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Crop Report

Mississippi growers harvested just 40,000 acres of wheat in 2017 -- well below the average of about 200,000 acres -- but they saw good yields despite a challenging growing season. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi growers produced good wheat yields despite planting historically low acreage and experiencing challenging conditions this year.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state growers harvested an estimated 40,000 acres of wheat in 2017, averaging an estimated 63 bushels an acre. Average wheat planting is about 200,000 acres annually, but it was as high as 500,000 acres in 2008. The state's record high wheat yield per acre is 64 bushels, set in 2011.

Gary Windham, a research plant pathologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, inoculates corn that is part of an aflatoxin study at Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on July 13, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
July 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Early or not, Mississippi’s corn crop is well on the way to its best yield in years, barring any major disasters.

Erick Larson has spent more than two decades as the Mississippi State University Extension Service corn specialist. Larson said 2017 weather generally has been better than he can remember for any past growing season. Timely rains in some areas and cool nights during the crucial early grain-filling periods were important keys.

Increasing aeration rates per acre is one emerging method Mississippi catfish producers are using to improve efficiency in smaller ponds. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Catfish

DODDSVILLE, Miss. -- Production is the least of Ben Pentecost's worries for his catfish farm this summer. If anything, he has too many fish.

"I think our supply is larger now than in recent years, and demand is about the same," said Pentecost, co-owner of the Pentecost Brothers catfish farm in Sunflower County. "We have a backlog of bigger-sized catfish, which processors are pushing back on, but the fish keep getting even bigger the longer they stay in the ponds."

Consumers can find Mississippi-grown watermelons for their summer celebrations at stores and markets across the state, including these at the Byram Farmers Market in Byram, Mississippi, on June 27, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
June 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Watermelons

RAYMOND, Miss. -- A balance of timely rain and sunny skies is essential for large, sweet watermelons, but too much rain can wreak havoc on the melons and hit producers in the wallet.

Although most of Mississippi's watermelon crop is in good to fair condition, some producers are losing melons because of excess rain.

Cotton across the state has been struggling with excess rainfall but remains in good shape at this point in the season. This cotton was growing in a saturated field June 22, 2017, at Mississippi State University in Starkville. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tropical Storm Cindy did not help the state's cotton crop that struggled with cool and wet weather all spring.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said in mid-June, cotton received about a week of the heat and sun it needs to thrive. Weather before that was not ideal, and rain remains in the forecast.

Grain sorghum emerges in this Oktibbeha County field June 14, 2017. Mississippi growers are projected to plant 10,000 acres of the crop this year, which would be a record low. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Grains

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Insect pressure and a stagnant market are pushing Mississippi growers away from planting grain sorghum.

Compared with 2015, when the state had 120,000 acres of sorghum, producers harvested only about 11,000 acres of the crop in 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasted they would plant only 10,000 acres this year. If that prediction holds, 2017 will mark an 88-year low for sorghum production.

This 2016 rice field is growing the Thad variety of foundation seed stock at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, Mississippi. Most of the 2017 rice crop is at or beyond this growth stage that is ready for floodwaters. (File photo by Mississippi Foundation Seed Stock/Randy Vaughan)
June 9, 2017 - Filed Under: Rice

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi growers have flooded many of their rice fields now, but not before rains caused crop management challenges.

Bobby Golden, a rice and soil fertility agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that even though rice is flooded for the majority of the growing season, excess rains and wet weather can complicate crop establishment and management.

Flood waters from the Mississippi River cover this Warren County soybean field north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on June 2, 2017. Recent excess rains and river flooding have some corn, cotton and soybean fields under water. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
June 2, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn, Cotton, Soybeans

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Although favorable spring weather helped many producers plant their corn, cotton and soybean crops early, most growers now need fields to dry out.

Well-timed early spring rains helped corn producers avoid irrigating their crops, but flooding from recent excess rain will force some to think about replanting with soybeans.

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.

Yellow squash is among the fruits and vegetables available for purchase at the Starkville Farmers Market on May 2, 2017. Early spring temperatures allowed some truck crops producers to plant their fruit and vegetable crops a little early this year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets

RAYMOND, Miss. -- This year's early spring temperatures allowed some fruit and vegetable growers to plant their crops a little earlier than usual.

Jeremy Maness, Mississippi State University Extension agent in Smith County, said growers in his county have not experienced any problems so far despite a late freeze.

"Everything is going well," he said. "Tomatoes grown in greenhouses or high tunnels are ready now. We project watermelons will be ready around mid- to late June, and field tomatoes should be ready to start coming off the vine around the first week of June."

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.

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