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News From 2012

A horse can be a magical gift, but a first-time owner needs to learn about the work and money involved with this beautiful, long-term companion. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
November 8, 2012 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Many children dream of finding a sweet pony or their first horse on Christmas morning, but parents need to be aware of the ownership commitment and cost before granting that wish.

“Most first-time owners do not know how to take care of a horse or what will be required in the years to come,” said Dr. David Christiansen, assistant clinical professor with Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Many people don’t realize that horses can live 30 years or more, so the purchase could become a very long-term investment.”

November 5, 2012 - Filed Under: Insects, Pests, About Extension

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The Mississippi State University Extension Service recently gained national recognition for a program designed to protect the state’s timberlands from an insect pest.

Butterflies can't resist the fire-engine-red flowers of the Pineapple Sage known as Golden Delicious. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
November 5, 2012 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

It requires planning ahead in the spring, but one way to add color and life to fall gardens is to welcome butterflies.

Butterflies are among the most entertaining creatures. If you plant the right flowers, you leave an open invitation for them to visit your garden. Butterflies are still around as we move into the late fall, and they are hurriedly investigating the flowers blooming in gardens.

Nearly one-third of Mississippi's winter wheat crop was planted by Nov. 1. Good prices have increased wheat acres in the state. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications)
November 2, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Growing winter wheat in Mississippi leaves no rest for the weary, as planting begins just as soon as the summer row crops are out of the field.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted the state’s winter wheat was 29 percent planted by Oct. 31. It is on schedule for the five-year average, but a good bit behind last year’s early start that saw 45 percent of the wheat planted before November.

November 2, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Christmas Trees

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Christmas tree growers were thinking about the holidays when Hurricane Isaac made landfall Aug. 28, knowing the winds and rains would bring additional work before trees would be ready for the 2012 harvest.

Stephen Dicke, Extension forestry professor at Mississippi State University’s Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond, said storm damage should not dampen sales of Mississippi’s Christmas trees.

Beef jerky produced by Mississippi State University's Meat Laboratory, such as this product available Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Sales Store at MSU, went to National Guard troops stationed in Afghanistan in a special care package sent by the Mississippi Beef Council. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
November 1, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Beef, Community

By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – National Guard troops stationed in Afghanistan enjoyed a taste of home when the Mississippi Beef Council sent them a special care package.

The council supported the production of beef jerky by the Mississippi State University Meat Laboratory to send to National Guard units engaged in helping native farmers improve agricultural practices.

Casey Coleman of Tupelo and Patricia Pendergrass of Louisville review the agenda while waiting for the beginner beekeeper workshop to begin Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at the annual Mississippi Beekeepers Association conference, held at Mississippi State University. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Keri Collins Lewis)
November 1, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Beekeeping, Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Experts from across the United States gathered recently to share their insights with Mississippi’s growing group of commercial and hobby beekeepers at a conference held at Mississippi State University.

Beekeeping in Mississippi is a booming trend. In 2011, revenues from honey production in the state had increased to almost $3.2 million -- an increase of 152.15 percent since 2007. A survey of the state’s beekeepers showed the average respondent had less than three years of experience keeping bees.

Mississippi State University researchers found an increase in rainfall capture when rice producers maintain a less-than-full flood, a management decision that reduces water and energy use without impacting rice quality or yield. (Photo by DREC Communications/Rebekah Ray)
November 1, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice, Irrigation

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Ten years of research indicates that a water management strategy can save rice producers money on fuel and conserve water without hurting yields.

Joe Massey, a scientist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and professor in Mississippi State University’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, has focused his career on water conservation in agriculture.

November 1, 2012 - Filed Under: Technology

Several friends who hunt said my recent column on taking technology to the deer stand omitted their favorite new devices: e-readers or tablets. When the hunting activity slows down in the woods, some hunters slip out their tablets and quietly read till it’s time to spring into action.

With the launch of the new iPad Mini in October and seven new Kindles from Amazon, consumers are on the hunt to decide which tablet-sized option is best for them. The deer generally don’t have a preference as long as the tablet keeps hunters from focusing on them.

October 31, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Beef, Equine

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The highest bidders will take away top-quality horses and beef cattle from the Mississippi State University research herds after a public auction on Nov. 15.

John Blanton
October 30, 2012 - Filed Under: Livestock, Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi State University named John Blanton Jr., a researcher with 20 years of experience in animal and food science, head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences.

He has been as a research program manager at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Okla., since 2008. He gained faculty and administrative experience at Texas Tech University and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, along with industry experience from KVS Service in Georgetown, Del., and Intervet Inc., now Schering-Plough, in Millsboro, Del.

October 29, 2012 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A Mississippi State University agricultural economist will be a featured speaker at a special workshop on laws and regulations affecting row crop producers.

John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the MSU Extension Service, will speak at “What You Should Know: Laws and Regulations Affecting Row Crow Producers,” an event focused on crop insurance, the Farm Bill reauthorization and environmental regulations. The workshop, hosted by the National Agricultural Law Center, will be from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 1 at the Clarksdale Train Station in Clarksdale.

October 29, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Fruit

JACKSON – Mississippi’s fruit and vegetable growers can learn from experts and experienced producers at the annual Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Trade Show in Jackson Nov. 28 and 29.

This year’s conference is cohosted by the Mississippi Agritourism Association.

Golden thryallis blooms from summer until early winter with very bright flowers highlighted by brilliant red stamens and pistils. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
October 29, 2012 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a new plant I found for the fall landscape called golden thryallis. We planted some in our landscape at Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, and I have it growing in a large container at my house.

After making seasonal observations of golden thryallis, I have come to the conclusion that it’s a must-have plant for our Mississippi landscapes.

A grower in Oktibbeha County, Miss., has hay bales in the field and fall grasses already coming up on Oct. 26, 2012. This year's hay crop has the potential to be the fourth most valuable crop in the state, behind soybeans, corn and cotton. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Tim McAlavy)
October 26, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s hay producers increased acreage and yields this season in spite of variable rainfall across the state.

“Hay production systems in the central part of the state had a really good season,” said Rocky Lemus, Mississippi State University Extension Service forage specialist. “We’ve been blessed with quite a bit of rain in central Mississippi, and the hay crop has been better than average.

Stanley Wise, Union County Extension director, used a GPS unit to map out a maze for Andy Clark to mow into his sorghum-Sudangrass field at Clark Farms in Chickasaw County on Sept. 12, 2012. Clark added the agritourism business to his sweet potato operation and has found grass easier to grow for his maze than corn. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey
October 25, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agri-tourism

MISSISSIPPI STATE – With persistence, hard work and a little help from technology, one Mississippi sweet potato farmer has created an unusual maze.

“My farm is not that big, and after the disaster in 2009 when we lost about 90 percent of our sweet potato crop, we were looking for something else to do to make a little bit of extra money,” said Andy Clark of Clark Farms near Vardaman.

Clark and his wife Laura planted their first corn maze in 2010. Hot, dry weather prevented the corn from growing well in 2011.

October 25, 2012 - Filed Under: Technology, White-Tailed Deer

Hunting season is upon us here in Mississippi and across the Southeast. As hunters shake out their camouflage and prepare their deer stands, many find technology can make a big difference.

My friend John Long is the Mississippi 4-H shooting sports specialist, and he tells me that technology has revolutionized the hunting experience. From Global Positioning Systems, or GPS, to trail cameras and online ballistic calculators, technology is making its mark with hunters.

October 25, 2012 - Filed Under: Family, Food Safety

MISSISSIPPI STATE – For children with food allergies and sensitivities, Halloween dangers can be lurking in their candy sacks, not just in their imaginations.

Brent Fountain, nutrition specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said people with diabetes or allergies and sensitivities to such things as peanuts and gluten must be extra careful about snacks.

October 24, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forages

RAYMOND -- Forage experts from seven states will present current research and best management practices during a combined field day and conference Nov. 29 and 30.

The event will kick off at 1 p.m. Nov. 29 with the Brown Loam Field Day at the Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station in Raymond. The field day will dismiss at 4 p.m.

The 2012 Mississippi Forage and Grassland Conference will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 30 at the McKenzie Arena in the T.H. Kendal Agriculture Complex in Raymond. The conference will dismiss at 3 p.m.

October 24, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Livestock, Beef

POPLARVILLE -- Researchers at Mississippi State University’s White Sands Research Unit will showcase current beef cattle projects and offer hands-on demonstrations during a Nov. 13 field day.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.