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Consumers can find Mississippi-grown watermelons for their summer celebrations at stores and markets across the state, including these at the Byram Farmers Market in Byram, Mississippi, on June 27, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
June 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Watermelons

RAYMOND, Miss. -- A balance of timely rain and sunny skies is essential for large, sweet watermelons, but too much rain can wreak havoc on the melons and hit producers in the wallet.

Although most of Mississippi's watermelon crop is in good to fair condition, some producers are losing melons because of excess rain.

Fall armyworms plague many Mississippi pastures, lawns and sports fields, but vigilance and prompt treatment can limit their damage. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
June 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests, Insects-Home Lawns, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although 2016 brought unusually heavy infestations of and damage from fall armyworms, vigilance and prompt treatment can limit damage this year.

Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said fall armyworms were a problem in commercial hayfields, home lawns, sports fields, golf courses and commercial landscapes last year.

Cotton across the state has been struggling with excess rainfall but remains in good shape at this point in the season. This cotton was growing in a saturated field June 22, 2017, at Mississippi State University in Starkville. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tropical Storm Cindy did not help the state's cotton crop that struggled with cool and wet weather all spring.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said in mid-June, cotton received about a week of the heat and sun it needs to thrive. Weather before that was not ideal, and rain remains in the forecast.

AFBF Group: Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum, center, met with American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, second from right, June 21 in Starkville, Mississippi. Duvall visited MSU for meetings with university leaders and tours of campus facilities. The meeting also included, left to right, MSU Associate Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Bill Herndon; AFBF Director of Executive Communications and Projects Lynne Finnerty; MSU Vic
June 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Farming

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation co-hosted leaders of the largest nonprofit farmers' organization in the U.S. this week.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and others with the Mississippi Farm Bureau met with agricultural producers and toured MSU research and Extension facilities across the state during their visit.

Amanda Stone, dairy specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, studies the herd at the MSU Bearden Dairy Unit and brings the latest research-based information to the state’s dairy producers. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture, Dairy

By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service

Providing expertise and knowledge to Mississippi dairy producers was not always a career goal for dairy specialist Amanda Stone.

Stone has been an assistant professor since August 2016 with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, where she works directly with students, dairy producers and MSU Extension agents.

Warren County Master Gardener Yolanda Horne checks on worms living in a plastic bin on June 13, 2017. The worms were part of an exhibit on composting at the Know Your Roots: Grow Your Business workshop in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bonnie Coblentz)
June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Community, Master Gardener, Lawn and Garden

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- Mississippians from a wide variety of backgrounds spent a day thinking of new ways to use landscapes and gardens to bring more profit and better value to agricultural enterprises and historic homes.

Know Your Roots: Build Your Business brought 29 participants together for the daylong workshop June 13 at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center. Sandy Havard, Warren County agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, coordinated the event.

Grain sorghum emerges in this Oktibbeha County field June 14, 2017. Mississippi growers are projected to plant 10,000 acres of the crop this year, which would be a record low. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Grains

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Insect pressure and a stagnant market are pushing Mississippi growers away from planting grain sorghum.

Compared with 2015, when the state had 120,000 acres of sorghum, producers harvested only about 11,000 acres of the crop in 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasted they would plant only 10,000 acres this year. If that prediction holds, 2017 will mark an 88-year low for sorghum production.

June 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages, Lawn and Garden, Natural Resources

NEWTON, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service invites anyone interested in growing the state wildflower, Coreopsis, and other beauties to the July 13 Wildflower Field Day.

The event will be at the Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station in Newton and will include morning seminars and an afternoon field tour. It is sponsored by Keep Mississippi Beautiful, which is providing lunch.

Topics include native seed production, backyard habitats and milkweed management. Speakers are MSU Extension Service specialists and an industry representative.

This 2016 rice field is growing the Thad variety of foundation seed stock at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, Mississippi. Most of the 2017 rice crop is at or beyond this growth stage that is ready for floodwaters. (File photo by Mississippi Foundation Seed Stock/Randy Vaughan)
June 9, 2017 - Filed Under: Rice

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi growers have flooded many of their rice fields now, but not before rains caused crop management challenges.

Bobby Golden, a rice and soil fertility agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that even though rice is flooded for the majority of the growing season, excess rains and wet weather can complicate crop establishment and management.

June 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Precision Agriculture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cover crop economics and seed mixture considerations will be two of the many topics covered at this year's Seed Technology Short Course.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station invite seed industry professionals, producers and crop consultants to attend the course Aug. 1-2 at the Bost Extension Center.

Flood waters from the Mississippi River cover this Warren County soybean field north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on June 2, 2017. Recent excess rains and river flooding have some corn, cotton and soybean fields under water. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
June 2, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn, Cotton, Soybeans

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Although favorable spring weather helped many producers plant their corn, cotton and soybean crops early, most growers now need fields to dry out.

Well-timed early spring rains helped corn producers avoid irrigating their crops, but flooding from recent excess rain will force some to think about replanting with soybeans.

Jersey cows huddle outside the Joe Bearden Dairy Research Center in Sessums, Mississippi in February. Primarily due to a lower number of dairy cows, the state’s milk production in the first quarter of 2017 was down from the previous year. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
May 26, 2017 - Filed Under: Dairy

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fewer dairy cows than last year roam Mississippi pastures, so the state's milk production continues to steadily decline.

In the first quarter of 2017, milk production was down 7 percent from that time a year ago. From January to March of 2016, producers collected 42 million pounds of milk compared to 39 million pounds this year.

May 25, 2017 - Filed Under: Soils, Soil Testing

New manager of operations Keri Jones recently joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Laboratory, and she's ready to enhance the unit's efficiency."

"My primary goal is to provide accurate soil analysis in a timely manner," said Jones, an Extension associate who has worked in the MSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences since 2016. "I hope to improve the overall efficiency of the lab as well as update soil nutrient application recommendations."

An upcoming Farm Fresh and Healthy Tour in and around Starkville, Mississippi, will show participants where their food comes from before it ends up at a local market. Here, Debra Shafer and her grandson Sam Shafer of Starkville browse produce at the Starkville Farmers Market May 2, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting a mom's day out with a farm twist on June 13.

A group of 15 mothers of school-aged children will participate in a Farm Fresh and Healthy Tour in and around Starkville. The event includes a tour of a local producer's farm and a visit to a livestock production facility, such as a beef, poultry or dairy operation.

After the tours, Chef Jay Yates from the Veranda will offer a cooking demonstration.

May 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Weed Control for Crops

PONTOTOC, Miss. -- Row crop producers can learn best practices for adding auxin herbicides to their weed control tool box at a field day June 29.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host the event at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station, located at 8320 Hwy. 15 South in Pontotoc.

May 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Organic Fruit and Vegetables

VERONA, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University vegetable expert is part of a project designed to support and strengthen organic farming in the Southeast.

Casey Barickman, an assistant horticulture professor with the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, is working with colleagues from Tuskegee University, Auburn University, North Carolina State University, the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network and Oregon State University to give organic growers the information they need to develop efficient production systems.

These blueberries at the Blueberry Patch in Starkville, Mississippi, are shown in a fruit coloring stage on May 17, 2017. Mostly warm winter conditions caused this year’s harvest to be unusually early in most parts of the state. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit

WAYNESBORO, Miss. -- The demand for fresh Mississippi blueberries may grow this year after a mid-March freeze hampered production in neighboring states.

Freezing temperatures during the crop's early growth stage on farms east of the state, especially in Georgia and North Carolina, caused production losses of up to 50 percent.

Meanwhile, 85 percent of Mississippi's blueberry crop was either in good or excellent condition as of May 15, according to a weekly crop progress and condition report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

May 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Community, Economic Development

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- Mississippians trying to turn the highest business profit from the beautiful architecture of their historic homes can learn ways to maximize the landscape through a Mississippi State University Extension Service course.

The MSU Extension Service is offering the daylong Know Your Roots: Grow Your Business workshop in Vicksburg June 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center. The registration deadline is June 1.

May 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Beef

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Cattle producers in south Mississippi can learn about techniques to improve herd health and advancements in production systems during an upcoming field day in Raymond.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are hosting the Beef Cattle Herd Health Field Day on June 16 at the MSU Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station. The station is located at 1676 Brown Loam Road. The field day begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.

Yellow squash is among the fruits and vegetables available for purchase at the Starkville Farmers Market on May 2, 2017. Early spring temperatures allowed some truck crops producers to plant their fruit and vegetable crops a little early this year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets

RAYMOND, Miss. -- This year's early spring temperatures allowed some fruit and vegetable growers to plant their crops a little earlier than usual.

Jeremy Maness, Mississippi State University Extension agent in Smith County, said growers in his county have not experienced any problems so far despite a late freeze.

"Everything is going well," he said. "Tomatoes grown in greenhouses or high tunnels are ready now. We project watermelons will be ready around mid- to late June, and field tomatoes should be ready to start coming off the vine around the first week of June."

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