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News From 2015

Rocky Lemus, associate professor of forage systems with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, leads the MSU official forage variety trials with plots containing 20 different species and 110 varieties at four locations across the state. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
November 5, 2015 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Rocky Lemus knows there are times when watching grass grow is incredibly exciting.

Lemus, an associate professor of forage systems with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, is always plotting his next variety trial.

“MSU has the only complete forage testing plots in the United States,” he said. “We have 20 different species, 110 varieties and four different locations.”

November 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Rural Water Association

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- South Mississippi homeowners in small communities and rural areas without public water supplies can learn how to better manage, operate and protect their private wells during a Dec. 1 program in Harrison County.

The Mississippi State University online horse auction includes 24 horses registered with the American Quarter Horse Association, such as this 2-year-old bay roan gelding, Mr. Tom Woods. (Submitted photo)
November 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Equine

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University’s annual online horse auction opens for preview Nov. 3 and features 24 horses registered with the American Quarter Horse Association.

This year’s sale includes 14 weanlings, five yearlings and five 2-year-olds that have been started under the saddle.

Prospective buyers can view photos, video and a description of each horse at

Bidding opens at 8 a.m. on Nov. 16 and closes at 6 p.m. on Nov. 21. Opening bids range from $300 for weanlings to $1,500 for 2-year-olds.

Mississippi State University research associate Daniel Chesser tests a new pumping unit inside the Mobile Environmental and Energy Lab at Mississippi State University Oct. 29, 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
November 3, 2015 - Filed Under: About Extension, Poultry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For five years, the Mobile Environmental and Energy Lab has taken the latest developments in poultry production technology on the road.

Mississippi State University researchers recently used funding from the MSU Extension Service to make upgrades to the replicated poultry house on wheels and improve the learning experience for everyone who sees it.

Traditional, bright-red poinsettias are a popular holiday decorative plant. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
November 2, 2015 - Filed Under: Cut Flowers and Houseplants

We all knew it was going to happen sometime.

That change in the seasons is an inevitable event as we move into the later months of the year. But I’m not referring to the time of year when we start planting all of the gorgeous cool-season bedding plants like pansies, violas and dianthus. The change I’m talking about is from Halloween to Christmas; it seems like it happened overnight. Maybe it had something to do with the time change, that whole falling back that also occurred this past weekend.

The migration of ducks, such as this blue-winged teal, from the Mississippi Delta to the Prairie Pothole region of the northern Great Plains each year is an example of a circannual rhythm. (File photo/MSU Extension)
October 30, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Ray Iglay, Certified Wildlife Biologist
MSU Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Aquaculture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As creatures of habit, our lives follow patterns.

We go to sleep at night, wake in the morning, get ready for work and run out the door. Throughout the year, school and work schedules, and even holiday seasons, structure our annual cycles of activities. Across decades, we may even mark life achievements, such as starting to crawl as an infant or achieving retirement.

Mississippi State University plant pathologist Tom Allen (left) said fungicide-resistant frogeye leaf spot in soybeans has recently become a major problem. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)  Producers rely on Mississippi State University recommendations to make management decisions related to kudzu bugs, such as these pictured (right), and other insect pests. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
October 30, 2015 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests, Weed Control for Crops, Plant Diseases

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers know how to handle ongoing threats posed by insects, diseases, and weeds, but new threats continue to surface that keep them on high alert and change the way they operate.

Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researchers and MSU Extension Service specialists work to monitor the arrival of new crop threats, determine the best way to address the problem, and pass on those recommendations to producers.

Insect pests …

More than 100 sweet potato growers in Mississippi planted 23,200 acres of the crop this year. That is second only to North Carolina in the U.S. by acreage. (Photo by MSU Extension, Kevin Hudson)
October 30, 2015 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

VARDAMAN, Miss. -- Untimely dry conditions will likely hurt this year’s sweet potato crop in Mississippi, but increasing demand is keeping prices high enough for growers to remain optimistic.

Stephen Meyers, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a wet spring delayed planting for one to two weeks. Dry fall conditions limited growing progress and will keep yields from reaching full potential.

This grain sorghum plant in a Mississippi State University plot at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi, on Aug. 28, 2015, shows damage from extremely high populations of sugarcane aphids with no treatments applied. (File photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Jeff Gore)
October 29, 2015 - Filed Under: Grains, Insects-Crop Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University researchers have spent the last few years on the front lines protecting a $33 million dollar crop in Mississippi.

As grain sorghum production grew, producers had to fight off a new pest.

October 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Forest Ecology, Forestry

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Using prescribed fire is an important part of managing private timberland, but doing so correctly requires precision.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is helping to offer “Fire on the Forty: Applying Prescribed Fire on Private Lands.” This workshop is part of the sixth annual meeting of the Mississippi Prescribed Fire Council to be held Nov. 12 in Hattiesburg.

Dan Seale, a professor of sustainable bioproducts at the Mississippi State University Forest and Wildlife Research Center, conducts some of the most rigorous testing and scrutiny in the lumber industry. (MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
October 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Wood Products

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When he walks into a hardware store and starts looking at lumber, he could be your average do-it-yourselfer, ready to start a project.

But Dan Seale, a sustainable bioproducts professor in the Mississippi State University Forest and Wildlife Research Center, is no ordinary weekend warrior building a little something for the house.

Lelia Kelly, a horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, talks to a Sunbelt Ag Expo visitor about locally grown produce and Mississippi-made products on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
October 27, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- From live blues music to shrimp and catfish, visitors to the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, got quite a taste of Mississippi at the annual event.

Billed as North America’s premier farm show, the expo showcases the latest developments in agriculture-related technology, including tractors, trucks and farm equipment. Each year, one of the participating Southeastern states serves as a spotlight state and has the opportunity to put its unique accomplishments and commodities on display.

Violas come in a wide variety of colors and produce flowers in prolific numbers. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
October 26, 2015 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I talked last week about how pansies are perfect bedding plants for the cool season in our Mississippi landscapes and gardens. This week, I want to draw attention to the viola, another favorite cool-season bedding plant that is closely related to the pansy.

Most gardeners I know call violas by their common name, Johnny jump ups. They get this name because they are prolific seed producers. It seems wherever I have planted them in my yard, they continue to reappear for at least a couple more years.

Large pumpkins just right for jack-o-lanterns await selection at a store in Starkville, Mississippi, on Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
October 23, 2015 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi pumpkin growers live for conditions like they have seen in 2015.

Anyone with a smartphone, email account or tablet is vulnerable to having personal information stolen unless they have the right safeguards and know the warning signs of phishing attempts. (Photo by CanStock)
October 23, 2015 - Filed Under: Technology, Family Financial Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- “Phishermen” do not need lures or worms to get their prized catch; the only bait they need is a good scheme.

Anyone can be phished -- tricked through electronic fraud into unknowingly forfeiting sensitive personal and financial information, such as password and credit card details. In many cases, the result of a successful “phishing trip” is an empty bank account for the victim.

Opossums that live near people may visit vegetable gardens, compost piles, pet food dishes or garbage cans such as this one. (Photo by MSU Extension/Evan O’Donnell)
October 23, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Often found scavenging in trash cans or seen lying dead on roadsides after car collisions, opossums are not the most revered or understood wildlife creatures in Mississippi.

October 21, 2015 - Filed Under: Poultry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Backyard and exhibition poultry owners can take part in an upcoming biosecurity training session designed to reduce the spread of bird flu and other infectious diseases.

The Matrix Ocean Breeze mix with varying shades of blues to dark purples. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
October 19, 2015 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

The weather could not have better for the Fall Flower and Garden Fest in Crystal Springs this year. Thousands of people attending the Oct. 16-17 event enjoyed clear, blue skies and bright sunshine. The fall-like temperature felt great as I talked with fellow gardeners.

Many people asked me about pansies. Most of the plant vendors had gorgeous pansies for sale, and home gardeners wondered if it was a good time to plant pansies. My answer to every one of them was a resounding, YES! Mid-October is the perfect time to plant pansies in your Mississippi landscape.

The Mississippi State University Horse Judging Team, which recently was named the Reserve Grand Champion Team at the All American Quarter Horse Congress, is coached by Extension equine specialist Clay Cavinder, pictured with team members, from left, Hannah Miller, Ashley Greene, Ashley Palmer, Samantha Miller, Carlee West, MaeLena Apperson, Hannah Collins and assistant coach Emily Ferjak. (Submitted photo)
October 19, 2015 - Filed Under: Equine

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A new Mississippi State University team scored a major victory in its first season of competition.

The MSU Horse Judging Team was named the Reserve Grand Champion Team at the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, the largest horse show in the world.

Clay Cavinder, equine specialist with the MSU Extension Service and associate professor in the MSU Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, coached the team for the competition, which involved judging 12 classes of horses, with four horses in each class.

October 19, 2015 - Filed Under: Food and Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. – They may not wear tights and capes, but greens are super foods.

Kale, collards, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, turnip greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens and all types of lettuce are good sources of nutrients, said Janet Jolley, a Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Marshall County.