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News From 2004

August 5, 2004 - Filed Under: About Extension, Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A unique Web site is giving radio stations and the general public audio reports from Mississippi State University and several other land-grant universities. is a portal site that enables users to access and search the combined programming of the 19 participating universities. Information is available on a variety of topics, including gardening, agribusiness, environmental news, health and nutrition, and rural life.

July 30, 2004 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Low shrimp prices and high fuel costs may share the blame for the reduction in commercial fishing boats in Mississippi waters.

Aerial surveys by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources on opening day June 9 revealed 538 shrimp boats in Mississippi waters compared to 1,067 on the first day last year.

Richard Gollott of Golden Gulf Fisheries in Biloxi said shrimp prices are at 1960s levels and fuel costs have skyrocketed.

July 29, 2004 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Two upcoming meetings will help prepare growers and vendors for the new farmers market coming to Jackson next spring.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce are organizing the evening meetings. The first meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 at the Forrest County Extension Office on Sullivan Drive in Hattiesburg. The second meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 at the Agriculture and Forestry Museum on Lakeland Drive in Jackson. Each meeting will last one hour.

July 29, 2004 - Filed Under: Forages, Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station's annual Cattlemen's Field and Hay Day is scheduled for Aug. 14.

The experiment station is located off Hwy 18 west of Raymond in the Oakley community.

Registration is at 8 a.m. and the program begins at 8:30 with a beef quality assurance injection site lesion demonstration by Dr. Terry Engelken of Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and Brandon Carter with Elanco.

July 29, 2004 - Filed Under: Soybeans, Plant Diseases

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The battle against an inevitable soybean disease has begun in Mississippi, with researchers and specialists ready to attack rust once it appears in the state.

Soybean rust is a fungal disease spread by spores. It can be carried on the wind for hundreds of miles, transported on people or machinery, or spread by infected plant material. Left untreated, it completely defoliates and often kills a plant, reducing yields by as much as 80 percent.

Featuring larger flowers and a sweet aroma, Peach ginger is known usually as Hedychium angustifolium, but has been reclassified as H. coccineum.
July 29, 2004 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

One of the lyrics in a Jimmy Buffett song says, "I have a Caribbean soul I can barely control," and I must admit to the affliction, too!

Sure, the water and the laid-back atmosphere are great, but the plant life is what I love. It was in the Caribbean that I first discovered a passion for gingers, especially hedychiums.

July 29, 2004 - Filed Under: Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University veterinary researcher is enlisting the help of mice to unlock the mystery of a mental disorder that affects more than 2 million American adults.

Jeffrey Eells, an assistant professor with MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, recently received a $55,000 grant from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. Eells' study focuses on a strain of mice that have a gene mutation similar to that found in schizophrenic humans.

July 29, 2004 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Veterinary practices for years largely ignored dental problems, but a movement within the profession now is giving it the attention it deserves.

Dr. Bill Nalley, veterinarian with Animal Care Hospital in Long Beach, said periodontal disease is the most common disease in small animals.

July 23, 2004 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- June rains made it hard for turfgrass producers to do any work, but weather the rest of the year has been good to the industry.

Wayne Wells, turfgrass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said rains made mowing impossible at times and made conditions poor for lifting sod.

"There were some leaf diseases caused by the rain, but surprisingly we have not had much insect or disease problems this year," Wells said. "I think growers have been pretty pleased with what they've been able to do this year."

Mojo's Gem and Illumination offer the gardener great creamy-gold and green variegation on a vigorous groundcover or vining plant that will hang gracefully from a basket or cascade over the rim of a mixed container.
July 22, 2004 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Cut Flowers and Houseplants

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

One of the hottest plants for container gardens is the old-fashioned vinca. Maybe I should not say old-fashioned because the popularity is coming from selections like Illumination and Mojo's Gem.

It seems like it was only yesterday that the word vinca brought to mind the Madagascar periwinkle, now known botanically as Catharanthus, the common periwinkle we use as a groundcover. Now we look at the common periwinkle as a hot, new plant for large, mixed containers.

July 22, 2004 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The new school year provides parents with an opportunity to help their children establish sound study habits to improve chances for academic success.

Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said good study habits are best learned early in a child's academic career. Older students also may benefit from parental encouragement before encountering problems in their schoolwork.

July 22, 2004 - Filed Under: Landscape Architecture, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Homeowners know summertime means mowing time, but it is also the time to improve the health of the lawn and prepare it for fall.

Wayne Wells, turfgrass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said water, nutrients, proper mowing, and pest and disease management are the four keys to having a good lawn.

"Summer is the time to grow grass, and measures can be taken now to catch up for missed work in the spring or to prepare the turf for winter," Wells said.

Rick Snyder, Mississippi State University research and Extension horticulturist, examines a tomato plant for signs of disease after a rain at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, Miss.
July 16, 2004 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Vegetable Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Diseases have challenged Mississippi tomatoes throughout the 2004 vegetable season, forcing growers to work harder to produce adequate yields and quality.

Rick Snyder, Mississippi State University research and Extension horticulturist in Crystal Springs, said the rains and high humidity triggered more disease problems this year than normal. Tomato spotted wilt virus, which is impacted by thrips populations rather than weather, was especially challenging.

The hyacinth bean is an environmentally friendly vine to grow with low insect and disease pressures. Plant the seed adjacent to a sturdy support structure for climbing such as a fence, trellis or pergola.
July 15, 2004 - Filed Under: Vegetable Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The hyacinth bean is one of those vines that, once it starts growing in the fall, everyone wishes they had planted. If you don't want to be left out, get yours started quickly.

The hyacinth bean was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, and you also will love it once you start growing it. This heirloom, also known as Egyptian Bean, Indian Bean and Bonavist, originates in tropical Africa and once had the botanical name Dolichos lablab. The name now in favor is Lablab purureus.

July 15, 2004 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting, Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most people ignore eating disorders until a celebrity, close friend or relative falls victim. Awareness is an important first step in reducing this physical and emotional threat before it is too late.

July 15, 2004 - Filed Under: Biotechnology, Trees

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Loblolly pine is the primary source of pulpwood for the entire U.S. paper industry and the most economically important crop of any kind in the Southeast.

Despite its economic importance, little is known about the genome of loblolly pine. The term genome refers to the DNA that defines an organism, including its genes and the DNA sequences containing "blueprints" for all the heritable characteristics of the organism. In short, the genome is what makes a human a human, a cat a cat and a pine tree a pine tree.

July 9, 2004 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's soybeans endured excess rains during the first half of the 2004 season and are plunging into the homestretch in surprisingly good shape.

"It is amazing how this crop has weathered the wet conditions. It helped that the bulk of the crop is early and has a more mature root system," said Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "It remains important to identify any diseases quickly and determine the best way to address problems."

In all but the extreme southern coastal Mississippi, the bougainvillea will have to be treated as an annual or grown in a container for protection during the winter. They bloom easily in containers and can be kept pot-bound for a long time.
July 8, 2004 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Cut Flowers and Houseplants

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

When the intense heat of summer sets in, we often find it is tropical plants that explode with color around the home. One of the most floriferous is the bougainvillea, which has hundreds of almost-iridescent-colored flowers.

These colorful flowers are actually three bracts, or modified leaves, and surround a small white or yellow tubular flower. This tubular flower is a delight to the darting ruby-throated hummingbird that will come to feast on the nectar.

July 8, 2004 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- College-bound students know that extracurricular activity looks good on college entrance and scholarship applications, and there is an award program that can help them kill two birds with one stone.

The Congressional Award program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1979 to encourage young people in leadership and personal development. The Mississippi State University Extension Service has been involved with the program for 11 years helping state youth reach goals they set for themselves.

July 8, 2004 - Filed Under: Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Outdoor physical activities in late summer and early fall can be challenging or even deadly if Mississippians are not careful to avoid heat illnesses, and children may be at the most risk.

More than 300 people die annually from heat-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the people who end up in emergency rooms for heat illnesses and dehydration are children.