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Crop Report

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.

Peanuts in this Monroe County field look good on Aug. 10, 2016. Harvest is expected to begin around Sept. 10, and yield may average more than 4,000 pounds per acre, up from the average of 3,400 pounds per acre last year.  (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
August 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Peanuts

RAYMOND, Miss. -- With few problems this year, Mississippi’s peanut growers should see a good crop.

“Overall, peanuts are doing very well,” said Jason Sarver, Mississippi State University Extension Service peanut specialist. “Peanuts in south Mississippi received consistent rain throughout the season. We were really dry for a while across northeast Mississippi and the Delta. But between days 70 and 80, we started catching some rains across both regions that helped make a nice crop.”

Johnny Howell rakes his last row of hay before moving on to the next field on Aug. 3, 2016, in the Bell Schoolhouse Community north of Starkville, Mississippi. The state’s hay production is projected to fall slightly this year, as growers face heat-induced infestations of fall armyworms. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Forages

PELAHATCHIE, Miss. -- Rankin County forage producer Jeff Adams anticipates an average hay harvest this year, but he has sprayed twice for fall armyworms in just three weeks.

“I’ve used two different sprays that are supposed to give you a 20-day residual between applications,” he said. “Neither one got me through more than seven.”

Irrigated or not, most Mississippi soybeans are growing well in the midseason weeks thanks to timely showers. These Noxubee County soybeans are part of the state’s 2.05 million acres on July 21, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- July rains hold a special place in soybean growers’ hearts – and in their pocketbooks.

“July is typically a very hot, dry month, but it’s also one when soybeans still need water to grow and fill out pods,” said Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “There have been some exceptions, but most growers have been lucky to get some showers to help their crops along.

Peaches displayed for sale on a bright blue table. Production and sale of peaches, strawberries and other fruit and vegetable truck crops are on pace to be strong once again this year. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
July 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Farmers Markets, Organic Fruit and Vegetables

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Favorable weather and a steady consumer appetite for local produce are keeping Mississippi’s truck crop industry strong.

The state now has more than 80 farmers markets, compared to 52 in 2010. These markets make up the main avenue through which truck crop growers sell their goods, but local produce can be found with more frequency on grocery store shelves during the growing season. This trend reflects the shift in consumer preference.

Mississippi’s growers harvested about 80,000 acres of wheat and averaged 58 bushels per acre in 2016. These amber waves of grain (left) are in a Coahoma County, Mississippi, field on May 23, 2016. David Wade (right) knows his Coahoma County, Mississippi, wheat would have produced better yields if persistent spring rains had not stunted the crop’s development. He is standing in his wheat field on May 23, 2016, shortly before harvest. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Reduced acreage, average yields and low prices have added up to another tough year for Mississippi wheat farmers.

The state’s wheat appears to be on track for a third consecutive year in which the value of production was cut in half from the previous year.

Mississippi State University Extension Service agricultural economist Brian Williams said wheat production values were $154.5 million in 2013, $71.7 million in 2014 and $31.5 million in 2015.

High demand for fingerlings to stock ponds is keeping catfish supply tight and resulting in profits for Mississippi’s catfish industry. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
July 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- As demand for catfish remains high, the only components of its production trending down this year in Mississippi are pond acreage and the price of feed.

Producers are receiving an average of $1.12 to $1.21 per pound of catfish and paying less than $380 for a ton of feed. To Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, those data are good news for the bottom line.

Deodar weevil damage is easily identified by the wood-chip cocoons the insects make for larvae under the inner bark. Central Mississippi landowners will continue to experience increased pressure from these pests because of extreme drought and an extended fall in 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
July 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Natural Resources

RAYMOND, Miss. -- An increase in housing starts in 2015 strengthened Mississippi’s timber industry, and stronger demand for sawtimber products used in construction are helping give the industry a boost this year.

James Henderson, an associate professor of forestry with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said timber ended the year with a total estimated harvest value of almost $1.67 billion.

Emily Grace Barnette is ready to take this watermelon home from the Starkville Community Market on June 21, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
June 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Watermelons

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Watermelons need ample water to grow, but rains also contribute to disease pressure, and cloudy skies reduce the melons’ sweet taste.

David Nagel, a horticulturist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said dry conditions hurt the size of melons that were not irrigated, but their flavor should be excellent.

Mississippi’s shrimp season, which opened June 6, is mostly yielding small brown shrimp. However, hot weather and warmer water in the Gulf is creating ideal growing conditions for the shrimp. (File Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Selling directly to the public takes longer, but it allows fishermen to make some profit from a shrimp season that has been below average so far this year in Mississippi.

Dave Burrage, commercial and recreational fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said shrimp landed in Mississippi have been small through mid-June.

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