Crop Report from 2018
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Rains may delay field work, but they don’t dampen farmers’ optimism for 2018.
Along with plantings that have already taken place, another sign of the new season is the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Prospective Plantings report. Released at the end of March every year, this report estimates planting acres for state and national crops.
Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the crop markets are steady at year-ago levels.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- 2017 marked a 54-year low for wheat acreage in Mississippi, and 2018 is not much better.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports an estimated 50,000 acres in winter wheat for 2018, an increase of 11 percent. Production dropped to 45,000 acres last year, just three years after wheat growers planted 230,000 acres in 2014.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- With low feed prices and healthy demand for broilers and eggs, the Mississippi poultry industry is poised for another productive year.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- More than half of Mississippi's expected corn crop has been planted and is emerging, although cool and wet weather have made progress difficult.
Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said planting began in late March but has been hindered by frequent rains.
MACON, Miss. -- Myron Unruh has no complaints about the quality of his farm’s strawberries. He just wishes more of them would grow.
“We picked some strawberries earlier this week, and they were gorgeous, but we’re getting less than half of what we should be getting,” said Unruh, who owns Lazy U Farms in Macon. “It’s pretty tough right now.”
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Spring’s cool temperatures have rice producers playing the waiting game in Mississippi.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- At about 2.2 million acres, soybeans are easily the state’s biggest row crop with a flexible planting window that puts them in the clean-up position when farmers cannot plant other crops on time.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Growers may be on their way to planting more cotton in Mississippi soil than they have in 11 years, despite a late start.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, estimated that growers will plant 700,000 acres of cotton this year. If that much gets harvested, it will be the best total since 2006, when the state produced 1.2 million acres of cotton. Last year, Mississippi cotton producers harvested 625,000 acres.
ABERDEEN, Miss. -- Peanut growers are experiencing a mixed bag of conditions across the southeastern United States in general and Mississippi in particular.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Depressed market prices, increased production costs and labor challenges continue to force generational dairy farmers to seek greener pastures.
A long, cool spring put Mississippi hay production about two weeks behind schedule, but a long, hot summer can give producers the chance to catch up.
Rocky Lemus, Mississippi State University Extension Service forage specialist, said he expects a good year for forages.
Blueberry growers in Mississippi are having a successful season thanks to good harvesting conditions, crop quality and market prices.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There's always something for farmers to monitor or manage, and in many row-crop fields across the state, weed control is the big concern of the moment.
Jason Bond, weed scientist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said rains that keep machinery out of the fields allow time for weeds to grow rapidly.
TAYLORSVILLE, Miss. -- Before the first batch was picked on June 22, two fields at Ford Farms were covered with red and yellow watermelons. That wasn’t the case a year ago.
Any kind of melon crop at the Smith County farm is an improvement over 2017.
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi's wheat yields were the silver lining in an otherwise depressing season with reduced acreage and a weak market.
Until recent years, growers averaged 200,000 acres of wheat in the state. This year, growers planted about 50,000 acres, and estimated yields have averaged 62 bushels per acre, a 4-bushel increase from last year.
Larry Falconer, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said prices are up about 6 cents per bushel compared to this same point last year.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s roadsides are seeing more farmers markets, produce stands and pickup trucks filled with fruits and vegetables.
Commercial horticultural crops, commonly called truck crops in the agricultural industry, include berries, fruits, melons, nuts, potatoes and vegetables. Last year, they combined with other horticultural crops -- flowers, sod and Christmas trees – for a total production value of $107 million, according to statistics gathered by the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.
An abundance of U.S. farm-raised catfish has driven prices down and delayed independent growers from getting their fish to the processors.
As most cotton across Mississippi is setting bolls ahead of schedule this year, some fields look fantastic and others are struggling, depending on the weather and irrigation.
Mississippi’s soybean crop is in good or excellent condition, but growers are losing access to some foreign markets due to circumstances beyond their control.
Sod production is a year-round process for Mississippi producers, and demand is up for this valuable commodity.
Jay McCurdy, turf specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the state’s producers are having a good year with this grass crop.