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Arkansas: Heat and heavy rains delay watermelon and peach harvests

Peach and watermelon growers in Arkansas are reporting delayed harvests and a drop in crop quality because of unusual summer weather. July has been the third hottest recorded since 1895, according to the USDA's weekly weather and crop bulletin. According to preliminary data provided by the National Centers for Environmental Information, the contiguous US experienced its 3rd-hottest and 55th-driest July since 1895.

Much of northwest and central Arkansas remain in severe drought, with pockets of extreme drought in the northwest and southwest corners of the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of August 4. The Delta region is still largely in moderate drought.

Peaches are normally harvested from late June to early July in Arkansas, but this year, the peach harvest is expected to continue through this month. Recent rains aren't really helping watermelon crops either as the harvest season for watermelons is already winding down; picking is typically in July.


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