity significantly over his crop needs, the 2 demands for the water are in conflict. This is the principal reason why more rice farmers do not and probably will not grow fish. The second biggest drawback to successful commercial fish production is the failure to control wild fish, or what is locally called "trash fish." These are native species commonly regarded as nonedible such as carp, shad, green perch, and the bullhead catfish. They gain entrance to stocked reservoirs in water that is pumped from streams and ditches or as eggs carried by cranes and other wildlife. Some trash fish are often stocked inadvertently from contaminated spawning pools. Trash fish compete with the commercial fish for food and oxygen and hamper harvesting because of the necessity of sorting. Screening devices on intake pumps are of some aid, but if surface water is used to fill reservoirs it is virtually impossible to keep the fish out. Not infrequently, after stocking with thousands of fingerlings, farmers have seined their reservoirs after 2 years hoping to find a bountiful harvest of salable fish and to their amazement find instead a few fish and more trash fish than stocked fish. What had happened in those 2 years is not understood, but it is believed that competition

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276 with trash fish, oxygen depletion, and diseases and prasites have taken their toll. The buffalofish is the most commonly stocked fish. It is a fast-growing fish which does well in shallow reservoirs and will reach a good marketable size of 6 to 8 pounds in 2 years. Often stocked with the buffalofish are largemouth bass, predators which because of their voracious appetites serve to police the reservoir and keep the number of wild fish down. Because of size discrepancies the bass are not a threat to the buffalo. The bass, stocked in much smaller numbers than the buffalofish, have in cases brought more returns than the principal fish. In Arkansas it is legal, with a license, to sell game fish species. Crappie have also been grown by some farmers. They are tolerant of the crowded conditions in reservoirs and are an excellent sport fish. But most desirable for marketing is the channel catfish, probably commanding the highest price paid for any fresh-water fish for which there is a bulk market (73, p. 158). There are certain biological problems of propagation and rearing methods that must be solved before the channel catfish can be produced on a commercial scale in reservoirs. That is a major objective of the experiment station at Stuttgart, The optimum stocking rates for all of these fish are simply not known. The absence of time, experience, and records of results, plus the great variety of conditions under which the fish^ are raised do not lend credit to conclusions

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277 on inputs and returns on fish farming at this time. Nevertheless, some findings are available and even if sketchy are perhaps better than none at all. A survey was made of 16 reservoirs in eastern Arkansas that were used to grow fish in rotation with rice (25). The 16 were selected from a larger number because of their similarity and approximation to average conditions. Even so, conditions varied considerably and fish yields per acre ranged from 17 to 380 pounds. Table 22 shows the results of the survey on costs and returns. Variable expenses are broken into those for the first and those for the second year. Average stocking rates were buffalo 249 and bass 64 per acre. The principal variable costs were for the fingerlings and pumping. Second year costs were much less. Total variable expenses were $27.39 per acre for the 2 years, and total fixed and variable expenses were $40.55 per acre. At the end of the second year, 126 pounds of buffalo per acre were sold to a fish processing plant at 8 cents a pound and 26 pounds of bass at 25 cents a pound. Total returns from the fish sales were $16.58 per acre. Considering the total expenses for 2 years of $40.55, the enterprise generated a net loss of returns to land and management of $23.97 per acre for the 2-year period. Based on average costs the amount of fish necessary to break even would be 338 pounds of buffalo and 69 pounds of bass for a total of 407 pounds for the 2 years. This would be a 168 percent increase in production over that reported.

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278 TABLE 22 ESTIMATED COSTS AND RETURNS PER ACRE FOR FISH FARMING^ Price Value Item Unit Quantity or Cost per Acre Fixed expenses Interest Ac. 2 5,14 10.28 Depreciation Ac. 2 .80 1.60 Taxes Ac. 2 .64 1.28 Total fixed expenses (2 years) 13.16 Variable expenses First year fish Buffalo fingerlings No. 249 .039 9.71 Bass fingerlings No. 64 .025 1.60 Pump operation Ac. 1 8.01 8.01 Levee maintenance Ac. 1 .94 .94 Labor (pre-harvest ) Hr. .62 ,60 .37 Total variable expenses (1st year) 20.63 Second year fish Fertilizer Lb. 20 .029 .58 Pump operation Ac. 1 2.67 2.67 Levee maintenance Ac. 1 .94 .94 Labor (pre-harvest) Hr. .48 .60 .29 Labor (harvest) Lb. 152 .015 2.28 Total variable expenses (2nd year) 6.76 Total variable expenses (2 years) 27.39 Total expenses (2 years) 40.55 Income Buffalo Lb. 126 .08 10.08 Bass Lb. 26 .25 6.58 Total returns 16.58 Returns to land and management -23.97 Annual returns per rotation acre -11.98 ^Source: Adapted (25, p. 6). '^Based on average cost of $9,025 for levees, pipes, pumps, etc.

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279 Such an operation does not sound appealing. It must be remembered, however, that this is a new industry, and there are many avenues for improvement. Despite the disappointing results reported above, many persons are optimistic about the future of the industry. A few of the reservoirs in the study did produce sufficient fish to show a net profit. Another point that disguises the benefits from the rudimentary fish farming is the charge for fixed expenses and certain variable expenses that offset the gross returns of $16.58 per acre for the 2 years. Actuall'y, from the viewpoint of the rice farmers the fish are not expected to pay the costsfor levee construction and pumping costs. These costs are necessary for rice and are borne by that crop. If the fish can be made self-sustaining by paying the costs for stocking and what little extra expenses are required for fertilizing the water and labor for harvest, then whatever net return the fish can generate will be an asset to the farm operation. And this is hopefully thought possible. Some earlier studies have shown that fish in Arkansas rice irrigation reservoirs have been able to generate small returns, averaging about $16 per acre per year over their costs of stocking (24, pp. 12-13). Other than the fact that most farmers do not have the surplus water for fish farming, the major factor hindering the development of the industry is the farmers' general lack of enthusiasm for the undertaking. Of the 50 farmers inter-

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280 viewed only 6 had attempted commercial fish farming, and only 1 considered it as having been successful. A greater number showed interest, but most expressed a "wait and see" attitude. Eight said flatly they had no interest in it. One farmer had gotten more deeply into the business and was having reasonable success in growing and selling fingerlings for stocking. He reported a surge of interest at first then a falling off of interest as farmers experienced disappointments. But he reported that catfish fingerlings were beginning to move over the state, and he was optimistic about the future. The farmer was no doubt influenced by his location adjacent to a state fish hatchery at Lonoke, and he rented some of his stocking ponds to the state. Procedures in fish farming vary, but essentially it consists of placing brood buffalo in small hatchery ponds, perhaps one-quarter to 1 acre in size where spawning occurs in spring. About June, when the fry are 2 to 3 inches in size they are transferred to nursery ponds, which may be from 2 to 20 acres in area. Rates may be 10,000 to 20,000 per acre. The fry stay in the nursery ponds until the fall of the first year, by which time they are 4 to 8 inches long. They normally are not fed, but the water may be fertilized. During the cold months the fish are transferred to the reservoirs at various stocking rates, and it is here that much research is needed. It is believed that at least 100 buffalo per acre can attain a size of 5 pounds each by the end of the second year (73, p. 159). Mortality rates may vary

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281 greatly, from 20 percent to 90 percent. Thus, the stocking rates vary widely because of inadequate knowledge but may be from 100 to 500 per acre. Fifty to 100 or so catfish and bass 1 season old may be put in with the buffalo at this time. The fish are harvested in the fall of the second year, and hopes are that the buffalo would weigh 6 to 8 pounds, catfish 2 to 4 pounds, and bass about 1 to 2 pounds. Because of the high cost of feed concentrates it is not profitable at this time to feed the fish in the reservoirs, but limited fertilization of the water increases natural food sources. Farmers may choose not to spawn their own fry but to purchase fingerlings from a nursery and stock them directly into the large reservoirs. There would be no need for the smaller hatchery and nursery ponds. This is generally what a farmer who was first entering the field would do, and disappointing results have meant that few have done more. Irrigation reservoirs are usually not constructed ideally for fish-farming. Reservoirs larger than 20 acres in size make for difficult accounting and harvesting of fish. A reservoir for commercial fish production requires an interior drainage basin where the fish can be concentrated for harvest by drawdown into a small area of about 18 inches depth. Imagine the predicament of one farmer trying to harvest fish who was unable to drain his reservoir properly and had approximately 6 inches of water remaining over the entire 20 acres of reservoir. Inside borrow pits offer reasonably

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282 Figure 50. Harvesting buffalofish. These small reservoirs, near but not on the Grand Prairie, are designed exclusively for fish farming. They are not used for rice irrigation and so do not present some of the problems faced by the Prairie rice farmers. Courtesy Soil Conservation Service

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283 good concentration points particularly if graded to one spot, but reservoirs that are designed for rotation with rice normally will be constructed without borrow pits to enable entry and exit by machinery. If reservoirs are not rotated with rice certain problems may be eliminated for fish farming. Fish may be allowed to grow for more than 2 years, although any advantages accruing to this are as moot as other questions. Of the 50 interviewees, only 6 rotated reservoirs with rice. Many said they would like to and would if they could, but it requires at least 2 reservoirs leveed and a greater water source capacity to fill the reservoirs. A farmer with 1 reservoir, and having any difficulty with filling it, will not want to drain it to get at the fish. The chances also are that he cannot insure the minimum depth of water that fish require. Woodland reservoirs are impractical for fish farming due to the inability to control wild fish and vegetation plus drainage and harvesting difficulties. Recreational Uses Recreational use of Grand Prairie reservoirs is at the same time both an early use and a recent development. The first reservoirs were flooded woodlands whose primary purpose was to attract ducks, which cross the Prairie on their annual migrations from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, There was little need of the water for irrigation, and only incidentally did the early reservoirs furnish water for that

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284 purpose. On the other hand, as the ground water situation worsened reservoirs were added rapidly, and their principal purpose was to furnish water for irrigation. As it developed, the early reservoirs established for recreational purposes later came to be used for irrigation as well; and the later reservoirs established for irrigation purposes are now coming to be used for recreation as well. The recreational potential varies widely from reservoir to reservoir, depending upon the nature of the reservoir and the desire of the owner. Sport fishing and duck hunting are the principal activities. Sport Fi shi ng Sport fishing developed as an incidental benefit to the irrigation reservoirs. Some of the early reservoirs provided local sport fishing, but many of these duck reservoirs were only temporarily under water during duck season so fishing was of little consequence. Sport fishing as a profitable enterprise is recent and began almost as an accident when some farmers found after their disappointing fish farming experiences that more money could be made by charging the sportsmen a fee and letting them try to catch the elusive finny ones. A reservoir to be used for sport fishing will be stocked with the common game fish of the area. Bass, bream, and crappie are commonly used plus channel catfish. Actually, sport fishing may be practiced satisfactorily in a reservoir

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285 stocked for fish farming and not be detrimental to the commercial fish. Buffalofish will rarely take a baited line, but bass and crappie grown in the same water without noticeable negative effects on the buffalo provide excellent sport. These fish do well in the shallow, still, and often muddy water of the irrigation reservoirs. As doscribsd, bass are normally stocked anyway to keep the wild fish in check. Bream are normally not stocked with commercial fish because of their prolific nature and crowding of the other fish. Bream fit nicely in a sports fishing reservoir, however, and supply the insatiable bass with food. The wooded reservoirs, while not lending themselves to commercial fish farming, do make for excellent sport fishing and are considered the choice fishing spots. Although less control is possible over the types of fish, the stumps and vegetation and other natural conditions are highly desirable. If sports fishing is important reservoir outlets are screened to prevent the fish from escaping or from being pumped out onto the fields. Sport fishing as a source of income is still relatively minor on the Grand Prairie. Only a few farmers have the facilities or have taken the initiative to derive income in this manner. Of the 50 interviewees 35 reported that their reservoirs were used for sport fishing, but only 10 collect a fee for fishing privileges. The fee most often charged is $1 a day per person plus $1 to $1.50 rent for a boat. One farmer with a large and highly desirable fishing reservoir

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286 charged $75 a person for a year's fishing privileges. Another charges $25. A farmer's total annual income derived from fishing fees may vary from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. A survey of reservoirs that charged fees for fishing in eastern Arkansas indicated the average annual income per reservoir is about $2,000 (57, p. 44). Most of these, however, were not irrigation reservoirs. One reservoir, 200 acres in size, grossed $4,000 through $100-perfamily leases. ' Very often a farmer will allow fishing in his reservoir for a fee but places little importance on it as an income producer. This seems to be the general thinking on the Grand Prairie. Only a few of the most desirable reservoirs apparently bring in any significant income. Oftentimes, farmers do not even keep account of receipts. Although only a small portion of the rice farmers with reservoirs realize any income from sport fishing fees, the majority of the farmers reported that sport fishing was prac ticed to some extent locally, usually limited to the family and friends. Some of these farmers were quite enthusiastic about it, and this aspect was definitely an asset to the reservoir. Several said that they would consider fees if it looked like they were warranted or became more practical in the future. Of course, some of the reservoirs were not suit able for sport fishing just as they were unsuitable for fish farming, although requirements and investments are not the

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287 Figure 51. Do-it-yourself fishing reservoir. This rice irrigation reservoir near Stuttgart provides easily accessible recreation to the people and supplemental income to the farmer, with a minimum of effort.

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288 same. The state will stock game fish free of charge, and there is no additional expense that is absolutely necessary, although the game fish will respond to favorable conditions in the reservoir just as the commercial fish will. Water may be fertilized or the fish even fed commercial food concentrates . A handicap of sport fishing for fees on the Grand Prairie is the distance from urban centers. Little Rock is 50 miles away and Memphis is 116 miles, although the writer knows of several parties from Memphis who journey that distance' to the Prairie for its excellent bass fishing. There is little other urban development in the vicinity, and there are many competitive fishing spots. But with the rapidly expanding population, more leisure time, and an unprecedented mobility of the people, recreational demands are increasing tremendously everywhere in the nation, and the Grand Prairie is endowed with much potential in many fine reservoirs. Ducks The Grand Prairie is a natural habitat for wild ducks. It is located in the heart of the lower Mississippi flyway as the huge flocks of ducks make their annual migration from the prairies of Canada to over-winter along the Louisiana and Texas Gulf coasts. The rice fields and the multitudes of reservoirs make excellent feeding and resting places for the ducks as they pause in their journey. The first flights arrive early in October, and they build up steadily until

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289 about mid-December, returning north in mid-February. Some stay over depending on the weather, and in most years there are some ducks around throughout the winter season. Stuttgart proudly calls itself the "Rice and Duck Capital of the World." For years, during duck season the town has been taken over by duck hunters from near and far. Some of the hardy breed travel hundreds and even thousands of miles to take advantage of the region's assets. The industry is a boom to the whole region, not only to the farmers on whose reservoirs the ducks are hunted, but also to the merchants and hotel and restaurant operators. A Stuttgart sporting goods dealer said that with every out-of-state hunting license he sold he could be sure of $30 worth of business. A druggist said that the visiting duck hunters made cash registers ring all up and down Main Street as the visitors would drop by after the hunt to pick up presents for the wife and children back home. Hotels and motels are usually booked solidly during the normally 70-day season from October to December. It is not unusual for large companies to rent entire floors of the Riceland Hotel during the season to entertain clients and guests. As the first reservoirs were established almost solely to attract ducks for hunting, the water was drained off in the spring to avoid killing the trees. The wooded areas, slightly lower than the Prairie surface, were relatively easy to flood temporarily during duck season. Such "green timber" reservoirs are the best suited to ducks, offering good feed-

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290 ing and resting conditions, but obviously are not suitable for rice irrigation or for fish for that matter. Some of these duck reservoirs were later impounded permanently to furnish the much needed water for rice. In that case the trees die in 2 or 3 years, and the reservoirs lose much of their attractiveness to ducks. There remain some wooded areas that are still flooded yearly for ducks. Some of these are leveed similarly to a regular reservoir and, in fact, are often interconnected with the regular reservoir and irrigation system. Water may be allowed to accumulate in the woods by natural drainage or it may be flooded from another reservoir. After duck season the water is pumped back into the irrigation reservoir for use on crops. Water is not held very deep in these reservoirs, seldom over a foot, as a "dipping" duck cannot feed in water over 15 inches deep. Such a green timber reservoir is depicted on the land use traverse in Figure 22 at position 6-A. It is not to be inferred that reservoirs without green timber are of no value for ducks. They are, and most reservoirs fall into this category. If the reservoirs are not deep at the time, ducks can feed on such things as snails, worms, and crayfish. This is the time of the year when most farmers are trying to fill their reservoirs, however, and most cannot afford the ducks much consideration. The reservoirs are, nevertheless, used by the ducks for resting although they may feed elsewhere.

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291 Figure 52. Wooded duck area. This area has been flooded for ducks every year since 1941. Oaks furnish acorns for duck feeding. The water is drained about March 1 each year to prevent killing the trees. Figure 53. Ducks feeding on flooded rice fields. This practice furnishes food for ducks and helps to decay rice stubble for turning under. The water may later be put back into a reservoir Courtesy Soil Conservation Service

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292 . . Harvested rice fields provide for more duck feeding than do reservoirs. The fields may be flooded after harvest to slow deterioration of fallen rice seed and to preserve the seed for the ducks. Immersion apparently causes less seed loss than the normal wetting and drying process and at the same time saves the seed from birds and rodents. Flooding also prevents erosion and tends to down and soften the rice stubble for better subsequent manageability. Oftentimes an effective job of flooding is accomplished by simply holding all runoff on the field. After duck season the water can be pumped into a reservoir. About 10 percent of the Grand Prairie rice fields have been flooded for ducks in recent years. Studies have revealed that following harvest fallen rice seed may total in the hundreds of pounds per acre and averages something just less than 200 pounds per acre (85, p. 42) (69, p. 31). It is estimated that a mallard duck eats about 1.5 pounds of seed per week, so the potential carrying capacity of the harvested rice fields is high, theoretically better than 10 ducks per acre for a period of 12 weeks. Up . to now the flooding of the fields has been almost solely for the attraction of the ducks for hunting, but the tremendous feed potential offers great opportunities for the conservation and propagation of ducks. Besides flooding rice fields, farmers are encouraged to plant browntop millet for ducks in fallow fields; but fallowing land is less common in Arkansas than it is in the rice and duck areas of Texas and Louisiana.

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293 There is a proriram whereby farmers may grow more rice than t.heir allotment if it is orown solely for ducks. The farmer makes a contract with the Agr i cii 1 1 ur a 1 Stabilization and Conservation Service and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, The designated rice cannot be harvested or switched. It may be knocked down, for better feedinn but there can be no "baiting" of fields. Federal law prohibits the shooting of game over d e 1 i ber a t e 1 y k n o ck ed down grain or other scattered food. The purpose is strictly one of conservation. There is no payment to the farmer, and the only incentive is to assist duck propagation. Ducks can be hunted over the field if the grain is not act-^;n"!iy knocked down, and the farmer is allowed to sell hunting priviJeges. The land must be posted, and the county game warden handles the contract (92, p. 47). Relatively few farmers engage in this practice. Planting rice not to be harvested interferes with the land rotation plan, extracts soil nutrients that could be used for paying crops, and without expensive weed suppressants encourages undesirable weeds and grasses. Relatively few farmers on the fjrand Prairie realize any cash income from duck hunting, although a great many do receive personal satisfaction from limited hunting on their reservoirs for themselves and friends and neighbors. Only the larger reservoirs, and particularly the ones with green timber, attract ducks in sufficient and dependable numbers to warrant charging a fee for burning. Of the farmers inter-

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294 viewed, 58 percent reported that their reservoirs were employed for duck hunting to some extent, but of those only about one-fourth charged a fee (Table 31). The remainder of the reservoirs were reported as being too small or too far removed from any woods, bottoms, or other natural duck feeding areas to attract ducks. If conditions are very favorable for ducks, the reservoirs and timbered areas are normally leased rather than hunting permits sold individually. No 2 situations are alike, however, so averages have little meaning. Instead, some representative examples are given. On one large farm totaling 3,200 acres, 2,000 acres of woodland are temporarily flooded from November through January and leased for $12,000 a year. This particular farm is owned by a person in Little Rock and the lease is also to persons in Little Rock, whose identity is not known by the farm operator. The farm is located in Prairie County, and in Figure 15 is part of the reservoir-woodland complex some 12 miles north-northwest of Stuttgart and 5 miles southwest of Hazen. The area was originally one of the timber islands (Figure 3). Much of the remainder of that timbered area of comparable size to the above lease is leased to the Winchester Arms Company for $10,000 a year by its owner, a drugstore operator in Stuttgart. Other companies that lease duck hunting lands for the exclusive use of their employees, customers, and guests are Layne Arkansas Company, one of the nation's largest pump firms, Rotary Life, and Continental Motors.

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295 Other examples of duck hunting leases are 159 acres of temporarily flooded woodland leased to a physician for $1,200 annually, and another 129 acres was leased to another individual for $1,000. A farmer had a 140-acre woodland reservoir plus some additional woods. The trees in the reservoir had died, and he had no further plans to flood for ducks; but upon being approached, he invested an additional $400 to be able to flood temporarily 78 acres of green timber and then leased the 78-acre tract for $1,000 a year. One farmer charged a fee of $150 a year per person, and another $15 per day per man; but leases to large companies and hunting clubs for exclusive use are the preferred arrangements of farmers. Mr. Frank Freudenberg of Stuttgart was one of the first to recognize the importance of surface water conservation (113). In 1916 he built his first reservoir in the large timber island northeast of Stuttgart known as Maple Island. The sale of duck hunting privileges soon proved to be a lucrative return on his investments. Mr. Freudenberg installed several reservoirs in the area but subsequently sold off most. He now maintains a 1,100-acre farm with a 360-acre permanent reservoir and an additional adjacent 120-acre green timber duck reservoir which he built in 1962. He calculated the costs for installing this duck reservoir, added 50 percent to the costs, and charged this amount as the lease fee for the first 7 years. It required about 50,000 cubic yards of earth movement to impound the 120-acre

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296 wooded land at 14 cents per yard, giving a cost of $7,000. Adding $3,500 gives a lease fee of $10,500 for the 7 years, or $1,500 per year. This reservoir is drained after each duck season. Fr eudenberg ' s other reservoir, 360 acres of deadened timber which is primarily used to irrigate rice, is also leased for duck hunting and has been since 1935. Freudenberg also maintained control of the duck hunting privileges on another reservoir he sold in 1935, He has in the past charged $15 per day per man but now leases for 7and 12year periods. Even in 1933 and 1934 he charged $5 per day per man. He now thinks leases are worth about $7 to $10 per acre per year for exclusive use of the reservoir for its duck hunting. The 360-acre reservoir also furnishes excellent sport fishing at $1 a day plus $1.50 boat rent. And in addition, Freudenberg irrigates 185 acres of his own rice and 270 acres of his own soybeans, plus 360 acres of rice and 630 acres of soybeans of other farmers for whom he furnishes irrigation water. In return for the water supplied to the other farmers he receives one-fifth of the rice and one-eighth of the soybeans. He also furnishes one-fifth of the fertilizer, poisons, and airplane expenses. He maintains water in a large distribution canal at a constant level, and farmers have lateral ditches to move it onto their fields. The reservoir is filled about equally from surface runoff and from pickup from Little Lagrue Bayou. A return system retains a-

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297 bout 75 percent of the water thatwould normally be lost when draining the fields. Fr eud enberg ' s enterprise is an excellent example of wise and efficient use of resources and certainly is one of the best examples for the multiple uses of reservoirs. To begin with, the reservoir is put on low woodland, the least suited to crops. It takes advantage of the natural drainage to store runoff. It irrigates over twice its own acreage in rice and rice equivalent in soybeans, not only on the owner's farm but in effect is sold in surplus to neighbors. It bi'ings in substantial supplemental income from duck hunting and sport fishing, and finally, it retrieves much of its own once-expended water for another use. Duck hunting has been restricted in the last 4 years because of reduced numbers of the birds. Two years of drought conditions on the Canadian prairies cut deeply into the summer nesting and reproduction habits. In the past years up to 2.5 million mallards alone have wintered in the Grand Prairie rice fields. The estimate in 1961 was down to 750,000 (90). As a result, in 1961 both the length of the hunting season and the daily limit were cut in half. Duck hunting is one of the more expensive sports anyway, and when the daily limit was cut to 2 ducks a day many hunters just did not think it worthwhile to purchase a duck stamp. In 1960 43,642 duck stamps were sold in Arkansas. In 1961 it dropped to 19,037 and in 1962 it hit a low of 9,549. By

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298 1963 conditions were improving and sales increased to 18,352. Today conditions are improved, and although duck numbers are still below the average over the past decade the hunting season has been extended and the daily limit put back at 4 ducks, 8 in possession. However, the season is still restricted to 40 days, normally beginning about Thanksgiving, and although the daily limit is back to 4 ducks the number of mallards is limited to 1 in the Mississippi flyway. This is critical to Arkansas as 90 percent of the ducks killed in the state have been mallards. The importance of ducks to the region, and especially to Stuttgart, was shown by the advent of this slump in 1961 to 1963. The options on a number of the large leases were not taken. The Riceland Hotel in Stuttgart was lonely during its normally most hectic season. Sales were off at the sporting stores, hardware stores, restaurants, and all up and down Main Street. Many of the more than 150 commercial and private hunting lodges in the area did not open, and some 150 to 200 persons who serve as hunting guides did not work (90). Many duck reservoir operators did not even flood their land. In 1962 only 3 of 7 commercial clubs pumped up their reservoir s , and they hardly booked enough reservations to cover costs. One operator estimated that losses in day shooting and leases for the 2 seasons in 1961 and 1962 cost him $25,000 (79). An executive of another company which leases duck hunting lands to entertain business associates and

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299 clients said that normally they entertained an average of 20 men a day during the hunting season and calculated that it cost $50 a day per man to do so. This was cut almost to nothing in 1961-62. It is estimated that all these losses, directly and indirectly due to decreased numbers of ducks, cost the Stuttgart area between $150,000 to $200,000 in 1962 (79), Although conditions have improved because of better weather in the Canadian prairies and the protective aid of restricted hunting, duck numbers have not returned to the figures of the 1940's and 50's. And no one foresees a return to the conditions described by some old-timers when hunters supposedly brought back only the heads to see who had shot the most ducks. Compatibility with Agriculture The compatibility among the multiple uses of rice irrigation reservoirs depends, of course, upon the individual situations. Facts simply do not support a generalization that reservoirs on the Grand Prairie can be used to irrigate rice, grow commercial fish, and provide for sport fishing and duck hunting. Some reservoirs cannot even fulfill their principal purpose of irrigation very well. Only a very few are suitable to serve 3 of the 4 uses satisfactorily, and the writer knows fo none that function for all 4 of the aforesaid uses. There is a great deal that can be said, however, for the multiple uses of reservoirs if the individual circumstances are considered carefully and the plans are not too

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300 grandiose. Other than for the temporarily flooded woodland duck reservoirs, the first call on all reservoirs on the Grand Prairie is for irrigation of rice. If there is surplus water over the needs of rice it will be applied to soybeans. If other uses do not hinder or interfere with these crop applications they may be considered noncompetitive and may add income as supplementary farm enterprises, or at least serve as recreational outlets. Sport fishing for local use only is the most likely multiple purpose to be found in conjunction with irrigation. It requires little if any capital investment and if successful, good, if not, there is not much lost. It is seldom important enough to influence a farmer's decision as a limitation on withdrawal of water from the reservoir. Fishing for a fee is similarly an enterprise requiring relatively little investment, but conditions in the reservoir must be more attractive and suitable for fish in order to draw sports fishermen for a fee. If the enterprise is of any consequence it may influence the farmer's use of the reservoir water to some extent. To protect the fish, water should not be lowered to a depth less than 18 inches deep, and because of this consideration sport fishing for a fee is somewhat less compatible with agricultural uses of the reservoir than is sport fishing for local use only. Duck hunting for local use or for a fee is compatible with agricultural uses provided the reservoir is suitable for ducks. Generally a reservoir large enough to attract"

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301 ducks has ample water to irrigate the owner's crops, and it would not be necessary to withdraw all the water. Besides, the season for ducks is limited to the fall and winter months when reservoirs are being filled, not lowered. About the only factor that limits the use of irrigation reservoirs for duck hunting is that many of the reservoirs are too small to attract the water fowl. Many a reservoir is hunted on by owners and friends, but the ducks are not plentiful enough or reliable enough to warrant charging a fee. In good years farmers are sometimes even able to shoot ducks in their fields outside their windows. Commercial fish farming is the least compatible with irrigation. The stocked fish put certain restrictions on the reservoir that not only require extra effort and expense but may at timesbe at cross-purposes with the irrigation functions. The principal drawback is the fishes' requirement for minimum depth of water when the water may be needed for rice or soybeans. Also, the reservoir requires certain modifications in structure to allow fish harvest. Fish are normally harvested in the fall of their second year, and if the farmer should have any difficulty in filling the reservoir he may not want to drain off the water to get at the fish. Problems of fish biology and trash fish can probably be solved; but the competition for water will remain the principal obstacle, and only those farmers having plentiful water and other favorable reservoir conditions will be able to fish farm as a supplementary enterprise.

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CHAPTER VI CONCLUSIONS AND COMMENTS The purpose of this dissertation has been to define and delineate the Arkansas Grand Prairie and to analyze the resource uses of the region. The Grand Prairie can be delineated by both physical and cultural criteria. Native prairie vegetation gave the region its original identity, but today a cultural activity rice production affords the region its most notable character and distinctiveness. Initially the region was notable as a void, a place that settlers shunned. But with the introduction of rice and an influx of settlers from the Midwest, the negative image of the Prairie was transformed into a positive one. A new dustry, coupled with the difference in the human occupance, and together operating on a distinctive physical base have produced a geographically cohesive region that is capable of being differentiated from surrounding environs. The boundaries of native prairie vegetation are no longer present, having been obliterated by changes to the landscape brought on by man. But boundary delineations that are closely related to original vegetation are discernible. It has been shown that the Grand Prairie can be delineated by 302

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303 the 2 physiographic criteria of topography and soils and by the cultural criterion of land use. Moreover, the boundaries thus established correspond very closely with one another and support the concept of the Grand Prairie as a distinctive region. The physiographic region of flat prairie land shown in Figure 7, the soils category of prairie soils in Figure 13, and the cropland division of generalized land use on Figure 15 are all remarkably similar in outline area. At the danger of oversimplification the geographic relationships may be summarized as follows. The flat prairie land marks the rt^jsidual undissected surface of the loessal terrace Where the clay pan soil prevented tree growth, and natural prairie resulted. The characteristics that identify the prairie soils are the products of the vegetation and soil moisture conditions associated with the loessal terrace. The rice farms require level land, and the cropland thus coincides with the flat prairie surface and the prairie soils. On the other hand, the sloping surfaces of the loessal hills and the bottomlands of the rivers and bayous were covered with forests. The soil producing processes differed, and land uses in those prairie fringe areas today differ from those on the Prairie. Man's activities in the Grand Prairie region are not wholly determined by the physical phenomena that enter into the above relationships. Technological advances have enabled man to become less and less restricted by his environment, and

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304 most of the world has witnessed a blurring of natural regions as man's ability to adapt, and literally to change the environment, increases. Nevertheless, man's efficient use of resources requiresthat he take advantage of favorable environmental factors and use them in a way to produce the most benefits. These patterns of physical-cultural relationships were sought in the present study, and it is concluded that the Grand Prairie is, indeed, a region that can be delineated by geographically related criteria. Analysis of resource uses in the Grand Prairie quickly directs focus on 2 aspects rice culture and water management. With an examination of certain rice production methods and a review of the economics of the industry it is seen that rice is especially well adapted to the physical environment and enjoys a position of comparative advantage among economic activities. Rice is the principal economic activity of the region because it is favored by almost ideal conditions of flat land, impervious subsoil, and large supplies of irrigation water. At the same time, other activities that might compete with rice for resources are less favored or even disfavored by that same environment. Studies reveal that rice gives the greatest returns for resource inputs in the region and, therefore, has first call on land, water, and capital investments. Other supplementary activities on the highly specialized rice farms are designed to make maximum use of the facilities developed for rice without competing with rice for those resources. Soybeans are

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305 considered the crop that best accomplishes this purpose, and agriculture on the Prairie has come to be more and more limited to those 2 crops. Rice allotments have had much to do with the expansion of soybeans, and the applications of rice irrigation facilities have enabled the region to surpass state average soybean yields on a land base that is inherently less suited for the crop than are the other producing areas of alluvial soils. If allotments should eventually restrict soybeans below their present level on the Prai ri e, resources will be shifted to lespedeza and oats. Livestock will continue to find little favor among the Prairie farmers as they still carry a "misfit"' role in the farm operations. Some of the most mechanized and technologically advanced farming in the country is practiced on the highly specialized Prairie rice farms. The continuing success of this farming will remain dependent upon specialization, efficiency of operation, research, and innovations. Farm operating units will continue to increase in size as pressures for large scale operations continue to build up. A higher percentage of nonowner operated farms should occur as original owners retire and at their death leave their land to their children rather than selling it. In some cases sons will continue to farm the land, but the trend will be towards more tenant operations who own their own equipment but not the land. The water problems are being ameliorated. Reservoirs seem to be the solution to the dropping water table and alkali difficulties. Reservoirs are still being installed but at a

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306 decreasing rate, and perhaps as more farmers make use of surface water there will be less drain on the ground water supplies. At some lesser rate of withdrawal natural recharge of the aquifer may be able to sustain water levels at a stabl position. What that reduced rate of withdrawal must be is not known exactly, but it is believed that the region is closer than ever before to the goal of a water management program that will enable total irrigation of all cropland on a permanent sustaining basis. Before that goal is reached, however, there will more than likely be an enlargement of the cone of depression with a corresponding enlargement of the .area in critical need of reservoirs. From half to threequarters of the new reservoirs will have to go on cropland. The possibilities of multiple uses of reservoirs will have little influence on farmers' decisions to build reservoirs, but once a reservoir is installed recreational uses are in most cases compatible with irrigation and will be an asset to the investment. Only a few farmers are in a position to realize supplemental income from recreational uses of reservoirs, but the importance of local use only for recre ational purposes should not be underestimated. Fish farming does not at present offer much optimism. Technical difficulties should succumb to research, but there are 2 other principal drawbacks to the industry: (1) the demands on water are often at cross-purposes with rice irrigation, and (2) farmers are ill equipped for harvesting and

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307 marketing the fish. A more successful effort with a fish cooperative may solve both harvesting and marketing problems. The area was much too large to permit as detailed a study as might be desired. It is believed that the procedures employed in determining boundaries of delineation and generalized land use patterns are valid, and with the detailed analysis of a land use traverse to support the general patterns a reliable differentiation of areas results. The data comparisons obtained by the use of the Conservation Needs Inventory sample plots serve to substantiate the divisions of the region devised by the writer based on topography, soils, and land use. The use of the sample data in this research is but an example of one way in which this source of information may be used. By referring back to the original sample plots, data may be acquired on any areal basis desired, a great advantage for the geographer. To the writer the most satisfying aspect of the research lies in the nature of the region chosen for study. The Grand Prairie is an agricultural region. It coincides with no political unit or group of units. It crosses 4 county boundaries but does not include the entirety of any of them. Such a region presents limitations for the use of certain kinds of available statistical data, but it also presents a challenge that should appeal to any geographer. The proposition to delineate such a region calls forth the basic skills and knowledge of one trained in geography. The challenge to use those

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308 skills and that knowledge in the field to set off the region more than offsets the limitations imposed on data resources. Without that personal touch in the field there is the danger of relying too heavily on figures gathered by someone else and becoming a geographer by name but a statistician by deed. While the great wealth of census data and other data gathered by municipal, county, state, and federal agencies on political areal bases are of great value to the geographer they should not be allowed to hamstring the geographer to limiting himself to those areas for which the data are available. The geographer's task is to interpret the face of the earth, and he, if anyone, should know that political units are. more often than not poor divisions for which to study man's relationships with his physical environment. It is suggested by the writer that the purposes of the geographer can well be achieved through the study of a relatively small part of the earth that requires its own delineation, and that certain advantages accrue to ferreting out data that apply even though sources may be more restricted than those frequently used. The point, however, is that if the geographer does not follow this course no one willj and much of the function of geography will be lost.

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APPENDICES

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APPENDIX I DESCRIPTIONS OF SOIL ASSOCIATIONS^ CROWLEY-STUTTGART ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly to moderately well drained, very slowly permeable level and nearly level acid soils developed in shallow loess over clay. The poorly drained Crowley soils have gray or dark gray silt loam surface soil over gray and red mottled clay subsoil. Stuttgart soils have dark grayish brown or dark brown surface soil over yellowish brown and gray mottled silty tv loam subsoil that grades into red, yellow, and gray mottled clay. This association of clay pan soils is used mainly for rice, soybeans, cotton, and grain sorghum; some areas are used for pasture. Associated soils are Waverly, Falaya, Grenada, Calloway, and Henry. FREELAND-HATCHIE ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well and somewhat poorly drained, slowly permeable level to gently sloping acid soils developed in thin loess over stratified old alluvium. Freeland soils have brown or grayish brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has a gray, yellow, and brown ^Source: (103) 310

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311 mottled fragipan; the silty material is about 3 feet thick over stratified sand, silt, and clay, Hatchie soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow and brown mottled silt loam or silty clay loam that has a fragipan; the silty material is about 3 feet thick over stratified sand, silt, and clay. This association is used chiefly for soybeans, cotton, rice, and pasture. Associated soils are Stuttgart, Crowley, Falaya, and Waverly. ACADIA-HENRY ASSOCIATION Deep, somewhat poorly and poorly drained, very slowly and slowly permeable acid soils developed on level and nearly level areas in loess of variable thickness over old clayey alluvium. The somewhat poorly drained Acadia soils, developed in thin loess over clay, have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow and red mottled plastic clay subsoil. Henry soils, developed in thick loess, have gray, or grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has a fragipan. This association is used chiefly for soybeans, cotton, and rice. Associated soils are Muskogee, Stuttgart, Calloway, and Waverly. MUSKOGEE-FREELAND ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well drained, very slowly and slowly permeable level to gently sloping acid soils developed in thin loess over clayey and stratified old alluvium. The very slowly permeable Muskogee soils have brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silty loam clay loam subsoil that is underlain at about 24 inches with plastic clay mottled brown, yellow, red, and gray,

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312 Freeland soils have brown or grayish brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has a gray, yellow and brown mottled fragipan: the silty material is about 3 feet thick over stratified sand, silt, and clay. This association is used chiefly for soybeans and cotton, with some level areas in rice. Associated soils are Acadia, Hatchie, Grenada, and Calloway. MUSKOGEE-ACADIA ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well and somewhat poorly drained very slowly permeable acid soils developed on level to gently sloping areas of thin loess over old clayey alluvium. The moderately well drained Muskogee soils have brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silty clay loam subsoil that is underlain at about 24 inches with plastic clay mottled brown, yellow, red, and gray. Acadia soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow and red mottled plastic clay subsoil. This association is used chiefly for soybeans and cotton, with rice on some level areas. Associated soils are Wr i ght svi 1 1 e , Perry, and Portl and. ACADIA-WRIGHTSVILLE ASSOCIATION Deep, somewhat poorly and poorly drained, very slowly permeable acid soils developed on level to gently sloping areas of thin loess over old clayey alluvium. The somewhat poorly drained Acadia soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow and red mottled plastic clay subsoil. Wrightsville soils have gray or light gray silt loam surface soil over gray clay subsoil

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313 mottled with yellow and red. This association is used chiefly for soybeans and rice. Associated soils are Henry, Calloway, Waverly, and Muskogee. GRENADA-GORE-ACADIA ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well to somewhat poorly drained, slowly and very slowly permeable acid soils developed in loess of variable thickness over old clayey alluvium. The moderately well drained Grenada soils are developed in thick loess. They have brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has a gray, yellow and brown mottled fragipan. Gore soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over yellow and red mottled clay subsoil. Acadia soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow and red mottled plastic clay subsoil. This association is used chiefly for soybeans and rice; some areas are used for cotton and pasture. Associated soils are Calloway, Henry, and Muskogee. GRENADA-CALLOWAY-HENRY ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well to poorly drained, slowly permeable, level to gently sloping soils developed in thick loess. The moderately well drained Grenada soils have brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has a gray, yellow and brown mottled fragipan. Calloway soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow and brown mottled silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has a fragipan. The poorly drained Henry soils have gray or

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314 grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray silt loam or silty clay loam that has a fragipan. This association is used for soybeans, cotton, pasture, forage crops, and some areas of rice. Associated soils are Loring, Waverly, Overcup, and Fol ey . LORING-GRENANDA-CALLOWAY ASSOCIATION Deep, well to somewhat poorly drained, slowly permeable, nearly level to strongly sloping acid soils developed in thick loess. The well drained Loring soils have brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has a fragipan. The moderately well drained Grenada soils have brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that grades into a gray, yellow and brown mottled fragipan. Galloway soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soils over gray, yellow, and brown mottled silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has a fragipan. This association is used for cotton, soybeans, forage crops, and pasture. Associated soils are Henry, Waverly, Falaya, and Foley. WAVERLY -FALAYA ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly and somewhat poorly drained, slowly permeable bottomland soils along streams draining areas of loess. The poorly drained Waverly soils have gray silt loam surface soil over gray silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil. Falaya soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray and brown mottled silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil. This association is used mainly for soy-

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315 beans, grain sorghum, rice, and woodland. Some areas are frequently overflowed. Associated soils are Foley, Overcup, Forestdale, and Dundee. COLLINS-FALAYA-WAVERLY ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well to poorly drained, slowly permeable acid alluvial soils washed from loess. The moderately well drained Collins soils are brown or yellowish brown silt loam that is mottled gray in the lower part of the subsoil. The somewhat poorly drained Falaya soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray and brown mottled silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil. The poorly drained Waverly soils have gray silt loam surface soil over gray silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil. Much of this association is subject to overflow and is in woodland; some areas are used for soybeans, cotton, rice, and pasture. Associated soils are Henry. Calloway, Grenada, Hatchie, and Freeland. HEBERT-GALLION ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well and well drained, moderately permeable level and undulating acid bottomland soils. The moderately well drained Hebert soils have grayish brown or brown silt loam of fine sandy loam surface soil over grayish brown to reddish brown sandy clay loam or silty clay loam subsoil mottled with shades of gray, yellow and red. Gallion soils have grayish brown or brown silt loam or fine sandy loam surface soil over reddish brown to yellowish red sandy clay loam subsoil. Most of this association is used for cotton and soybeans. Associated soils are Pulaski Yahola, Lonoke, and Portland.

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316 PERRY -PORTLAND ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly and somewhat poorly drained, very slowly permeable acid clayey soils in level slack water areas of the Arkansas River flood plain. The poorly drained Perry soils are gray clay 20 to 40 inches thick over reddish brown clay. Portland soils have grayish brown silty clay or clay surface soil over brown and reddish brown clay subsoil that is mottled gray in the upper part. Locally, either of these soils may have 5 to 15 inches of recent silty or sandy overwash. This association is used for soybeans, cotton, and rice. Areas subject to overflow are wooded. Associated soils are Hebert, Lonoke. Gallion. Sharkey, Wr i ght svi 1 1 e , and Muskogee. OVERCUP-DUNDEE ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly and somewhat poorly drained, very slowly and slowly permeable acid soils on level to undulating slopes. They are derived from alluvium. Overcup soils are derived from thick beds of old alluvium clay, overlain with a thin, discontinuous mantle of loess. The surface soil is grayish brown silt loam or clay over grayish brown or olive clay subsoil. Dundee soils are on low ridges of coarser material deposited over the clay deposits. These soils have dark grayish brown or brown sandy loam or silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown, brown, and gray mottled silty clay loam or sandy clay loam subsoil. This association is used chiefly for cotton and soybeans, and rice is grown on the Overcup soils. Associated soils are Dubbs, Forestdale, and Foley.

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317 DUNDEE-SHARKEY ASSOCIATION Deep, somewhat poorly and poorly drained, slowly and very slowly permeable, acid, level and undulating bottomland soils. Dundee soils have dark grayish brown or brown sandy loam or silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown, brown and gray mottled sandy clay loam or silty clay loam subsoil. The poorly drained Sharkey soils have dark gray silty clay or clay surface soil over gray clay subsoil. This association is used mainly for cotton and soybeans. Some undrained areas are woodland. Associated soils are Forestdale, Dubbs, and Bowdre. MHOON-SHARKEY ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly drained, slowly and very slowly permeable level and undulating soils derived from stratified materials and thick beds of slack water clay. The neutral to alkaline Mhoon soils have dark grayish brown to gray sandy loam or silt loam surface soil over stratified gray sands, silts, and clays. Sharkey soils have dark gray silty clay or clay surface soil over gray clay subsoil. Most of this association is subject to overflow. Some areas are used for cotton and soybeans. Associated soils are Commerce, Dundee, Overcup, Foley, and Forestdale. SHARKEY ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly drained, very slowly permeable, level and undulating bottomland soils developed from thick beds of clay. Sharkey soils have dark gray silty clay or clay surface soil over gray clay subsoil. This association is used for soybeans, cotton, and rice. Most undrained or overflow areas are woodland. Associated soils are Bowdre. Mhoon, Dundee, and Forestdale.

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318 ALLUVIAL SOILS UNDIFFERENTIATED These are areas of bottomland soils between rivers and levees, and are subject to frequent overflow from major rivers. The soils in this area are dominantly Norwood, Portland, Robi ns onvi 1 1 e , Yahola, and Crevasse. All are of recent sediments and are subject to change by erosion or new deposition with each overflow. Most of this association is used for woodland. Soils on some higher elevations in this area are used for pasture and some scattered areas are used for row crops, mainly soybeans.

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APPENDIX II TABULATIONS OF SAMPLE PLOT DATA

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320 TABLE 23 LAND USE IN THE GRAND PRAIRIE REGION BY CAPABILITY CLASS AND SUBCLASS, 1959 Cropland Pastur eRange Capability Class and a a Subclass •H TO n . UM O -H >, CO ro u CQ a. c •rH c •r-l ti< CO >j ro f-i ro ^-1 CL, CQ Oi •r-{ u •i-i I 431 158 164 30 35 II E W 225 2,277 18 285 95 555 103 258 44 63 6 64 165 III E w 35 11 225 229 55 10 30 11 35 141 IV E III 15 10 11 6 9 V E 1*T W 6 VI E W VII E 20 36 W Total 3,938 380 1 ,038 840 153 47 485 ^Based upon the study of sample areas selected at random.

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321 TABLE 23 Continued Woodland Total Capabi lity Class and Subclass Prairie Bayous on Prairie Fringe I Fringe II Prairie Bayous on Prairie Fringe I Fringe II T 12 46 149 431 12 234 348 II 250 E 17 67 83 225 79 162 W 101 82 226 191 2, 378 430 787 614 III 347 E 87 83 132 w 68 616 491 147 1 ,07 3 657 727 343 IV 31 E 11 21 W 2 12 V E W 9 25 121 15 25 121 VI E W VII 56 E W Total 169 825 855 785 4,107 1,358 1,935 2,110

PAGE 332

322 TABLE 24 LAND USE IN THE GRAND PRAIRIE REGION BY SLOPE CLASS, 1959^ Cropland Pasture-Range Slope'' in Percent Prairie Bayous on Prairie Fringe I Fringe II Prairie Bayous on Prairie Fringe I Fringe II 0-1 3, 408 331 935 468 80 47 281 1-3 370 150 98 131 57 131 3-8 50 191 6 43 8-12 45 10 30 12-20 5 20-up 0-3 undul ating 0-8 undul at i ng Total 3,778 531 1 ,033 840 153 47 485 ^Based upon the study of sample areas selected random. '^Slope classes are those designated by the Soil vation Service (53).

PAGE 333

323 TABLE 24 Continued Woodland Total o percent u S | H |3 | i 0-1 153 677 782 608 3,561 1 ,088 1 ,764 1,357 1-3 64 62 32 83 434 269 130 345 3-8 62 88 118 322 8-12 25 35 75 12-20 6 11 20-up 0-3 41 undulating 41 0-8 undul ating Total 217 826 855 785 3,995 1 ,510 1,935 2,110

PAGE 334

324 TABLE 25 LAND USE IN THE GRAND PRAIRIE REGION BY EROSION CLASS, 1959^ Cropland P asture-Range Erosion Class" •H f-l •rH CO c o W -H 3 f-l O -H >l CO CO f-l CQ a. ci o a •H C •H 4) •H M •H CO J-t [/3 -r-l O tH >i CO CO u CQCu DI c iH DI C •H 1 3,899 489 995 523 92 47 348 ' 2 39 42 38 183 29 78 3 119 32 23 4 15 36 Total 3,938 531 1,048 825 153 47 485 a Based upon the study of sample areas selected at random. ^Erosion classes are those of the Soil Conservation Service (53, pp. 261-264), and are defined as followsPP 1 . 2. 3. Little or no erosion Ordinary plow depth will • seldom or never reach the B horizon. Eroded Erosion is indicated by the presence of frequent rills or occasional shallow gullies; or patches of the B horizon are exposed and tillage mixes A and B materials; or a combination of these criteria. Severly eroded This is indicated ence of frequent shallow an occasional deep gully the plow layer is in the by the presgullies ; or or most of B horizon; or combinations of these criteria. Gullied land The land has been eroded until it h^s an intricate pattern of moderately deep or deep gullies. Soil profiles have been destroyed except in small are between gullies.

PAGE 335

325 TABLE 25 Continued Woodl and Total s o 1— 1 •iH c o I— 1 Er 0 s i on a> D m -rH > re •r-f CO >i CO •H rH !h ^^ CO f-i 5-1 D-. CU CQ D-. b-, 1 217 787 855 746 4,116 1 ,368 1 ,897 1 ,617 2 39 22 39 110 38 283 3 8 32 150 4 15 36 Total 217 826 855 776 4, 155 1,510 1,950 2,086

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326 TABLE 26 LAND USE IN THE GRAND PRAIRIE REGION BY SOIL UNITS, 1959^ Soil Units MSal M5a M5 2,526 468 277 Crop 1 and c o 1— 1 CD tH tn •H 5-1 fH a •H O H CO >. CO H CO 5-1 CQ 299 15 249 69 14 C •H 114 9 28 P astur e-Range e o M 03 <13 03 •H OT -H H S M ca H O'H B n >,C8 •H « M 0fa 38 12 54 03 cs rt M fa 62 5al 6a 5 la 64 27 229 15 10 43 30 59 16 6 6al 379 46 73 25 38 7 279 144 42 38 9 138 72 8 a 151 49 15 3 17 3 18 8al 8 3 a 39 215 122 117 62 9 11 3 11 4al 7 87 34 123 8 8ab 6 4 9 ' 3al 29 5 21 3ab 12 L8 7 4 9 Total 3,938 540 1 ,253 839 153 101 390 ^Based upon the study of sample areas selected at random. '^See page 328,

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327 TABLE 26 Continued Woodland Total Soil Units M5al M5a M5 5al 6a 5 la 6 6al 8a Sal 8 3a 4al 7 Sab 9 Sal Sab L8 4 c O M h-l 1—4 0 o •1-1 O •H ?H 3 u a •rt O -H e C •iH CO •1-1 •H CO U a u 5-1 iH cu CO CU U< IXh 0-1 57 42 11 36 2, 583 6 128 4 474 27 277 64 9 24 36 64 36 5 — 2 48 116 26 182 427 44 43 102 90 53 462 190 79 204 145 53 87 72 259 76 20 9 98 20 25 23 s M o t— 1 1— 1 0) 1/1 -H o O O -iH a c •iH •H CO f-t f-l f-l CQ CL, fa 379 260 212 128 123 13 27 14 55 24 265 166 21 51 12 231 73 599 106 7 318 528 205 100 39 363 53 218 145 387 166 34 151 15 98 29 29 21 25 23 19 Total 217 826 855 785 4„155 1.519 2,209 2,014

PAGE 338

328 ^The soil mapping units used in the Conservation Needs Inventory are those used in the Farm Planning Survey, 194J1955 They denote defined classes of soil texture, consistence, wetness, permeability, depth, etc., but are not named as in the standard soil survey. Th es e un i t s cann o t _ be accurately named without field investigation. An approximate conversion of the Conservation Needs Inventory soil units symbols to soil series and type in the standard soil survey is fliven below. Without field investigation there ig a^^^J;^® large chance of error in assignment of names for some of these units. These conversions are for the purposes of this study only and should not be used in any other report (112). By grouping these soil units into the broader soil groups of Table 6, the error of classification is believed to be minimized. Prairi e Soi 1 s M5al Crowley silt loam M5a Crowley silt loam M5 Stuttgart silt loam Prairie Fringe Soils 5al Acadia silt loam 6a Henry silt loam 5 Hortman silt loam la Wrightsville silty clay Sloping Borderland Soils 6 Grenada silt loam 6al Calloway silt loam Bottomland Soils 8a Waverly silt loam 8al Hebert silt loam or fine sandy loam; Falaya silt loam 8 Collins silt loam, Lonoke silt loam 3a Perry clay 4al Portland silty clay loam 7 Memphis silt loam, Loring silt loam Sab Waverly silt loam, frequently overflowed 9 Pulaski fine sandy loam; Yahota fine sandy 1 0 am Sal Portland clay Sab Perry clay, frequently overflowed L8 Portland silt loam, overwash 4 Miller silty clay loam

PAGE 339

APPENDIX III QUESTIONNAIRE FORM, TABULATION OF DATA, AND LOCATION OF INTERVIEW FARMS

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330 QUESTIONNAIRE Name of operator Owner operator Part owner Address of farm Full tenant Location of farm (legal description for mapping) Size of farm Cropland acreage Rice Soybeans Other ( ) Woodland acreage Pasture acreage No. of cattle Other livestock ( ) Irrigated acreage Approximate percentage of farm income derived from rice % soybeans % other ( ) % Considering costs and returns what crop or activity (i , you consider the most profitable for your operation? Reasons: Why are cotton and livestock of such little importance on the Grand Prairie? If allotments were significantly increased or removed, by percentage do you think you would expand your rice acreage? % what

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331 What would be the limiting factor? land wat er c ap i t al market other ( Source of irrigation water: wells only reservoirs only wells and reservoirs, primary source being reservoirs wells No. of reservoirs No. of wells Total reservoir acreage Reservoir capacity Well capacity (includes levees) Crop 1 and Woodland Reservoir acreage added yearly: 1963 1962 Cropland Woodland Total 1961 Is present water source sufficient for any significant increase in rice production yes no Comment If additional sources of water were needed which would you emp 1 oy ? wells reservoirs Reasons: (costs, maintenance, quality of water, dependability, multiple uses of reservoirs, wells inadequate, etc.)_

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332 If you require more reservoir capacity would it be necessary to construct it on cropland? yes no If necessary to use cropland, do you consider it economically practical? yes no Comment Costs for additional water: Cost per acre of reservoir . Cost of well drilling What is considered the sale value of the land on which reservoirs are built? Cropland $ per acre Woodland $ acre Do your rotate any reservoirs? yes _ no Period Comment Do you employ any of your reservoirs for purposes in addition to irrigation? yes no Sport fishing For local use only no charge "Fee charged source of income $ F e e Peri od Duck hunting For local use only no charge 'Fee charged source of income $ F e e Period Fish farming In conjunction with rice irrigation 'As separate enterprise, not irrigation water Mi nnows

PAGE 343

333 When planning or building a reservoir have you or will you take into consideration the possibility of multiple uses for the reservoir? yes no In your opinion is the multiple use of reservoirs compatible with irrigation uses? y e s n o

PAGE 344

334 02 W 23 CT3 , 1 4^ 'O S3 o o CO "O CU 'O S3 S3 CO (D CC £3! CO 0 CO ^ ^ <; CO < CO CQ CO 1 — 1 a. o M [jj l—i t» X — OS pH bi 1—1 CO C3 OJ H '"^ (3 M S O CD fH CO & to C CO & U, O Q CD o < !-i CD f-i (-> C CD CO 0) Q -l i-H E H 1—1 u < CD faj CM CM TJ* CM 1-1 o ^ CO CO CO I I O C/3 S (D -< I I I i-( 1-1 CJ I I i CM sO 1 1 I 1 irH]r-H,-(CMCOCOCOCO"NfCMl I— I 1 ICM ICOCMi-iCMCOCOf-^COinCM I Cj^ '-'^ ^ a~ 1^ > ~ -<3--Cj~-G^0^OOC~-0^0^0^ ;3^^,_H,— li— (1— iO^COt^sOLO'^COCM.-HO^ I I i I I I I I I I I I I I I > > OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO'-i oooooooooooooooo OlO'^COCMi— lOO~-COt— -Om-^COCMi— I CM 1— I >— I 1— i I— < * ' CO CM o CO o H CO CU a CD !-( o CD x: +^ a o C/3 f-l CD s M CO CD o •H f-l o in -S3 rt C/3 g o CD •p •rH 03 > fH CD f-l fj •H £3 o •iH > 1—1 CD CO cn c (D o M f-l CD cn CI, o CO B o o f-4 f-l 'O -a CO CD 0) 1 — I +J •rH CO t/: S S 0^ O 1—1 CD o CO a s

PAGE 345

335 CO CM < < •1-1 > OS w w H cu I— I [IO W C3 N W M H Q PQ < J2 U (1) O •o CO i— 4 -o o c o CD 3: o (U T3 D-, C CO a> .—1 a w <; CO cu CO r— I Oh O f-l o Dl W CO O O) f-< N fH 0 .r-( O > < f-i CO o CM CO CM o CO CO CO ao CO CO \n CO CO CM CM 9J Pu >i H te CD P c p 0) o > (D CD t/3 CD o in u 0) &, CD s O o M !-i tp "O CO (D CD i-H •P •rH CO w e s o r— ( CO o CO CD H e CO

PAGE 346

336 aCM u CQ < 03 OS < I— I > en td H 2 CQ Q H DS O w DS cn < aI 1 o CJ 1 o a CM c •iH -P CO 1 or o o. CO Re CO 1 S c o f-( 0) CO o !-( OJ in Cu o o i to ^ •rt o o -p C/2 J o CM CM CO CM CM CM o CM CO CM CM CM •a 0 1 c t/3 •p CO CO o 1 — 1 0 1 5-1 i-H 0 o O CO T3 M 0 •H CO o «H > a,sO •rH O B o o S O 1— 1 o i-H M CD +J CO ^ !-< c a •H t/3 0 •H CO -P s o f-H o B H 5-1 S o 0 5h 0 P C CO c o CO 5-1 0

PAGE 347

337 TABLE 30 INTERVIEW DATA ON RESERVOIR TYPE AND SIZE^ Portion Porti on Farm on on Reservoir Crop 1 and Woodl and Type Reservoir (Acres) (Acres) ( Acres ) All-cropl and Subtotal Aver age Subtotal 10 10 12 12 15 15 24 24 25 25 25 25 40 40 40 40 50 50 54 54 60 60 60 60 80 80 100 100 645 645 43 43 All-woodland 35 40 50 60 65 100 110 140 170 357 480 500 700 35 40 50 60 65 100 110 140 170 357 480 500 700 2,807 2,807 Average 216 216

PAGE 348

338 TABLE 30 Continued Portion Portion Farm on on Reservoir Crop land Wood 1 and Type Reservoir ( Acres ) ( Acres) ( Acres) Mixed cropland-woodland Subtot al Aver age 20 22 30 35 40 40 42 50 50 65 150 200 744 62 10 2 25 10 15 10 37 30 30 63 50 90 372 31 XO 20 5 25 25 30 5 20 20 2 100 110 372 31 All reservoirs Total Aver age 4, 196 105 1 ,017 25 3, 179 80 acompiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963. bEach entry represents the reservoir acreage on a given farm, several of which had more than one reservoir.

PAGE 349

339 TABLE 31 INTERVIEW DATA ON RESERVOIR-USE PRACTICES^ Interview Question Percent Yes No Is present water source sufficient for any significant increase in rice production? If additional sources of water were needed would you employ reservoirs in preference to wel Is? If you require more reservoir capacity would it be necessary to construct it on cropland? If necessary to use cropland, do you consider it economically practical? Do you rotate any reservoirs? Do you employ any of your reservoirs for purposes other than irrigation? Sport Fishing Fee Duck Hunting Fee Fish Farming Mi nnows When planning or building a reservoir, have you or will you take into consideration the possibility of multiple uses for the reservoir? In your opinion, is the multiple use of reservoirs compatible with irrigation uses? 84 68 80 70 12 80 70 28 58 28 2 2 50 80 16 32 20 30 88 20 30 72 42 72 98 98 50 20 ^Compiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963.

PAGE 350

MILES mRBET mm Figure 54

PAGE 351

LIST OF REFEBINGES Books and PmmMt»%'M: Fenneman, Nevin M. Physiography of Eastern United States . New York: McGraw-Hill '9m»k CoBipaiiy, lae. , 1938. Halliburton, •. H. A Topographical Description and Hi|»tory of Arkansas County. AffcWty^t* ferMft Ifl41 to 1875 . No publisher, a® date, Nuttall, Thomas. Nutall's Travels into the Arkansas Territory, 1819 . Vol. XIII of Early Western Travels. 1748-1846 . Reuben Gold Thwaites (ed.). Cleveland, Ohio: JUMIftttt H. Clark Company, 1905. . Stam F-34 for Grass and Weed Control in Rice . A brochure %f fiohm and Haas Cofflpany, Philadelphia, Pa. : Fetorttiiyiii. 1963. Governmeat Documents and Reports Arkansas Conservation Needs Committee. Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Needs Inventory . Little Rock: Arkansas Geological and Conservation C omu i s s id » ^ 1*9 €1 . Atkins, John G, Rice Diseases . Farmers' Bulletin No. 2110. U. S. Defartment of Agriculture. Washington: U* Governfflent Printing Office, December, 1958. Beacher, R. L. Rice Fertilization . Bulletin 552. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agrlcnltttriil Experiment Station, June, 1952. Beacher, R. L. and Wells, Joe P. Rice Fertilizer Studies. 1952 to 1958 . Bulletin 620. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, February, 1960. Benson, Ezra Taft, National Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation Needs . Memorandum No. 1396. U. S. Departnent of Agriculture. Washington: April 10, 1956, 341

PAGE 352

342 10. Caviness, C. E. and Walters, II. J. Performance of Soybean Varieties In Arkansas . Report Series 105. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, January, 1962. 11. Christensen, Raymond P. and Aines, Ronald 0. Economic Effects of Acreage Control Programs in the 1950's . Agricultural Report No. 18. Farm Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. Washington: October, 1962. 12. Commodity Stabilization Service. Records of individual farm acreages and crop allotment sizes. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, De Witt, Arkansas. 13. Counts, H. B. and Engler, Kyle. Changes in Water Levels in Deposits of Quaternary Age in Eastern Arkansas from 1938 to 1953 . Report Series 42. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with the U. S. Geological Survey and the Division of Geology, Arkansas Resources and Development Commission, June, 1954. 14. Crop Reporting Service. Arkans as-1964 Crop Summary . Little Rock: Agricultural Statistician, Crop Reporting Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 1964. Grover C. and Barnes, Gordon. Rice Insect Control Recommendations . Leaflet No. 330. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service, cooperating with U. S. Department of Agriculture, March, 1962. Kyle, et al . Ground Water Supplies for Rice Irrigation In the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas . Bulletin 457. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, June, 1945. Kyle and Bayley, F. II., and Sniegocki, R. T. Studies of Artificial Recharge in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas: Environment and History . U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1615-A. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1963. 15. Dowell, 16. Engl er , 17 . Eng 1 er ,

PAGE 353

343 18. Fielder, V. B. Typ e-of -Farmi ng Areas in Arkansas . Bulletin 555. F ay ett evi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, June , 1955 . 19. Gattis, James L., et al . Land Grading for Surface Irrigation . Circular 491. F ay et t ev i 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service, cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, February, 1959. 20. Gerlow, Arthur R. and Mullins, Troy. Economics of Supplementary Irrigation of Soybeans . Bulletin 634. F ayettevi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, December, 1960. 21. Gerlow, Arthur R. and Mullins, Troy. Reservoirs for Irrigation in the Grand Prairie Area: An Economic Appraisal . Bulletin 606. F ay et t ev i 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, December, 1958. 22. Grant, Warren R., and Mullins, Troy. Adjustments on Rice Farms to Changing Conditions, Grand Prairie Arkansas . Report Series 134. F ayettevi 1 1 e, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with Farm Production Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, April, 1965. 23. Grant, Warren R., and Mullins, Troy. Enterprise Costs and Returns on Rice Farms in the Grand Prairie , Arkans as . Report Series 119. F ay et t evi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with Farm Production Economics Division, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, June , 1963 . 24. Green, Bernal L., and Mullins, Troy. Use of Res ervoi r s for Production of Fish in the Rice Areas of Arkans as . Special Report 9. F ay ettevi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, June, 1959.

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344 25. Green, Bernal L., and White, James II. Comparison of Three Selected Rice Rotations in Eastern Arkansas: Fish-Rice, Soy be an s -K i c e , and Fallow-Rice. Bulletin 664. F ay et t ev i 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, January , 1963 . 26. Kik, M. C. The Nutritive Value of Rice and Its By-Product s Bulletin 589. Fayettevi 1 1 e, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, May, 1957. 27. McDaniel, M. C. Rice Diseases and Their Control . Leaflet No. 198 (Rev.). F ay et t ev i 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service, cooperating with U. S. Department of Agriculture, March, 1960. 28. McGrath, Edward J. Distribution Patterns of Rice in the United States . ERS-186. Marketing Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. Washington: July, 1964. 29. McGrath, Edward J. Domestic Distribution Pattern for Rice . Preliminary data for 1961 and 1962, ERS126. Marketing Economics Division, Economic Research, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington: May, 1963. 30. McNeal, Xzin. Rice Aeration, Drying, and Storage . Bulletin 593. Fayettevi lie, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, October, 1957. 31. McNeal, Xzin. Rice Storage, Effect of Moisture Content, Temperature and Time on Grade, Germination, and Rice Yield . Bulletin 621. F ay et t evi 1 1 e , Arkansas University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, February, 19 60. 32. McNeal, Xzin. When to Harvest Rice for Best Milling Quality and Germination . Bulletin 504. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, December, 1950. 33. Mullins, Troy. Economic Consi dera tions in the Production of Shor t-Medi um-, and Long-Grain Rice in Northeastern Arka nsas . Special Report 3 . F a y e 1 1 e v i 1 1 e Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with the Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, 0ctobf;r, 19 57.

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345 34. Neff, Johnson A. and Meanley, Brooke. Blackbirds and the Arkansas Rice Crop . Bulletin 584. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with the Wildlife Research Laboratory, Fish and Wildlife Service, U, S. Department of the Interior, February, 1957. Glenn S. Aerial Application of Granular Fertilizer and Rice and Lespedeza Seed . Bulletin 671. F ay et t e V i 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, June, 1963. Ruel P. For More Rice Profit, Control Barnyardgrass . Leaflet No. 288 (Rev.). F ay et t evi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service, cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, March, 1962. Ruel P. Rice Production in Arkansas . Circular 476 (Rev.). F ay et t evi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service, June 1964. Ruel P. Soybean Production in Arkansas . Circn lar 508. F ay et t ev i 1 1 e , Arkansas: Universitj of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service, cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, November, 1961, Glen E., and Warren, L. 0. The Rice Stink Bug, Oebalus Pugnax F., in Arkansas . Report Series 107. F ay et t ev i 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, February, 1962. 40. Rolston, L. H., and Rouse, Phil. Control of Grape Colaspis and Rice Water Weevil by Seed or Soil Tr eatment . Bulletin 624. F ay et t evi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experi ment Station, May, 1960. 41. Rouse, Phil, and Rolston, L. H., and Lincoln, Charles. Insects in Farm-Stored Rice . Bulletin 600. F ayettevi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, June, 1958. 42. Slusher, M. W. Enterprise Costs and Returns on Rice Farms . Bulletin 549. F ay et t ev i 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, February, 1955, 35. Nelson, 36 , Nes t er , 37 . Nes t er , 38. Nester, 39. Odglen,

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346 43. Slusher, M. W. The Use of Airplanes on Rice Farms in Arkans as Bulletin 541. F ay et t evi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, December, 1953. 44. Sniegocki, Richard T. Hydrogeology of a Part of the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas . U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1615-B. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1964. 45. Sniegocki, R. T. , Bayley, F. H. 3d, and Engler, Kyle. Equipment and Controls Used in Studies of Artificial Recharge in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkans as . U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1615-C. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1963. 46. Sniegocki, R. T., and Reed, J. E. Principles of Siphons With Respect to the Artificial-Recharge Studies in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas . U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1615-D. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1963. 47. Sniegocki, R. T. Geochemical Aspects of Artificial Recharge in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas . U. S. Geological Survey, Mater-Supply Paper 1615-E. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1963. 48. Sniegocki, R. T. Problems in Artificial Recharge Through Wells in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas . U. S. Geological Survey, Mater-Supply Paper 1615F. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1963. 49. Sniegocki, R. T., et al . Testing Procedures and Results of Studies of Artificial Recharge in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas. U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1615-G. Washington; U. S. Government Printing Office, 1965. 50. Soi r Conservati on Service. Individual farm plans for soil and water conservation practices. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service District Offices in Arkansas, Prairie, and Lonoke Counties, Arkansas. 51. Soil Conservation Service. Soils Memorandum SCS-21 (Revised) . U. S. Department of Agriculture. Washington: October, 1958.

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347 52. Soil Conservation Service. Soil Survey Interpretation for Farm and Ranch Planning . U. S. Department of Agriculture. Little Rock: December, 1961. 53. Soil Conservation Service. Soil Survey Manual . Handbook No. 18. U. S. Department of Agriculture. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, August , 1951. 54. Spooner, A. E. Effects of Irrigation Timing and Length of Flooding Periods on Soybean Yields . Bulletin 644. F ay et t evi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, May, 1961, 55. U. S. Department of Agriculture. Insect Prevention and Control in Rough Rice . Marketing Bulletin No. 28. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, October, 1963. 56. U. S. Department of Agriculture. Rice Situation , RS-9 (January, 1965). Published annually by the Economic Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. Washington: January, 1965. 57. U. 5. Department of Agriculture. Rural Recreation, A New Family-Farm Business . Report of Task Force on Income-Producing Recreational Enterprises on Farm Land. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, September, 1962. 58. U. S. Weather Bureau. C 1 i mat ogr ap hy of the United States No. 60-3: Climates of the States-Arkansas . Washington: U, S. Government Printing Office, 1959. 59. Wells, Joe P. Sources of Nitrogen for Rice . Report Series 115, F ay et t evi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, November, 1962, 60. Whitehead, F. E. A Large Scale Experiment in Rice Field Mosquito Control . Report Series 32. Fay et t evi 1 1 e , Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, April, 1952. 61. Wooten, Hugh H., and Anderson, James R. Major Uses of Land in the United States: Summary for 1954. Agricultural Information Bulletin 168. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, January, 1957,

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348 Articles and Periodicals 62. Adams, Donald and Nester, Ruel P. "Rice Fertilization," The Rice Journal , LXVII, No. 3 (March, 1965), 27-29. 63. Barnett, Howard T. "Reduce Costs and Levees by Leveling," The Rice Journal . XXIV, No. 12 (November, 1961), 20-21. 64. Benson, Ezra Taft. "Benson Comes to Stuttgart," The Rice Journal . LX, No. 11 (October, 1957), 6, 2025. (Speech by Secretary of Agriculture Benson before 37th Annual Meeting of Arkansas Rice Growers Cooperative Association at Stuttgart, Arkansas, September 5, 1957). 65. Brandes, Gordon A. "STAM F-34 Proved Successful for Grass and Weed Control in Rice," The Rice Journal . LXV, No. 1 (January, 1962), 8-12, 37-39. 66. Deane, Ernie. "Old Letters Tell of Life on Grand Prairie in Late 1800's," The Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), Dec. 6, 1962. 67. Efferson, J. Norman. "The Story of Rice," The Rice Journal (Annual Issue, 1956). 68. Fuller, W. H. "Early Rice Farming on Grand Prairie," Arkansas Historical Quarterly , XIV, No. 1 (Spring, 1955), 72-74. 69. Glasgow, L. L., and Thomas, C. H. "Managing Rice Fields for Waterfowl," The Rice Journal . LXVII, No. 8 (July, 1963), 30-33. 70. Grant, Warren and Mullins, Troy. "An Economic Appraisal of Enterprise Adjustments on Rice Farms," The Rice Journal . LXVII (Annual Issue, 1964), 21, 71. Grant, Warren R., and Mullins, Troy. "What Size RiceSoybean Farm," The Rice Journal . LXVI, No. 5 (May, 1963), 35-36. 72. Hall, Vernon, et a 1 . "Plastic Levees for Rice Irrigation in Arkansas," The Rice Journal . LXVIII, No. 5 (May, 1965), 36.

PAGE 359

349 73. Johnson, Malcolm C. "Food-Fish Farming in the Mississippi Delta," The Progressive Fi s h -C u 1 t ur i s t , XXI, No. 4 (October, 1959), 154-160. 74. Kennerly, A. B. "How Cost Accounting Can Reveal Losses," The Rice Journal , LXIV, No. 12 (November, 1961), 7-8. 75. Kieckhefer, E. W. "Arkansans Told Soybean Sales Should be Good," The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee), September 4, 1964 (Speech of L. C. Carter, general manager of Arkansas Grain Corporation, Stuttgart, Arkansas, September 3, 1964) . 76. Miears, R. J. "Rice Ferti 1 iz ati on-When Where How," The Rice Journal , LXVIII, No. 2 (February, 1965), 28-31, 35. 77. Mullins, Troy. "Some Factors Affecting Resource Adjustments in 'Old and New' Rice Areas of Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta," The Rice Journal , LXIII. No. 12 (November, 1960), 15-17, 28. 78. Nester, Ruel P. "Propanil Use in Arkansas for the Control of Barnyard Grass," The Rice Journal , LXVII, No. 3, (March, 1964), 34-35. 79. Reynolds, Henry. "Restricted Duck Hunting Will Cause Heavy Damage to Economy of Stuttgart," The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee), December 2, 1962. 80. The Rice Millers Association. "Rice Acreage in the United States, 1964," and "Rice Production in the United States, 1964," Published annually in The Rice Journal . 81. Rivenburgh, Dexter V. "U. S. Rice Sales Under P. L. 480," The Rice Journal , LXV, No. 12 (November, 1962) , 8-11 . 82. Rosencrantz, Florence L. "The Rice Industry in Arkansas, The Arkansas Historical Quarterly , V, No. 2 (Summer, 1946), 123-137. 83. Sampson, Ernest E. "Half a Century on Grand Prairie," The Arkansas Historical Quarterly , XIV, No. 1 (Spring, 1955), 32-37. 84. Smith, Jerry M. "Straight and Fewer Levees by Precision Leveling," The Rice Journal . LXVI, No. 8 (July, 1963) , 16-17.

PAGE 360

350 85. Thomas, Carl H., and Glasgow, Leslie L. "Duck Food Availability in Harvested and Fallow Rice Fields,'" The Rice Journal , LXV , No. 2 (February, 1962), 42-44. 86. Westermei er , Therese S. "Die Grand Prairie Von Arkansas," The Arkansas Historical Quarterly , XV, No. 1 (Spring, 1956), 76-84. 87. Wills, Vernon C. "'Instant' Water Whenever You Need It," Arkansas Farmer (August, 1963), 8B. 88. Wills, Vernon C. "Quality of Irrigation Water is Factor in Arkansas," The Rice Journal , LXVIII, No. 2 (February, 1965), 45-46. 89. Wright, Mary Louise. "Arkansas Rice Areas May Have Solution to Mosquito Problem," The Rice Journal , LXVII, No. 5 (May, 1964), 20-21, 40. 90. , "Cut Season, Fewer Ducks May Hit Business Blow," Memphis Press Scimitar (Memphis, Tennessee), December 3, 1962. 91. . "Meeting the World's Rice Needs," Rohm and Haas Reporter , XXI, No. 6 (Nov. -Dec, 1963), 4-8. 92. . "Rice for Ducks Program in Arkansas," The Rice Journal , LX, No. 3 (March, 1957), 46-47. 93. . "37 Years of Progress," The Rice Journal , LX, No. 11 (October, 1957), 8, 27. 94. . "This Arkansas Farmer Started in 1909," The Rice Journal . LIX, No. 5 (May, 1956), 20-22. 95. _. "Underground Irrigation," The Rice Journal , LXV, No. 9 (August, 1962), 22-23. 96. . "Water Conservation No. 1 Aim in Arkansas Rice Country," Land and Water Contracting , III, No. 9 (September, 1961), 6-9. 97. . "Water Planting in Rice," The Rice Journal , LXII, No. 3 (March, 1959), 26, 29, 34. 98. . "Water Supply and Machinery Costs Worry Rice Farmers in Arkansas," The Farm Index , II, No, 5 (May, 1963), 12-13.

PAGE 361

351 Maps and Aerial Photography 99. Aerial Photography . U, S. Department of Agriculture, Commodity Stabilization Service photographic coverage for the following Arkansas (Scales 1:7,920 and 1:15,840) Prairie County " " LonokeCounty " " 100. Aerial Photography Indices . U, S. Department culture, Commodity Stabilization Servi photography indices for the following counties: (Scale 1:63,360) Prairie County " " LonokeCounty " " 101. Cadastral Map . Arkansas County, Arkansas. Murphy Payne Company of Independence, No date. un t i es : 1 1 -58 — O O 1 -59 of Agr i ce aer i al Ark ans as 1 1 -58 12 -58 1 -59 r i n ted by Mi s s 0 ur i . 102. General Highway Maps of the following Arkansas counties prepared by the Division of Planning and Research, Arkansas State Highway Commission, in cooperation with the Bureau of Public Roads, U. S. Department of Commerce. (Scale 1:31,250) Arkansas County Map No. A200-1 1961 Prairie County " A200-59 1957 (Rev. Lonoke County " A200-43 1956 (Rev. Monroe County " A200-48 1961 103. Gener al Soil Maps of the following Arkansas counties prepared by the Soil Conservation Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Little Rock, Arkansas. (Scale 1:31, 250) Arkansas County Map No. 4 -R12649 Rev . 3 -64 Prairie County tt 4 -R11511 Rev , 3 -64 Lonoke County !1 4 -R17419 Rev. 8 -63 Monroe County ?l 4 -R12650 Rev. 3 -64

PAGE 362

352 1 04 . The Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas, Showing Contours on the Ground Water Surface, Spring, 1959 . Plate 2, U, S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1615-A. Studies of Artificial Recharge in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas: Environment and History . Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1963. 105 . National Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation Needs . Random sample 40-acre plots for the State of Arkansas. Original maps retained in the office of State Soil Scientist, Soil Conservation Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Little Rock, Arkansas. (Scale 1:31,250) 106. Rice Harvested, Acreage, 1959 . Map No. A59-1E33. Bureau of the Census, U. S. Department of Commerce . 107. Topographic Quadrangles, State of Arkansas . Prepared under the direction of the President, Mississippi River Commission, Corps of Engineers, S. Army, Vicksburg, P Hiss . (Scale 1 : 62, 500) Big Island 1939 Ed . Haz en 1941 Ed CI arendon 1957 Ed. Henrico 1954 Ed De Vail ' s Bluff 1957 Ed . Indian B ay 1954 Ed De Witt 1954 Ed. Lonoke 1950 Ed Engl and 1943 Ed . Red Fork 1935 Ed Gi 1 1 ett 1935 Ed . Stuttgar t 1939 Ed Goldman 1941 Ed. Varner 1935 Ed Unpublished Material 108. Arkansas Rice Growers Cooperative Association, "Facts About Rice". Stuttgart, Arkansas (Mimeographed) 109. Kinkead, Ewing W. "Irrigation in Arkansas". Unpublish ed paper by the Arkansas Geological and Conservation Commission, Little Rock, 1955. 110. . The Research Program of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife Fish Farming Experiment Station, Stuttgart, Arkansas . A summary of reports prepared for the Fish Farming Conference held in Little Rock, Arkansas, May 17, 1962.

PAGE 363

353 0 t her So u r c e s Personal interviews with Mr. Derapsie Binkley, Soil Scientist, Soil Conservation Service, U, S. Department of Agriculture, Stuttgart, Arkansas. 1962-1964 . Personal correspondence with Mr. H. C. Dean, State Soil Scientist, Soil Conservation Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Little Rock, Arkansas. September 21, 1964. Personal interview with Mr. Frank Freudenberg, rice farmer and water contractor, Stuttgart, Arkansas™ August, 1964. Personal interviews with Mr. Hugh Hardwick, Director, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Arkansas County, De Witt, Arkansas, Summers, 1962-1965 . Personal interviews with Mr. Henry Holley, County Agent, Northern District, Stuttgart, Arkansas. Summers, 1962-1965. Personal interview with Mr. James Mason, Administrative Assistant, Arkansas Rice Growers Cooperative Association, Stuttgart, Arkansas. December, 1960. Personal correspondence with Mr. Oliver Ragland, Stuttgart Machine Works, Stuttgart, Arkansas. September 9, 1965, Personal interview with Mr. L. F. Seidenstricker, rice farmer, Prairie County, Arkansas. June, 1963. Personal interview with Mr. Francis J. Williams, Director, Rice Branch Experiment Station, Stuttgart, Arkansas. December, 1960. Personal interviews with 50 Grand Prairie rice farmers, using a standard questionnaire. Summer, 1963. (See Appendix III)

PAGE 364

BIOGRAPIITCAI, SKTrrCIl John Harry Corbet was born January 10, 1931, at Memphis, Tennessee. In June, 1949, he was graduated from Memphis Technical High School. In August, 1953, he received the degree of Bachelor of Science from Memphis State University. Granted a Rust Foundation Scholarship he received the degree of Master of Arts from Memphis State in August, 1954, From 1955 to 1958 he served in the United States Navy as an air intelligence officer and was stationed in Japan. Following his discharge he was hired to teach geography at Memphis State University. After teaching two years, he took a leave of absence and enrolled in the Graduate School of the University of Florida. After serving as a teaching assistant and completing all doctoral preliminaries, he returned to his teaching position at Memphis State University in September, 1961. lie has spent subsequent summers doing field work and writing the dissertation, John Harry Corbet is married to the former Ruby Elizabeth Robinson and is the father of one child. He is a member of the Association of American Geographers and the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers.

PAGE 365

This dissertation was prepared under the direction of the chairman of the candidate's supervisory committee and has been approved by all members of that committee. It was submitted to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was approved as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Phi losophy. August 13, 1966 Dean, Graduate School

PAGE 366

TRAVERSE OF THE GRAND PRAIRIE CONTOUR INTERVAL 5 FEET TOPOGRAPHIC MAP DATE OF PHOTOGRAPHY 1958 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY FIGURE 21 FALLOW I IDLE FARMSTEAD FARMSTEAD (ABANDONED) ^ AIRSTRIP DETAILED ANALYSIS LAND USES FIGURE 22 CROPLAND MIXED CROPLAND PASTURELAND WOODLAND RESERVOIRS GENERALIZED LAND USE DIVISIONS FIGURE 23 OWNER OPERATED NON-OWNER OPERATED OPERATING FARM UNITS FIGURE 24 MILES 18000 CORBET 1965 333.1 CT9'7^

PAGE 367

MILES CORBET 1965 P'igure 43


25
The Grand Prairie has been dissected by a number of
streams almost uniformity flowing southeastward (Figure 2).
Lagrue Bayou heads in the northern part of the Prairie and
drains prairie land for its entire length before draining
into the White River. Mill Bayou flowing into Bayou Meto,
and Little Lagrue Bayou, a tributary to Lagrue Bayou, drain
what is considered the "heart of the Grand Prairie, that
portion in the vicinity of Stuttgart. The headwaters of
Two Prairie Bayou are outside the region to the northwest
near the headwaters of Bayou Meto and Wattensaw Bayou. It
flows east and southeast dissecting a portion of the Prai
rie and empties into Bayou Meto.
These shallow bedded streams along with other smaller
ones have dissected the terrace into several discontiguous
segments. Lower Lagrue Bayou has isolated a portion of the
Prairie to the east between Lagrue Bayou and the White River
known as White River Prairie. That small portion between
Lagrue Bayou and Big Creek is known as Lagrue Prairie.
Sassafras Prairie is a small segment north of De Witt between
Lagrue Bayou and Little Lagrue Bayou. In the south Cypress
Bayou isolates Little Prairie. Two Prairie Bayou sets off
Long Prairie. Specifically, that large remaining portion of
upland terrace is Grand Prairie. Generally, however, all of
these segments are collectively referred to as the Grand
Prairie and will be so indicated in this paper unless spec
ifically stated otherwise.


Total 217 826 855 776 4,155 1,510 1,950 2,086
m
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325


4
flavor. Mans modifications have produced todays product.
The Grand Prairie is a land of rice, soybeans, and
reservoirs. Man's adaptations to the Prairie environment
give the region a character unlike the adjacent surrounding
land. Like the physical distinctions, different social in
fluences have given identity to the region. Pioneer set
tlers, largely of German origin, brought with them an agri
cultural background unlike the background of those who
settled adjacent southern lands. The Grand Prairie region
is almost an island in a sea of Southern cotton.
Rice, not cotton, is king on the Grand Prairie. Soy
beans, oats, and lespedeza are important, but these crops
largely owe their existence to the fact that they fit well
into the scheme of rice culture. A striking characteristic
of the Prairie is the absence of cotton, a factor due in
part to the natural environment but more particularly to the
social environment. Cattle, likewise, are unimportant in
this grain stronghold of the South.
The heavy demands of rice on the water resources have
created some unique problems, the solutions to which give
additional character to the Grand Prairie. Water tables
have dropped considerably since the introduction of rice at
the turn of the century. Reservoirs and irrigation canals
now dot and cross the Prairie as a great grid testifying to
mans endeavors.
Southerners living outside the region are usually little
aware of the importance of rice in this area. There are


24
as they issued from the Highlands. Later the deposits were
eroded., and the remnants, now terraces, were left isolated.
There is evidence that the Mississippi River once flowed
west of Crowleys Ridge and joined the Ohio River somewhere
in the vicinity of Helena, Arkansas. Most of the floodplain
deposits west of the ridge are attributed to the Mississippi.
The Ohio River captured the Mississippi near Cairo, Illinois,
and diverted it eastward to the present beds of the lower
Mississippi east of Crowley's Ridge (1, p. 89). The land
west of Crowley's Ridge, including the Grand Prairie region,
was abandoned and left to smaller streams.
The color, composition, and depositional features of
Grand Prairie materials suggest aggradation from both the
Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Wei 1-dri 11ings on the
Prairie have uncovered sediments originating from both
streams (44, p. 9).
The terrace that composes the present Grand Prairie
apparently is the remnant of the much larger aggradational
plain. As the ancient plain sloped toward the southeast away
from the Highlands so does the present terrace. Other smaller
remnants may be found to the north, east, and west of the
Grand Prairie.
These upland terraces were characterized by expanses of
unusually level land that were essentially treeless. As such
they were true prairies, the Grand Prairie being the largest
expanse of natural grassland in the state.


305
considered the crop that best accomplishes this purpose, and
agriculture on the Prairie has come to be more and more
limited to those 2 crops. Rice allotments have had much to
do with the expansion of soybeans, and the applications of
rice irrigation facilities have enabled the region to surpass
state average soybean yields on a land base that is inherent
ly less suited for the crop than are the other producing areas
of alluvial soils. If allotments should eventually restrict
soybeans below their present level on the Prairie,resources
will be shifted to lespedeza and oats. Livestock will con
tinue to find little favor among the Prairie farmers as they
still carry a "misfit"' role in the farm operations.
Some of the most mechanized and technologically advanced
farming in the country is practiced on the highly specialized
Prairie rice farms. The continuing success of this farming
will remain dependent upon specialization, efficiency of
operation, research, and innovations. Farm operating units
will continue to increase in size as pressures for large scale
operations continue to build up. A higher percentage of non-
owner operated farms should occur as original owners retire
and at their death leave their land to their children rather
than selling it. In some cases sons will continue to farm the
land, but the trend will be towards more tenant operations
who own their own equipment but not the land.
The water problems are being ameliorated. Reservoirs
seem to be the solution to the dropping water table and alkali
difficulties. Reservoirs are still being installed but at a


51
In this instance the elevation change is barely observable.
In other areas it is even less so. Figure 10 is a panoramic
sweep from the flat prairie land to the slightly lower bayou
bottomland, and the topographic change is hardly perceptible.
In some areas woodlands along the bayous have been
cleared. Oftentimes the elevation change is so slight that
there is little discernible difference in the topography of
the newly cleared land and the bordering Prairie. The wood
land vegetation is more responsive to moisture conditions
than it is directly to topography. Recent land clearing is
evident in the center of Figure 8. It is difficult to as
certain just how far the woodland extended out from such
shallow prairie bayous.
Loess a1 Hills
In other parts of the region the streams have cut
deeper into the terrace. Gradients steepen slightly as the
urns approach the lower floodplains of the White River
to the east and the Arkansas River to the south. In most
cases instead of an escarpment to mark the meeting of the
terrace and the floodplains there is a transition area con
sisting of low hills to gently rolling topography.
This transition area is the third of the physiographic
regions, designated as loessal hills. Only in a few places
can they truly be termed hills, since in most situations they
are more like rolling plains. However, the area is suffi
ciently different from the 2 other physiographic regions to


216
scribed as a "shotgun scatter" on the cropland division of
generalized land use divisions and in general are absent
from the mixed crop 1and-pasturel and division and the wood
land division. This overall pattern will not vary from year
to year, but the specific fields in rice on individual farms
will, as illustrated in Figure 39.
The intensity of the rice pattern will not vary either
as long as the allotments remain the same. The traverse was
carried out in 1963, but patterns would be essentially the
same in 1962, 1964, or 1965, with only a shuffling of rice,
soybeans, and lespedeza on the individual farms.
Tables 15 and 16 show the number of farms in Arkansas
County by the total size of farm and by size of rice allot
ment categories. Arkansas County encompasses the southern
half of the Grand Prairie (Figure 1). Figure 40 shows the
Prairie and non-Prairie divisions of Arkansas County. The
Prairie on Figure 40 is essentially the same as the cropland
division in Figure 15 and the flat prairie land physiographic
region in Figure 7.
From Table 15 it is readily seen that the farms on the
Prairie are larger than the non-Prairie farms located in the
loessal hills and bottomland regions of the county. This
fact was illustrated on the traverse and is depicted graphi
cally in Figure 24. The average farm size on the Prairie is
about 630 acres, and the average non-Prairie farm has about
150 acres. Approximately the same number of farms are
Prairie and non-Prairie, 557 to 598, but the sizes of the


13
on the maps are the writer's and are based mainly upon field
observation.
In addition to map preparation much field time was
consumed in interviews. Citizens, farmers, and federal,
state, and county officials were interviewed for both offi
cial and unofficial information. County agents, Soil Con
servation Service personnel, Agricultural Stabilization and
Conservation Service personnel, state and federal Geological
Service and Agriculture Department personnel, the United
States Corps of Engineers, and others were querried for data
on the Grand Prairie.
Fifty farmers, selected from all parts of the Grand
Prairie, were interviewed with a standard questionnaire.
Other farmers were interviewed informally, along with reser
voir and well contractors, rice mill executives, water sales
contractors, minnow farmers, old-time residents, and others.
The preparation of maps for the delineation of the
Grand Prairie region was accomplished through the use of
aerial photography and field observation. Topographic
maps, county highway maps, and the Agricultural Stabiliza
tion and Conservation Service photographs were taken to
the site, and the land use and other divisions were delin
eated on the maps. The Grand Prairie has never been mapped
so specifically.'1' Thus sound, realistic delineation of the
"'Other sources of previous reference to the Grand
Prairie have been of a general nature. Two such sources that


Total 217 826 855 785 4,155 1,519 2,209 2,014
^rCOWvOCD^^WCDCDCD O'C' h CJi O U1 S S S
CO 03 CD 03 03 03 03 03 03 03 03 03 CJ1 CJ1 CJ1
cr ^ cr ij h m h-> 0303
1 1 1
i i
1
i
1 i


53
lb. lb.
b. CD
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to
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to 4b
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1 1 1
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1
1
to
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to
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to
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CD
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to
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03
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TABLE 26 Continued


168
ture that cost $65 per ton, or a total cost of $4.25 per acre
for 33 pounds of nitrogen plus in this case some phosphate
and potash. If for simplicity we assume a nitrogen rate of
100 pounds per acre it would cost the farmer $12.75 per acre
using that particular fertilizer mix.
Another farmer that was interviewed used a 45 percent
nitrogen mix costing $99 a ton. It would have cost him a-
bout $13.25 for the 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre. This is
close to the figure calculated using data from a cost survey
conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture
(22, p, 24). Their figure of 13 cents per pound for nitro
gen fertilizer added to the same application fees give a com
parable cost figure. Varied concentrations of fertilizers
result in slightly different application fees to put 100
pounds of nitrogen on the ground. The cost of phosphorus
is 8 cents a pound and potassium 5 cents. A typical appli
cation of 40 pounds of phosphorus would cost $3.20, and 60
pounds of potash $3.00, plus cost of application. These 2
constituents are often worked into the bed at seeding or
applied on another crop rather than air applied with nitrogen.
If anywhere in the agricultural community fertilizer
expenses are rightfully accepted as investments rather than
costs it is true on the Grand Prairie. The pressure for
profits and the high technology in all other aspects of rice
culture requires maximum yields. A natural resource, the
soils of the Grand Prairie, had advantages and disadvantages
for rice culture. The advantages were capitalized on, and


211
increase in secondary crops than on the quota crops them
selves (11, p. 19). This has been due primarily to increased
use of fertilizers on the secondary crops and to a lesser ex
tent to the fact that some of the better land formerly used
for the quota crops was now available for the secondary crops.
Economic and physical possibilities for improving
yields of quota crops have been many years ahead of such
possibilities for non-quota crops, so as resources became
available for the non-quota crops results of improvement were
immediately apparent. One might say that it gave the second
ary crops a chance to catch up. The findings at the nation
al level certainly apply to the Grand Prairie in the case
of shifting resources from rice to soybeans. Rice retains
its undisputed first place on the Prairie, but the phenomenal
increase of soybeans has been the most significant change in
the region in the last decade.
When water resources permitted, supplemental irrigation
was used on crops other than rice by a few rice farmers in
the early 1950s. But the practice became commonplace in
1955 and 1956 when unused well capacity became available be
cause of the cut-back in rice acreage. The economic ad
vantages of irrigating soybeans have been recounted. The
problem of budgeting irrigation water between competing
crops is examined in the next chapter.
The rice allotment on individual farms is closely re
lated to the total amount of cropland on the farm and is
presently about 25 percent. This is a logical development


166
Figure 33. Drained rice field nearing harvest
time. This field normally yields over 100
bushels per acre. Note lodging of the heavy-
headed rice at the edge of the field along the
reservoir levee. The field has large levees
on all 4 sides and is rotated with the reser
voir on the top left of the photograph, presently
under water.
Courtesy Soil Conservation Service


CHAPTER III
LAND USE
Introduction
The Grand Prairie, despite its original distinction
based on physical characteristics, is best known today as
a cultural manifestation. The region is essentially recog
nized as a distinct areal unit because of its land use. It
is considered thus by its inhabitants and would probably
be so considered by most geographers.
Background
The Grand Prairie is today a land of rice, soybeans,
and reservoirs. But present land use is a relatively recent
development, as early settlement in the general area of the
Grand Prairie left the Prairie proper as a great void. First
use of the Prairie was open grazing. At the early settle
ment of Arkansas Post apparently the only use put to the
Prairie was to allow cattle to range freely. Occasional
salt or corn was put out in order not to lose the animals
completely. Otherwise, the cattle received no care or fodder
and apparently provided for themselves through the winter.
72


102
one half also voluntarily cited the trouble and bother in
volved as being a major consideration.
Some complained that mosquitoes so annoyed cattle that
they would not eat and gain weight. At times, mosquitoes
in nostrils of cattle actually endanger the animals. In
secticide sprays and dips are such necessary expenses on the
Prairie as to put the farmer at a competitive disadvantage
with other areas. Despite intense study and experimentation
with controls, mosquitoes continue to be a plague in the
area. The writer soon discovered the folly of stopping on
a summer night on the Prairie. Mosquito control has proved
possible on an experimental basis in a limited area (60)
(89). It has not proved to be practical on an area-wide
basis. The numerous rice fields, bayous, reservoirs, and
ditches render a single farmers efforts useless.
There were other arguments cited by farmers against
cattle in addition to mosquitoes and the major complaint of
the fence problem. One farmer observed that cattle spread
and perpetuate red rice and other weeds. Another complained
of the mud caused by the cattle on the flat prairie clay pan
soil. More serious was one farmers experience who had just
lost 15 head of cattle because they had accidentally eaten
poisoned seed rice.
A number of farmers had formerly kept cattle and learn
ed through personal experience that cattle do not pay on
Prairie cropland. A few were mildly critical of neighbors
for keeping cattle. Even land that can produce 20 bushels


279
Such an operation does not sound appealing. It must
be remembered, however, that this is a new industry, and
there are many avenues for improvement. Despite the dis
appointing results reported above, many persons are opti
mistic about the future of the industry. A few of the
reservoirs in the study did produce sufficient fish to
show a net profit. Another point that disguises the bene
fits from the rudimentary fish farming is the charge for
fixed expenses and certain variable expenses that offset
the gross returns of $16.58 per acre for the 2 years. Ac
tually, from the viewpoint of the rice farmers the fish are
not expected to pay the costsfor levee construction and
pumping costs. These costs are necessary for rice and are
borne by that crop. If the fish can be made self-sustaining
by paying the costs for stocking and what little extra ex
penses are required for fertilizing the water and labor for
harvest, then whatever net return the fish can generate will
be an asset to the farm operation. And this is hopefully
thought possible. Some earlier studies have shown that fish
in Arkansas rice irrigation reservoirs have been able to
generate small returns, averaging about $16 per acre per
year over their costs of stocking (24, pp. 12-13).
Other than the fact that most farmers do not have the
surplus water for fish farming, the major factor hindering
the development of the industry is the farmers' general lack
of enthusiasm for the undertaking. Of the 50 farmers inter-


312
Freeland soils have brown or grayish brown silt loam surface
soil over yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam sub
soil that has a gray, yellow and brown mottled fragipan: the
silty material is about 3 feet thick over stratified sand,
silt, and clay. This association is used chiefly for soy
beans and cotton, with some level areas in rice. Associated
soils are Acadia, Hatchie, Grenada, and Calloway.
MUSKOGEE-ACADIA ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well and
somewhat poorly drained very slowly permeable acid soils de
veloped on level to gently sloping areas of thin loess over
old clayey alluvium. The moderately well drained Muskogee
soils have brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown
silty clay loam subsoil that is underlain at about 24 inches
with plastic clay mottled brown, yellow, red, and gray. Acadia
soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray,
yellow and red mottled plastic clay subsoil. This association
is used chiefly for soybeans and cotton, with rice on some
level areas. Associated soils are Wrightsvi11e, Perry, and
Portland.
ACADIA-WRIGHTSVXLLE ASSOCIATION Deep, somewhat poorly
and poorly drained, very slowly permeable acid soils developed
on level to gently sloping areas of thin loess over old clayey
alluvium. The somewhat poorly drained Acadia soils have
grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow and
red mottled plastic clay subsoil. Wrightsvilie soils have gray
or light gray silt loam surface soil over gray clay subsoil


173
exploders are as effective on blackbirds as they are on un
wary observers they should be a success. They have to be
moved periodically because the birds will get accustomed to
anything if it stays in one place long enough. A stationary
scarecrow has been described as a perch for hungry blackbirds.
One of the most effective measures against the birds
is the .22 rifle. The purpose is not to shoot all the birds
with the rifle but to frighten them away. One man on an
elevated platform may effectively keep birds out of a 160-
acre field by placing shots in whatever region or corner
they choose to enter. It is considered somewhat of a sport,
making it less monotonous than it sounds. The farmers gen
erally are not pressed for time when the birds are most
worrisome as the fields are maturing for harvest. In August
and September many farmers may be observed sitting atop their
trucks with rifle in hand.
Chemical Grass Control
Grass and weeds in rice fields compete with the rice
for water, plant nutrients, and space and light. They in
crease harvesting and drying problems, result in decreased
yields, and lower the quality and market value of the milled
product. A number of tried and proved techniques of grass
control must be utilized to defend the rice effectively.
Proper seedbed cultivation and irrigation are primary grass
control measures, but the recent development notable in the
industry is the use of chemical herbicides generally applied


Figure 45. Return system reservoir. All drainage
on this farm is collected by ditches and carried
to the reservoir, where it is stored until needed
in the fields. No woodland or creek was available
on the farm, so cropland had to be used, requiring
levees on all 4 sides. Stuttgart appears in the
upper right.
Courtesy Soil Conservation Service
249


286
charged $75 a person for a years fishing privileges. An
other charges $25.
A farmer's total annual income derived from fishing
fees may vary from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands
of dollars. A survey of reservoirs that charged fees for
fishing in eastern Arkansas indicated the average annual in
come per reservoir is about $2,000 (57, p. 44). Most of
these, however, were not irrigation reservoirs. One reser
voir, 200 acres in size, grossed $4,000 through $100-per-
family leases.
1 Very often a farmer will allow fishing in his reser
voir for a fee but places little importance on it as an in
come producer. This seems to be the general thinking on the
Grand Prairie. Only a few of the most desirable reservoirs
apparently bring in any significant income. Oftentimes,
farmers do not even keep account of receipts.
Although only a small portion of the rice farmers with
reservoirs realize any income from sport fishing fees, the
majority of the farmers reported that sport fishing was prac
ticed to some extent locally, usually limited to the family
and friends. Some of these farmers were quite enthusiastic
about it, and this aspect was definitely an asset to the
reservoir. Several said that they would consider fees if it
looked like they were warranted or became more practical in
the future. Of course, some of the reservoirs were not suit
able for sport fishing just as they were unsuitable for fish
farming, although requirements and investments are not the


308
skills and that knowledge in the field to set off the region
more than offsets the limitations imposed on data resources.
Without that personal touch in the field there is the danger
of relying too heavily on figures gathered by someone else
and becoming a geographer by name but a statistician by deed.
While the great wealth of census data and other data
gathered by municipal, county, state, and federal agencies
on political areal bases are of great value to the geographer
they should not be allowed to hamstring the geographer to
limiting himself to those areas for which the data are
available. The geographers task is to interpret the face
of the earth, and he, if anyone, should know that political
units are more often than not poor divisions for which to
study man's relationships with his physical environment.
It is suggested by the writer that the purposes of the geo
grapher can well be achieved through the study of a rela
tively small part of the earth that requires its own de
lineation, and that certain advantages accrue to ferreting
out data that apply even though sources may be more restricted
than those frequently used. The point, however, is that if the
geographer does not follow this course no one will, and much
of the function of geography will be lost.


200
their rates of application, however, and are best considered
with an evaluation of costs and returns per acre.
Costs and Returns per Acre
Total investment in land, machinery, labor, and mate
rials will vary considerably from farm to farm on the Grand
Prairie. With some representative investment figures having
been presented, additional insight into the economics of rice
production may now be gleaned from an analysis of the costs
and returns per acre. These, too, will vary with farm size
and from farm to farm of the same size using different farm
ing procedures.
When interviewed, farmers were rather uniform in re
porting a gross income off rice of about $200 per acre. They
were not in as much agreement about net income, but most be
lieved it would be something over half the gross. Of course,
an exact figure would require each of them to carry out de
tailed accounting and then be willing to give the results to
the interviewer. As a matter of fact, it is felt by the
writer that the farmers did indeed have detailed accounting,
and that their estimates of net income were actually very
accurate judging from their close agreement with findings
shown in Table 12. The figures would change slightly from
year to year, and one would not expect all farmers to have
the same expenses in producing a crop even though they might
obtain about the same yield and receive the same prices for
their product.


244
In an attempt to shed additional light on cropland
versus woodland reservoirs the 50 rice farmers were asked to
categorize their reservoirs and portions thereof as being
situated on cropland or woodland. The resulting data are
tabulated and presented in Table 30 in Appendix III. Out
of a total reservoir area of 4,196 acres on the farms, 24
percent is on cropland and 76 percent is on woodland. The
average reservoir acreage per farm is 105 acres, 25 acres
of which are on cropland and 80 acres on woodland.
Table 18 summarizes some of the data from the Appendix.
Of the total 4,196 reservoir acres, 15 percent are in all
cropland reservoirs averaging 43 acres in size. Sixty-seven
percent of the reservoir acres are found to be in all-wood
land reservoirs and as expected average much larger in size
than the all-cropland reservoirs. The mixed cropland-wood
land reservoirs more closely resemble the all-cropland reser
voirs in size and account for 18 percent of the total.
The type of structure of a reservoir and its source of
water depends upon whether or not it is a woodland or crop
land reservoir, its accessibility to natural runoff, slope of
the land, and, of course, the capacity required for desired
irrigation. The costs of construction and operation are de
termined by such factors as the amount of levee necessary to
enclose a reservoir of given acre-feet capacity and the a-
mount of pumping required to fill the reservoir and to move
the water onto the land. An examination of these costs will
be presented later.


169
the disadvantages were studied, knowledge applied, and prob
lems ameliorated. Yields are higher than ever before and
higher than the land could ever have produced in its natural
condition. As experimentas continue and knowledge increases,
further increases in yields are expected as advancing tech
nology permits additional substitutions among factors of
production. Detailed fertilization recommendations are
available to the farmer (7) (8) (35) (37) (59) (62) (76).
Disease, Insect, and Grass Control
Of no less importance than fertilization is the control
of diseases, insects, and grass. Without modern control tech
niques yields for rice producing areas in the United States
would be reduced to perhaps one-fourth to one-half of present
yields, despite modern fertilization. Somewhere in the past
man learned that by letting rice grow in water he could keep
grass infestation within manageable limits. All of the so
phisticated watering techniques and elaborate irrigation sys
tems that have been developed since that time for rice have
had as the primary purpose the control of grass and weeds.
Diseases
Rice diseases are many and control measures vary. De
tailed description and recommended treatments are available
to the farmers through the Agricultural Experiment Stations
and the United States Department of Agriculture (6) (27) (36)
(37). It is not within the objectives of this study to present
detailed descriptions and treatments of rice diseases or pest


321
TABLE 23 Continued
Woodland
Total
C ap abi1ity
on
M
II
on
ii
M
1|
Class
CD
0
0
0
and
H
in h
0
0
rH
C/5 tH
0
0
u
O fH
07
07
fH
3 *
07
07
Subclass
rH
co
O -H
>, co
C
rH
c
rH
H
CO
O *iH
> CO
S2
H
c
H
u
CO 5h
u
5h
CO ^
o-
cq a,
Cl4
Cx<
D-.
ca cl,
(JH
I
-
12
46
149
431
12
234
348
II
E
-
17
67
83
225
79
162
250
W
101
82
226
191
2,378
430
787
614
III
E
-
87
-
83
-
132
-
347
W
68
616
491
147
1,073
657
727
343
IV
E
-
-
-
11
-
21
-
31
W
-
2
-
-
-
12
-
-
V
E
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
W
-
9
25
121
-
15
25
121
VI
E
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
W
-
-
-
-
-
-

-
VII
E
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
56
W



"
"

Total
169
825
855
785
4,107
1,358
1,935
2,110


176
off the propanil before it is effective on the grass. The
herbicide is for postemergence only and kills only the grass
which is exposed. There is practically no residue effect, and
it is necessary to flood the field within 2 to 4 days after
application to prevent an emergence of a second crop of
grass. The grass must be actively growing for the herbicide
to be effective. Following a rain is a good time to catch
the grass in active growth, or a quick flushing may be re
quired to set the grass up for the kill. The farmer must
watch his fields very closely to catch the grass at just the
right time. Grass that is stunted and growing slowly due to
dry soil or cool temperatures is resistant to propanil as is
grass that has reached the 4 leaf stage, 3 to 5 inches in
height.
Propanil is injurious to broadleafed crops such as cot
ton and soybeans and must be used in their vicinity with
much care. Aircraft spray drift is especially troublesome.
The close tolerance in the use of this new herbicide
is another reminder of the sophisticated technology of the
American rice industry. It emphasizes the need for research
and testing and particularly illustrates the necessity of an
enlightened farmer with a good understanding of modern tech
nology. The discovery of these unique chemicals has been
hailed as the most significant advance in rice production in
many years.
Besides the most obvious advantage of increased yields
there are other advantages of chemical grass control the im-


256
The levee has a 4:1 slope on the inside and about 3:1
on the outside. Most of the floor of the reservoir is orig
inal cropland surface. A borrow pit just inside the levee
provides the earth for the levee. Water in the pits will be
8 to 10 feet deep and provides the more permanent reservoir
for the pumps. In late summer many of the reservoirs are
observed to be dry except for the water in the borrow pits.
Most of the levee work is done by contractors. In
Arkansas County alone there are 11 earth contractors equipped
with 2 dozen draglines and a dozen bulldozers (96, p. 6).
At last 3 farmers own their draglines. In addition there
are several pump installers and pipelaying firms. Present
contract rates are about 15 to 16 cents per cubic yard of
earth moved.
The total levee costs are determined by the length and
cross sectional size of the levee. A reservoir 100 percent
leveed will cost more per acre enclosed than will one with a
lesser amount of the boundary leveed. A reservoir only 25
percent leveed will cost only about a third per acre as much
as one 100 percent leveed. Offsetting the lesser amount of
levee to some extent is the tendency to build the levees
higher for only partially enclosed reservoirs in order to
store water deeper on the levee side to offset the feather
edge on the unleveed sides.
The larger the reservoir the lower the cost per acre
enclosed, other things being equal. Table 19 shows the
average levee costs for a sample of 106 reservoirs on the


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The writer wishes to express gratitude for the assist
ance of the many persons who aided in making this research
possible. Unable to name all of those who graciously gave
their time and thoughts, a special word of thanks is ex
tended to those with whom the writer consulted and worked
on numerous occasions during the several summers of field
work. Appreciated is the assistance of Messrs. Dempsie
Binkley, soil scientist; Pat Abboud, farm planner; and Kipp
Sullivan, Director, all of the Soil Conservation Service,
Arkansas County; II. C. Dean, state soil scientist, Little
Rock; Henry Holly, county agent, Arkansas County; and Hugh
Hardwick, Director, Agricultural Stabilization and Conser
vation Service, Arkansas County. Warren Grant, of the United
States Department of Agriculture, made possible the effec
tive use of official sample data.
Appreciation is extended also to personnel of the Rice
Branch Experiment Station and the Fish Farming Experiment
Station. Especially appreciated are the contributions of
the 50 Grand Prairie rice farmers who were selected for
interview, and whose interests and cooperation enabled the
writer to gain the necessary insight to the Grand Prairie
and its economy.


159
After seeding, whether water seeding or dry land seed
ing, the first flooding comes in about 4 to 6 weeks when
the rice plants are 6 to 8 inches high, except in the cases
where water is left on the fields continuously after water
seeding. If rain causes the soil to crust just after dry
bed planting the field may be preirrigated to soften the
soil. Flushing the field with a temporary watering may also
be employed to aid germination, but when it is necessary to
preirrigate for this purpose the land should be drained
promptly after seeding or the underground seed will rot.
The first irrigation flooding is to a depth of 1 to 2
inches. As the plants grow taller the depth is increased
gradually to a full flood of 4 to 6 inches. The water is
usually held no higher than this while the plant reaches
46 to 48 inches in height. Water can be deepened and may
reach a depth of as much as 20 inches if the levees have
been constructed to hold that much water, but there is no
advantage to such deep water. Rice can be completely im
mersed in water if it should be desirable for grass control,
but slender stretch-growth results and requires that the
water be lowered slowly. A rapid removal of supporting
water will cause the plant to fold over. Although the plants
would eventually recover, their rate of growth may be re
tarded and their maturity delayed. Also, the slender growth
induced by deep water may cause severe lodging when the
plant becomes heavy headed at harvest time.
With the exception of only temporary drainings, the


285
stocked for fish farming and not be detrimental to the com
mercial fish. Buffalofish will rarely take a baited line,
but bass and crappie grown in the same water without notice
able negative effects on the buffalo provide excellent sport
These fish do well in the shallow, still, and often muddy
water of the irrigation reservoirs. As described, bass are
normally stocked anyway to keep the wild fish in check.
Bream are normally not stocked with commercial fish because
of their prolific nature and crowding of the other fish.
Bream fit nicely in a sports fishing reservoir, however,
and supply the insatiable bass with food. The wooded reser
voirs, while not lending themselves to commercial fish farm
ing, do make for excellent sport fishing and are considered
the choice fishing spots. Although less control is possible
over the types of fish, the stumps and vegetation and other
natural conditions are highly desirable. If sports fishing
is important reservoir outlets are screened to prevent the
fish from escaping or from being pumped out onto the fields.
Sport fishing as a source of income is still relative
ly minor on the Grand Prairie. Only a few farmers have the
facilities or have taken the initiative to derive income in
this manner. Of the 50 interviewees 35 reported that their
reservoirs were used for sport fishing, but only 10 collect
a fee for fishing privileges. The fee most often charged is
$1 a day per person plus $1 to $1.50 rent for a boat. One
farmer with a large and highly desirable fishing reservoir


62
possessing Prairie characteristics seem to have been cleared
and cultivated like the Prairie. Earlier in the chapter the
present Prairie boundary was described as including an area
larger than the area of original prairie grass and why this
was so. This is true mostly in the northern part of the
Prairie, and it is thus likewise in the north where the
largest area of prairie fringe soils are included within
the boundaries of the Grand Prairie.
Sloping Borderland Soils
The sloping borderland soils are in general those geo
graphically between the Prairie fringe soils and the bottom
land soils along the streams. They coincide closely with
the physiographic region of loessal hills, although some of
the prairie fringe soils also belong to the loessal hills
physiographic region. It is a matter of degree. As the
fringe areas increase in slope away from the Prairie and
thus no longer likely to "fringe the Prairie, the soils
change. The loessal hills physiographic region overlaps the
2 soils categories the prairie fringe soils and the sloping
borderland soils. All of these associations have consider
able variants among themselves, making sequence listing not
altogether satisfactory. Nevertheless, it is useful and is
considered by the writer as the most meaningful way of analysis.
The sloping borderland soils are found in that part of
the terrace undergoing most active stream dissection where the
waterholding clay pan has been destroyed. Drainage is much


33
pletely, they are not as subject to fire damage and tree re
tardation.
The timbered islands were in most cases merely areal
concentrations of conditions just described along the streams.
The locations of some islands, however, may seem counter to
this reasoning. Big Island, Lost Island and Maple Island
were actually located on what are relatively high portions
of the terrace. Compare the locations of these islands on
Figure 3 with Figure 5, a topographic map of the Grand Prairie.
Drainage is in general away from these islands, indicating
their relative upland positions. Close observation, however,
indicates that they are slightly lower than the immediately
surrounding land, thus receiving local drainage.
From evidence available it also appears the clay pan is
less developed in such areas. It is not clear whether the
trees are here because of the weak pan, or whether the pan is
weak because of the trees. More borings across these islands
and more detailed topographic mapping could shed light on this
physical phenomenon.
Present Modified Vegetation
The Grand Prairie is still observable in the field, but
not as native grassland prairie. The grasses which grew for
so long, so alone, and so undisturbed, have been overturned
and replaced with some of mans grasses, notably that money
making grass rice.
The wooded patterns have been altered also. Many tim-


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure Page
1. Location of the Grand Prairie 3
2. Divisions of the Prairie and Features
of the Region . 6
3. Original Vegetation 27
4. Virgin Prairie Grass ...... 32
5. Topography 42
6. Bluffs Along the White River 44
7. Physiographic Regions 47
8. Oblique View of the Prairie 50
9. Shallow Bayou Bottomland 52
10. Panorama from Flat Prairie Land to
Bayou Bottomland 52
11. View at the Prairie Edge 54
12. Loessal Hills 54
13. General Soil Map 57
14. Mean Temperature and Precipitation,
Stuttgart, Arkansas 67
15. Generalized Land Use Divisions 76
16. Vertical View of a Portion of the
Grand Prairie. 80
17. Ground View of Cropland 83
18. Ground View of Mixed Crop 1 and-Pasturel and. . 83
19. Photo-Mosaic of the Entire Grand Prairie
Region.
vi i i
88


%
fe' tZMm
1
In
3
'
*4
k
'
SBL
k. Iss
mi
Figure 16. Vertical view of a portion of the Grand Prai
rie. This photograph is keyed to the generalized land use
map (Figure 15) and shows areas representing the 3 major
land use divisions: (I) Cropland, (II) Mixed Cropland-
Pastureland, and (III) Woodland. Thick woodlands dominate
along the course of Lagrue Bayou, woodlands are broken in
the mixed crop 1and-pasturel and division, and trees are
essentially absent from the cropland division. Note the
levees that follow contours in the large rice fields on
the Prairie.


122
the confirmation of the high degree of dominance of cropland
on the Prairie, almost to the complete exclusion of other
land uses. Cropland constitutes 95.9 percent of the land
area in the sample plots that were picked up on the Prairie
division. This corresponds with the comparable 89 percent
cropland measured on the traverse (Table 1). The 2 per
centages are reasonably close in agreement, each calculated
from a sample study by entirely different methods. Actually,
the 2 figures are even closer than they appear because in
the Conservation Needs Inventory any samples that by ran
dom fell on water were discounted. On the other hand, re
servoirs were included as a land use on the traverse.
TABLE 2
SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS BY LAND USE
Land Use
Prairie
Bayous on
Prairie
Fringe I
Fringe II
P er c ent
Cropland
95.9
27.9
53.4
39.8
P as tur e-
R ange
.0
11.3
2.4
23.0
Woodland
4.1
60.8
44.2
37.2
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
A second point of confirmation is the insignificance
of pasture on the Prairie. Out of a total of 69 40-acre
sample plots, or 2,760 acres sampled on the Prairie, no pas-


330
QUESTIONNAIRE
Name of operator Owner operator
Part owner
Address of farm Full tenant
Location of farm (legal description for mapping)
Size of farm
Cropland acreage
Rice
Soybeans
Other ( )
Woodland acreage
Pasture acreage
No. of cattle
Other livestock
( )
Irrigated acreage
Approximate percentage of farm income derived from
rice %
soybeans %
other ( ) %
Considering costs and returns what crop or activity you
consider the most profitable for your operation?
Reasons:
Why are cotton and livestock of such little importance on the
Grand Prairie?
If allotments were significantly increased or removed, by what
percentage do you think you would expand your rice
acreage? %


240
reservoirs analyzed in a study in 1957, 48 percent were
wholly upon cropland and 35 percent were all woodland (21,
p. 5). The others were a combination of cropland and wood
land.
Figure 43 (pocket) shows the distribution of reser
voirs in the Grand Prairie region. Reservoirs existing as
of 1958 are differentiated from the reservoirs that were
added annually 1959 through 1962. Reservoirs existing in
1958 were mapped from aerial photography of that year (99)
(100). Reservoirs added in 1959, and annually through 1962,
were mapped using records in the respective county Soil Con
servation Service offices. All reservoirs were checked by
observation in the field. Reservoirs less than 10 acres in
size are not shown.
The distribution of reservoirs with respect to the
generalized land use divisions is shown on Figure 15. The
locations of the large reservoirs correspond closely with
the woodlands along the streams and with the original timber
islands (Figure 3). Practically all such woodland reservoirs
existed before 1958, and most of them are among the earliest
ones in the region. The smaller reservoirs, and the ones of
most recent construction, are largely located on the cropland
division of land use, and as previously defined this is the
region of true Prairie environment.
These smaller reservoirs have been built on cropland
through necessity. As the ground water level declined, those
farmers who were the most affected and who had no access to


106
were both grown in some areas, but as rice grew in importance
farmers came to consider cotton almost as a nuisance. As the
area lacked any significant history of cotton production
allotments assigned to farmers were small. Many of the rice
farmers allowed their hired hands to work the small cotton
allotments themselves as part of their wages, and it gave the
employees families something to do. Rice is highly subject
to mechanization, and as it developed there was less and less
demand for hired labor. As workers were released there was
no one to work the cotton. As a rule the rice farmers did
not want to bother with it themselves, having neither the
time, equipment, nor inclination. Some allowed laborers to
keep the cotton allotment.
Generally, cotton allotments are small and do' not war
rant the special machinery and equipment necessary. All rice
machinery can be effectively used in growing soybeans, in
cluding the expensive combines. Cotton, on the other hand,
requires some special equipment of its own and cannot make
use of the combines. Cotton also requires more labor than
that normally available to the rice farmer and competes
seriously with rice for labor at harvest time. Acquiring
temporary labor for chopping and picking was cited by a num
ber of farmers as a prime reason for not growing cotton. Of
course, the cotton industry has changed considerably and the
traditional labor requirements for chopping and picking are
not as critical as before. On the other hand, the small size
of the allotments do not warrant mechanical pickers.


94
cropland-pasture land division (Figure 23) coincides with the
loessa.l hills and is most apparent in Figure 22 on either side
of Lagrue Bayou and north of St. Charles.
Of course, the land use boundaries do not coincide per
fectly with the physiographic boundaries in all cases. Land
use reflects man's complex adaptations to the environment,
not his simple conditioned response. The largest example of
non-coincidence on the traverse is northwest of St. Charles
at position 27-C where considerable woodland is still stand
ing on loessal hills. These particular woods show up in .the
photograph (Figure 21) as lighter shades than the bottomland
forests.
The large fields on the Prairie average about 40 acres
size, with some as large as 160 acres. The only thing
that limits some of the soybean fields in size are irrigation
and drainage ditches. If the ditches were not present soybean
fields would probably average 160 acres. Rice, of course, is
under allotment, and the sizes of rice fields are more
limited by that factor than by any other. Ditches, not fen
ces, are the dividers on the Grand Prairie. Fences are no
ticeably lacking on the flat prairie land but reappear on
the loessal hills where cattle are of some importance.
Also affecting the layout of fields are the ownership
tracts. Figure 24 shows operating farms, classified as to own
er operated or non-owner operated status (101). Most of the
non-owner operated farms arc y tenants who share costs
and profits with the owner, the tenant furnishing all the


75
Boundaries that delineate land uses in the Grand Prairie
region are strikingly similar to delimitation boundaries based
on physical criteria. The general land use map illustrates
this well, and the detailed analysis land use traverse bears
it out in detail.
In addition to aerial photograph interpretation, obser
vations in the field, and personal interviews, it was deemed
desirable to present statistical substantiation to the delinea
tions. This was done by utilizating sample plot data from the
National Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation Needs.
Generalized Land Use
The area for analysis includes all the land as outlined
in Chapter I lying between the White River and Bayou Meto.
This includes the Grand Prairie and enough fringing non
prairie land to show any contrasting patterns of land use be
tween the two.
Familiarization with the area indicated the practicality
of mapping 5 generalized land use divisions. They are (1)
cropland, (2) mixed crop 1 and-pasturel and, (3) woodland, (4)
reservoirs, and (5) towns and other non-farm built-up areas.
Figure 15 is a generalized land use map and delimits these
5 divisions. The section selected for the traverse is also
illustrated.
Crop land is defined as land that is almost exclusively
used for the major crops of the area rice, soybeans, lespe-
deza, and oats. Fields are large, regular in shape, and un-


18
forced to return to former habitats. For decades, three
quarters of a century, the Prairie broke the backs and the
hearts of those settlers who ventured forth to wrest a
living from the seemingly hostile land. Until one man dis
covered rice would grow, the Grand Prairie seemed to support
the Southerners disdain for the grassland.
In 1904 the first successful rice crop was produced
on Prairie land near Lonoke, Arkansas (68, p. 73). This
venture, which was the result of one man's curiosity and
foresightedness, gave the Grand Prairie the industry that
would one day make it one of the most prosperous agricul
tural regions of the country. W, H. Fuller, from near
Lonoke, observed rice growing near Crowley, Louisiana, by
chance in 1896. He noticed the similarity in the land and
experimented with rice back on his own farm. Finding water
to be the key, he successfully raised a crop in 1904 with
the financial backing of local interested persons. Rice
agriculture, the primary economic activity on the Grand
Prairie today, is properly a major concern of this treatise.
Prior to the rice discovery there had been a slow and
small influx of settlers whose origin was outside the South.
Germans, many of them second generation immigrants, were
attracted from other parts of the United States. The open
land, cheaply purchased, drew many from northern prairie
lands in Illinois and Iowa and from Ohio and other Midwest
states. These Germans, who were commonly thought of as


284
purpose. On the other hand, as the ground water situation
worsened reservoirs were added rapidly, and their principal
purpose was to furnish water for irrigation. As it develop
ed, the early reservoirs established for recreational pur
poses later came to be used for irrigation as well; and the
later reservoirs established for irrigation purposes are now
coming to be used for recreation as well. The recreational
potential varies widely from reservoir to reservoir, depend
ing upon the nature of the reservoir and the desire of the
owner. Sport fishing and duck hunting are the principal
activities.
Sport Fishing
Sport fishing developed as an incidental benefit to
the irrigation reservoirs. Some of the early reservoirs
provided local sport fishing, but many of these duck reser
voirs were only temporarily under water during duck season
so fishing was of little consequence. Sport fishing as a
profitable enterprise is recent and began almost as an acci
dent when some farmers found after their disappointing fish
farming experiences that more money could be made by charging
the sportsmen a fee and letting them try to catch the elusive
finny ones.
A reservoir to be used for sport fishing will be stock
ed with the common game fish of the area. Bass, bream, and
crappie are commonly used plus channel catfish. Actually,
sport fishing may be practiced satisfactorily in a reservoir


APPENDIX II
TABULATIONS OF SAMPLE PLOT DATA


316
PERRY-PORTLAND ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly and somewhat
poorly drained, very slowly permeable acid clayey soils in
level slack water areas of the Arkansas River flood plain.
The poorly drained Perry soils are gray clay 20 to 40 inches
thick over reddish brown clay. Portland soils have grayish
brown silty clay or clay surface soil over brown and reddish
brown clay subsoil that is mottled gray in the upper part.
Locally, either of these soils may have 5 to 15 inches of
recent silty or sandy overwash. This association is used
for soybeans, cotton, and rice. Areas subject to overflow
are wooded. Associated soils are Hebert, Lonoke, Gallion,
Sharkey, Wrightsville, and Muskogee.
OVERCUP-DUNDEE ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly and somewhat
poorly drained, very slowly and slowly permeable acid soils
on level to undulating slopes. They are derived from allu
vium. Overcup soils are derived from thick beds of old allu
vium clay, overlain with a thin, discontinuous mantle of
loess, The surface soil is grayish brown silt loam or clay
over grayish brown or olive clay subsoil. Dundee soils are
on low ridges of coarser material deposited over the clay
deposits. These soils have dark grayish brown or brown
sandy loam or silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown,
brown, and gray mottled silty clay loam or sandy clay loam
subsoil. This association is used chiefly for cotton and
soybeans, and rice is grown on the Overcup soils. Associated
soils are Dubbs, Forestdale, and Foley.


224
ing the Pleistocene Period and for the most part are con
sidered exceptionally uniform for continental deposits (44,
p. 48). Finer sands mark the top layers of the aquifer and
are in turn overlain by the silts and clays. Sediments have
not been satisfactorily differentiated into Pleistocene and
Recent and are thus referred to collectively as Quaternary.
The base of the aquifer is much more uneven than the
top, as the Quaternary materials were deposited on an un
even surface of Tertiary age. The difference in elevation
between the highest and lowest points on the Tertiary sur
face (and, therefore, the base of the aquifer) is 75 feet.
The Tertiary surface was more rugged than the present sur
face topography and probably marks an erosional surface
with a wel1-integrated drainage pattern.
The Tertiary surface is marked by impervious clay de
posits which seal the bottom of the Quaternary aquifer. Be
neath the Tertiary clay are other sand aquifers of Tertiary
age, and a few wells on the Grand Prairie penetrate into
these aquifers. The total potential quantity of water avail
able from these deep sources, however, is equal only to a
small portion of the amount presently being pumped from the
Quaternary aquifer (44, p. 11). Still deeper Tertiary aquifers
contain salt water and are of no use for irrigation. Tertiary
deposits extend down to depths of 3,000 feet and rest on
marine deposits of Cretaceous age.
Deposits of the Quaternary age supply 90 percent of the
ground water used in rice irrigation on the Grand Prairie,


313
mottled with yellow and red. This association is used chiefly
for soybeans and rice. Associated soils are Henry, Calloway,
Waverly, and Muskogee.
GRENADA-GORE-ACADIA ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well
to somewhat poorly drained, slowly and very slowly permeable
acid soils developed in loess of variable thickness over old
clayey alluvium. The moderately well drained Grenada soils
are developed in thick loess. They have brown silt loam sur
face soil over yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam
subsoil that has a gray, yellow and brown mottled fragipan.
Gore soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over
yellow and red mottled clay subsoil. Acadia soils have gray
ish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow and red
mottled plastic clay subsoil. This association is used
chiefly for soybeans and rice; some areas are used for cotton
c. and pasture. Associated soils are Calloway, Henry, and Musko
gee.
GRENADA-CALLOWAY-HENRY ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately
well to poorly drained, slowly permeable, level to gently
sloping soils developed in thick loess. The moderately well
drained Grenada soils have brown silt loam surface soil over
yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has
a gray, yellow and brown mottled fragipan. Calloway soils
have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray, yellow
and brown mottled silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that
has a fragipan. The poorly drained Henry soils have gray or


23
The principal physical criteria employed for delinea
tion are topography and soils. Originally native vegetation
was paramount as the natural grassland provided the Grand
Prairie with the basis for separate recognition. However,
original vegetation cannot be presently mapped but only re
constructed according to limited past records and personal
recollections of residents.
Following the physical delineation of the region pre
sented in this chapter, the subsequent chapter will examine
the delineation of the Prairie based on cultural criteria,
namely land use. Other cultural phenomena are in evidence
and aid in setting the Prairie apart from the surrounding
area as a definite identifiable region.
Physical Setting of the Prairie
The Arkansas Grand Prairie is an isolated portion of
a Pleistocene terrace located on the Mississippi Alluvial
Plain portion of the Gulf Coastal Plain (Figure 1). The
alluvial plain is divided into the recent river floodplains
and the higher Pleistocene terraces, of which the Grand
Prairie is an example. General slope is toward the south
east and all drainage trends in that direction.
The Grand Prairie likewise slopes southeastward from
its highest portion in the northwest, not far from where the
Arkansas River issues from the Interior Highlands. This sug
gests that the terrace was once part of a large sloping
aggradational plain formed by streams depositing materials


This dissertation was prepared under the direction of
the chairman of the candidate's supervisory committee and
has been approved by all members of that committee. It was
submitted to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
and to the Graduate Council, and was approved as partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.
August 13, 1966
Dean, Graduate School


296
wooded land at 14 cents per yard, giving a cost of $7,000.
Adding $3,500 gives a lease fee of $10,500 for the 7 years,
or $1,500 per year. This reservoir is drained after each
duck season.
Freudenberg's other reservoir, 360 acres of deadened
timber which is primarily used to irrigate rice, is also
leased for duck hunting and has been since 1935. Freuden-
berg also maintained control of the duck hunting privileges
on another reservoir he sold in 1935. He has in the past
charged $15 per day per man but now leases for 7- and 12-
year periods. Even in 1933 and 1934 he charged $5 per day
per man. He now thinks leases are worth about $7 to $10
per acre per year for exclusive use of the reservoir for
its duck hunting.
The 360-acre reservoir also furnishes excellent sport
fishing at $1 a day plus $1.50 boat rent. And in addition,
Freudenberg irrigates 185 acres of his own rice and 270 acres
of his own soybeans, plus 360 acres of rice and 630 acres
of soybeans of other farmers for whom he furnishes irriga
tion water. In return for the water supplied to the other
farmers he receives one-fifth of the rice and one-eighth of
the soybeans. He also furnishes one-fifth of the fertilizer,
poisons, and airplane expenses. He maintains water in a
large distribution canal at a constant level, and farmers
have lateral ditches to move it onto their fields. The reser
voir is filled about equally from surface runoff and from
pickup from Little Lagrue Bayou. A return system retains a-


182
of foreign matter such as grass, dirt, and weed seeds are all
taken into consideration in setting the price for the rice.
A small portion is even milled in miniature equipment to de
termine milling qualities. Milling qualities refer to the
percentage of whole kernels and total milled rice that is ob
tained from a given quantity of rough rice under average
milling conditions.
Rice is similar to wheat, oats, and barley in that the
hulls or husks are removed from the grain before it is eaten
by humans. Unlike wheat, however, the object in rice milling
is to preserve the whole kernel or as much of it as possible.
Wheat is ground into flour so milling is not nearly so criti
cal as it is with rice, whose price is largely determined by
the percentages of whole kernels and broken pieces.
The milling of rice is probably the most automated phase
of a highly mechanized industry. The milling capacity of this
country exceeds the rice production. Some mills operate only
8 months of the year, but sometimes work double shifts during
harvest season. The rice mills at Stuttgart work a normal
shift the year round. The excess of milling capacity results
in keen competition in the industry and has encouraged most
efficient methods.
Other Activities on Rice Farms
Rice is unchallenged as the principal economic activity
on the Grand Prairie. Yet there are other crops and activities
Of importance that deserve mention. Rice must be rotated in


134
samples that fit in the prairie soils group, 73.4 percent
were picked up on the area designated as Prairie. This is
the more convincing when it is realized that there are many
isolated segments of the Prairie that occur in the surround
ing fringes, having been dissected from the main body of the
terr ace.
Significant also is the correlating high percentage of
sloping borderland soils found in Fringe II. Very few of
these soils are found in Fringe I, an area delineated to en
compass largely flat bottomland topography.
Bottomland soils, as to be expected, are picked up
largely in Fringe I, and the balance are largely from the
stream dissections of the other areas. Only 7.1 percent of
the bottomland soils were picked up on the Prairie division,
an indication of the homogeneity of soils on the Grand Prai
rie.
In conclusion, the use of sample data from the Conser
vation Needs Inventory is not meant to show proof or disproof
of any thesis developed in this study. It is, however, an
attempt to make use of an entirely different source of infor
mation that has a bearing on the study. The areas that are
delineated for sample study, of necessity, do not coincide
exactly with the areal differentiations developed in this
study. Nevertheless, the areas were delimited to agree as
closely as possible and their use in this limited way is con
sidered valid. In the case of the Prairie itself the areas
are identical, and it is this area that is most vital for
analysis.


10
The advantages of the Prairie for rice were many: (1) a
soil with a clay pan soil that possesses excellent water
holding abilities, (2) flat land enabling easy impoundments
of water, (3) a good and abundant water supply but one re
quiring careful and efficient use, (4) an open land inviting
a new industry, and (5) a populace composed of hard working
people unencumbered with past traditions of cotton culture
to interfere with a new way of life.
When rice was first introduced, the region was found to
be highly suitable for its cultivation, and rice acreage was
expanded rapidly. Since then rice has maintained its position
as the principal economic activity and prime source of income
on the Prairie. It dislodged the rudimentary grazing and hay
industries that had characterized the Grand Prairie up until
that time and having a comparative advantage over any com-
9 peting use of land has first choice on land resources. Only
those crops which dovetail with rice culture are of signifi
cance;, mainly soybeans. Cotton is insignificant.
Grand Prairie rice farmers are large operators. Thou
sands of dollars are invested in machinery, and cropland is
some of the more valuable to be found in the nation. Farming
methods are modern and efficient, and the industry is highly
competitive. Detailed analyses of the Grand Prairie's ad
vantages for rice, the nature of this technologically modern
and highly mechanized industry, and some economics of rice
production are the objectives of Chapter IV, "The Case for
Rice."


CHAPTER II
DEFINITION AND PHYSICAL DELINEATION OF THE REGION
- Introduction
Although the name Grand Prairie implies a physical
phenomenon, to most people living there the reference is a
cultural one that important rice growing area around
Stuttgart. Local residents have some idea that at one
time a natural grassland occupied the area; some old timers
even recall its appearance. For the most part, however,
the original physical aspects have vanished. Efforts to
obtain residents' descriptions of the boundary of the Grand
Prairie met with little success, and usually they returned
to the rice-growing area concept.
Actually the Grand Prairie can be successfully delin
eated by both physical and cultural criteria. Although the
cultural concept is probably the most significant one today,
the physical characteristics that determine the Prairie gave
it its original conception. In addition, those same physical
characteristics are largely responsible for present cultural
identifications. Certain social and historical aspects have
played important roles in determining Grand Prairie resource
uses, but those uses reflect strongly the physical base.
22


68
is not unlike the climate of the surrounding coastal plain of
which it is a part.
The cold is more penetrating than in less humid regions
to the west, but excessively cold weather is exceptional and
of short duration. The ground seldom freezes to a depth ex
ceeding 4 inches. Seasonal changes are gradual. The high
humidity makes for sultry days in the summer. The growing
season is approximately 225 days in length. The mean date
for the last killing frost in the spring is April 24, and the
first in the fall is November 4 (58, p. 4).
The annual rainfall at Stuttgart of about 52 inches is
fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. There is a
slight tendency towards dryness in late summer and fall,
which aids the rice harvest. Precipitation is largely con-
vectional in summer and cyclonic in winter.
Spring and summer thunderstorms are common and often
are torrential. These heavy rains are welcomed in spring and
early summer and greatly aid in irrigation, by both putting
water on the fields and replenishing sagging reservoirs.
After one of these storms water can be observed and heard
/ spilling over rice dikes and irrigation and drainage ditch
gates. Such high energy storms later in the growing season
may do considerable damage by downing heavily laden rice.
Winter rains are less vigorous but prevail for longer
periods, as is common with frontal type activity. Total winter
rainfall is greater than summer, January being the month of
maximum rainfall. Cyclones traveling in the prevailing


262
Figure 48. Wave action on reservoir
levee. This reservoir was filled too
full too soon after construction and
at the wrong time of the year, before
a protective cover could be estab
lished. The brush helps some.
Figure 49. We 11-maintained reservoir
levee. This levee was seeded to
bermuda and planted with willows the
first year. Very little erosion has
taken place,and the need for expen
sive repairs has been lessened.
Courtesy Soil Conservation Service


Figure 19. Photo-mosaic of the entire Grand
Prairie region. Land use differentiations are
apparent even at this scale, especially in the
south where bordering bottomland woodlands
offer contrast.


280
viewed only 6 had attempted commercial fish farming, and only
1 considered it as having been successful. A greater number
showed interest, but most expressed a "wait and see" atti
tude. Eight said flatly they had no interest in it. One
farmer had gotten more deeply into the business and was hav
ing reasonable success in growing and selling fingerlings
for stocking. He reported a surge of interest at first then
a falling off of interest as farmers experienced disappoint
ments. But he reported that catfish fingerlings were begin
ning to move over the state, and he was optimistic about the
future. The farmer was no doubt influenced by his location
adjacent to a state fish hatchery at Lonoke, and he rented
some of his stocking ponds to the state.
Procedures in fish farming vary, but essentially it
consists of placing brood buffalo in small hatchery ponds,
perhaps one-quarter to 1 acre in size where spawning occurs
in spring. About June, when the fry are 2 to 3 inches in
size they are transferred to nursery ponds, which may be
from 2 to 20 acres in area. Rates may be 10,000 to 20,000
per acre. The fry stay in the nursery ponds until the fall
of the first year, by which time they are 4 to 8 inches long.
They normally are not fed, but the water may be fertilized.
During the cold months the fish are transferred to the reser
voirs at various stocking rates, and it is here that much re
search is needed. It is believed that at least 100 buffalo
per acre can attain a size of 5 pounds each by the end of
the second year (73, p. 159). Mortality rates may vary


THE ARKANSAS GRAND PRAIRIE:
DELINEATION AND RESOURCE USE
OF AN AGRICULTURAL REGION
By
JOHN HARRY CORBET
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
August, 1966


114
the traverse. Some farmsteads are enlarged slightly on
Figure 22 for cartographic purposes.
An interesting phenomenon, presently found in most agri
cultural regions, is the large number of abandoned farm
steads. In the case of the Grand Prairie it occurs in an
area that was never even remotely densely populated. Ten
percent of the farmsteads located on the cropland division
of the traverse were found to be abandoned. Two factors
stand out as causes. With increased mechanization fewer
hired hands are needed, and some of the houses no doubt
formerly housed them. The majority of the abandoned farm
steads, however, were obviously the farm headquarters. Larg
er houses, often two-story, with various equipment sheds
and shelters are abandoned. Many houses are well kept with
the lawns mowed but are unused. This second cause relates
to the earlier discussion of owner operated or non-owner
operated farms. In many cases the former occupants of the
farmsteads retired from farming and moved to Stuttgart or
some other town. They did not wish to sell the land so
they leased it, often to the owner or leasee of another
nearby farm who, of course, did not require the farmstead
itself. In a few cases newer, more modern homes have been
built on the farm premises leaving the older site unused.
A tabulation of the acreage of specific land uses on
the mixed crop 1and-pasturel and division in Table 1 indicates
that cropland is still the dominant use of the land in that
division also, but the percentage drops from 89 percent for


144
In 1964 Arkansas accounted for 24.9 percent of the
United' States total rice production. The Grand Prairie re
gion accounted for 37 percent of the state total and, there
fore, about 9 percent of the national total. Prior to 1943
about 80 percent of the Arkansas rice was grown on the Grand
Prairie. The overall state acreage had been increasing un
til the portion in 1943 for the Prairie was 63 percent
(82, p. 129). Rice acreage has continued to increase out
side the region while it has remained fairly constant on the
Prairie. The Grand Prairie remains, however, the core of
the state's rice industry and the area of most concentrated
acreage. Arkansas, Prairie, and Lonoke Counties rank first,
second, and third respectively in state rice production (80).
Total United States rice production is small in com
parison with the world total, contributing a little over one
percent (67, -p. 6). Nevertheless, the United States role is
significant because about half of the American rice crop is
surplus for domestic needs and available for export (28) (29)
(81). The United States ranks third, behind Burma and Thai
land in rice exports. Since 1960 about 15 percent of the
annual world trade in rice has been American, only slightly
less than the shares for Burma and Thailand. The United
States has been gaining in recent years on those 2 traditional
rice exporters. In 1963 the American share was approximately
17 percent compared to 19 percent for Thailand and 24 percent
for Burma (56, p. 26). The 1951-55 percentage averages were
13, 28, and 27 percent respectively.


APPENDIX III
QUESTIONNAIRE FORM, TABULATION OF DATA,
AND
LOCATION OF INTERVIEW FARMS


148
cides, herbicides, fertilizers, and lime. Combines will be
able to pick up a greater percentage of downed rice. Also,
soybeans can be furrow irrigated instead of by flood where
formerly there was the problem of erosion and uneven water
ing. And most of all he expects increased yields to result
from this combination of advantages.
In surveying for precision leveling engineers place
stakes in the field at regular intervals and leave the tops
of the stakes at the desired level of the field. On the
high side of the field the stakes are in holes. Red flags
are used for cuts and white flags for fills. Land is bull
dozed and leveled with special land leveling machines until
it matches the stakes.
On the cut side top soil will be removed and less fer
tile subsoil possibly exposed. Since Seidenstricker had an
11-inch cut on the high side he had each plot tested for
fertility and did receive different soil treatment recommen
dations. Soil pH varied from 4.9 to 6.0 and recommendations
for lime from 3 tons per acre to none at all. Potash and
phosphate differed, but all the plots received equal nitrogen.
Some farmers have experienced a reddish color on the cut sides
but it gradually disappears. At first, yields are usually
greater than before in the fills and less on the cuts, but
with the heavy fertilization program used on the Prairie such
differences soon disappear.
It is difficult to ascertain the costs and benefits of
such investment in precision leveling. Seidenstricker used


287
Figure 51. Do-it-yourself fishing reservoir. This rice
irrigation reservoir near Stuttgart provides easily
accessible recreation to the people and supplemental in
come to the farmer, with a minimum of effort.


88


218
TABLE 15
NUMBER OF FARMS BY SIZE, ARKANSAS COUNTY3
Size of Farm
Acres
Total Number
of F arms*1
Number of Farms
on Prairie
Number of Farms
non-Prairie
Less than 50
176
4
172
50-100
169
16
153
101-150
91
16
75
151-200
139
70
69
201-250
55
31
24
251-300
45
26
19
301-350
63
47
16
351-400
65
54
11
401-450
32
30
2
451-500
49
38
11
501-550
25
20
5
551-600
28
23
5
601-650
30
23
7
651-700
16
13
3
701-750
21
17
4
751-800
16
11
5
801-850
14
11
3
851-900
4
4
0
. 901-950
5
4
1
951-1,000
9
9
0
1,001-1,100
19
16
' 3
1 ,101-1,200
14
13
1
1,201-1,300
10
8
2
1,301-1,400
10
7
3
1,401-1,500
8
7
1
1,501-1,600
4
4
0
1,601-1,700
3
3
0
1,701-1,800
7
7
0
1,801-1,900
3
3
0
1,901-2,000
2
0
2
2,001-up
24
22
2
Total
1 155
557
598
2
Compiled from records of the Agricultural Stabiliza
tion and Conservation Service, De Witt, Arkansas, August, 1965
(12) .
^Includes all farms that have any crop allotments: rice,
cotton, and a few with wheat (restrictions have subsequently
been removed from wheat).


206
rates and prices, Table 14 shows that non-irrigated soybeans
returned $25.63 net per acre to land and management, and
irrigated soybeans gave a larger return of $30.33. The yield
increase more than paid for the added cost of irrigation,
estimated at $3,92 per acre, and the small added costs in
equipment useage required for the greater yields (23, pp.24,
26) .
TABLE 14
YIELDS AND RETURNS FOR NON-IRRIGATED AND
IRRIGATED SOYBEANS ON THE GRAND PRAIRIE8
Yield
Price
Gross
Net
Soybeans
Bushels
Dollars
None-irrigated
24.00
2.35
56.40
25.63
Irrigated
30.00
2.35
70.50
30.33
aSource: adapted (23, Tables 32 and 36, pp. 24, 26).
The net return for rice was $106.70 compared to the
$30.33 for irrigated soybeans. If the same relative positions
of returns of cotton to rice in 1954, that is $31.46 for cot
ton to $65.11 for rice, were projected to the 1962 period,
cotton should give more returns than soybeans and would seem
ingly tend to replace soybeans on rice farms. But for reasons
presented such is not the case. Soybeans fit extremely well
into the time, labor, land, and equipment schedule for rice,
and for the large majority of Prairie farmers the crop is con-


14
Grand Prairie as a cohesive region was a major objective of
this study.
To obtain data on rice production and water use much
reliance was placed upon interviews with the people involved.
Farmers were selected who owned reservoirs as it was par
ticularly desirable to get first hand information on this
critical phase of water management. Farmers were chosen so
as to represent all parts of the Prairie. Their cropping and
watering procedures were noted, as well as their opinions
and attitudes whenever possible. The distribution of the
farms included in the survey and a form of the questionnaire
that was used are included as Appendix III. Non-farmers
also aided in- supplying data. Rice processing personnel,
commercial water contractors, and county agents were partic-
ularly helpful.
Reservoirs were mapped in the field and also checked
in the Soil Conservation Services individual farm folders.
Knowledge of their distribution and sizes plus the farmers'
relate to the region but do not as specifically delineate it
are Type-of-Farming Areas in Arkansas, Agricultural Experi
ment Station Bulletin 555, June, 1955 (18, p. 76), and
Enterprise Costs and Returns on Rice Farms in the Grand
Prairie, Arkansas, Agricultural Experiment Station Report
Series 119, June, 1963 (23, p. 4). The information pre
sented in such publications and others similar is excellent,
but their purpose was not to define or delineate a geogra
phically cohesive region. Upon interviewing, it was found
most farmers had a fairly accurate concept of what the
Grand Prairie is but had given little thought to its de
lineation. Others seemed to have little or no concept of
it as an identifiable region.


Other Sources
. Personal interviews with Mr. Dempsie Binkley,
Soil Scientist, Soil Conservation Service, U. S.
Department of Agriculture, Stuttgart, Arkansas.
1962-1964.
Personal correspondence with Mr. H. C. Dean,
State Soil Scientist, Soil Conservation Service,
U. S. Department of Agriculture, Little Rock,
Arkansas. September 21, 1964.
Personal interview with Mr. Frank Freudenberg,
rice farmer and water contractor, Stuttgart,
Arkansas August, 1964.
. Personal interviews with Mr. Hugh Hardwick,
Director, Agricultural Stabilization and Conser
vation Service, Arkansas County, De Witt, Arkan
sas, Summers,1962-1965.
Personal interviews with Mr. Henry Holley,
County Agent, Northern District, Stuttgart,
Arkansas. Summers, 1962-1965.
Personal interview with Mr. James Mason, Ad
ministrative Assistant, Arkansas Rice Growers
Cooperative Association, Stuttgart, Arkansas.
December, I960.
Personal correspondence with Mr. Oliver
Ragland, Stuttgart Machine Works, Stuttgart,
Arkansas. September 9, 1965.
. Personal interview with Mr. L. F. Seiden-
stricker, rice farmer, Prairie County, Arkansas.
June, 1963.
Personal interview with Mr. Francis J.
Williams, Director, Rice Branch Experiment
Station, Stuttgart, Arkansas. December, 1960.
. Personal interviews with 50 Grand Prairie
rice farmers, using a standard questionnaire.
Summer, 1963. (See Appendix III)


197
TABLE 11
ESTIMATED COST PER UNIT-OF-USE FOR CERTAIN EQUIPMENT
ON GRAND PRAIRIE RICE FARMS OF MEDIUM SIZEab
Equipment
Aver age
Use
Years
Annual
Use
Hours
Price
1961
Dollars
Cost
per Hour
of Usec
Dollars
Combine
8
217
10,000
9.97
Tractor (40 to 49 H.P.)
8
800
5,000
1.68
Moldboard plow
15
133
500
. 59
Disk, tandem
15
133
975
. 92
Grain drill
20
60
600
. 99
Miles
Cost
per Mile
Truck (1Vz ton)
20
3,000
3,100
. 20
Truck (Y2 ton)
4
11,000
2,300
. 09
aSource: adapted (23, p. 8).
bA rice farm of medium size is defined as one having
400-699 acres of cropland. A small farm is one with less
than 400 acres of cropland and a farm with more than 700
acres is a large farm (23, p. 5).
cIncludes both fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed
costs represent depreciation, interest on investment, taxes,
and insurance. Variable costs include repairs, lubricants,
and fuel.
farms keep one an average of 8 years (23, p. 8). Cost per
unit-of-use is cut, but it is offset somewhat by increased
maintenance repair costs. Since much machinery is used only


81
photograph was selected because it illustrates areas in the
3 major land use divisions. The boundary lines separating
the generalized land uses on Figure 15 are transposed to the
photograph. A study of the photograph and the boundaries
thereon will give an insight into the degree of generaliza
tion necessary in preparing the generalized land use map.
More detail is impractical in mapping such a large area.
Pastureland is not mapped as a category of its own. In
a few hilly areas around the fringe of the Prairie pasture
almost completely displaces cropland, but in most areas it
is a mixture pasture and cropland interspersed. Individual
pastures and crop fields are too small to show cartographically
when preparing land use patterns for the entire region. Since
that is not feasible it is best to combine the 2 and depict
the category as mixed cropland-pastureland.
The large rectangular fields of the cropland division in
the southwestern half of the photograph show strong contrast
to the smaller fields and pastures of the mixed cropland-pas-
tureland division. The change is marked enough to be observed
on this photograph and is usually so in the field. There are,
of course, areas in the region where the boundary is less
distinct and can not so readily be determined. The writer
field-checked most boundaries and not a few were changed a
number of times finally to settle on an uneasy compromise.
Many of the secondary roads on this photograph, and through
out the region, were traveled in order to delimit land use
boundaries when photography was inconclusive.


3
FAYETTEVILLE
FORT SMITH
MEMPHIS
LITTLE ROCK
ipRINGS
ARKANSAS
LOCATION OF THE GRAND PRAIRIE
L
GULF COASTAL PLAIN
3

INTERIOR HIGHLANDS
COUNTY BOUNDARIES
GRAND PRAIRIE
CROWLEY'S RIDGE
CORBET 1965
Figure 1


282
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Courtesy Soil Conservation Service


163
late crop of tillers which may just be in bloom when the first
crop is maturing. With the greater yields now obtained by
heavier fertilization, the optimum time, and even the per-
missable time for application, becomes more narrow.
Practically all farmers feel it is desirable to drain
their rice fields when the plants are 6 to 8 weeks old to
allow dry bed fertilizer topdressing. To obtain equal bene
fits, fertilization rates under flooded conditions must be
increased 30 to 50 percent. Ammonium nitrate, ammonium sul
fate, urea, and anhydrous ammonia are all commonly used.
Anhydrous ammonia may be bubbled into irrigation water at
the first or second flooding with good results if proper
methods are used. Anhydrous ammonia may also be injected
into the soil at the time of seeding and if injected 4 to 5
inches below the seeds should not encourage weeds. Any
broadcast fertilizer early in the growth cycle will encour
age weeds and the rice will not be able to receive the full
benefits.
The dependence of the modern rice culture on nitrogen
addition makes fertilization a critical phase of the farm
operation. In addition to the hazards of too early or too
late application,, the resulting heavy heads on rice increases
the risks of lodging. Any time there are 100 bushels per
acre standing in the field a small amount of wind or rain
can down the rice. Bluebonnet 50 is the favored variety
partly because it has one of the stiffest straws and can
accept the heavy nitrogen rates. It will continue a yield


58
forraity of the soil patterns on Figure 13 with the patterns
outlined thus far by vegetation and topography is readily
observable. As stated previously, however, the boundary of
the Grand Prairie as shown is to some extent a compromise
boundary. No 2 criteria will coincide 100 percent, and so
it is with soils.
Some soil boundaries coincide almost perfectly with
the Prairie boundary while other soil associations may be
partly on the Prairie and partly off of it. The latter is
the exception, however, despite the multiplicity of criteria
used to delineate the Prairie. Soil differences are largely
due to vegetation and topographic variables. It should be
added that soil boundaries are not infallible and are subject
to change with more detailed survey. Moreover, the boundaries
of soil associations which are shown are of necessity gen
eralized.
Prairie Soils
The one outstanding soil association identifiable with
the Prairie is the Growley-Stuttgart association. These soils
are almost exclusively on the Prairie. They are developed in
relatively thin layers of loess 5 inches to 5 feet thick
overlying clay. Being level and underlain by the clay pan,
commonly at depths of 12 to 18 inches, these soils are poorly
drained, especially so in the case of the Grand Prairie phase
of the association.
These prairie soils developed under natural grass, pri
marily because of moisture conditions. The soils were thought


172
that have been found detrimental to rice in Arkansas the
red-winged blackbird, the cowbird, and the bronzed grackle.
Investigations show that these birds feed in large numbers
in the rice areas, and in season rice is the major item of
their diets. Estimates of their average consumption range
from one-half to one and one-quarter bushels per acre (34,
p. 87). It does not sound like much considering 100-bushel
yields, but based on the value of about $2.30 per bushel a
farmer with 100 acres in rice will understandably feel that
he has an investment worth saving. Statewide the loss runs
into millions of dollars. An individual farmer may be hard
hit or escape with little damage.
Many devices have been tried to protect the fields
from the birds with varying success. Trapping, shooting,
and poisoning to reduce their numbers are generally imprac
tical. Emphasis is put on frightening the birds off the
fields during the critical days before harvest. Rope fire
crackers, skyrockets, flash bombs, scarecrows of all descrip
tions, and even aerial patrols are used.
Common on the Grand Prairie are carbide exploders that
are positioned in varying places in the field and at intervals
explode with a loud report. They operate on the principle of
water dripping into a carbide tank generating acetylene gas
which explodes when pressure reaches a predetermined point.
Some types with a small tank of acetylene gas will fire
continuously at a five-minute interval for more than a week
without attention. Cost is about 15 cents per day. If the


61
An attempt was made to list the soil associations in a
sequence of decreasing similarity in characteristics. That
is, the Freeland-Hatchie association is most close in char
acteristics to the Crowley-Stuttgart prairie soils. From
Figure 13 it is seen that the Freeland-Hatchie association
has the largest area Included within the Prairie boundary
other than the Crowley-Stuttgart association. Even so, it
encompasses only about 5 percent of the Prairie compared to
the Crowley-Stuttgart association's approximately 90 percent.
The other 5 percent consists of small segments of the other
4 associations included in the prairie fringe soils category.
Of the 5, the Acadia-Wrightsvi11e association least resembles
the prairie soils.
All of these soils are similar to the prairie soils in
being developed on terraces of loess or silt loams over silty
clays and clays. In general they are slightly lower in ele
vation than adjacent prairie soils, slightly more sloping,
and consequently somewhat better drained. The loess and silt
layers are more disturbed by fluvial processes than are the
prairie soils, in both erosion and deposition. Perhaps the
greatest difference between the prairie fringe soils and the
prairie soils is that unlike the prairie soils they developed
under timber rather than grass. Just as they are fringe-like
as soils they were also originally fringe-like in vegetation,
where woodlands fringed the grasses.
Most of the area occupied by these soils is outside the
Prairie boundary, not within. Only those portions most


83
Figure 17. Ground view of cropland. The
large flat fields stretch unbroken to the
treeline along Lagrue Bayou.
Figure 18. Ground view of mixed cropland-
pastureland. Slopes, drainage lines, and
trees break fields into smaller sizes, dis
couraging rice and encouraging pasture.
View perspective of Figure 17 and 18 are
keyed on Figure 16.


129
have been changed and some combined into new associations.
The soils that were surveyed in the Inventory are listed in
Table 26 (Appendix II) along with their actual sample acreage.
TABLE 5
SAMPLE AREA
DIVISIONS BY
EROSION CLASS
Erosion
Class8
Prairie
Bayous on
Prairie
Fringe I
Fringe II
P er cent
1
99.0
90.6
97.3
77.5
2
1.0
7.3
1.9
13.5
3
--
2. 1
--
7.2
4

--
0.8
1.8
100.0
100.0
100. 0
100.0
aErosion classes are those of the Soil Conservation
Service ( 53fPp. 261-264), and are defined as follows:
Class 1.
2.
3.
4.
Little or no erosion-Ordinary plow depth will
seldom or never reach the B horizon.
Eroded-Erosion is indicated by the presence
of frequent rills or occasional shallow
gullies; or patches of the B horizon are ex
posed and tillage mixes A and B materials;
or combinations of these criteria.
Severely eroded-This is indicated by the
presence of frequent shallow gullies; or an
occasional deep gully; or most of the plow
layer is in the B horizon; or combinations
of these criteria.
Gullied Land-The land has been eroded until
it has an intricate pattern of moderately
deep or deep gullies. Soil profiles have been
destroyed except in small areas between gullies.


Ill
said it provided as much as 10 percent of their income (120).
Those who do grow oats normally plant from one-third to one-
half of their soybean acreage in oats. The oats, in the
ground over winter, are harvested in early June and a late
crop of soybeans is produced. In late summer a visitor to
the Prairie can observe soybeans in various stages of growth,
some nearing maturity and others, planted later after oats,
only 5 or 6 inches high.
The concentration of lespedeza on the traverse in the
vicinity of 7-B is due to several seed farms specializing
in that product. It probably results in the 6.6 percent of
the land use shown in Table 1 as being slightly higher for
lespedeza than for the Grand Prairie as a whole. Note that
none appears on the portion of Sassafras Prairie checked.
Only 2 fields occur on White River Prairie, both on the same
farm at 26-A. Lespedeza is unimportant on the mixed cropland-
pastureland division.
Rice, soybeans, oats, and lespedeza all allow effec
tive use of the same farm machinery, including combines;
and additionally important, fit well into the time schedule
of the farmers work.
Continuing to analyze the findings presented in Table
1, it is observed that reservoirs on the cropland division
of the traverse occupy more land than pasture and woodland
combined 4.9 percent to the combined 3.1 percent. Reser
voirs and the water problem in general are dealt with in


141
harvested 5,225 bushels for a yield of 74 bushels per acre
and received the $1,000. The crop sold for a dollar a bush
el and his cost of production plus the well was $3,147,
netting a profit of $2,078 (17, p. 8). That same year a
branch of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
raised 750 bushels of rice on 10 acres near Lonoke.
After Fuller's success in 1904 news spread quickly
and real estate values increased rapidly. Farmers from
other areas came and saw the thousands of acres that had
never been plowed. The German settlers who had been slow
ly moving into the area during the last quarter of the
nineteenth century were quick to adopt the new industry.
With the introduction of rice additional persons were
attracted from the northern prairie states. The absence of
a cotton tradition in the background of these early settlers
is partly responsible for the Grand Prairie's differentiation
today. Cotton did not grow well on the Prairie, and the
cotton growers from the South were adverse to settling there.
A different physical environment coupled with a populace
with a different background have given the Grand Prairie its
regional identity.
Rice later spread from the Prairie to areas in north
eastern Arkansas where loessal soils were similar. In 1912
rice production was begun in the Sacramento Valley of Cali
fornia. During the period of high rice prices following
World War II rice was introduced into new areas in the
Mississippi River and Arkansas River floodplains, and in


225
with an average of approximately 115,000 acres of rice having
been watered each year from that source (17, p. 15). Wells
into the Quaternary aquifer are normally drilled all the way
to the bottom of the water-bearing sands and stop when the
Tertiary clays are reached. Because of the uneven Tertiary
surface the depths of the wells vary from about 85 to 200
feet, and may vary considerably even when in close proximity
to one another. Such wells deriving their water from the
Quaternary deposits are called "shallow wells" to differen
tiate them from the 40-odd wells on the Grand Prairie that
penetrate about 450 to 1,100 feet into the Tertiary aquifers
and which are called "deep wells."
The most dependable of the shallow wells, and at the
same time the ones with the greatest yields, are those whose
bottoms reach the depressions of the Tertiary surface. Here
the water-bearing sands are thickest, and the subsurface water
has the greatest head. Wells whose bottoms happen to fall
on top of the Tertiary ridges are the first to lose head,
decrease flow, and perhaps go dry as water tables drop.
Shallow wells generally have an outer casing, 18 to 28
inches in diameter, that extend from the surface just into
the water-bearing sand and gravel. From there a smaller
casing and screen, usually 12 inches in diameter, extends
to the bottom of the aquifer and is surrounded by a gravel
pack. A smaller suction pipe is inside the screen and de
livers the water to the surface discharge pipe, both of which
are generally 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Pumps are usually


238
used to fill the reservoir or to distribute the water. Some
reservoirs require pumping to move water both into and out
of the reservoir, whereas others may require pumping only one
way. The locations and types of reservoirs are determined
by both geographic and economic situations on the individual
farms.
Type and Distribution of Reservoirs
Some rice farmers who enjoyed a favorable situation
early used surface water for irrigation soon after rice was
introduced into the region. At that time it consisted mere
ly of pumping water from a stream onto a field. But as
more and more rice was grown and the demands for water in
creased tremendously, reservoirs were constructed to con
serve the surface water. The physical environment, economic
considerations, and individual farm situations immediately
began to mold character and distinction into the type and
distribution of reservoirs.
Woodland Versus Cropland Reservoirs
The first reservoirs were constructed on natural wood
land sites of low value. They were concentrated along the
streams that dissected the terrace and in the timbered
"islands" that were associated with the lower, wetter por
tions of the Prairie. Although a few furnished water for
rice, the primary purpose of the early reservoirs was to
flood woodland for the attraction of ducks.


APPENDIX I
DESCRIPTIONS OF SOIL ASSOCIATIONS8
CROWLEY-STUTTGART ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly to moder
ately well drained, very slowly permeable level and nearly
level acid soils developed in shallow loess over clay. The
poorly drained Crowley soils have gray or dark gray silt
loam surface soil over gray and red mottled clay subsoil.
Stuttgart soils have dark grayish brown or dark brown sur
face soil over yellowish brown and gray mottled silty r.1 ,iv
loam subsoil that grades into red, yellow, and gray mottled
clay. This association of clay pan soils is used mainly for
rice, soybeans, cotton, and grain sorghum; some areas are
used for pasture. Associated soils are Waverly, Falaya,
Grenada, Calloway, and Henry.
FREELAND-HATCHIE ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well
and somewhat poorly drained, slowly permeable level to gently
sloping acid soils developed in thin loess over stratified
old alluvium. Freeland soils have brown or grayish brown
silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silt loam or
silty clay loam subsoil that has a gray, yellow, and brown
aSource: (103)
310


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL BACKGROUND
Selection of the Region
The Arkansas Grand Prairie is a term which the writer
had heard many times in his youth. Having been reared in
Memphis, Tennessee, the nearby Grand Prairie was not an
infrequent news item. However, the term was never speci-
fically defined. Usually the only definition offered was
something like "that area around Stuttgart.4 Later, as a
student of geography, interest was stimulated over the use
of this term pertaining to an apparently identifiable region
with a marked degree of homogeneity in physical and cultural
features. A more specific delineation and definition of the
region and an analysis of its economic activities seem to be
appropriate topics for geographic research.
As investigation progressed, it became apparent that
the task of delineating the region was a problem in itself.
/ Even the residents of the area, who rightfully consider them
selves as living on the Grand Prairie, cannot usually define
the region satisfactorily or agree on its borders. Thus de
lineation of the Grand Prairie is an important objective of
this research. The physical environment and the uses of the
resources of the region give the Grand Prairie a character
and cohesiveness that make possible its identification as a
1


184
more acres in Arkansas than any other crop since 1956. There
were only 63,000 acres planted in soybeans in Arkansas in
1940, and the average yield was 12 bushels per acre. The 1964
state average yield was 21.6 bushels per acre taken off of
some 2,981,000 acres (14).
Factors accounting for increases of soybean production
were particularly favorable on the Grand Prairie. In 1955
acreage restrictions were imposed on rice, reducing its
acreage about 30 percent. This brought about a reduction
in the incomes of rice farmers and released considerable
resources in the form of land, irrigation water, farm equip
ment, and labor that were previously committed to rice.
Farmers turned their attention to secondary crops as a
means of adding income and as a means of using the resources
diverted from rice. Soybeans have proved to be the most
profitable and most convenient supplementary crop to pro
duce on the highly specialized rice farms of the Grand Prai
rie. In the 3 counties which comprise the bulk of the
Grand Prairie, and which themselves are mostly composed of
Prairie Arkansas, Prairie, and Lonoke Counties the soy
bean acreage increased from 68,000 acres in 1955 to 545,000
acres in 1963, an increase of 8 times (22, p. 5).
Prior to 1955, soybeans, oats, and lespedeza were of
about equal importance in the region. Oats and lespedeza
are still grown, but as the acreage of soybeans increased
the importance of oats and lespedeza declined. Not all of


145
In addition to its export role the United States has a
highly developed rice technology. It has given the industry
efficient mechanization, high yielding plant varieties, inno
vations in irrigation and fertilization, new harvesting and
storage practices, and modern milling and marketing of rice.
Rice is a modest part of American agriculture, of
minor importance in diet, and of almost no importance as a
tradition. The crop is grown on less than 2 million acres.
Per capita consumption is less than 7 pounds. By comparison
wheat is grown on some 50 million acres and consumption is
120 pounds per capita (91, p. 4). It would not be thus if
this continent had been settled by the orientals instead of
the occidentals, and if that had been the case the lower
basin of the Mississippi River would at present probably be
one of the great rice growing regions of the world.
Methods of Production
Rice culture is one of the most highly mechanized agri
cultural pursuits in the United States. The Grand Prairie
industry is no exception. In the United States rice is pro
duced with less than 2 man-days per acre for all planting,
growing, and harvesting (67, p. 2). The world average is
200 man-days per acre and in some countries it is as many as
400. Much of the seeding and most of the fertilization is
done by airplane. Tractors prepare the land and large com
bines harvest the grain. Modern mills clean and package the
rice.


FLAT PRAIRIE LAND M
n
LOESSAL HILLS
RIVER AND BAYOU BOTTOMLANDS
0 10 20
l=+- II IILI II II II II 11 U4-I
MILES
CORBET 1965
THE ARKANSAS
GRAND PRAIRIE
PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS
WITH
PRAIRIE DIVISIONS
Figure 7


186
Rotations on rice farms of the Grand Prairie have
narrowed within recent years, most rotations now involving
only soybeans and rice. Most common is 1 year of rice fol
lowed by 2 years of soybeans, but also found are various
combinations of 1 to 2 years of rice rotated with 1 to 3
years of soybeans. A recent trend is 2 years of soybeans
rotated with 2 years of rice. Rotation aids both crops in
weed and disease control. Formerly rice was moved every
year, particularly after allotments restricted rice acreage.
Often land was not in rice more frequently than 1 in 5 or 1
in 6 years. However, it is expensive to move rice each
year because of the irrigation levees and heavy fertiliza
tion practiced. With the better chemical control of weeds
and diseases today, the trend is to plant rice in the same
field for 2 years before rotating it. Soybeans normally do
not need nitrogen fertilizer, and rice following soybeans
often requires 20 percent less nitrogen than it otherwise
would.
Grand Prairie soils are not particularly suited to
soybeans, and without fertilization and irrigation yields
per acre would be considerably less than the yields on the
surrounding alluvial soils. Although ideal for rice, the
shallow soils underlain by the clay pan do not provide for
good moisture conditions for soybeans and tend to burn the
soybeans or drown them. On the other hand the irrigation fa
cilities that were developed for rice give the region an ad
vantage for soybeans. In few areas, and none so large as
the Grand Prairie, can soybeans be watered so efficiently.


276
with trash fish, oxygen depletion, and diseases and parasites
have taken their toll.
The buffalofish is the most commonly stocked fish. It
is a fast-growing fish which does well in shallow reservoirs
and will reach a good marketable size of 6 to 8 pounds in
2 years. Often stocked with the buffalofish are largemouth
bass, predators which because of their voracious appetites
serve to police the reservoir and keep the number of wild
fish down. Because of size discrepancies the bass are not a
threat to the buffalo. The bass, stocked in much smaller
numbers than the buffalofish, have in cases brought more re
turns than the principal fish. In Arkansas it is legal, with
a license, to sell game fish species.
Crappie have also been grown by some farmers. They are
tolerant of the crowded conditions in reservoirs and are an
excellent sport fish. But most desirable for marketing is
the channel catfish, probably commanding the highest price
paid for any fresh-water fish for which there is a bulk mar
ket (73, p. 158). There are certain biological problems of
propagation and rearing methods that must be solved before
the channel catfish can be produced on a commercial scale
in reservoirs. That is a major objective of the experiment
station at Stuttgart.
The optimum stocking rates for all of these fish are
simply not known. The absence of time, experience, and re
cords of results, plus the great variety of conditions under
which the fish are raised do not lend credit to conclusions


259
storage is probably a little more than for a surface reser
voir, but savings are realized by not having to pump into
the reservoir, no levees to maintain, and less cropland taken
out of production. It also enabled Seidenstricker to retire
1 shallow well completely and to draw less on the others,
saving pumping costs. He uses underground pipe to deliver
the water from the reservoir to the high points on the farm.
The wells and the reservoirs are interconnected, and water
can be switched all over the farm.
Prior to construction of the reservoirs, 20-foot holes
were bored to test the soil for water holding ability. No
sand was encountered, only silt and clay, and water loss
through seepage is insignificant. If the sands of the aquifer
had been detected, construction of the underground reservoir
would have been impractical because of the excessive loss of
water through downward percolation.
Pumping Costs
Practically all reservoirs require pumping facilities,
either to pump water into the reservoir or to pump from the
reservoir to the fields. Approximately two-thirds of the
reservoirs are equipped to pump water in both directions.
Types of pump installations and total pumping costs are de
termined by the capacity of pumpage that is required, the
kind of power used, and the extent to which gravity can be
used to move water. Diesel engines and electric motors are
used. Capacity may be up to 8,000 to 10,000 gallons per


342
10. Caviness, C. E. and Walters, H. J. Performance of Soy
bean Varieties In Arkansas. Report Series 105.
Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas
Agricultural Experiment Station, January, 1962.
11. Christensen, Raymond P. and Aines, Ronald 0. Economic
Effects of Acreage Control Programs in the 1950s.
Agricultural Report No. 18. Farm Economics
Division, Ec.onomic Research Service, U. S. De
partment of Agriculture. Washington: October,
1962.
12. Commodity Stabilization Service. Records of individual
farm acreages and crop allotment sizes. U. S.
Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Stabili
zation and Conservation Service, De Witt, Arkan
sas.
13. Counts, H. B. and Engler, Kyle. Changes in Water Levels
in Deposits of Quaternary Age in Eastern Arkan
sas from 1938 to 1953. Report Series 42. Fay
etteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas
Agricultural Experiment Station, cooperating
with the U. S. Geological Survey and the Divi
sion of Geology, Arkansas Resources and Develop
ment Commission, June, 1954.
14. Crop Reporting Service. Arkansas-1964 Crop Summary.
Little Rock: Agricultural Statistician, Crop
Reporting Service, U. S. Department of Agri
culture. 1964.
15. Dowell, Grover C. and Barnes, Gordon. Rice Insect Con
trol Recommendations. Leaflet No. 330. Fayette
ville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agri
cultural Extension Service, cooperating with
U. S. Department of Agriculture, March, 1962.
16. Engler, Kyle, et al. Ground Water Supplies for Rice
Irrigation In the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas.
Bulletin 457. Fayetteville, Arkansas: Univer
sity of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station,
June, 1945.
17. Engler, Kyle and Bayley, F. II., and Sniegocki, R. T.
Studies of Artificial Recharge in the Grand
Prairie Region, Arkansas: Environment and His
tory. U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply
Paper 1615-A. Washington: U. S. Government
Printing Office, 1963.


228
14 inches a year, and a few wells that apparently were limit
ed by .the Tertiary ridges had completely gone dry. Instead
of a gradual slope of the piezometric surface from northwest
to southeast, a great depression or trough was forming in the
ground water level extending northwest to southeast down the
core of the Prairie. It lay about midway between the eastern
and western boundaries of the irrigated area and obviously
was being caused by the heavy pump age for rice in that area
(13). This cone of depression has since been intensified as
water withdrawn has continued to exceed the natural recharge
and at even greater rates.
Figure 42 shows contours of the ground water surface in
1959 (104). The depression is most pronounced as an elongated
trough running southeast from Stuttgart through the heart of
the Prairie. The average water level decline in the region
from original-like conditions in 1910 until 1958 was approxi
mately 1 foot per year (44, p. 14). The drawdown on the
water table has been less pronounced around the edges of the
Prairie where withdrawal has been less concentrated and re
charge from outside the region is more beneficial.
Since 1915 the yearly rice acreage in the region has
6 not been less than 100,000 acres and has averaged 135,000
acres (44, p. 14). Since 1955, when present allotments
were--..begun, acreage has been about 127,000 acres. Using
the calculated figure of 22 inches, or about 1.8 acre-
feet of irrigation water required by rice per season in ad
dition to rainfall, and applying it to the 115,000 acres


152
Seeding
There are several ways of seeding rice: water seeding
by airplane and dry bed seeding, plus subvari ations of both.
Seeding on the Grand Prairie occurs from about April 25
through June 20, depending on plant variety, soil tempera
ture, weather conditions, and method of seeding. Certain
varieties of rice can adapt to their seeding date. If they
are planted late they will mature over a shorter period of
time than if they were planted early. This makes possible
a relatively long time in-terval over which rice can be
planted and still yield, a fact that has been important to
rice farmers.
The varieties of rice grown in the United States are
classified into short-, medium-, and long-grain types. High
er prices are normally paid for the long-grain, with corre
spondingly less for the medium-, and short-grain types (33,
p. 5). In selecting a variety to grow, however, there are im
portant considerations other than kernel size and price. Such
qualities as soil fertility, growing season, yield, stiffness
of straw, resistance to disease, tolerance of alkalinity, and
harvesting, drying, and milling characteristics are all impor
tant (37, p.'ll). Growers of large acreages may wish to plant
several varieties that differ in date of maturity and grain
size. In 1964 the long-grains comprised 64 percent of the
Grand Prairie crop, Bluebonnet 50 being the principal variety.
A few farmers have been water seeding by airplanes for


190
quires good drainage. The bulk of the oats on the Grand
Prairie are grown for seed because of their cleanliness and
not due to any superiority in quality. The Grand Prairie has
been singularly free of certain weed pests making it advan
tageous to concentrate on producing clean seed crops, not
only for oats but also for soybeans and lespedeza. The
relative freedom from Johnson grass is of particular signi
ficance. Modern transportation and mobility of population
have resulted in the introduction of these nuisance plants,
however, and the Prairies inherent advantage has been
lessened.
Under favorable conditions lespedeza is a highly profi
table crop, its gross returns equaling the $200 to $250 per
acre for rice. Irrigated rice, however, is one of the surest
and most reliable crops known, whereas lespedeza is one of
the most unsure and least reliable. Under reasonably good
conditions it is not unusual to obtain 1,000 pounds of les
pedeza seed to the acre and with less irrigation and ferti
lizer costs than rice. But lespedeza is particularly subject
to weather damage when nearing maturity. A single thunder
storm can knock seeds to the ground and quickly reduce a
1,000-pound yield to 200 pounds. On the commercial rice farms
of the Grand Prairie the large plantings of 20-, 30-, and
40-acre fields of lespedeza are great gambles. Price fluc
tuations are also a problem. Because of the great risks and
uncertainties of the crop, farmers are inclined to plant the
less remunerative but more reliable soybeans.


263
sections every 3 to 5 years. Some of these repair jobs may
cost thousands of dollars. The annual cost of maintenance
and repair is estimated at about $1.30 per 100 feet of levee
(21, p. 12). One farmer reported he plans on $1,500 a year
for maintenance for 2 cropland reservoirs of 25 and 35 acres
in size (120).
Total Costs
It is difficult to give an overall average cost of res
ervoirs considering the variablesof land costs, percentage
of leveeing required, different pumping situations, and the
fact that some farmers use an underground pipe system with
the reservoir and some do not. Cost figures were acquired
from the farmers that were interviewed, and a wide range of
figures were reported. Table 20 lists some of the repre
sentative figures cited. The biggest bargain apparently
was $8,000 for a 50-acre reservoir that went onto woodland.
One of the most expensive ones cost $21,000 for a 30-acre
reservoir but included an elaborate system of pumps and pipes.
The average cost was calculated to be about $290 per acre, but
varied considerably among the individual farms.
Cost Per Acre Irrigated
The cost per acre irrigated by reservoir water differs
because of the same variables as apply to total costs plus
another factor the number of acres irrigated per acre of
reservoir. The acreage watered ranges from less than 1 acre
of rice for each acre in the reservoir to as high as 4 acres


mi
THE ARKANSAS
GRAND PRAIRIE
GENERALIZED
LAND USE
DIVISIONS
CROPLAND

MIXED CROPLAND
PASTURELAND
WOODLAND
RESERVOIRS
TOWNS
AREA OF TRAVERSE
u i u i i i i i it
MILES
CORBET 1965
Figure 15


127
It is seen that the Grand Prairie has relatively little
class I land, a smaller percentage than Fringe I or Fringe
II. This may seem strange considering the importance of the
Prairie as an agricultural region. The reason is, of course,
the wetness problem, without which some of the class II W
land would undoubtedly be class I.
Sample data on slope, erosion, and soils also help to
confirm the delineations of the Grand Prairie based on phy-
TABLE 4
SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS BY SLOPE CLASS
Slope3
in
Prairie
Bayous on
Pr ai r i e
Fringe I
Fringe II
Percent
P ercent
0-1
89.1
72.1
91.2
64.3
1-3
10.9
17.8
6.7
16.4
3-8
--
7.8
--
15.3
8-12
2.3

3.5
12-30
--
--
--
0.5
20
--
--
--
--
0-3
undulating
--

2. 1
--
0-6
undulating
--
--

--
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
aSlope classes are those designated by the Soil Conser
vation Service ( 53 ).


TABLE 29
LAND USE AS REPORTED BY INTERVIEW FARMS3
Percent
100
90-99
80-89
70-79 60-69 50-59
(Percentage of
40-49
Farms
30-39 20-29
Reporting)
10-19
1-9
0
Amount of farm in
Cropland
-
28
44
12
8
4
2
2
-
-
-
-
P as tur el and
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
8
20
72
Woodland
-
-
-
-
2
2
-
2
10
10
22
52
Amount of cropland
Rice
i n
2
4
30
60
4
Soybeans
-
2
-
34
30
16
8
4
4
-
2
-
Lespedez a
_
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
12
14
12
62
Other crops
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
10
90
Amount of cropland
irrigated
74
2
2
2
8
4
4
2
2
-
-
-
Amount of increase
possible if allot-
ments removed
6
10
6
20
16
22
12
8
aCompiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers on the Grand Prairie,
Summer, 1963.
336


201
TABLE 12
ESTIMATED COSTS AND RETURNS PER ACRE OF RICE
ON A MEDIUM SIZED FARM ON THE GRAND PRAIRIE3
Item
Unit
Quantity
Rate or
Price
Value
per Acre
Dollars
Income (gross)
Rice
cwt.
38.25
5.00
191.25
Exp en s es
Seed
cwt.
1. 10
8.89
9.78
Fertilizer
Nitrogen
lb.
70.00
0. 13
9.10
Potassium
lb.
60.00
0.05
3.00
Nitrogen applica-
tion (aircraft)
cwt.
2. 12
1.00
2. 12
Herbicide (2,4-D)
. ac.
1.00
2.00
2.00
Tractor operation
hr.
3.44
--
5.94
Equipment operation
hr.
3.44
--
2.72
Combine operation
hr.
0.62
9.97
6. 18
Truck operation
mi .
17.62
0.20
3.52
Pickup operation
mi .
27.00
0.09
2.43
Irrigation
ac.
1.00
11.87
11.87
Drying
cwt.
38.25
0.33
12.62
Total specified
expens es
71.28
Returns to labor,
land, and management
119.97
Labor (Hired)
Regular
hr. 9.36
1.25
11.74
Seasonal
hr 2.35
0.65
1.53
Total
hr.
11.74

13.27
s to land
and management
106.70
aSource: (23, p. 22).


231
having a storage capacity of about 2 million acre-feet of
water (44, p. 31). This amount of water that has been with
drawn and not recharged is enough to irrigate Grand Prairie
rice crops for 7 years.
The thickness of the remaining saturated zone of the
aquifer is the critical element for present water extraction
As the piezometric surface has declined and reduced the head
of water on the wells, only the deepest of the shallow wells
have not experienced decreased yields. Wells that yield 250
to 700 gallons a minute generally have a saturated zone of
25 to 40 feet remaining. Shallow wells yielding from 700 to
1,500 gallons per minute have saturation zones over 40 feet
thick. A saturated zone of less than 25 feet thickness
generally will not yield over 300 gallons per minute, and
such a well is not considered economical for rice irrigation
Any area where the saturated thickness is less than 25
feet may be considered seriously depleted. Such areas are
principally along the cone of depression but may be more
erratic in their distribution because of the uneven bottom
of the aquifer. Seventeen of the 50 farmers interviewed had
ceased to operate 1 or more shallow wells because of de
creased yields or complete well failure. The majority of
the other farmers also reported declining well flow. Inter
views with the farmers verified that the water problem is
not uniform over the Prairie. Farmers in both the northern
and southern ends of the region reported that they had not
experienced the falling water tables to the extent as had


295
Other examples of duck hunting leases are 159 acres
of temporarily flooded woodland leased to a physician for
$1,200 annually, and another 129 acres was leased to another
individual for $1,000. A farmer had a 140-acre woodland
reservoir plus some additional woods. The trees in the
reservoir had died, and he had no further plans to flood
for ducks; but upon being approached, he invested an addi
tional $400 to be able to flood temporarily 78 acres of
green timber and then leased the 78-acre tract for $1,000
a year. One farmer charged a fee of $150 a year per person,
and another $15 per day per man; but leases to large companies
and hunting clubs for exclusive use are the preferred arrange
ments of farmers.
Mr. Frank Freudenberg of Stuttgart was one of the first
to recognize the importance of surface water conservation
(113). In 1916 he built his first reservoir in the large
timber island northeast of Stuttgart known as Maple Island.
The sale of duck hunting privileges soon proved to be a lucra
tive return on his investments. Mr. Freudenberg installed
several reservoirs in the area but subsequently sold off
most. He now maintains a 1,100-acre farm with a 360-acre
permanent reservoir and an additional adjacent 120-acre green
timber duck reservoir which he built in 1962.
He calculated the costsfor installing this duck reser
voir, added 50 percent to the costs, and charged this amount
as the lease fee for the first 7 years. It required about
50,000 cubic yards of earth movement to impound the 120-acre


221
ally less than 10 acres and frequently less than 5 acres in
cotton.
Rice allotments of less than 20 acres are mostly non-
Prairie, only 20 farms on the Prairie having allotments that
small and 139 non-Prairie farms having rice allotments in
that size. Allotments of the 21-40 acre size are more evenly
divided, with the Prairie farms slightly outnumbering the
non-Prairie. Again it is found, as was the pattern with
total farm size, that as allotment size increases the farms
become preponderantly Prairie farms. There are no non-Prai
rie farms with rice allotments larger than 200 acres and
only 9 with allotments larger than 100 acres.
The total rice allotment for Arkansas County is 76,780
acres, and of that amount approximately 90 percent is lo
cated on the Prairie division. The average rice allotment
on the Prairie farm is about 109 acres and on the non-Prai
rie farm about 11 acres. Much of the rice that is grown on
the non-Prairie farms is actually grown on sites on the in
dividual farms that resemble conditions on the Prairie and
in fact are isolated residual segments of the dissected
Prairie terrace. The few larger rice allotments on the non-
Prairie farms for the most part are found in the west-central
portion of the county in the relatively level Bayou Meto
bottomlands.


269
are not the solution to the water problem for the region as
a whole; however, they may offer a solution to the individual
farmer.
The deep wells are very expensive, most costing at
least $25,000 and some $30,000 and $40,000. Motors may be
electric or fuel; some use butane, and a few recent ones em
ploy natural gas. They generally pump about 3,000 gallons
per minute. Water rises through artesian pressure to within
about 100 feet of the surface so water may not have to be
pumped any higher than from the shallow wells. But already
a number of farmers who employ deep wells are experiencing
dropping water levels there also. In one case a deep well
has had to be deepened 3 times in the past 11 years.
With initial investments comparable to that of reser
voirs, operating expenses higher than that of reservoirs or
shallow wells, plus the apparent limitations on the deep
water resources, it does not appear that deep wells provide
a satisfactory answer to the water dilemma. A deep well is
feasible in an area where the Quaternary aquifer is the most
seriously depleted and where a reservoir is impractical due
to either the inadvisability of using cropland or an inability
to fill the reservoir from available surface water.
Water Budgeting
Regardless from what source the irrigation water comes,
it is a resource that befits wise allocation to enterprises
offering the greatest benefits. Practically all farmers on


331
What would be the limiting factor?
land market
water other ( )
c ap i t al
Source of irrigation water:
wells only
reservoirs only
wells and reservoirs, primary source being
wells reservoirs
No. of reservoirs Reservoir capacity
No. of wells Well capacity
Total reservoir acreage (includes levees)
Cropland
Woodland
Reservoir acreage added yearly:
1963 1962 1961
Cropland
Woodland
Total
Is present water source sufficient for any significant increase
in rice production yes no
Comment
If additional sources of water were needed which would you
emp1oy?
wells reservoirs
Reasons: (costs, maintenance, quality of water, depend
ability, multiple uses of reservoirs, wells
inadequate, etc.)


2
distinct region differing in several important ways from
adjacent areas.
The Grand Prairie region lies in east-central Arkansas
centered around Stuttgart, some 50 miles southeast of Little
Rock and 115 miles southwest of Memphis. Figure 1 shows the
general location of the Grand Prairie within the Coastal
Plain province of the state. The area outlined extends a
maximum of 70 miles northwest to southeast and averages
about 20 miles in width. Total area is more than 1,400
square miles and includes parts of 4 counties, none entirely.
General Description of the Grand Prairie
The Grand Prairie is today an area most noted for its
rice production. Its original distinctiveness, however, lay
in its physical characteristics, primarily vegetation. The
region was once a natural grassland surrounded by forests,
an anomaly in a generally forested area. Physiographica 1ly,
the Prairie'* occupies a level loessal terrace slightly ele
vated above most of the surrounding land. The terrace is
apparent if closely observed but it is not pronounced. Sur
rounding the terrace is hill land consisting of dissected
terrace and lower river bottomlands. The hills and the
bottomlands were heavily forested originally and still con
tain much timber. Nature gave the Prairie its original
*To break monotony, the term "Prairie with a capital
letter is frequently substituted for "Grand Prairie,"
Prairie with a small "p" refers to the vegetation type.


291
Figure 52. Wooded duck area. This
area has been flooded for ducks every
year since 1941. Oaks furnish acorns
for duck feeding. The water is
drained about March 1 each year to
prevent killing the trees.
Figure 53. Ducks feeding on flooded
rice fields. This practice furnishes
food for ducks and helps to decay rice
stubble for turning under. The water
may later be put back into a reservoir
Courtesy Soil Conservation Service


207
sidered to be the most practical and profitable means to
utilize surplus resources that are and will remain pri
marily oriented towards rice production. Cotton, on the
other hand, competes with rice for those same resources.
Lespedeza and oats, formerly of comparable position
with soybeans in providing supplementary income to rice,
have been relegated to a minor position and together account
for less than 10 percent of the farm income on the Grand
Prairie. Lespedeza is grown mostly for seed on the Grand
Prairie, and under ideal conditions can give handsome re
turns, considerably more than soybeans or oats but less than
half that of rice (42, p. 25). It can just as easily be al
most a total loss, as yields can be showered down to one-
fourth in a matter of minutes. The uncertainty of the crop
in yields and prices has caused it to decline as soybeans
have ascended.
Oats are in much the same position as lespedeza and
have lost most of their former importance. They do fit well
into the rice farm organization and are generally double
cropped with soybeans. But a number of wet falls and winters
in recent years, plus unstable prices, have caused an acreage
decrease in the region. The level surface of the rice fields
is not particularly suited to oats, which require good drain
age. An analysis of costs and returns was made for oats grown
on the flat riceland of the Grand Prairie (land of less than
1 percent slope). It is interesting to note that under present
technology with yields estimated at 45 bushels per acre, there


251
sign, 6 to 8 acres of land are taken out of use. One farm,
of little more than a section in size, had more than 27
acres taken up by the canal system, most of which was re
claimed after the installation of underground pipe (95, p.22).
Pipe are buried 30 to 36 inches deep, allowing all
farm machinery to pass over them. Plastic pipe, concrete
pipe, and asbestos-cement pipe are used in sizes from 8 to
18 inches in diameter. Twelve inch pipe is used to deliver
1,000 to 1,500 gallons per minute. The costs for pipe varies
from about $2.00 per foot for the commonly used 12 inch as
bestos pipe to $4.35 for the 18 inch pipe (117). Concrete
pipe and plastic pipe run a little less. Some farmers in
stall their own pipe and save out of pocket installation
costs of about 75 cents per foot. As with reservoir costs,
farmers can receive financial assistance through the Agri
cultural Conservation Program of from 86 cents to $1.90 per
lineal foot depending upon size (96, p. 7).
Savings in pipe installation costs are made possible
by taking the pipe the most direct route from water source
to point of water release, directly across rice fields if
necessary, something impractical with open canals. The use
of underground irrigation pipe is increasing rapidly on the
Grand Prairie. One farmer, who was among the first to use
the method on a large scale, has installed almost 7,000
feet of underground pipe on his farm. He believes that the
land reclaimed from canals, savings in water, and improved


146
Certain selected aspects of rice production methods
on the Grand Prairie not only serve to illustrate the re
gions adaptability to rice but also offer some insight into
the economics and mechanized nature of the industry. As rice
is an allotment crop it is essentially limited by the land
production factor. As a substitute for the land factor, as
well as for labor, farmers have substituted capital in the
form of investments for machinery, irrigation facilities, and
sophisticated methods of fertilization and grass control.
The nature of the industry also favors certain supplementary
farm enterprises and precludes other activities that are com
petitive.
Land Preparation
The land is plowed, disked, harrowed, dragged, leveled
and diked. The level land of the Prairie terrace is an asset
for the region and simplifies land preparation, particularly
with respect to levee construction. The levees follow con
tours using an interval of 2 to 4 inches and must be survey
ed and constructed with precision, often requiring profes
sional surveyors. In addition to requiring time and labor
for construction and maintenance, the levees take up room,
and although planted to rice themselves usually represent
considerable land where rice yields are lower than average.
Any factor that allows cost cutting on levees is eagerly
sought by the farmers. An experiment at the Rice Branch Ex
periment Station tested the feasibility of using plastic


352
104. The Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas, Showing Contours
on the Ground Water Surface, Spring, 1959.
Plate 2, U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Sup
ply Paper 1615-A. Studies of Artificial Re
charge in the Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas:
Environment and History. Washington: U. S.
Government Printing Office, 1963.
105. National Inventory of Soil and Water Conservation
Needs. Random sample 40-acre plots for the
State of Arkansas. Original maps retained in
the office of State Soil Scientist, Soil Con
servation Service, U. S. Department of Agricul
ture, Little Rock, Arkansas. (Scale 1:31,250)
106. Rice Harvested, Acreage, 1959. Map No. A59-1E33.
Bureau of the Census, U. S. Department of
Commerce.
107. Topographic Quadrangles, State of Arkansas. Prepared
under the direction of the President, Missis
sippi River Commission, Corps of Engineers,
S. Army, Vicksburg,
Miss.
(Scale 1:62
, 500)
Big Island
1939
Ed.
tlazen
1941
Ed
Clarendon
1957
Ed.
Henrico
1954
Ed
De Vail's Bluff
1957
Ed.
Indian Bay
1954
Ed
D e Witt
1954
Ed .
Lonoke
1950
Ed
Engl and
1943
Ed .
Red Fork
1935
Ed
Gi 11et t
1935
Ed.
Stuttgart
1939
Ed
Goldman
1941
Ed.
Varner
1935
Ed
Unpublished
Material
108. Arkansas Rice Growers Cooperative Association. "Facts
About Rice". Stuttgart, Arkansas (Mimeographed)
109. Kinkead, Ewing W. "Irrigation in Arkansas". Unpublish
ed paper by the Arkansas Geological and Conser
vation Commission, Little Rock, 1955.
110. The Research Program of the Bureau of Sport
Fisheries and Wildlife Fish Farming Experiment
Station, Stuttgart, Arkansas. A summary of re
ports prepared for the Fish Farming Conference
held in Little Rock, Arkansas, May 17, 1962.


CHAPTER V
RESERVOIRS AND THE WATER PROBLEM
Introduction
The water problem has become an increasingly critical
element in the economy of the Grand Prairie. The huge de
mands of rice have caused partial depletion of the ground
water sources and have necessitated supplementary uses of
surface water. As a result hundreds of reservoirs have
been constructed, and they have become a noteworthy use of
land as well as a major cost item in farm operations.
It is the purpose of this chapter to examine the
water situation including the changes in traditional ground
water sources and the recent emphasis on reservoirs. Spe
cifically it will be shown that the problems associated with
the water resource and the solutions to those problems give
the Grand Prairie region much of its character and distinc
tiveness, and secondly, that recreational uses of reservoirs
are compatible with the agricultural uses of the reservoirs.
Ground Water
Early irrigation of rice on the Grand Prairie was with
ground water because it presented the cheapest and most
readily available water source, and it could be accomplished
222


253.
cropland in reservoirs. Thirty-two percent had nothing but
woodland in reservoirs, and the rest had a combination of
both cropland and woodland incorporated into reservoirs.
As the woodland sites are used up the cropland percentage
will increase. Prior to 1950, only 4 percent of the res
ervoir acreage is estimated to have been on cropland (21,
p. 21).
The farmers' evaluations of the cropland that was in
cluded in their reservoirs ranged from $250 to $400 per acre
and woodland $20 to $75 per acre. Evaluations of woodland
were based on their worth before reservoir use. For reser
voir use their worth is much more, in effect equal to the
value of cropland since if the woodland is available it
eliminates the need of using cropland. One farmer replied
that the little amount of woodland on his farm had been
transformed from the least valuable to the most valuable
land on his farm now that it had been developed into a
reservoir.
The farmers were questioned as to the adequacy of
their present water supply. With the present reservoirs
practically all farmers had adequate water for their rice,
and many had enough for their soybeans. When asked the hypo
thetical question should additional water be needed, 68 per
cent leaned toward the employment of additional reservoirs
rather than wells (Table 31). They believed reservoirs to
be the most economical and practical source of water even
if it entailed using cropland. If additional reservoirs


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247
there are also likely no ready sources of water to fill a
reservoir. A few rice reservoirs are filled by wells, but
in these cases the reservoirs are serving only half of their
purpose they store water for later use, but they fail to
collect any surface water during times of plenty.
It is with respect to collecting surface water that
water management on the Grand Prairie has made some of its
most noteworthy accomplishments. Some of the farms have de
veloped a surface water collection and distribution system
complete on the farm itself and are dependent on no tran
sient stream or even wells. Such a system is referred to
as a return system reservoir." It takes advantage of the
natural rainfall to the fullest extent by picking up all of
the drainage or as much of it as possible that-occurs on the
farm itself. It is not unusual for the system to pick up
100 percent of the runoff that would otherwise leave the
farm. The water is collected by field ditches and passed
into a canal system from where it is transferred into the
reservoir. This collection may continue all year, giving a
plentiful supply that can be applied quickly when needed.
When the flooded rice fields are drained for mid-season
fertilization or for harvest at the end of the crop season,
drainage is picked up by the return system and delivered
back to the reservoir for use again. No water need leave
the farm, and the only loss is through plant useage and
evaporation. Any excess water can be passed off,
A return system reservoir may be designed in several


339
TABLE 31
INTERVIEW DATA ON RESERVOIR-USE PRACTICES3
Percent
Interview Question
Yes
No
Is present water source sufficient for any
significant increase in rice production?
84
16
If additional sources of water were needed
would you employ reservoirs in preference
to wells?
68
32
If you require more reservoir capacity would
it be necessary to construct it on cropland?
80
20
If necessary to use cropland, do you consider
it economically practical?
70
30
Do you rotate any reservoirs?
12
88
Do you employ any of your reservoirs for
-
purposes other than irrigation?
80
20
Sport Fishing
70
30
Fee
28
72
Duck Hunting
58
42
Fee
28
72
Fish Farming
2
98
Minnows
2
98
When planning or building a reservoir, have
you or will you take into consideration the
possibility of multiple uses for the reservoir?
50
50
In your opinion, is the multiple use of reser
voirs compatible with irrigation uses?
80
20
aCompiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers
on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963.


324
TABLE 25
LAND USE IN THE GRAND PRAIRIE REGION
BY EROSION CLASS, 1959a
Erosion
Classb
Cropland
Pasture
-Range
Pr airi e
Bayous on
Prairie
Fringe I
Fringe II
i
Prairie
Bayous on
Prairie
Fringe I
Fringe II
1
3,899
489
995
523
-
92
47
348
2
39
42
38
183
-
29
-
78
3
-
-
-
119
-
32
-
23
4
-
-
15
-
-
-
-
36
Total
3,938
531
1,048
825
-
153
47
485
aBas ed
upon
the study of
s amp 1e
areas
selected at
random.
^Erosion classes are those of the Soil Conservation Ser
vice (53, pp. 261-264), and are defined as follows:
1. Little or no erosion Ordinary plow depth will
seldom or never reach the B horizon.
2. Eroded Erosion is indicated by the presence of
frequent rills or occasional shallow
gullies; or patches of the B horizon
are exposed and tillage mixes A and B
materials; or a combination of these
criteria.
3. Severly eroded This is indicated by the pres
ence of frequent shallow gullies; or
an occasional deep gully; or most of
the plow layer is in the B horizon; or
combinations of these criteria.
4. Gullied 1 and The land has been eroded until it
has an intricate pattern of moderately
deep or deep gullies. Soil profiles
have been destroyed except in small areas
between gullies.


164
increase with applications up to 135 to 160 pounds of nitro
gen per acre without lodging (8, p. 34). Nato, a medium-
grain rice and the second most common variety grown on the
Grand Prairie, often lodges with 100 pounds of nitrogen ap
plication.
It is estimated that each $1 invested in proper rice
fertilizer will return $5 in benefits. With applications
ranging up to over 100 pounds per acre the significance of
the economics of rice fertilization are immediately apparent.
If a particular plant variety will not take the investment
it discourages the use of the variety.
The proper amount of nitrogen to put on a crop of rice
is always an important question for the farmer. Added nitro
gen continues to add to the yield in most cases even after
its application becomes impractical. Diminishing returns
foretell the economic limit before the physical limit is
reached. Farmers rely on Agricultural Experiment Station
recommendations and their own experience. Average yields
show an increase from one-fourth to one-half bushel per acre
per pound of nitrogen applied at rates of 40 to 50 pounds
of nitrogen per acre. Yield increases per pound of heavier
fertilization are lower, but total acre yields and total cash
returns over fertilizer costs continue to be greater (7, p. 30).
The point where costs and returns break even depends on a
number of variable factors such as watering practices, water
availability, plant variety, rotation procedures, grass con
trol, insects, and farmers available time. Many farmers see


45
much relief. On the contrary, relief is at a minimum. The
stream gradients are also very flat, as evidenced by the
distance between stream crossings of such contour lines as
the 180-and 200-foot lines on Lagrue Bayou. Moreover, the
fact that a small 20-foot contour interval presents a pattern
as simple as this on such a small scale map illustrates the
flatness of the area. Over a distance of 70 miles the sur
face of the Prairie lowers only about 85 feet.
Local relief is slight, particularly away from the
principal streams. In most parts of the Prairie relief is
less than 5 feet in a square mile. In only a few places is
it as much as 10 feet. Along the White River bluffs it may
be up to 60 feet, but such areas mark the edge of the terrace
and are not representative of the Grand Prairie itself.
A few streams have worked headward into the Prairie,
cutting valleys a few hundred feet wide at their mouths down
to the level of the Arkansas and White rivers into which they
flow. Lagrue Bayou, Big Creek, and Mill Bayou are such
streams. Near their headwaters, however, these streams have
cut only a few feet below the surface of the Prairie.
Physiographic Regions
A study of the topography of the region and many hun
dreds of miles of reconnoitering enabled the writer to divide
the area into 3 physiographic regions for analyses (Figure 7).
These regions were delineated primarily through field obser
vations but were supported by detailed study of aerial photo-


283
good concentration points particularly if graded to one spot,
but reservoirs that are designed for rotation with rice
normally will be constructed without borrow pits to enable
entry and exit by machinery.
If reservoirs are not rotated with rice certain prob
lems may be eliminated for fish farming. Fish may be allowed
to grow for more than 2 years, although any advantages ac
cruing to this are as moot as other questions. Of the 50
interviewees, only 6 rotated reservoirs with rice. Many said
they would like to and would if they could, but it requires
at least 2 reservoirs leveed and a greater water source ca
pacity to fill the reservoirs. A farmer with 1 reservoir,
and having any difficulty with filling it, will not want to
drain it to get at the fish. The chances also are that he
cannot insure the minimum depth of water that fish require.
Woodland reservoirs are impractical for fish farming due to
the inability to control wild fish and vegetation plus drain
age and harvesting difficulties.
Recreational Uses
Recreational use of Grand Prairie reservoirs is at the
same time both an early use and a recent development. The
first reservoirs were flooded woodlands whose primary pur
pose was to attract ducks, which cross the Prairie on their
annual migrations from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. There
was little need of the water for irrigation, and only in
cidentally did the early reservoirs furnish water for that


78
of having once been pastured. Such areas were for the most
part field-checked and the distinction made for the indivi
dual case.
Reservoirs are so numerous on the Grand Prairie as to
constitute a significant use of the land. In few places of
such size does reservoir impoundment occupy such a large
proportion of the total area. Reservoirs are important in
many places, but in the Grand Prairie their total areal ex
tent is of special note.
Predominance of Cropland
From Figure 15 it is evident that cropland dominates
the Prairie proper. The area delimited as cropland is for
all practical purposes the same area as the Grand Prairie de
lineated by topography in Figure 7, corresponding almost
exactly with the physiographic region of flat prairie land.
Land use is seen, therefore, as an effective criterion for
the delineation of the Grand Prairie. This, of course, is
not unexpected as definite geographic relationships are
present.
When the original grass was turned on the flat prairie
land it was discovered, somewhat surprisingly to many, that
crops could be grown. The clay pan underlying the grass,
and a cause of the grass, made rice growing particularly
attractive. The flat land required few levees, and the clay
pan confined the water to the surface. Rice acreage rapidly
expanded and other crops were introduced into the rotation.
The flat land favors the use of large machinery, and rice


LIST OF TABLES Continued
Table Page
16. Number of Farms by Rice Allotment
Size, Arkansas County 219
17. Reservoirs Added, 1959-1962 241
18. Cropland-Woodland Reservoir Acreage
on Interview Farms 245
19. Costs of Levee Construction for
Completely Enclosed Reservoirs 257
20. Interviewees' Estimated Costs for Some
Representative Reservoirs 264
21. Estimated Costs for Irrigation from
Reservoirs of Specified Sizes 265
22. Estimated Costs and Returns Per Acre
for Fish Farming 278
23. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region
by Capability Class and Subclass, 1959 . 320
24. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region
by Slope Class, 1959 322
25. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region
by Erosion Class, 1959 324
26. Land Use in the Grand Prairie Region
by Soil Units, 1959 326
27. Tenure Type and Land Use of Interview
Farms by Farm Size 334
28. Land Use and Size of Interview Farms
by Tenure Type 335
29. Land Use as Reported by Interview Farms. . 336
30. Interview Data on Reservoir Type and Size. . 337
31. Interview Data on Reservoir-Use Practices. . 339
vi i


344
25. Green, Bernal L., and White, James H. Comparison of
Three Selected Rice Rotations in Eastern Arkan
sas: Fish-Rice, Soybeans-Rice, and Fallow-Rice.
Bulletin 664. Fayetteville, Arkansas: Univer
sity of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station,
January, 1963.
26. Kik, M. C. The Nutritive Value of Rice and Its By-Pro
ducts. Bulletin 589. Fayetteville, Arkansas:
University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment
Station, May, 1957.
27. McDaniel, M. C. Rice Diseases and Their Control. Leaf
let No. 198 (Rev.). Fayetteville, Arkansas:
University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension
Service, cooperating with U. S. Department of
Agriculture, March, 1960.
28. McGrath, Edward J. Distribution Patterns of Rice in the
United States. ERS-186. Marketing Economics
Division, Economic Research Service, U. S. De
partment of Agriculture. Washington: July, 1964.
29. McGrath, Edward J. Domestic Distribution Pattern for
Rice. Preliminary data for 1961 and 1962, ERS-
126. Marketing Economics Division, Economic Re
search, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Wash
ington: May, 1963.
30. McNeal, Xzin. Rice Aeration, Drying, and Storage. Bulle
tin 593. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, October,
1957.
31. McNeal, Xzin. Rice Storage, Effect of Moisture Content,
Temperature and Time on Grade, Germination, and
Rice Yield. Bulletin 621. Fayetteville, Arkansas:
University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment
Station, February, 1960.
32. McNeal, Xzin. When to Harvest Rice for Best Milling
Quality and Germination. Bulletin 504. Fayette
ville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agri
cultural Experiment Station, December, 1950.
33. Mullins, Troy. Economic Considerations in the Production
of Short-.Medium-, and Long-Grain Rice in North
eastern Arkansas. Special Report 3. Fayetteville,
Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Station, cooperating with the Agri
cultural Research Service, U. S. Department of
Agriculture, October, 1957.


333
When planning or building a reservoir have you or will you
take into consideration the possibility of multiple
uses for the reservoir? yes no
In your opinion is the multiple use of reservoirs compatible
with irrigation uses? ye s n o
Comment


143
EACH DOT
300 ACRES
SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE
RICE PRODUCTION
IN THE
UNITED STATES
AND
ARKANSAS
CORBET 1965
Figure 28


194
TABLE 10
FARM SIZE AND AVERAGE LAND INVESTMENT REQUIRED
FOR SPECIFIED LEVELS OF INCOME IN THE GRAND PRAIRIE3
Unit
Expected
$6,000
Income
$9,000
Total land in farm
Acres
264
455
Crop land
Acres
193
333
Crop acreages
Rice
Acres
48
83
soybeans, irrigated
Acres
74
127
soybeans, dryland
Acres
71
123
Total investment in landb
Dollars
$42,240
$72,800
a
Source: adapted (71).
t)
Assumes land price of $160 per acre exclusive of im
provements and water available to irrigate the rice and half
the soybeans.
With the exception of land, farm machinery represents the
largest investment on rice farms. Total investment in equip
ment varies roughly according to farm size but also varies
from farm to farm of similar sizes. It would be very diffi
cult to arrive at an average figure for equipment investment
and probably would not be too meaningful. There is, however,
a rather definite minimum amount of equipment necessary for
rice production. This includes tractors, land preparation


210
about important changes in farm operations on the Grand Prai
rie. The reduction in rice production that was hoped for
did not occur as farmers substituted fertilizer for land. In
the first year of acreage controls average rice yields went
up 20 percent, and the country had the second largest crop on
record at the time (64, p. 21).
Prior to the acreage allotments, about 40 percent of
the cropland on the Grand Prairie was seeded to rice each
year (20, p. 6). Thirty to 35 percent was in secondary crops
soybeans, lespedeza, and oats being roughly equivalent. The
balance, 25 to 30 percent of the land, was idle or in summer
fallow. Presently, rice is planted on about 25 percent of
the cropland, soybeans occupy over half, and lespedeza most
of the rest. Idle land is now almost nonexistent on the
Prairie cropland.
The change to the reduced rice acreage caused farmers
to re-evaluate their operations. It caused much land and
water resources to be released and made available for other
uses. With ample cropland rice was rotated yearly, and as
a rule a field was in rice no more than 1 year in 4 and on
some farms 1 year in 6. The rotation scheme has now narrow
ed appreciably.
The restrictions on rice were largely responsible for
the parallel increases in soybeans, and farmers seeking to
increase incomes not only increased fertilizer inputs on
rice but also on soybeans. Nationally, since allotment be
came commonplace there has been a greater per acre yield


347
52. Soil Conservation Service. Soil Survey Interpretation
for Farm and Ranch Planning. U. S. Department
of Agriculture. Little Rock: December, 1961.
53. Soil Conservation Service. Soil Survey Manual. Hand
book No. 18. U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office,
August, 1951.
54. Spooner, A. E. Effects of Irrigation Timing and Length
of Flooding Periods on Soybean Yields. Bulle
tin 644. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University
of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station,
May, 1961.
55. U. S. Department of Agriculture. Insect Prevention and
Control in Rough Rice. Marketing Bulletin No.
28. Washington: U. S. Government Printing
Office, October, 1963.
56. U. S. Department of Agriculture. Rice Situation, RS-9
(January, 1965). Published annually by the
Economic Research Service, U. S. Department of
Agriculture. Washington: January, 1965.
57. U. S. Department of Agriculture. Rural Recreation, A
New Family-Farm Business. Report of Task Force
on Income-Producing Recreational Enterprises on
Farm Land. Washington: U. S. Government
Printing Office, September, 1962.
58. U. S. Weather Bureau. Climatography of the United States
No. 60-3: Climates of the States-Arkansas. Wash
ington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1959.
59. Wells, Joe P. Sources of Nitrogen for Rice. Report
Series 115. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University
of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station,
November, 1962.
60. Whitehead, F. E. A Large Scale Experiment in Rice Field
Mosquito Control. Report Series 32. Fayetteville,
Arkansas: University of Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Station, April, 1952.
61. Wooten, Hugh H., and Anderson, James R. Major Uses of
Land in the United States: Summary for 1954.
Agricultural Information Bulletin 168. U. S.
Department of Agriculture. Washington: U. S.
Government Printing Office, January, 1957.


294
viewed, 58 percent reported that their reservoirs were em
ployed for duck hunting to some extent, but of those only
about one-fourth charged a fee (Table 31). The remainder
of the reservoirs were reported as being too small or too
far removed from any woods, bottoms, or other natural duck
feeding areas to attract ducks.
If conditions are very favorable for ducks, the reser
voirs and timbered areas are normally leased rather than
hunting permits sold individually. No 2 situations are a-
like, however, so averages have little meaning. Instead,
some representative examples are given. On one large farm
totaling 3,200 acres, 2,000 acres of woodland are temporar
ily flooded from November through January and leased for
$12,000 a year. This particular farm is owned by a person
in Little Rock and the lease is also to persons in Little
Rock, whose identity is not known by the farm operator. The
farm is located in Prairie County, and in Figure 15 is part
of the reservoir-woodland complex some 12 miles north-north
west of Stuttgart and 5 miles southwest of Hazen. The area
was originally one of the timber islands (Figure 3). Much
of the remainder of that timbered area of comparable size to
the above lease is leased to the Winchester Arms Company for
$10,000 a year by its owner, a drugstore operator in Stutt
gart. Other companies that lease duck hunting lands for the
exclusive use of their employees, customers, and guests are
Layne Arkansas Company, one of the nation's largest pump firms
Rotary Life, and Continental Motors.


264
TABLE 20
INTERVIEWEES' ESTIMATED COSTS FOR SOME
REPRESENTATIVE RESERVOIRS3
Reservoir Size^
(Acres)
Total Costs
(Excluding Land)
Costs per Acre
(Excluding Land)
Dollars
10
5,000
500
15
5,000
333
30
6,000
200
30
21,000
700
35
11,000
314
40
8,000
200
40
10,000
250
40
20,000
500
50
8,000
160
50
17,000
340
60
20,000
333
65
12,000
215
80
20,000
250
100
24,000
240
545
187,000
290
aCompiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers
on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963.
^Reservoir types varied widely from all-cropland to all
woodland and from all sides leveed to 1 side leveed, but the
majority were constructed to store water an average from 5
to 6 feet deep over the acreage given.
for each acre of reservoir. For completely enclosed reser
voirs whose purpose is principally irrigation, an average of
1.7 acres of rice are irrigated for each acre in the reser
voir (21, p. 14). The cost per acre irrigated is probably not
the same for any 2 farmers, but some approximations are in
order. Table 21 shows the results of a study on the costs
of irrigating from reservoirs.


19
"foreigners from up north" by local Southerners, did manage
by hard work and frugality to establish themselves perma
nently on the Prairie (86). Some, of course, did not suc
ceed and returned to Ohio and elsewhere.
An old-time resident described the Prairie as still
unoccupied in 1896 and as not having been absorbed into
southern agriculture (83, p. 33). He further intimated
that the land was unfit for corn and cotton but that the
German pioneers from the North did not know this. They
became an island of northern immigrants surrounded by
settlers from the border states and the Old South. At the
time the principal business of the young town of Stuttgart
was reported -to be selling Grand Prairie land to farmers
from the northern prairies "who thought they were getting
lands of the same worth at a much lower price" (83, p. 33).
A letter written about 1880 by a Prairie resident described
a landholding of 160 acres with frame buildings offered for
$2,000 (66). Some lands on the Prairie sold for as little
as 25 cents an acre in the early period of settlement
(2, p, 5). Interviews with farmers today reveal that Grand
Prairie land is virtually not for sale.
The background of the German settlers was unquestion
ably foreign to the region. The role this difference played
in the development of the Grand Prairie is real, but the ex
tent of the role is open to opinion. The absence of both
cotton agriculture and a southern plantation tradition in


39
lignite, marl, and some limestone, in areas having a com
bined thickness as great as 3,500 feet (44, p. 9).
Quaternary deposits overlie the Tertiary and blanket
the entire Grand Prairie region. They include sediments
laid down during the Pleistocene and Recent epochs. The
Quaternary deposits consist of alluvium and range in thick
ness from 75 to 200 feet. Stone is almost completely lack
ing, both as outcrops and in well holes. The Quaternary
alluvial deposits are those described earlier as having both
Mississippi River and Arkansas River origins.
The deeper, bluish Quaternary sands are thought to have
come from the Mississippi River and the upper reddish sands
of the Quaternary deposits from the Arkansas River (44, p. 15).
This aggradation may have caused the Mississippi River when
west of Crowleys Ridge to raise its profile, thereby making
it susceptible to capture by the Ohio River which was draining
east of Crowleys Ridge. The Mississippi River was diverted
east into the lower elevated Ohio, perhaps first in the vicin
ity of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. At any rate, the great
alluvial plains west of Crowleys Ridge are now occupied only
by lesser streams thought incapable of aggrading such massive
deposits.
The Quaternary deposits consist primarily of waterbearing
sands. Overlying the sands are layers of clays, silts, and
mixed clay and silt. The topmost capping layer is silt with
loess-like appearance. It ranges from 5 inches to 36 inches
in depth and is underlain by the clay pan mentioned earlier.


212
as the allotments were based on each farm's history of rice
production. Before the government restrictions on rice the
crop's limitations were determined by 2 factors: (1) land
available for rotation and (2) water available for irriga
tion. Land for rotation was actually the primary factor,
and before restrictions rice almost invariably occupied one-
third of the farm's cropland. This was because of the ro
tation scheme that permitted land to be in rice only 1 year
in 3. On most farms water supplies were adequate to irri
gate that much rice and more. Some farmers irrigated soy
beans in limited fashion. Many farmers had anticipated acre
age restrictions and had raised rice acreages to the one-
third land limit in the early 50's in order to attain a
favorable crop history for the coming allotments.
In relation to this point, the 50 farmers that were
interviewed were asked the question, "If allotments were
significantly increased or removed altogether, by what per
centage do you think you would expand your present rice acre
age considering your land and water resources?" Surprisingly,
the amounts were not as high as might be expected. Only
about one-fourth of the farmers would increase rice more than
one-third of the present acreage. It is interesting to note
that a one-third increase would bring rice acreage approxi
mately to what it had been before 1955, about one-third of
the cropland in other words. Twenty percent of the farmers
would not increase their rice acreage as much as 10 percent,
and 8 percent would not increase rice acreage at all (Table 29).


281
greatly, from 20 percent to 90 percent. Thus, the stocking
rates vary widely because of inadequate knowledge but may be
from 100 to 500 per acre.
Fifty to 100 or so catfish and bass 1 season old may
be put in with the buffalo at this time. The fish are har
vested in the fall of the second year, and hopes are that
the buffalo would weigh 6 to 8 pounds, catfish 2 to 4 pounds,
and bass about 1 to 2 pounds. Because of the high cost of
feed concentrates it is not profitable at this time to feed
the fish in the reservoirs, but limited fertilization of the
water increases natural food sources.
Farmers may choose not to spawn their own fry but to
purchase fingerlings from a nursery and stock them directly
into the large reservoirs. There would be no need for the
smaller hatchery and nursery ponds. This is generally what
a farmer who was first entering the field would do, and dis
appointing results have meant that few have done more.
Irrigation reservoirs are usually not constructed
ideally for fish-farming. Reservoirs larger than 20 acres
in size make for difficult accounting and harvesting of fish.
A reservoir for commercial fish production requires an in
terior drainage basin where the fish can be concentrated
for harvest by drawdown into a small area of about 18 inches
depth. Imagine the predicament of one farmer trying to har
vest fish who was unable to drain his reservoir properly and
had approximately 6 inches of water remaining over the entire
20 acres of reservoir. Inside borrow pits offer reasonably


315
beans, grain sorghum, rice, and woodland. Some areas are
frequently overflowed. Associated soils are Foley, Overcup,
Forestdale, and Dundee.
COLLINS-FALAYA-WAVERLY ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately
well to poorly drained, slowly permeable acid alluvial soils
washed from loess. The moderately well drained Collins soils
are brown or yellowish brown silt loam that is mottled gray
in the lower part of the subsoil. The somewhat poorly drained
Falaya soils have grayish brown silt loam surface soil over
gray and brown mottled silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil.
The poorly drained Waverly soils have gray silt loam surface
soil over gray silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil. Much of
this association is subject to overflow and is in woodland;
some areas are used for soybeans, cotton, rice, and pasture.
Associated soils are Henry, Calloway, Grenada, Hatchie, and
Freeland.
HEBERT-GALLION ASSOCIATION Deep, moderately well and
well drained, moderately permeable level and undulating acid
bottomland soils. The moderately well drained Hebert soils
have grayish brown or brown silt loam of fine sandy loam sur
face soil over grayish brown to reddish brown sandy clay loam
or silty clay loam subsoil mottled with shades of gray, yellow,
and red. Gallion soils have grayish brown or brown silt loam
or fine sandy loam surface soil over reddish brown to yel
lowish red sandy clay loam subsoil. Most of this association
is used for cotton and soybeans. Associated soils are Pulaski,
Yahola, Lonoke, and Portland.


41
cated, and the slope toward the southeast is readily seen.
Less apparent is the terrace itself, with its slight eleva
tion primarily shown here above the White and Arkansas rivers.
Since the terrace slopes gently southeastward no single
elevation marks its surface or its boundary. Instead a grad
ual decrease in elevation is seen from northwest to southeast.
Maximum elevation on the terrace is just over 250 feet in
the extreme northwest. It decreases to about 165 feet in
the southernmost part of Little Prairie, a distance of over
70 miles. This gives an average slope of the terrace itself
of only about one foot per mile. The streams draining the
prairie likewise have very gentle gradients.
Although no single contour line marks the terrace as a
whole, it should be noted how a series of contour lines closely
coincide with the Grand Prairie boundary north to south. The
240-foot elevations are on the Prairie in the extreme north
west. Just eastward and southward the 220-foot line comes
into prominence as approximating the boundary, particularly
noted in Long Prairie and west of DeValls Bluff. Farther
southward as the Prairie slopes away, land between 200 feet
and 220 feet is the dominant elevation on the Prairie sur
face. And particularly noticeable is the close correspondence
between the 180-foot contour and southern portions of the
Prairie boundary. Only small portions of the Prairie lie
below the 180-foot level, mostly in the southernmost Little
Prairie. Elevations lower to below 140 feet in the White
River bottomlands.


317
DUNDEE-SHARKEY ASSOCIATION Deep, somewhat poorly and
poorly drained, slowly and very slowly permeable, acid, level
and undulating bottomland soils. Dundee soils have dark
grayish brown or brown sandy loam or silt loam surface soil
over yellowish brown, brown and gray mottled sandy clay loam
or silty clay loam subsoil. The poorly drained Sharkey soils
have dark gray silty clay or clay surface soil over gray clay
subsoil. This association is used mainly for cotton and soy
beans. Some undrained areas are woodland. Associated soils
are Forestdale, Dubbs, and Bowdre.
MHOON-SHARKEY ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly drained, slow
ly and very slowly permeable level and undulating soils de
rived from stratified materials and thick beds of slack water
clay. The neutral to alkaline Mhoon soils have dark grayish
brown to gray sandy loam or silt loam surface soil over strati
fied gray sands, silts, and clays. Sharkey soils have dark
gray silty clay or clay surface soil over gray clay subsoil.
Most of this association is subject to overflow. Some areas
are used for cotton and soybeans. Associated soils are Com
merce, Dundee, Overcup, Foley, and Forestdale.
SHARKEY ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly drained, very slowly
permeable, level and undulating bottomland soils developed
from thick beds of clay. Sharkey soils have dark gray silty
clay or clay surface soil over gray clay subsoil. This asso
ciation is used for soybeans, cotton, and rice. Most undrain
ed or overflow areas are woodland. Associated soils are Bowdre,
Mhoon, Dundee, and Forestdale.


70
from a few acres to several square miles, were swampy. Nor
mally these were the timber islands. After prolonged rains
the grass areas, too, were likely to be waterlogged. Nuttall,
in his early travel through the areas described the surface
as sheets of water after rains (3, p. 110).
Two factors have all but eliminated the drainage prob
lem on the Grand Prairie. Drainage ditches criss-cross the
Prairie as fences do in New England. The ditches also serve
for transport of irrigation water, and water can be moved
onto or off the fields at will.
The other factor negating the drainage problem is the
construction of reservoirs. Surface water has become so
necessary in the scheme of Grand Prairie agriculture that
the problem now is not to get rid of the water but to hold
it. Surface runoff stays on the fields but a short time be
fore it is in a ditch, and not in a ditch very long until it
is in a reservoir. Later, at the proper time, it will be
returned to the fields.
Water is so sought after that much of it never reaches
the principal bayous that drain the region. It is trapped
andpumped into some farmers reservoir, or it may be im
pounded behind a small dam on the bayou itself. A number of
such reservoir dams along a stream will literally stop the
flow until the reservoirs are filled and the water allowed
to pass.
Formerly, a summer thunderstorm would cause a bayou to
become a temporary torrent. But now a few miles downstream


GRAND PRAIRIE OUTLINE
MILES
ELEVATION IN FEET
THE ARKANSAS
GRAND PRAIRIE
TOPOGRAPHY
SOURCE: U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
CORBET 1965
Figure 5


96
farms a size somewhat larger than the average 634 acres and
proportionally a little less land in cropland 74 percent
compared to the average 78 percent (Table 28). These dif
ferences are not considered to be significant and are strong
ly influenced by the presence of one very large tenant farm
of 3,200 acres that is almost two-thirds woodland. On the
majority of farms, less than 1,000 acres in size, there is
much similarity in land use between the tenure types (Table
27) .
Analysis of the traverse reveals one notable correla
tion between land use and size of operating units. It is
best shown in the area of Lagru-e Bayou where woodlands fol
low the bayou itself, but on either side is an area of mixed
cropland and pastureland. Figure 24 indicates a concentra
tion :of small units in this area of mixed cropland-pasture-
land. It has been shown that the mixed crop 1and-pasturel and
division corresponds almost perfectly with the loessal hills
physiographic region. Thus, in addition to the decrease in
the size of field plots there is a decrease in the size of
operating farm units. People who live in the loessal hills
are not the big farmers who operate rice farms on the Prairie
This is the least desirable land. Many of the residents are
there simply because in the past the operators of the large
land holdings were not interested in the sloping land. A
large number of the inhabitants of the loessal hills in gen
eral, and of this portion of the traverse in particular, are
Negroes; and it is a fact that practically all Negroes in the


270
the Grand Prairie have enough water to irrigate their present
rice allotments, so presently there is little problem of
water budgeting. Rice by far gives the greatest returns for
water allocation in the region, and there is no competing enter
prise that will draw water away from rice.
Any watering capacity in excess of rice needs is ap
plied to soybeans. The net returns gained from irrigated
soybeans over non-irrigated soybeans on the Grand Prairie have
been shown to be about $8 per acre (Table 14). The amount
of water required to irrigate an acre of rice will irrigate
2.5 to 3 acres of soybeans. But to take water from rice to
put on soybeans under the present price structure would bring
a sizeable loss to the farmer. To take out 1 acre of rice
and make that land and its allocated water available to soy
beans would present the farmer a net loss of $36 (20, p. 24).
Using the figure of a 1960 study, the loss of 1 acre of rice
would reduce the farmer's income about.$87. But the increase
brought about by the additional soybeans on this area, plus
yield increases due to irrigation of these and additional soy
beans by the water released from the acre of rice would in
crease income by only $51, giving the $36 loss.
If conditions changed to alter prices for the 2 crops,
however, there could result some shifts in water allocation.
A relaxation of rice allotments might cause the price of
rice to decline relative to the price of soybeans and thus
result in more equal comparative returns for the 2 crops as


104
out the acreage ratio of beans to rice of about 2 to 1 that
holds true over the entire Grand Prairie."^ Lespedeza is a
poor third in a ranking of land uses replaced by reservoirs
in some areas as the third major use. Although rice occupies
only 25 percent of the Prairie it is the money crop, re
turning approximately 4 times the net per acre that soybeans
do. But considering the difference in acreage a number of
farmers claim that after all costs are considered, soybeans
2
are almost as important a source of income as rice.
From Table 1 it is seen that cotton and corn together
comprise less than 1 percent of the acreage in the cropland
division of the Prairie. The absence of livestock is
largely the reason for the insignificance of corn. Cotton
is not important on the Grand Prairie and never has been.
While surrounding areas were largely influenced by the cot
ton economy of the South, the Grand Prairie was not. Prairie
settlers were mostly from the Midwest, and their experience
was in producing livestock and grain. The cotton plantation
never developed on the Prairie.
*0f the farmers interviewed only 6 percent had as much
as 40 percent of their cropland in rice whereas 82 percent
had over 50 percent in soybeans (Table 29).
2
An interview of 50 Prairie rice farmers indicated that
more than half of them received 40 percent or more of their
net income from soybeans. Ten percent actually received more
income from soybeans than from rice. Additional information
on costs and returns of various crops are included in Chapter
IV.


337
INTERVIEW
TABLE 30
DATA ON RESERVOIR TYPE
AND SIZE9
Portion
Portion
Farm
on
o n
Reservoir
Cropland
Woodland
Type Reservoir
(Acres)
(Acres)
(Acres)
AI 1-crop 1 and
10
10
-
12
12
-
15
15
-
24
24
-
25
25
-
25
25
-
40
40
-
40
40
-
50
50
-
54
54
-
60
60
-
60
60
-
80
80
-
100
100

Subtotal
645
645
-
Aver age
43
43
-
All-wo odland
35

35
40
-
40
50
-
50
60
-
60
65
-
65
100
-
100
no
-
110
140
-
140
170
-
170
357
-
357
480
-
480
500
-
500
700
-
700
Subtotal
2,807
-
2,807
Aver age
216
-
216


245
TABLE 18
CROPLAND-WOODLAND RESERVOIR ACREAGE ON INTERVIEW FARMS9
Type Reservoir
Total
Acreage
Percent
of Total
Average Size
(Acres)
All-cropland
645
15
43
All-woodland
2,807
67
216
Mixed cropland-
woodland
744
18
62
Total
4,196
100
105
9Compiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers
on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963 (Summarized from Table 30
in App endix III).
Source of Water
The source of water for a reservoir is a critical con
sideration in the feasibility of the reservoir's use. The
main purpose of a reservoir is to collect surface runoff dur
ing times of plenty and to store water for use at a later
time. The most elementary types of reservoirs are placed
directly on or adjacent to streams in order to store a stable
source of water in what otherwise might be an intermittent
and undependable natural flow. In such situations water
normally is acquired during the fall and winter months and
stored for use in the spring and summer months when demands
on all water sources are high.
The region's early stream-fed reservoirs were abundant
ly supplied with water. However, as more reservoirs were es-


320
TABLE 23
LAND USE IN THE GRAND PRAIRIE REGION
BY CAPABILITY CLASS AND SUBCLASS, 1959a
Cropland Pasture-Range
C ap abi1ity
Class
and
Subclass
Prairie
Bayous on
Prairie
Fringe I
Fringe II
Prairie
Bayous on
Prairie
Fringe I
Fringe II
I
431
-
158
164
-
-
30
35
II
E
225
18
95
103
-
44
-
64
W
2,277
285
555
258
-
63
6
165
III
E
-
35
-
229
-
10
-
35
W
~1,005
11
225
55
-
30
11
141
IV
E
-
15
-
11
-
6
-
9
W
-
10
-
-
-
-
-
-
V
E
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
W
-
6
-
-
-
-
-
-
VI
E
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
W
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
VII
E
-
-
-
20
-
-
-
36
W

"
~
'
Total
3,938
380
1,038
840
-
153
47
485
aBased upon the study of sample areas selected at
random.


65
land loess. They tend to be acid and somewhat poorly drained
and coincide with the fingers of woodlands on the Prairie.
Soil associations numbers 12 and 13 occupy Arkansas
River terraces of relatively recent deposits. They are sub
ject to overflow from smaller streams as well as the Arkan
sas River, principally Bayou Meto. They are fine textured
and consist of stratified sands, silts, silty clays, and
silty clay loams.
The Hebert-Gal1ion association is at a slightly higher
elevation than the Perry-Portland association and is less
frequently overflowed. The Hebert-Gal1ion soils are the main
agricultural lands in the bottomlands along the western borders
of the Grand Prairie.
The next 4 associations, numbers 14, 15, 16, and 17, are
all associated with White River overflow. They are deep,
poorly drained, slowly permeable, level and undulating bottom
land soils. In general, and in order listed, there are de
creasing amounts of silty loams and sandy loams and increasing
clays. Most areas are subject to frequent overflow and are
practically all timbered. Portions that are less frequent to
overflow are sometimes planted to cotton and soybeans.
The last association, Alluvial Soils Undifferentiated,
are recent bottomland soils subject to frequent overflow from
the Arkansas and White rivers. The sediments are mixtures of
fine to coarse textured silts and clays and are subject to
change by erosion and deposition with each flooding. If the
Arkansas River is high and the White River is low, Arkansas


234
average 1,048 pounds of total salts, and the 1.8 acre-feet
normally applied each rice season is equivalent to the appli
cation of about three-fourths of a ton of lime per acre (88,
p. 45). Eight or 10 seasons of rice is enough to cause an
increase in pH up to 7.5, where rice yields begin to fall
off rapidly.
In some rice fields there is a noticeable difference
in the rice plants in the portion of the field where the
well water first enters the field. There is often a yellow
ing of leaves and reduced growth due to the precipitation
of salts concentrating in that part of the field. Well
water is sometimes run into canals and allowed to stand for
a few days to encourage precipitation and sedimentation
prior to running it onto the fields. This also allows the
water to warm some from its normal 65 Fahrenheit, but this
is of lesser importance.
The poor internal drainage of the Prairie soils makes
it almost impossible to lower the pH by flushing. Ammonium
sulfate is recommended on some fields to lower the pH through
reaction with the sulfur. Another remedy, of course, is to
use water free of the troublesome minerals. Reservoir water
is highly favored for this purpose. Also, water from the
deep wells does not have the same hardness as the water from
the shallow wells. But one of the most practical and effec
tive methods to cope with high soil pH is to maintain a
lower pH by planting soybeans in rotation.


84
In the mixed cropland-pastureland division rice and
soybeans are still important, although rice loses its pre
eminence and is found only on the most select sites. Cotton
and corn emerge as important crops but are grown on a small
scale. The more sloping portions are almost exclusively
pasture.
Woodlands along Bayous
Woodland in the Grand Prairie region has historically
been limited largely to the river and bayou bottomlands and
timber islands on the Prairie. Again the land use map re
sembles the physiographic map, the woodland patterns corre
sponding with the bottomlands. Woodlands are also found in
the loessal hills, however. As described in Chapter II,
woodlands probably originally extended farther from the
bottomlands out onto the Prairie. They certainly covered
more of the loessal hills than they do today. Compare Fig
ures 3 and 15.
The mixed crop 1and-pasturel and areas are believed to
have been almost completely forested, with only pockets of
grassland interspersed on ideal sites. Fringes of the area
included within the present Grand Prairie boundary were like
wise interspersed with woodlands. The vestiges of woodlands
are almost completely erased from those fringe cropland areas.
Vestiges are still present, however,, in the mixed cropland-
pastureland areas, and they continue to dominate completely
the wooded bottomlands. These patterns are clearly visible
on aerial photography (Figure 16).


237
grass and weeds may get out of control and cause marked re
duction in rice yields. The large volume of water that is
available in a reservoir makes possible rapid flooding, and
this advantage is very popular with farmers who have switched
to reservoirs. Normally the volume that can be pumped from
wells in a like period of time is much less, and some farmers
complain that it takes them 2 or 3 days with wells to fill
up the canals before any water reaches the fields.
The drainage of the fields for dry land topdressing
of nitrogen is a critical operation for farmers who have
limited water movement capacity. A farmer who waters a par
ticular field with a well of 350 gallons per minute capacity
may have to break the field into portions for drainage in
order to be able to get the flood back on before grass can
get a start. Most farmers with reservoirs can deliver 2,000
gallons per minute to the field. The same advantage to
reservoirs applies in the initial planting and flooding.
Farmers who employ both wells and a reservoir can pump from
the wells into the reservoir at times when their flow is not
needed and thus build up a reserve of water for rapid flood-
i ng.
A reservoir often provides the farmer with more total
water than before and may enable him to irrigate both his
rice and soybeans, whereas many farmers using wells alone
cannot afford to water soybeans. And yet total pumping costs
could be expected to be less depending upon the site of the
reservoir on the farm and the extent to which gravity can be


272
duck hunting are multiple uses that have brought additional
benefits from the irrigation reservoirs.
Fish Farming
A few fish have been grown in privately owned waters
in Arkansas for many years, but these were usually confined
to small ponds or lakes and were limited to recreational
purposes. Growing fish commercially for food in reservoirs
has received widespread interest in Arkansas since about
1955. Relatively few individuals have actually tried the
enterprise, and even fewer have had what might be called
success with the endeavor. It has not been limited to the
Grand Prairie but has been attempted by advocates in many
of the delta counties throughout eastern Arkansas. The
concentration of reservoirs on the Grand Prairie make what
ever potentials that lie with the enterprise particularly
important to the Prairie, however.
The industry is relatively new to the region and few
farmers have had any experience at all. Those who have have
largely done so through trial and error. Stocking rates
have differed, water sources and water handling procedures
have varied, and some fish reservoirs were fertilized while
others were not. Some farmers were able to sell their fish
at reasonable prices and others were not. Because of its
newness and the limited experience available, it is diffi
cult to reach sound conclusions on the industry at this time.
To help solve some of the many problems inherent with


261
minute. Oftentimes the high capacity installations are neces
sary to take advantage of streams that have intermittent flow.
The high capacity pumps designed to fill the reservoirs
are normally the most expensive of the pumping facilities,
and an installation that can deliver 8,000 gallons per minute
will cost about $3,500 to $4,000. The motor accounts for
about half the cost, fuel engines running a little more than
electric motors but operating costs being roughly comparable,
about $9 to $12 a day. (21, p. 11). Smaller capacity pumps
that are used for discharging water from the reservoir cost
about $2,000 or less. A figure of $2,500 to $3,000 is a
close average for all reservoir pumping units in the region.
Again, the larger reservoirs have a lower pumping cost per
acre of reservoir because of more efficient use of the equip
ment.
Maintenance
Maintenance is a reservoir cost of note because of the
levees' proneness to erode on both the inside and outside
slopes. Wave action on the inside is particularly worrisome.
Immediate seeding to bermuda or fescue is recommended to
hold the loose dirt. Willows are often planted to break wave
action. Brush, timbers, and even old tires are staked to the
shores to help protect them from the incessant erosion.
Muskrats damage reservoir levees as well as canals and ditches.
Almost annually, portions of the levees have to be repaired,
and practically all levees require major repairs on eroded


165
fit to use 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre and some higher at
120 pounds and more. While such heavy applications continue
to increase yields in most cases, they may not be practical.
In tests little benefit was obtained by increasing the nitro
gen rate from 80 to 120 pounds. The 5.5 bushel per acre
yield increase was not sufficient to be significant (59, p. 7).
Related to fertilization are the efforts to control the
soil pH problem. Soybeans are the major crop in rotation
with rice and in contrast to rice do best with the higher pH.
Rice is seldom put on the same field more frequently than 1
year in 3, or at the most 2 years out of 4. Soybeans are on
the field usually at least 2 out of 3 years and by using up
the excessive calcium and magnesium salts reduce the pH of
the soil, making it more favorable for rice to follow. Some
times lime is actually needed as an additive to the soil when
planting soybeans, and the crop is known to respond to liming
with increases of 5 to 12 bushels per acre when the soils are
in that condition (62, p. 27). Usually, however, lime is
recommended for Prairie soils only on fields where there is
no lime in the irrigation water. Rice fields that have been
irrigated with bayou or reservoir water over a number of
years instead of with well water often require liming for soy
beans.
Soybeans are also a nitrogen fixing legume, and where
soybeans are planted before rice nitrogen application may be
reduced 20 to 30 pounds per acre (62, p.27). The nitrogen
assimilation occurs through bacterial action on the plants'


223
by private initiative with relatively little capital invest
ment. Abundant ground water was reached at depths of 75 to
150 feet, and the supply seemed inexhaustible. The Grand
Prairie is underlain by a huge sand aquifer that was satu
rated to overflowing at the time. Ground water was in the
beginning, and has remained until very recently, the princi
pal source of irrigation water in the region. At present,
ground water and surface water are split approximately 50-50
as sources for irrigation water on the Grand Prairie.
Quaternary Aquifer
Underlying the entire Grand Prairie region is a huge
sand aquifer of Quaternary age. Overlain by a layer of silt
and clay, it is first encountered at 5 to 60 feet below the
surface and ranges in thickness generally from 25 to 140
feet. Most wells that pump water from these water-bearing
sands are 75 to 150 feet deep. The aquifer extends beyond
the region itself, underlying an extensive area stretching
from Little Rock to Crowley's Ridge to the Arkansas River.
The aquifer slopes from the northwest to the southeast as
does the present surface topography. Apparently the aquifer
is continuous over this area, but the silt and clay capping
layer is particularly well developed on the Grand Prairie,
accentuated by the clay pan soil that underlies the surface
at depths of 12 to 18 inches.
The aquifer consists mostly of sands, with coarser sand
and gravel near the base. The deposits were laid down dur-


37
delineation of the present Grand Prairie is apparent between
Figures 2 and 3. Not only were trees cut down and crops
planted to erase the original patterns, but additional trees
were planted or allowed to grow elsewhere. The effect has
been to blur the original setting and to further obliterate
the prairie. Nonetheless, the signs are there, even if not
easily discernible.
In summary, vegetation changes on the prairie may be
viewed in a chronological but very general sequence as: (1)
a natural grassland diminishing in size because of encroach
ing streams and woodlands, (2) a change from grass to crops
and a slight expansion of the prairie, and (3) a blurring
or obliteration of the original prairie through a continua
tion of mans activities.
Topography
The delineation of the Grand Prairie is as closely
related to topography as to any other phenomenon. Unlike
original vegetation the topography of the region is little
changed from that first observed by settlers. No single
criterion used for delineating the boundary of the Grand
Prairie is completely correspondent with any other criteria.
The complexities of interacting phenomena offer too many
categories for any one to unerringly delineate the region.
The earth is not that simple; but there is, nevertheless, a
close correspondence between topographic boundaries, soils
boundaries, and land use boundaries. If any physical as-


180
storage costs, and storage facilities available. Many of
the Grand Prairie rice farmers are members of the Arkansas
Rice Growers Cooperative Association with home offices in
Stuttgart. The Cooperative owns driers, elevators, and
mills, and packages and markets the rice.
The Cooperative was organized in 1921 as a result of
chaotic conditions that followed World War I. Rice prices
that year plunged from an anticipated $3.00 per bushel to
32 cents per bushel, if a market could be found at all (93,
p. 27). The Association struggled through those early years
and did not reach its full effectiveness until the advent of
the combine-drier system in the middle 1940s, which made
the cooperative ownership of the expensive driers and stor
age facilities especially advantageous. The Cooperative
Association has been successful not only in processing and
storing the rice but also in its marketing. In 1963 member
farmers received 14 cents per bushel above the Arkansas
average price (93, p. 27).
When the farmer delivers his rice to the Association's
driers he receives payment for 70 percent of the rices value
(116). Additional payments are made when the rice is sold.
If prices are high the farmer shares in the benefits. If
they are low he shares in the lesser price.
In order to set a fair value on the farmer's rice a
sample is taken from each load and intensively examined.
The moisture content, plant variety, percentage of broken
kernels, uniformity of maturity and hardness, and the amount


338
TABLE 30 Continued
Type Reservoir
Farm
Reservoir
(Acres)
Portion
on
Crop land
(Acres)
Portion
on
Woodland
(Acres)
Mixed cropland-woodland
20
10
10
22
2
20
30
25
5
35
10
25
40
15
25
40
10
30
42
37
5
50
30
20
50
30
20
65
63
2
150
50
100
200
90
110
Subtotal
744
372
372
Average
62
31
31
Al 1 reservoirs
Total
4,196
1,017
3,179
Aver age
105
25
80
aCompiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers
on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963.
^Each entry represents the reservoir acreage on a given
farm, several of which had more than one reservoir.


314
grayish brown silt loam surface soil over gray silt loam or
silty clay loam that has a fragipan. This association is used
for soybeans, cotton, pasture, forage crops, and some areas
of rice. Associated soils are Loring, Waverly, Overcup, and
Foley.
LORING-GRENANDA-CALLOWAY ASSOCIATION Deep, well to
somewhat poorly drained, slowly permeable, nearly level to
strongly sloping acid soils developed in thick loess. The
well drained Loring soils have brown silt loam surface soil
over yellowish brown silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that
has a fragipan. The moderately well drained Grenada soils
have brown silt loam surface soil over yellowish brown silt
loam or silty clay loam subsoil that grades into a gray,
yellow and brown mottled fragipan. Calloway soils have gray
ish brown silt loam surface soils over gray, yellow, and brown
mottled silt loam or silty clay loam subsoil that has a fragi
pan. This association is used for cotton, soybeans, forage
crops, and pasture. Associated soils are Henry, Waverly,
Falaya, and Foley.
WAVERLY-FALAYA ASSOCIATION Deep, poorly and somewhat
poorly drained, slowly permeable bottomland soils along streams
draining areas of loess. The poorly drained Waverly soils
have gray silt loam surface soil over gray silt loam or silty
clay loam subsoil. Falaya soils have grayish brown silt loam
surface soil over gray and brown mottled silt loam or silty
clay loam subsoil. This association is used mainly for soy-


254
were needed, 80 percent of the interviewees would have no
choice but to use cropland as no more woodland was avail
able to them. Those who favored wells for additional water
had sound reasons. Most were in the northern and southern
portions of the Prairie outside the great zone of ground
water depression. Others had no watershed to fill the reser
voirs, and some reported that their farms were so limited
in size that they simply could not afford having cropland
out of use and would by necessity have to use more wells,
possibly expensive deep wells.
Levee Costs
The land costs for reservoirs are often hard to calcu
late and differ with the individual farm sites, but other
reservoir costs are more concrete and capable of comparison.
The major costs in establishing a reservoir other than land
costs are the costs of levee construction and investment in
the pumping facilities. Cropland reservoirs entail more ex
pense in levee costs because they are on level land and re
quire levees on all 4 sides. Woodland reservoirs and margi
nal cropland reservoirs can often confine the water with
levees on only 3 or 2 sides or possibly only on 1 side.
Water is stored as deep as practical in order to cut
down on surface area. Cropland reservoirs normally are built
to hold 5 to 6 feet of water. A typical levee will be about
8 or 9 feet high, have a broad base with a width of 7 or 8
times the height, and be about 8 to 10 feet wide at the top.
Figure 46 shows a reservoir levee under construction.


77
broken by trees. Crops are rotated without pasture or fallow
normally entering the rotation scheme. Isolated examples of
pasture or fallow land are possible but certainly are the
exception,, and the few such plots are too small for carto
graphic presentation. Less than 2 percent of the land could
be classified as either pasture or fallow (Table 1).
The division of mixed cropland-pastureland includes
considerably more pastureland than found in the cropland
division. It would be misleading to say that 2 percent pas
tureland is the breaking point between the 2 divisions of
cropland and mixed cropland-pastureland. The change is not
a gradual one but is quite marked and readily observable in
the field. Actually, the proportion of the land in pasture
in this division is generally about half. It is seldom less
than a third and sometimes is three-fourths and more. The
point stressed is that in the Grand Prairie region the divi
sion between these 2 land use divisions is not merely a sta
tistical one but one that is observable on the site. The
pronounced change in land use is due largely to topographic
change. It is, indeed, one of the significant findings of
the land use study.
Woodland also is a marked and distinct land use in the
region. Much of it is dense unbroken bottomland forest.
There are areas, however, where the separation of woodland
and mixed cropland-pastureland as divisions of land use is not
as distinct. Some wooded areas are pastured or show evidence


193
by studies involving per acre costs and returns. A study was
made of Grand Prairie rice farms for the years 1961-62 to dis
cover the size farm necessary to give an operator a net in
come of $6,000 and $9,000 annually (71, p. 35). Findings are
summarized in Table 10.
For an income of $6,000 an investment of $42,240 for
land was required, and a $9,000 income required an invest
ment of $72,800. The earnings are for labor and management
after accounting for all direct production costs and nominal
charges for capital invested in land, farm improvement, and
farm machinery. Production practices were assumed to be
those in common use at the time, and the prices paid and re
ceived were the averages for 1961-62 on the Grand Prairie.
Ample water supply was assumed to be available to sustain
present yields. Allotments for rice in 1961 averaged about
25 percent of the cropland on Prairie rice farms. These in
vestment figures are for land only and do not include farm
machinery, water facilities, or other costs of the farm opera
tion. The land price of $160 per acre is considered low.
Later studies assume an average value of $200 per acre which
includes all land on the average farm, not just cropland
(22, p. 11). Interviews with farmers indicate that Grand
Prairie cropland is valued at about $400 per acre if one
could find it offered. With a value set higher than $160
the investment for land would be even larger than the
$72,800 required for the $9,000 income.


101
cent of the cropland division to be in pasture (Table 1).
Pasture on the Prairie is an uneconomical use of the land.
Under almost ideal conditions it will net approximately $10
to $15 per acre (115). This compares with the net return
of more than $100 per acre for rice and about $30 for soy
beans. Livestock obviously cannot compete with rice. But
since rice is under allotment and there is ample developed
riceland to handle the alloted acreage, more than two-thirds
of the cropland is surplus riceland in any one year. For
this surplus riceland livestock must compete with soybeans.
The once prevalent grazing industry has already succumbed
to soybeans. As more investment became necessary for rice
irrigation facilities and farming machinery the farmers
sought the most remunerative uses of the land. Soybeans
have proved to be a supplementary enterprise to rice where
as cattle remained competitive. Soybeans not only give a
greater return per acre than cattle but effectively make use
of the irrigation facilities and machinery. Cattle do not.
Another reason for the absence of cattle on the Prai
rie is the farmers attitude toward them. Aside from eco
nomic reasons most farmers simply do not want to bother with
cattle, citing fence upkeep and insect pests as worrisome
nuisances. Of the farmers interviewed only about one-fourth
kept any cattle at all, and none in significant amounts
(Table 29). Of those who did not keep cattle and would give
a reason, almost all said that it did not pay. But almost


328
The soil mapping units used in the Conservation Needs
Inventory are those used in the Farm Planning Survey, 1943-
1955. They denote defined classes of soil texture, con
sistence, wetness, permeability, depth, etc., but are not
named as in the standard soil survey. These units cannot
be accurately named without field investigation. An approxi
mate conversion of the Conservation Needs Inventory soil units
symbols to soil series and type in the standard soil survey
is given below. Without field investigation there is a quite
large chance of error in assignment of names for some of these
units. These conversions are for the purposes of this study
only and should not be used in any other report (112). By
grouping these soil units into the broader soil groups of
Table 6, the error of classification is believed to be mini
mized.
Prairie Soils
M5al Crowley silt loam
M5a Crowley silt loam
M5 Stuttgart silt loam
Prairie Fringe Soils
5al Acadia silt loam
6a Henry silt loam
5 Hortman silt loam
la Wrightsville silty clay
Sloping Borderland Soils
6 Grenada silt loam
6al Calloway silt loam
Bottomland
8a
8al
8
3a
4 a 1
7
8ab
9
3al
3ab
L8
4
Soils
Waver 1y silt loam
Hebert silt loam or fine sandy loam;
Falaya silt loam
Collins silt loam, Lonoke silt loam
Perry clay
Portland silty clay loam
Memphis silt loam, Loring silt loam
Waverly silt loam, frequently overflowed
Pulaski fine sandy loam; Yahota fine sandy
loam
Portland clay
Perry clay, frequently overflowed
Portland silt loam, overwash
Miller silty clay loam


66
River water and related sediments dominate. If the Arkansas
is low and the White is high, much of the same area would
be inundated by the White River and receive its sediments.
Practically all of this area is timbered. A few higher ele
vations are used for pastures and some scattered soybeans.
Other Physical Characteristics
There are other physical characteristics concerning
the Grand Prairie that aid in understanding the region but
do not, however, serve as criteria for the delineation of
the Prairie, as do natural vegetation, topography, and soils.
Principal among these are climate, drainage, and ground
water. The water situation, both ground water and surface
water, has been designated as a major aspect of this study
and is discussed in Chapter V.
Climate
The Grand Prairie is located in the humid subtropical
climate with long hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures
seldom rise above 98F and rarely fall to 0F. The January
mean is 44F. and the July mean is 82F., an annual mean range
of 38F.
Figure 14 is a climatic graph for Stuttgart, Arkansas,
in the heart of the Grand Prairie. There is no appreciable
difference in climate over the Grand Prairie because of the
flat topography and absence of water bodies large enough to
effect climatic changes. The climate of the Grand Prairie


103
of soybeans per acre will give better returns than cattle.
Average soybean yields on the Prairie are about 28 to 30
bushels.
Prairie farmers are so orientated toward crops and
away from livestock that many expressed surprise when asked
why they kept no cattle. Their answer was something like
"no p astur el anaonly cropland", never considering that
their cropland could be used to grow feed for livestock or
to pasture them. Seventy-two percent of the farmers re
ported having no pastureland (Table 29). If they had no
woods nor hills they obviously felt they had no place for
livestock.
Most of the limited acreage of pastureland shown on
Figure 22 in the cropland division is marginal land and is
found along the smaller bayous and limited woodland areas
such as adjacent to Mill Bayou at position 11-A and 12-A.
One of the larger plots used for cattle on what is con
sidered true prairie land is shown at position 7-B. In
this case, and a few others like it, only breeding stock
is carried. The owners personal interest in cattle is a
big factor. With some it is almost a hobby, and it is the
same with a few Prairie farmers who raise and sell Shetland
ponies.
In Table 1 soybeans are shown to be the major crop in
acreage in all 3 divisions, covering over half of the crop
land division traverse (54.5 percent). The traverse bears


8
and describe that region of east central Arkansas commonly
referred to as the Grand Prairie and to evaluate the re
source uses of the region. It will be shown that the Grand
Prairie is a distinct region that can be delineated by a
combination of physical and cultural criteria. The physio
graphy of the region gives it a natural character unlike the
adjacent surrounding area. The various ways in which man
makes use of the resources of the region also give an areal
distinctiveness and cohesiveness that enables a differentia
tion from adjacent areas. The objectives of this research
can be considered as being divided into 3 categories: (1) the
delineation of a geographically cohesive region, (2) an eval
uation of the special role played by rice in the economy of
the region, and (3) an examination of the problems associated
with the extensive use of water.
Delineation
The delineation of the Grand Prairie is first analyzed
using physical criteria. Subsequently, the possibility of
delineation is tested with land use as the sole criterion.
Results of the 2 procedures are compared and analyzed for
relationships.
In Chapter II, delineation is examined from the stand
point of topography, natural vegetation, and soils. These
3 phenomena are considered separately and then compared.
When commencing the study, it was not known if such a de
lineation of the Grand Prairie region were possible. The
purpose of this phase of the investigation was to find out.


54
Figure 11. View at the Prairie edge. The
flat prairie land off to the right gives
way to the gently undulating loessal hills.
Topographic changes are subtle and must be
observed with a trained eye.
Figure 12. Loessal hills. These regions
of sloping lands form the fringes of the
Prairie terrace, particularly to the east
and north of the Grand Prairie where the
White River has caused tributary streams
to steepen their gradients and accelerate
the degradational processes.


Particular appreciation is expressed for the guidance
of Dr. James R. Anderson, whose consultations and trips to
the study area always spurred the writer onward, and to the
other members of the supervisory committee, Professors
Raymond E. Crist, John R. Dunkle, Roy L. Lassiter and
William K. McPherson, whose suggestions and criticisms made
possible the completion of the dissertation. And certainly,
my deep sense of gratitude is expressed to my wife, Elizabeth,
for her encouragement and clerical assistance.
i i i


289
about mid-December, returning north in mid-February. Some
stay over depending on the weather, and in most years there
are some ducks around throughout the winter season.
Stuttgart proudly calls itself the "Rice and Duck
Capital of the World." For years, during duck season the
town has been taken over by duck hunters from near and far.
Some of the hardy breed travel hundreds and even thousands
of miles to take advantage of the region's assets. The in
dustry is a boom to the whole region, not only to the farmers
on whose reservoirs the ducks are hunted, but also to the
merchants and hotel and restaurant operators. A Stuttgart
sporting goods dealer said that with every out-of-state hunt
ing license he sold he could be sure of $30 worth of business.
A druggist said that the visiting duck hunters made cash
registers ring all up and down Main Street as the visitors
would drop by after the hunt to pick up presents for the wife
and children back home. Hotels and motels are usually booked
solidly during the normally 70-day season from October to
December. It is not unusual for large companies to rent en
tire floors of the Riceland Hotel during the season to enter
tain clients and guests.
As the first reservoirs were established almost solely
to attract ducks for hunting, the water was drained off in
the spring to avoid killing the trees. The wooded areas,
slightly lower than the Prairie surface, were relatively easy
to flood temporarily during duck season. Such "green timber"
reservoirs are the best suited to ducks, offering good feed-


48
nounced at the White River bluffs already described. The
fingers of bayou land that penetrate the Prairie, however,
are only slightly lower than the flat prairie land, and no
escarpment is visible to mark their presence. Such is the
case with the bottomlands of upper Lagrue Bayou, Little La
grue Bayou, Mill Bayou, and Two Prairie Bayou.
Figure 8 is an oblique view of the Prairie showing
flat prairie land and strips of wooded bayou bottomland. Lo
cation and direction of the panorama of the aerial photograph
are indicated on Figure 7, giving a bird's eye view of a
representative portion of the region. Mill Bayou flows from
top left to lower right in the center of the photograph. The
stream itself cannot be seen. In the foreground and on the
far side of Mill Bayou are portions of the flat prairie land,
in actuality portions of the Grand Prairie. In the upper
right center is woodland along Little Lagrue Bayou; and be
yond that on the extreme right, almost on the horizon, is the
northern part of Sassafras Prairie. Almyra is faintly visible
in the upper left corner, situated squarely on the Prairie.
The bottomlands along the bayous that drain the Prairie
/ are of such slight difference in elevation from the Prairie
that they would be very difficult to discern if it were not
for the associated woodlands. In Figure 8 an increase in the
height of the road embankment as it approaches the wood is a
clue. Figure 9 shows a slight drop off in the road as state
highway 130 approaches Little Lagrue Bayou southwest of Almyra.


5
several reasons for this ignorance. The general culture of
the South does not include rice. The crop was introduced
late and expanded rapidly in acreage. It was developed
largely through the skill and know-how of grain farmers from
Illinois and Iowa. Local people looked upon the whole group
and their operation with suspicion. Nevertheless, the Grand
Prairie today is one of the most prosperious, highly mech
anized, and technologically adept agricultural regions in
the nation.
Figure 2 shows the location of the Grand Prairie more
specifically. The Prairie terrace is situated between 4
streams: White River on the east, Bayou Meto on the west,
the Arkansas River on the south, and Wattensaw Bayou on the
north. The Prairie is not continuous over this area but has
been dissected by streams into several large segments. The
physiography of the Prairie and the delineation of the Grand
Prairie with respect to physiographic criteria are dealt with
in the following chapter.
The Grand Prairie is a land of small towns and big
farms. There are a dozen small towns of note and many cross
road concentrations. The largest city, Stuttgart (1960 popu
lation 9,661) is the regional center. It is situated in what
is considered the heart of the Prairie. It is a city of rice
mills, elevators, soybean processing plants, and well equip
ment and farm machinery stores. Practically its entire
economy is geared to the rice industry. De Witt (3,019) is
similar. Lonoke (2,359), Carlisle (1,514), Hazen (1,456),


90
these reservoirs with the original vegetation depicted on
Figure 3. Vestiges of woodlands are still seen around the
reservoirs, but their once irregular pattern has been cut
and blocked until now the fields, reservoirs, and timber
stands form rectangular patterns. Practically all land
suitable for erops has been cleaned from such islands. Re
maining woodland is likely to be leveed and flooded into
new reservoirs.
A second reservoir pattern of note on Figure 15 is
that the distribution is uneven over the region. Most are on
the cropland division or on the bayou dissections that are
deep within the cropland division. There are relatively few
reservoirs on the mixed cropland-pastureland division, where
in fact good reservoir sites are more numerous. The pattern
verifies the fact that on the Grand Prairie reservoirs are
built where the water is needed, regardless of site.
Thirdly, the distribution of reservoirs on the cropland
division is also uneven. This also follows the principle of
need. The water problem is not uniform over the Prairie.
Dropping water tables and well failures are most pronounced
in a great elongated oval-shaped area trending southeast from
Stuttgart (Figure 42). This is considered the core of the
Prairie and was probably the largest unbroken area of natural
grassland in the region. Heavy rice irrigation is carried on,
and the immediate area offers few surface streams to supple
ment well water. Most farmers in this portion of the Prairie
have had to install reservoirs or put down deep wells. Fig-


53
warrant distinction, and the term "hills is used to empha
size the difference from the extremely flat prairie land.
The Grand Prairie boundary is largely determined by
following the line where the flat prairie land begins to
break or fall away as rolling land. This line also delin
eates a change in land use that will be analyzed in detail
in the following chapter.
It was previously stated that if any one single phy
sical phenomenon were selected for the meaningful delinea
tion of the Grand Prairie, it would be topography. More
specifically, it would be the delineation along this line
of "prairie breaks" that mark the boundary between the phy
siographic regions of flat prairie land and loessal hills.
Figure 11 is a view of such a boundary area at the edge
of the Prairie where the flat prairie land begins to break
into the gentle rolls of the loessal hills. Figure 12 shows
an area where the term "hills is perhaps more apropos.
The loessal hills physiographic region is most exten
sive on the north and east boundaries of the Grand Prairie
(Figure 7). The White River, a mature river, drains a much
/ larger area than the Grand Prairie region. Its floodplain
is lower than the terrace and lower than the beds of other
prairie streams such as Lagrue Bayou and Bayou Meto, the west
boundary. Because of the more rapid change in elevation on
the east, the prairie streams have more maturely dissected
the area. White River Prairie and Sassafras Prairie are set
apart from the Grand Prairie by areas of low rolling hills.


235
Analyses of test wells indicate that the quality of
the ground water is relatively uniform during a pumping sea
son and from place to place in the region. Other than the
hardness, the water is of good quality. It is clear and
nearly odorless, and samples indicate that the water is safe
for drinking (47, p. 9). Some of the municipal waters are
treated by filtering, aeration, and chlorination, and some
are untreated. Only recently have farmers started to use
water softeners for farm domestic use.
Reservoirs
In view of the problems with ground water and the
probability for a continued deterioration of the situation,
inevitable changes must affect farm operations on the Grand
Prairie. Farmers who are immediately faced with the problem
have had to make decisions based on several alternatives:
(1) a substitution of crops for rice that require less irri
gation water, (2) sinking additional shallow wells to offset
decreasing yields of present wells, (3) installation of ex
pensive deep wells to tap the Tertiary aquifers, and (4) a
greater use of surface water for irrigation. In general, the
above alternatives are found to be of increasing favor as
listed. A greater reliance on surface water has resulted in
the construction of hundreds of reservoirs on the Grand
Prairie. Their importance will increase and their numbers
will grow as ground water levels continue to decline and the
alkalinity problem compounds itself.


290
ing and resting conditions, but obviously are not suitable
for rice irrigation or for fish for that matter. Some of
these duck reservoirs were later impounded permanently to
furnish the much needed water for rice. In that case the
trees die in 2 or 3 years, and the reservoirs lose much of
their attractiveness to ducks.
There remain some wooded areas that are still flooded
yearly for ducks. Some of these are leveed similarly to a
regular reservoir and, in fact, are often interconnected
with the regular reservoir and irrigation systm. Water
may be allowed to accumulate in the woods by natural drainage
or it may be flooded from another reservoir. After duck
season the water is pumped back into the irrigation reser
voir for use on crops. Water is not held very deep in these
reservoirs, seldom over a foot, as a "dipping" duck cannot
feed in water over 15 inches deep. Such a green timber
reservoir is depicted on the land use traverse in Figure 22
at position 6-A.
It is not to be inferred that reservoirs without green
timber are of no value for ducks. They are, and most reser
voirs fall into this category. If the reservoirs are not
deep at the time, ducks can feed on such things as snails,
worms, and crayfish. This is the time of the year when most
farmers are trying to fill their reservoirs, however, and
most cannot afford the ducks much consideration. The reser
voirs are, nevertheless, used by the ducks for resting al
though they may feed elsewhere.


322
TABLE 24
LAND USE IN THE GRAND PRAIRIE REGION
BY SLOPE CLASS, 1959a
Crop 1 and
Pasture
-Range
S1 op e*5
i n
Percent
0
fH
fn
iH
CO
U
Pu
c
o
0
C/3 iH
3 ^
O *H
CO
CO fn
CQ Cu
hH
0
03
C
fH
H
Cx-i
hH
hH
0
03
c
fH
fn
C&4
0
H
fH
H
CO
CL.
C
o
0
to *iH
O H
O *H
>, CO
CO fn
CQ Q-.
hH
0
03
C
rH
(JH
hH
hH
0
03
C
rH
fH
Cu
0-1
3,408
331
935
468
-
80
47
281
1-3
370
150
98
131
-
57
-
131
3-8
-
50
-
191
-
6
-
43
8-12
-
-
-
45
-
10
-
30
12-20
-
-
-
5
-
-
-
-
20-up
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
0-3
undulating
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
0-8
undulating
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Total
3,778
531
1,033
840
-
153
47
485
aBased upon the study of sample areas selected at
random.
DSlope classes are those designated by the Soil Conser
vation Service (53).


179
Figure 34. Unloading threshed rice from
combine to rice cart. The cart will
transfer the grain to a truck waiting on
firm ground, which will then deliver it
to the drier.
Figure 35. Combining lodged rice. The
spring teeth on the blades enable the
combine to pick up about 95 percent of
the rice that has fallen down. Another
combine and 2 tractor-pulled rice carts
are in the background.
Courtesy Soil Conservation Service


126
A significant result shown by the sample data is that
no land below capability class III was found on the Prairie.
The almost complete domination of cropland that has been
shown to exist on the Prairie implies land of high capabil
ity class, or at least would seem to preclude the lower land
capability classes. This reasoning is supported by the
sample plots.
TABLE 3
SAMPLE AREA DIVISIONS BY LAND CAPABILITY
CLASS AND SUBCLASS
Capability Bayous on
Class and Prairie Prairie Fringe I Fringe II
Subclass a
P ercent
I
10. 5
0.9
12. 1
16.4
II
E
5.5
5.8
8.4
11.4
W
57.9
31.7
40.7
29.0
III
E

9.7

16.3
W
26. 1
48.4
37.6
16.4
IV '
E

1.5
1.4
W

0.9


V
E


.

W

lo 1
1.2
5.5
VI
E
--
--

W



VII
E


--
2.5
W




100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
aLand capability
classes and
subclasses are
those de-
fined by the Soil Conservation Service (52).


170
problems, but a basic familiarity with the problems and tech
niques of remedy are helpful in understanding the industry.
To mention a few of the most common diseases: stem rot
and leaf spot are fungi, and white tip is caused by a nema
tode. Control is aided by seed treatment and proper cultural
practices. Straight head is a physiological disorder and is
apparently caused by abnormal soil conditions oftentimes oc
curring where excessive undecayed plant material remains in
the soil. The heads remain erect as kernels fail to form
properly. Cultural practices seem to be the best control.
Development of plant varieties that offer resistance to the
diseases are a principal means of combating diseases. Blue
bonnet 50 and Nato are both somewhat resistant to straight-
head although no variety of rice is immune or even highly
resistant to the disease.
Insect Pests
The principal insect pests to Arkansas rice are the
rice water weevil, grape colaspis (lespedeza worm), and the
rice stink bug. The larvae of the water weevil feed on the
roots of the rice plants and reduce the stand and retard
growth, causing a loss in yield. Root-pruned plants may
even float to the surface. The adult water weevil meanwhile
feeds on the leaves of the plant, but as this feeding is of
no economic consequence treatment is aimed at the larvae.
Control of the water weevil is accomplished through seed
treatment with insecticides such as aldrin, plus opportune


226
Figure 41. Irrigation well with
A standpipe provides head for the
distributes the water. The levee
reservoir may be seen just beyond
diesel power plant,
pipeline which
of a cropland
the house.
Courtesy Soil Conservation Service


219
TABLE 16
NUMBER OF FARMS BY RICE ALLOTMENT SIZE,
ARKANSAS COUNTY9
Allotment
Size
Acres
Total Number
of F arms*5
Number of Farms
on Prairie
Number of F arms
non-Prairie
0
357
1
356
1-20
159
20
139
21-40
101
59
42
41-60
117
86
31
61-80
92
83
9
81-100
83
77
6
101-120
52
51
1
121-140
33
30
3
141-160
38
35
3
161-180
29
28
1
181-200
18
17
1
201-220
14
14
0
221-240
6
6
0
241-260
13
13
0
261-280
7
7
0
281-300
4
4
0
301-400
11
11
0
401-500
11
11
0
501-600
3
3
0
601-700
2
2
0
701-800
0
0
0
801-900
1
1
0
901-1,000
1
1
0
1,001-up
3
3
0
Total
1,155
563
592
aCompiled from records of the Agricultural Stabiliza
tion and Conservation Service, De Witt, Arkansas, August, 1965
(12) .
^These farms have either cotton or rice allotments.
There are approximately 20 additional farms in the county
which have no allotment for any crop and, therefore, are
not included in the_ records.


137
Vironment. The Grand Prairie is particularly adaptable to
rice, but this can best be appreciated when there is ade
quate knowledge of rice culture itself. Although the indus
try is suitable and profitable because of the region's nat
ural assets, rice production is neither exclusive nor neces
sary. Other agricultural pursuits are possible and are prac
ticed in limited fashions. In areas surrounding the Grand
Prairie region cotton is the principal crop, and cattle also
play an important role in the overall farm economy of the
surrounding area. Neither is significant on the Prairie.
An objective of the study is to determine those reasons which
help to explain the region's importance as a rice producer
and its non-importance as a cotton or cattle producer.
In addition to the physical environment other factors
favor rice over competitive uses of the land. The rice
farms are big and efficient operations and require huge in
vestments in land and machines. The sizes of the invest
ments discourage lesser uses of the land. With an examina
tion of investment costs and an analysis of per acre costs
and returns for rice versus competitive uses of the land, it
should be possible to discern if rice does indeed enjoy a
comparative advantage.
Rice distribution patterns on the Prairie indicate a
response to both the physical and cultural environments.
Rice is an allotment crop and this man-imposed restriction
is an important determinant of land use in the region. Rice
is rotated with soybeans, oats, and lespedeza on a huge ex-


189
Figure 37. Soybean storage and processing plant. Arkan
sas Grain Corporation's plant at Stuttgart is one of the
nation's largest. Rice fields surround the plant. Soy
beans were in these fields the previous year.


205
TABLE 13
PERCENT INCOME DERIVED FROM MAJOR CROPS
ON THE GRAND PRAIRIE9
Percent
Net Income
Rice
Soybeans
Other
(Percent of Farmers
Reporting)
100
90



80
2


70
5


60
30
10

50
43
35

40
20
28

30

20

20

5
12
10

2
23
0


65
100
100
100
8
Compiled from personal interviews with 50 rice farmers
on the Grand Prairie, Summer, 1963.
their income from soybeans. A 50-50 income from rice and soy
beans was the most common answer given. All rice farmers re
ceived some income from soybeans, and only 2 percent reported
it as being less than 20 percent. Income from other farm
sources was minor. Only 12 percent obtained as much as one-
fifth of their incomes from sources other than rice and soy
beans, and 65 percent received no farm income whatsoever
outside of rice and soybeans.
The returns per acre for soybeans on the Grand Prairie
vary primarily with respect to irrigation. Using the same
medium sized farm as was done with rice, and the 1961-62 cost


209
unsuitability and lower returns, cotton is not a serious con
tender for farm resources.
Rice as an Allotment Crop
Rice allotments went into effect in 1955 as a measure
to keep American rice production more in line with domestic
and foreign markets. Before World War II United States rice
production was less than 25 million hundredweight. After
the war world scarcity of rice encouraged the United States
to fill the gap, and production reached 64 million hundred
weight by 1954.
Over half of the annual American crop was being export
ed. But by 1953 the traditional Asian producers had recover
ed from the war's disruptive effects, and their increasing
production brought stiff competition overseas to American
rice. World prices declined below our support levels and,
we could no longer export at 90 percent parity. Our rice
exports dropped from 25 million hundredweight to 14 million
hundredweight, and a huge surplus started to build up (64,
p. 21). After a record crop in 1954 with a record carry
over, acreage restrictions were imposed in 1955, and rice
acreages were cut approximately 30 percent. An additional
15 percent cut in acreages was effected in 1956,and the maxi
mum acreage was set at 1.65 million acres. In 1962 a 10 per
cent increase was allowed.
Changes in Rice Farm Operations
The imposition of acreage restrictions on rice brought


132
TABLE 6 Continued
3
The soil groups are devised especially for purposes
of this report and are not to be confused with recognized
soil groups used by the Soil Conservation Service. The 4
groups are the same as those developed on Figure 13.
DSoil Units do not necessarily agree with the soil
associations of Figure 13 as the two were mapped at dif
ferent times and using slightly different soil descriptions.
The soil units reported herein were used in the Conserva
tion Needs Inventories and are separated by the writer into
groups to approximate those of Figure 13 as closely as
possible. The soil unit symbols are further defined in
Appendix II.
the bottomland soils predominate. In addition to the bayou
bottomlands, however, this sample area includes the stream
dissected regions adjacent to the bayous and also some
islands of prairie soils and considerable sloping border-
1 and soils.
Fringe I is designed to include the land located off
the Prairie to the west slightly lower than the Prairie and
includes as a part the Bayou Meto bottomlands. The soil
samples agree with this difference in physiography. Soils
that were found to dominate the Prairie terrace are of much
less importance here, and the bottomland soils predominate
with 66.3 percent (Table 6).
Fringe II is devised to compare the dissected northern
fringe of the Prairie as an example area of loessal hills.
The soil samples taken from that area do indeed agree again
with the physiography. In this hilly Fringe II area the
sloping borderland soils are seen to be the most important,
much more so than in any of the other 3 samples.


157
90 percent of which has a slope of less than 1 percent.1
None of it is over 3 percent.
The clay pan that is generally 12 to 18 inches below
the surface extends throughout almost the entire Prairie and
affords the region one of its principal advantages for rice.
When the clay is wetted it swells and results in a texture
so compact that it effectively stops all downward percola
tion of water. Without such a "stopper," large amounts of
irrigation water would be lost through the bottom of the
rice fields. This would increase pumping costs, put added
strain on the water source, and make it more difficult to
maintain stabilized flood depths.
An analysis of overall water control on the Grand
Prairie has been designated as a major objective of this
study. The water problems, and the solutions which give
character to the region, are the subjects of the following
chapter. It will suffice at this point to relate some of
the more significant procedures of water handling as tech
niques of rice farming on the Prairie.
Rice in Arkansas requires about 33 inches of water
under present production methods to produce the heavy yields
for which farmers strive. About 11 inches is supplied by
rainfall during the growing season. The other 22 inches
comes from wells and reservoirs.
1A figure of 89.1 percent was derived using Conserva
tion Needs Inventory sample plot data (Chapter III, Table 4).


17
seat and capital of the Territory. Although it was the
largest town in the Territory at the time its inconvenient
location for administrative purposes made it necessary to
shift the. capital to Little Rock the following year. By
1855 Arkansas Post had lost its position as county seat to
the newly established town of Be Witt. Even though Arkansas
Post was situated on the edge of the Prairie the settlement
had little effect on the Grand Prairie. During the first
half :of the nineteenth century it was the most important of
several small settlements bordering the Prairie while the
Prairie itself remained practically devoid of settlement.
The significant history of the Grand Prairie was to come
later, and not until the turn of the century was the die
to be cast. Today Arkansas Post is a National Monument.
Early use of the Grand Prairie was largely limited to
grazing and some hay sales while the surrounding land was
being cleared and planted to cotton and corn. Halliburton,
writing around 1903, listed the crops of Arkansas County as
cotton, corn, wheat, oats, Irish and sweet potatoes, peas,
and melons (2, p. 6). These were grown on cleared land, not
prairie, which was still considered of little value at the
time. He made no mention of rice.
The Prairie soils, with water problems of extremes -
both poor drainage and desiccation were unsuited to the mode
of agriculture used at the time. Few settlers were attracted.
These few who tried found conditions hard, and many were


32
Figure 4. Virgin prairie grass. The grass
had recently been cut for hay, and regrowth
is only about one-third mature size. The
clumpy nature of growth is evident. Low
broad silt dunes, common on the virgin
prairie, are barely observable in the back
ground.


232
the farmers in the central portion of the Prairie. A con
tinued decline in the water level will cause serious deple
tion in a larger portion of the region.
Since 1953 there has been a concerted effort to in
vestigate possibilities for artificially recharging the
aquifer. A site on the grounds of the University of Arkan
sas Rice Branch Experiment Station 7 miles east of Stuttgart
was chosen for experimental work. The work was done by the
United States Geological Survey in cooperation with the
United States Corps of Engineers and the University of Arkan
sas. The most feasible method of artificial recharge was
found to be through wells, and tests were run using regular
irrigation wells and wells especially constructed for re
charge. The studies were concluded in 1962, and the findings
have recently been published (17) (44-49).
A total of 23 million gallons of water were injected
into the aquifer through 23 test wells. The source of the
water that was injected was a nearby irrigation reservoir
where water had been stored after having been pumped from a
small stream. Problems of sediments plugging both the wells
and the aquifer seem to be the major hinderances to artificial
recharge. To eliminate the problems it would require the in
jection water to be treated for suspended material, dissolved
chemicals, microorganisms, and air and gas containment. In
addition, it was found necessary that the injected water be
chemically compatible with the native water and have approxi
mately the same temperature. If these conditions are not


LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
1. Traverse Specific Land Uses for C! oner aliped
Land Use Divisions 100
2. Sample Area Divisions by Land Use 122
3. Sample Area Divisions by Land Capability
Class and Subclass 126
4. Sample Area Divisions by Slope Class 127
5. Sample Area Divisions by Erosion Class .... 129
6. Sample Area Divisions by Soil Units and
Soi 1 Groups 131
7. Soil Groups by Sample Area Divisions 133
8. Rice Production in the United States, 1964 . 142
9. Comparisons of Cost Per Acre for Water
Seeding by Plane and Dry Land Seeding
by Ground Equipment 154
10. Farm Size and Average Land Investment
Required for Specified Levels of Income
in the Grand Prairie 194
11. Estimated Cost Per Unit-of-Use for Certain
Equipment on Grand Prairie Rice Farms
of Medium Size 197
12. Estimated Costs and Returns Per Acre of
Rice on a Medium Sized Farm on the
Grand Prairie. 201
13. Percent Income Derived from Major Crops
on the Grand Prairie 205
14. Yields and Returns for Non-Irrigated and
Irrigated Soybeans on the Grand Prairie. . 206
15. Number of Farms by Size, Arkansas County . 218
vi


16
significant to the objectives of this study. Background in
formation is desirable for any areal study, but it is par
ticularly so in this case because the nature of the people
had a marked influence on present land use a prime con
sideration in the identification and delineation of the
Grand Prairie as a region.
For years after surrounding land in Arkansas was
settled the Grand Prairie remained unoccupied. The early
settlers in Arkansas came from other areas of the South.
These initial pioneers were accustomed to woodland, and the
grassy expanses of the GrandPrairie were not inviting. To
them, land that would not grow trees was of limited value.
Settlement on the Prairie was not significant until the
turn of the century when rice was successfully introduced.
The first settlement in the vicinity of the Grand
Prairie was established by the French in 1686 at Arkansas
Post. Located on the extreme southern tip of the Prairie
terrace, it was the first permanent white settlement in the
lower Mississippi Valley west of the river. Apparently the
settlement was little more than a center for Indian traders
and hunters until the area was acquired by the United States
in 1804 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. It was described
by Thomas Nuttall in his 1819 travels as "thirty to forty
houses dispersed over the prairie, elevated above the morass
of the river swamps" (3, p. 106). When the Arkansas Territory
was established in 1819 Arkansas Post was made both the county


40
It is this top layer of loess that is responsible for the
term "loessal terrace applied to the Grand Prairie. The
multi-layers of nearly impervious clay and silt below the
loess form an almost continuous covering over the Grand
Prairie region and affords the Prairie some of its unique
char acteristies.
Pleistocene and Recent deposits have not been satis
factorily differentiated in this region. In general the
terraces may be thought of as Pleistocene and the lower al
luvial lands as Recent. This is an oversimplification,
however, and many exceptions exist. Wood fragments from
one well on the Prairie taken at a depth of 50 feet were
dated at approximately 5,500 years, well within the Recent
epoch (44, p. 14).
Streams draining the Interior Highlands and Central
Lowland physiographic provinces of the United States passed
through periods of alternating aggradation and degradation.
The most recent activity has been a slow degradation of the
plain in the Grand Prairie region. Streams flowing toward
the Gulf have eroded the soft materials until only detached
remnants of the former plain remain. As the streams lowered
their beds the residual portions of the plain were left as
slightly elevated terraces. The most nearly continuous
large segment of terrace remaining is that area between White
River and Bayou Meto the Grand Prairie.
Present Topography
On Figure 5 the boundary o