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Crop Report

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.

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.

Growers planted the majority of Mississippi’s soybean crop well ahead of normal this year, thanks to favorable April weather. These recently emerged soybean plants on Mississippi State University’s Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Center were growing on May 3, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi producers have planted a large percentage of the state's soybean crop well ahead of schedule, giving producers the opportunity for maximum yields.

The May 1 crop progress and condition report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 69 percent of the soybean crop has been planted. In the last five years, just 38 percent of the crop was typically planted by this date.

Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, called the progress to date phenomenal.

Strong demand for peanuts has encouraged Mississippi growers to plant more of them this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects peanut producers will plant 44,000 acres this year compared with 39,000 in 2016. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Peanuts

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippi peanut growers are just now planting this year's crop, but their acreage will likely be increased over the amount cultivated in recent years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects 44,000 acres of peanuts will be planted this year, which would be a jump from 39,000 planted in 2016.

Jason Sarver, peanut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said he believes the state’s peanut fields could approach 50,000 acres.

Mississippi State University Extension Service forage specialist Rocky Lemus inspects wheat interseeded with balansa clover at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on April 20, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Last year's drought will likely affect this year's hay acreage in Mississippi.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said he anticipates about 690,000 hay acres. The state had about 750,000 acres devoted to hay production in 2016.

April 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Growing conditions first helped but then hurt Mississippi strawberries this year as the 2017 harvest season comes to an early conclusion.

Eric Stafne, fruit crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a mild fall and winter helped the crop mature a little earlier than normal.

Producers took advantage of a break in the typical spring rains to get much of Mississippi’s corn crop planted in late March. Erick Larson, Mississippi State University Extension Service corn specialist, examined corn in Starkville, Mississippi, on April 5, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fall preparation paid off for many Mississippi corn producers who were able to take advantage of a gap in spring rains to plant much of their crop early.

Erick Larson, corn specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said warm weather and a break in typical spring rains has allowed farmers to make considerable corn planting progress this spring.

Mississippi producers are expected to plant 550,000 cotton acres this year to meet high export demand. If realized, this will be a 26 percent increase over last year’s production. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
March 31, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn, Cotton, Peanuts, Rice, Soybeans, Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Strong export demand for cotton and soybean is causing Mississippi producers to shift away from corn and rice as they finalize their planting plans for 2017.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Prospective Plantings report released March 31 estimates the state's growers will plant a total of about 4.194 million acres, a 170,000-acre increase over 2016 acreage.

Erick Larson, corn and wheat specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, takes a photo on March 22, 2017, of freeze damage on the tips of some wheat growing in variety trials at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi. Larson and other MSU agricultural specialists document crop issues to guide growers and consultants throughout the growing season. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
March 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Despite almost everything working against this year's winter wheat, benefits remain on the fields growers managed to plant after last fall's drought.

Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the 2016-17 season makes four consecutive years of reduced wheat acres.

"The state's farmers planted about 60,000 acres of wheat late last fall, which was about 5,000 fewer acres than the previous year," Williams said.

Recent drought conditions have not kept Swedenburg’s Christmas Tree Farm in Columbus, Mississippi, from having a solid production year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
November 11, 2016 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

SAUCIER, Miss. -- Larry Haley has no problem selling his Christmas trees each November.

In fact, he has to set a limit on how many he can spare and stop once he reaches that number to maintain a steady inventory. His target this year is about 300 choose-and-cut trees before Thanksgiving.

"A couple of years ago, I got in trouble because I sold too many in one season and almost depleted the next year's stock," he said. "Last year, we started holding fields back for a season so that doesn’t happen again."

Harvest was nearly done by the end of October for the state’s 2 million acre soybean crop. Experts expect yields to average 48 bushels per acre across the state, keeping this year’s production in line with that of recent years. This combine was harvesting Leflore County soybeans Sept. 23, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Trent Irby)​
October 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A game-changing insect caused significant problems in many Mississippi soybean acres, but good management allowed growers to finish the year with an average crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that by Oct. 23, Mississippi farmers were 92 percent finished harvesting the state's soybean crop, which covered about 2.03 million acres this year. Insect and disease pressures made the effort challenging, but USDA predicts growers will harvest a state average of 48 bushels an acre.

Katy Chen of Louisville, Mississippi, holds the unofficial mascot of May’s Corn Maze in Stewart, Mississippi, in front of the agritourism farm’s pumpkin patch. The state enjoyed a strong pumpkin harvest for the second straight year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
October 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi's October weather has offered more than enough of the most vital tonic pumpkins need for growth: full sunlight.

But the state has lacked another key element: water. Fortunately, the majority of the state’s pumpkin fields are irrigated, so the ongoing drought has had little effect on this year’s plentiful harvest.

However, nonirrigated pumpkin acreage has seen better days, said Casey Barickman, an assistant professor at the Mississippi State University North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.

The use of succulents is a popular trend in the green industry. These plants with soft, juicy leaves and stems are good choices for low-water-use gardening. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
October 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Increasing markets for local foods and succulent plants are encouraging green industry suppliers to offer new products for horticulture customers.

Cattle benefit from good pasture management that minimizes weed development during dry periods and helps pastures ahead of the dormant season. These beef cattle were photographed on the Mississippi State University H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center near Starkville on Sept. 29, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
September 30, 2016 - Filed Under: Beef

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- News that China is lifting a 13-year import ban on U.S. beef is not helping prices as much as some cattlemen would have hoped.

Brian Williams, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the news has not resulted in any long-term impact on cattle markets.

This tractor creeps across a Vardaman, Mississippi, field Sept. 20, 2016, digging sweet potatoes while workers sort them based on size and quality. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
September 23, 2016 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

VARDAMAN, Miss. -- After two challenging years in Mississippi sweet potato fields, farmers are hoping for a problem-free harvest over the next few weeks.

Stephen Meyers, Extension sweet potato specialist based at the Mississippi State University Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station, said growers are cautiously optimistic as harvest begins.

Grain sorghum acreage was low this year because of low prices and sugarcane aphid problems. Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist Erick Larson examined sorghum ready for harvest Sept. 15, 2016, at MSU’s R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
September 16, 2016 - Filed Under: Grains

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Grain sorghum acres are very low in the state, a response to prices returning to their usual range and sugarcane aphids continuing to be a scourge to the crop.

William Ruffin, a research associate with the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Mississippi State University, mows turf research plots at the R. R. Foil Plant Science Research Center Sept. 8, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
September 9, 2016 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Demand for turfgrass in Mississippi is stabilizing as housing starts trend up nationally.

Jay McCurdy, turfgrass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said favorable weather, coupled with optimism in the national housing market, is welcome news to the state’s sod growers.

Mississippi State University field personnel begin the rice harvest on test plots at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Bobby Golden)
September 2, 2016 - Filed Under: Rice

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Cue the song “Anticipation” for Mississippi’s rice growers because that title and chorus perfectly describe this point in the season.

“The majority of our rice fields are drained, and we are just waiting for conditions to stay dry long enough for harvests,” said Bobby Golden, Extension rice specialist based at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. “The weather has made us about 10 days later than normal. Harvest activity should increase rapidly in the first days of September as long as we stay dry.”

Despite rain delays, corn harvest is in full swing across Mississippi on fields such as this one on a Leflore County farm in Morgan City on Aug. 24, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Erick Larson)
August 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wet, cloudy weather through much of August has prevented corn from drying as it should before harvest, possibly cutting into farmers’ profit margins.

Erick Larson, corn specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said corn matures at 30 percent moisture. Prices are docked if growers deliver corn with a moisture content above 15.5 percent, which is the standard suitable for corn grain storage.

Most cotton bolls lost to rainy, wet weather in early August were the younger ones in the middle to upper part of the plant. Cotton, such as this growing Aug. 18, 2016, on the Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Research Center in Starkville, is expected to yield a better than average harvest. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
August 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wet, cloudy weather has put a lot of cotton bolls on the ground, but experts still expect an above average crop from Mississippi’s cotton acreage.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said experts knew boll loss was coming after all the recent rain.

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