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News From 2004

June 11, 2004 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- "Pretty" is a useful adjective for describing a girlfriend or a Mississippi sunset, but this year's corn fields are producing similar admiration from crop watchers dreaming of a second year of record yields.

June 10, 2004 - Filed Under: Soil Testing

By Bonnie Coblentz

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soil sampling provides a classic example of how a "one size fits all" approach to farming often is not a good idea.

Soil sampling involves taking small amounts of soil from representative areas of a garden or field and chemically processing it. The process determines the crop nutrient status of the soil, and provides a basis for recommendations on improving its production capability.

The native butterly weed Ascelpias tuberosa features bright orange flowers that will attract Monarch butterflies and put on a show the whole family will enjoy.
June 10, 2004 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

I made the drive to Aberdeen a few days ago and was amazed at the iridescent orange along the roadside.

There's no missing this bright orange whether you are driving the Natchez Trace or some busier thoroughfare. It also will be noticed by the Monarch butterfly. The plant is the native butterfly weed Ascelpias tuberosa.

June 10, 2004 - Filed Under: Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In a country where animal agriculture makes up nearly one-third of the gross national product, quality veterinary care is a life-or-death need.

That's why veterinarians like Dr. Cory Langston volunteer to visit Third-World countries and assist with various issues affecting the animals there. Langston, a professor of clinical sciences at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, recently took a 10-day trip to Mongolia to evaluate laboratory needs and make recommendations for improvement.

June 4, 2004 - Filed Under: Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dairy producers finally have good reasons to celebrate June, National Dairy Month, as milk prices reach record levels and their heifers bring top dollar.

Mixing daylilies is still fun, but the trend is massing the single colors.
June 3, 2004 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

If you thought masses of single-colored daylilies wouldn't put on a show, look around because it's happening everywhere. The daylily has risen to star landscape status, and I'm not just talking about Stella d'Oro.

Whatever color scheme you want to use, mass-planting daylilies can add sizzle to the flower bed when combined with annuals or perennials, or used in drifts in front of evergreen shrubs.

June 3, 2004 - Filed Under: Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most towns do not boast about losing, but West Point residents earned some serious bragging rights in a weight-loss challenge this year.

Prompted by Mississippi's recognition as the "fattest state in the nation," Clay County Extension Director Donna Cliett wanted to reverse the growing trend. In a showing of sincere commitment to healthier lifestyles, community residents lost nearly 6,000 pounds during the first three months of 2004.

June 3, 2004 - Filed Under: Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- This year, June Dairy Month celebrates the "Power of 3" -- the number of dairy servings needed each day and the number of weeks experts say it takes to develop a healthy dairy habit.

Incorporating milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products into daily eating routines helps build strong bones and keep bodies healthy. The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association encourages families to serve these healthy foods at daily snack times for three weeks to give children and adults the opportunity to develop this healthy eating habit.

May 28, 2004 - Filed Under: Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dry conditions during March enabled growers to plant much of the 2004 rice crop ahead of schedule and produce hopes for another good season -- this year with better price potential.

Mississippi rice growers harvested a record average in 2003 of 6,800 pounds per acre. The average price for the market year was $6.65 per hundredweight, which was a couple dollars more than the previous two years, but still low.

May 27, 2004 - Filed Under: Green Industry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wholesale greenhouse growers, retailers and landscape professionals from Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas will benefit from an upcoming conference at Hinds Community College in Raymond.

The Mid-South Greenhouse Growers' Conference at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center will begin with a 1 p.m. general session on June 8 and conclude at noon on June 10. The educational programs are co-sponsored by Mississippi State University's Extension Service, the Louisiana State University AgCenter and the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

May 27, 2004 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A veteran crop scientist has been named head of Mississippi State University's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Michael Collins assumed his new duties in April, following more than 25 years in research, instruction and administration at the University of Kentucky and the University of Wisconsin.

May 27, 2004 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Melissa Mixon is the new associate vice president of Mississippi State University's Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, pending approval by the board of trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning at their June meeting.

Her responsibilities will include initiating Division procedures for planning and resource development, goal setting and the execution of programming within the Division. Special emphasis is to be placed on multi-disciplinary collaboration across the university.

Blue Wave petunia, Aztec Silver Magic verbena and AngelMist Purple Stripe angelonia make for a great combination planting to complement this spectacular water feature.
May 27, 2004 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

In the last 10 years in Mississippi, I have witnessed an incredible explosion in the petunia's popularity. Growers love its toughness and much longer season of performance.

Petunias make great landscape plants that you can set out any time during our growing season, even in the fall. So if you find high-quality transplants at the garden center, don't hesitate to buy and plant them.

May 27, 2004 - Filed Under: Leadership

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A leadership program that focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses offers individuals the opportunity to handle issues and problems that arise in their communities.

May 21, 2004 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some of the state's cotton crop suffered significantly from recent rains, while for other fields it was an easy hurdle to overcome.

In the Delta, one of the least affected areas, some cotton is behind in development but should catch up by the time it reaches maturity.

The bog sage begs to be planted in an old-fashioned cottage garden in front of a white picket fence draped with an antique rose like Zepherine Droughin or perhaps New Dawn. Or try it with Early Sunrise coreopsis, Becky Shasta daisies or Bravado purple coneflowers.
May 20, 2004 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

If I remember correctly, it was Juliet who wondered, "What's in a name?" When it comes to flowers, a name can be quite important.

Take, for instance, one of my favorite salvias, the bog sage. This beautiful, sky blue, spiky flower has to suffer the indignation of being called the bog sage.

May 20, 2004 - Filed Under: About Extension, Community

BILOXI -- Extension agents spend most of their time working with youth and providing research-based advice in peaceful settings, but they are increasingly finding themselves in the middle of heated debates as rural issues collide with Mississippi's expanding populations.

Larry Oldham is a soil specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service who has seen more than his share of contentious meetings. Those experiences prompted him to help organize a recent training session to help agents lead environmental discussions.

May 20, 2004 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Equine

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Keeping up with equine vaccination schedules may seem like an expensive inconvenience, but protected horses likely will avoid more serious and costly health problems.

May 20, 2004 - Filed Under: Soils, Lawn and Garden, Soil Testing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University experts say applying fertilizer to plants should be neither random nor intimidating, and offer homeowners a few recommendations on how to take the guesswork out of the job.

Norman Winter, horticulturist with MSU's Extension Service, said knowing when and what kind of fertilizer to apply is not that difficult. The first step is to get a soil test.

May 14, 2004 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi is growing the earliest crop of soybeans it has ever planted as weather has been very cooperative through mid-May.

Alan Blaine, Extension soybean specialist with Mississippi State University, said farmers started planting soybeans around March 10 rather than the end of March, when planting usually begins. Nearly 80 percent of the crop was planted by the end of April. As of May 9, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service reported 89 percent of the crop in the ground.