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June 26, 1998 - Filed Under: Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber, Watermelons

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi watermelon growers may be frustrated with the drought that caused low numbers, but consumers are enjoying a sweeter taste from the 1998 crop.

Dr. David Nagel, horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the sunny days without rain resulted in smaller melons with more sugar.

June 25, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Throughout the South they are called gazing balls, gazing globes and garden globes. You have probably seen those brightly colored Christmas-like balls in the landscape and wondered what they were all about. Are they heavy, are they breakable and what do you do with them?

June 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's unpredictable weather is keeping farmers guessing, and recent hail damage is forcing some growers to make their toughest decisions.

County agents and specialists with Mississippi State University's Extension Service have been busy across the state during this year's crop season. A cool, wet spring followed by the hotter and drier than normal months of May and June produced two sets of challenges, but recent hail storms may have dealt the hardest blows yet.

June 18, 1998 - Filed Under: Herb Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Basil is as pretty as a coleus in the flowerbed, yet yields the key ingredient to many favorite dishes. Whether you say "bay-zil" or "baa-zil," we can agree on one thing. Juicy tomato chunks mixed with olive oil, freshly torn basil and garlic spooned over hot pasta is a true feast.

June 15, 1998 - Filed Under: Waste Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Livestock producers, especially those involved in swine, dairy, and poultry operations, are seeking answers from Mississippi State University researchers about the proper storage and use of animal waste as a soil nutrient.

June 15, 1998 - Filed Under: Insects-Pests

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- What works in a spray bottle to control insects on tomato plants in the back yard also works to control cotton's No. 1 pest when sprayed from an airplane.

Malathion is a very common insecticide used by cities to control mosquitoes, gardeners to control vegetable pests, homeowners to control cockroaches, farmers to control boll weevils and pet owners to control pet pests. Even the concentration is similar for each of these applications.

June 15, 1998 - Filed Under: Community

By Marcela Cartagena

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite France's 400 varieties of cheese which could confuse a mouse, thousands of consumers consider Mississippi State University's scarce variety of cheeses to be among the best.

"There are so many good cheeses available to consumers, but our cheeses rank among the best," said Dr. Charles White, head of MSU's Food Science and Technology Department. "Our cheese is made with high quality raw milk from university cows."

June 15, 1998 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore handed state 4-H leaders a ceremonial check for $900,000 June 10 night, with the promise that the real money will follow shortly.

"I bring tonight your portion of a million dollars," Moore told the about 850 4-H youth, volunteers and staff at the close of 4-H Congress at Mississippi State University. "Your portion is $900,000 to help me get involved and save young people."

June 15, 1998 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats, mice, hamsters and gerbils are popular in pet stores, but taking home and caring for some of these animals can be difficult.

Dr. John Harkness, laboratory animal veterinarian at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said packaged pet foods do not always meet pet rodents' dietary needs.

"Owners of small rodents, especially of guinea pigs, usually buy feed from the colorful and often overpriced array of boxes and bags available in retail pet stores," Harkness said.

June 12, 1998 - Filed Under: Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi wheat farmers weathered a late cold snap and rain at harvest time to produce a good wheat crop for the year.

Dr. Erick Larson, grain crop specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said average wheat yields across the state should be about 40 to 45 bushels per acre this year. Last year, farmers harvested an average of 42 bushels an acre.

"Wheat yields across the state have ranged from 25 to 90 bushels an acre, depending on the soil type and whether it was managed for optimum yields," Larson said.

June 11, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

While "in the heat of the night" can refer to crime and passion, it also can be a time of miracles for the Southern gardener. Night blooming plants are very exotic yet much overlooked by everyone but the ardent gardeners.

June 5, 1998 - Filed Under: Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent hot temperatures have slowed milk production around the state, making it a little difficult for Mississippi dairy farmers to celebrate June Dairy Month.

Dr. Reuben Moore, dairy specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the ideal temperature for dairy cattle is 55 degrees. Recent temperatures in the 90s have stressed some herds.

"When temperatures reach about 85 degrees, milk production declines," Moore said. "If temperatures don't drop at night, cows have difficulty recovering from the day's high heat."

June 4, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Having lived all but two years of my life with alkaline soils and lots of water, I relished the opportunity to come to Mississippi a little over three years ago. The chance to finally grow azaleas, camellias and dogwoods was icing on the cake.

June 1, 1998 - Filed Under: Community

By Kelli McPhail

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Shoes, purses, suits, dresses, hats, household linens and other historical memorabilia help students at Mississippi State University step back in time to study apparel design, textiles and merchandising.

The Historic Costume and Textile Collection in the MSU School of Human Sciences is the resource behind these history lessons. The collection, made up of over 1,000 items, ranges from the 1800s to the 1970s and links students to the study of Mississippi fashion.

June 1, 1998 - Filed Under: Insects-Pet Pests

By Kelli McPhail

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Pets are a vital part of many families, but creating an environment where animals and owners can live without fleas may take a little extra cleaning inside and outside the home.

Dr. Richard Hopper, a Mississippi State University Extension Service veterinarian, said fleas do not just live on animals, but they also live in the animal's environment.

"Fleas drop off where pets play, sleep and eat," Hopper said. "Keeping all areas of your house and yard clean is important to keep fleas from taking over."

June 1, 1998 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's miles of waterways make boating one of the more popular summer pastimes, but without caution, boating can be dangerous.

In 1997, 20 people died in boating accidents. According to figures released by Elizabeth Raymond, boating law administrator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the state had 122 boating accidents last year. Of these, 52 involved personal water craft.

June 1, 1998 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Lowering weight limits on roads may not benefit taxpayers as much as it appears when it puts more log trucks on the road and causes timber prices to fall.

Mississippi law currently has set an 80,000 pound weight limit on roads. A harvest permit can be bought for $25 allowing a 4,000 pound tolerance above this limit. County supervisors can change the weight limit on county roads, and some are considering lowering it to 40,000 or 57,600 pounds.

June 1, 1998 - Filed Under: Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A test that predicts a rooster's fertility may one day dramatically impact the poultry industry.

Mississippi's poultry holds the state's top agriculture spot, with a current farm gate value of about $1.4 billion. Research in this field can propel the industry even higher.

Dr. Chris McDaniel, poultry scientist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, has applied a simple fertility test to the poultry industry. His results indicate the industry could increase egg fertility rates by 5 percent.

May 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cotton crop is off to a good start this year with boll weevil treatments set to begin in early June.

Dr. Blake Layton, entomologist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said cotton pin-head square applications should begin the first week of June in some places, but most of the crop will be treated the following week.

May 28, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

"They re-seed prolifically" is a warning I give quite often when discussing various plants. Even though I said "warning," more and more gardeners are looking at it as a blessing, and the same when we tell them a particular plant may have invasive tendencies. It seems gardeners are ready for those plants that are so happy to "be fruitful and multiply" as the Bible says.