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Crop Report

May 24, 2013 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Evidence of a healthy national economy may be found in the strength of the timber industry.

Forestry is a billion-dollar industry in Mississippi and the state’s second-largest agricultural commodity. A depressed national economy in recent years had negative impacts on housing construction and furniture manufacturing, which hurt the forestry sector, but industry experts are seeing signs that a recovery is at hand.

Frequent rains put most Mississippi row crop planting well behind schedule. These young soybean plants at Mississippi State University's R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Facility on May 17, 2013, are among the few in the ground by mid-May. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
May 17, 2013 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Poor weather has created so many rain delays that most of the nation’s row crop planting is behind schedule, and Mississippi is even farther behind than other states.

“We’re a month behind,” said Ernie Flint, an area agronomist who has been with the Mississippi State University Extension Service for 22 years. “I’ve never seen anything that compares with this spring. I’ve seen the Delta planted late but never the whole state.”

Before he came to MSU in 1991, Flint spent 18 years as a crop consultant, so he spoke from a long perspective in agriculture.

These 2012 catfish fry at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine are similar to young fish that have been delayed by this spring's cool temperatures, which have slowed growth of Mississippi's farm-raised catfish and delayed the start of hatchery season. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
May 10, 2013 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s catfish farmers continue to address production challenges as the industry works to reclaim markets lost to imported fish.

Jeremy Robbins, vice president of The Catfish Institute based in Jackson, said farmers have struggled in recent years with high feed prices, their No. 1 expense, while dealing with increased competition from imports.

More than 85 percent of Mississippi's hay and forage growers are livestock producers trying to supply their herds' needs. Persistent rains are delaying the cool-season forage harvest and reducing yields. (Photo courtesy of Rocky Lemus)
May 3, 2013 - Filed Under: Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As pastures transition from cool-season to warm-season grasses, the state’s hay and forage producers hope for sunny days that are better suited to growing and harvesting quality crops.

Recycle wooden kitchen utensils into plant tags using paint, markers and clear polyurethane. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
April 26, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Farmers should be nearly finished planting corn and going strong with soybeans, rice and cotton, but instead Mississippi fields are quiet as rain keeps tractors in the barn.

As of late April, the state had gone more than five weeks with only an occasional day or two suitable for planting.

Mississippi corn is in the best shape, at least in terms of the number of planted acres. According to the April 22 U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Progress and Condition Report, corn is 73 percent planted. Historically, it should be 91 percent complete.

This 5-week-old broiler is approaching market weight in a commercial research house at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center, commonly called South Farm, at Mississippi State University on March 20, 2013. Mississippi has grown more than 205 million birds in the first 14 weeks of the year. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
April 19, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The impact of last year’s drought on feed costs is not the only challenge poultry growers face in 2013.

Production costs, expansion issues, waste regulations, competition from other meat sources and the next grain crop are major factors impacting the poultry industry this year.

“Some of the corn produced last year had to go to ethanol, so supplies are even tighter and have driven up feed costs,” said Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Jody Reyer began harvesting his first crop of strawberries April 9, 2013. Like much of the state's strawberry crop, Reyer's Leake County operation has struggled with cool and wet spring weather. (Photo courtesy of Brittany Reyer)
April 12, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s strawberry producers may be few in number, but they deliver one of the state’s sweetest and most popular crops.

Growing strawberries in the South is especially challenging because of its variable weather, like that seen this spring.

Wayne Porter, Mississippi State University Extension horticulture specialist in Lauderdale County, said the strawberries struggled because of excessive rain.

These 2012 peanuts from Mississippi's record crop are a distant memory as lower prices are prompting growers to reduce acres 58 percent from 52,000 last year to about 22,000 acres in 2013. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
April 5, 2013 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A significant decline in price potential has last year’s peanut growers looking to other crops in 2013.

According to the recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Prospective Plantings report, acreage is declining in every peanut-producing state except Oklahoma. Mississippi is expected to post the greatest percentage decline, down 58 percent from the previous year. The state’s peanut acreage is predicted to drop from 52,000 last year to 22,000 acres this season.

Mississippi farmers plan to plant more corn, less cotton and about the same soybean acreage as last year. From left, soybean, cotton and corn seeds have germinated in the lab. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
March 28, 2013 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Cotton, Corn, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Corn is the anticipated biggest winner and cotton the biggest loser as Mississippi producers shuffle commodity acres to take advantage of market conditions.

Wheat acreage is up in Mississippi, but a wet winter stunted growth in the state's crop. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Marco Nicovich)
March 22, 2013 - Filed Under: Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Cool temperatures through March kept some Mississippians comfortable, but they slowed the development of wheat, the state’s only row crop grown through winter.

Erick Larson, corn and wheat state specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said wheat acreage is high this year, with 420,000 acres planted in the fall. State growers planted 500,000 acres in 2007, but this year marks the second highest planting since 1990.

November 2, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Christmas Trees

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.

Nearly one-third of Mississippi's winter wheat crop was planted by Nov. 1. Good prices have increased wheat acres in the state. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications)
November 2, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Wheat

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.

A grower in Oktibbeha County, Miss., has hay bales in the field and fall grasses already coming up on Oct. 26, 2012. This year's hay crop has the potential to be the fourth most valuable crop in the state, behind soybeans, corn and cotton. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Tim McAlavy)
October 26, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forages

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.

After 2011's bumper pecan crop of 5 million pounds, this year's predicted 2.5 million-pound harvest is more in line with historical averages. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
October 19, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Nuts

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.

Although rain halted fieldwork for more than a week in early October, Mississippi's cotton harvest is well underway and yields are high. This machine was picking cotton on Topashaw Farms in Calhoun County, Sept. 28, 2011. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
October 12, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

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.

The majority of the state's soybeans, such as these at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, were harvested before heavy rains Sept. 30 halted work. (Photo by DREC Communications/ Rebekah Ray)
October 5, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- This year’s soybean crop is on track to set a state yield record, but much depends on whether recent heavy rains that halted harvest seriously damaged what remains in the field.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the state’s 2.1 million acres of soybeans were 77 percent harvested by Sept. 30. Acreage is up 17 percent from what was planted in 2011.

Mississippi's 2012 sweet potato crop should be slightly above average. These Beauregard sweet potatoes grew at White and Allen Farms in Calhoun County. (Photo by Mississippi Sweet Potato Council/Benny Graves)
September 21, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

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's grain sorghum yields are projected to be 77 bushels per acre, an increase of 3 bushels per acre compared to 2011. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
September 21, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Grains

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Timely rains followed by sunny days provided optimal growing conditions for Mississippi’s grain sorghum crop, and yields may be higher than anticipated.

Mississippi producers planted about 63,000 acres in grain sorghum in 2012, up from 50,000 acres in 2011. The state ranked No. 8 nationally in grain sorghum production in 2011.

Mississippi's rice harvest was nearly complete by mid-September. Yields of close to 160 bushels per acre are near state records. (Photo by DREC Communications/Rebekah Ray)
September 14, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi producers have the bulk of the state’s rice crop safely in storage, and yields may approach the record set in 2007 of 160 bushels an acre.

Nathan Buehring, rice specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said September’s weather was nearly ideal for rice harvest.

“Isaac slowed us down and put a little bit of rice on the ground that was ready to harvest, but overall, the harvest season has gone pretty well,” he said.

An inverter flips peanut plants at Atkins Farms in Hamilton on Sept. 5, 2012, exposing the roots to the air for drying. A combine will harvest the peanuts three or four days later. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Charlie Stokes)
September 7, 2012 - Filed Under: Peanuts

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.

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