- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Heavy rains throughout northeast Arkansas have delayed the start of the winter wheat harvest and damaged other crops in the state.

State cooperative extension service officials say the weather has delayed the harvest by at least a week. Harvest typically starts at the end of May in southern Arkansas and moves north.

Officials say the rains can reduce overall quality grain quality after the crop matures and lowers the price producers can sell their grain for.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report says 96 percent of the state’s winter wheat is coloring - well ahead of this time last year, when only 79 percent of the crop was ready to harvest.

Officials say rain and hail have also damaged soybean and rice crops in parts of the state.

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