MISSISSIPPI STATE – Christmas tree growers were thinking about the holidays when Hurricane Isaac made landfall Aug. 28, knowing the winds and rains would bring additional work before trees would be ready for the 2012 harvest.
Stephen Dicke, Extension forestry professor at Mississippi State University’s Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond, said storm damage should not dampen sales of Mississippi’s Christmas trees.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Growing winter wheat in Mississippi leaves no rest for the weary, as planting begins just as soon as the summer row crops are out of the field.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted the state’s winter wheat was 29 percent planted by Oct. 31. It is on schedule for the five-year average, but a good bit behind last year’s early start that saw 45 percent of the wheat planted before November.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s hay producers increased acreage and yields this season in spite of variable rainfall across the state.
“Hay production systems in the central part of the state had a really good season,” said Rocky Lemus, Mississippi State University Extension Service forage specialist. “We’ve been blessed with quite a bit of rain in central Mississippi, and the hay crop has been better than average.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – With prices and demand for the state’s pecans high, this year’s predicted average to above-average yield is good news for growers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the 2012 crop will yield 2.5 million pounds of pecans. While this yield is down significantly from the 5 million pounds harvested in 2011, it is more in line with the state’s historical average of 2.42 million pounds.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Early October rains that could have devastated the state’s cotton crop seem only to have delayed harvest of what should be near-record yields.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the cotton harvest was a little behind schedule, with just 33 percent of the fields harvested by Oct. 7. However, they rate 67 percent of the crop in good or excellent condition and another 24 percent fair.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s soil and climate are ideally suited to producing sweet potatoes, a crop that gives the state a No. 2 national ranking.
Harvest began about Aug. 20 on Mississippi’s 22,500 acres of sweet potatoes. North Carolina comes in first with 64,000 acres. Acreage in both states varied little from last year. The Mississippi crop was valued at nearly $66.5 million in 2011.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Many Delta fields that once turned white with cotton are now yielding a below-ground crop and helping propel Mississippi up the list of peanut-producing states.
The state has an estimated 47,000 acres of peanuts this year, up more than 200 percent from the 14,000 acres grown in 2011. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the crop is slightly ahead of schedule, with 8 percent of peanuts harvested by Sept. 2. More than 80 percent of the crop is rated in good or excellent condition.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – When Mississippi sod farmer David Rainey says, “Business is better than last year,” he is not suggesting it is good.
The Alcorn County farmer said he sees greater challenges in turning a profit in 2012 than when he started Rainey Sod Farm about 36 years ago. Rainey said he started downsizing his sod business when the housing market bubble burst in 2007.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Recent rains and irrigation have helped portions of Mississippi’s soybeans recover from June’s dry spell, but more moisture is needed to complete the season.
“We are thankful for the rain that we’ve received this growing season, and we all know it is a blessing,” said Trent Irby, Mississippi State University Extension Service soybean specialist. “But we still have several weeks to go in many areas, and additional moisture certainly will be needed to finish making the crop.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Pictures of wilting corn in the Midwest may dominate the evening news, but the 2012 drought is also shrinking livestock’s profit potential nationwide.
John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said the drought means livestock, dairy and aquaculture producers will continue to see higher feed prices.