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.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The shrimp are slightly bigger, but prices are down, making this year’s season-opening in Biloxi comparable to last year’s start.
During the first two weeks of the 2012 season, 1.137 million pounds of shrimp were landed in Biloxi. In the same time in 2011, 1.124 million pounds were landed at the same port.
Shrimp season began May 30, and 210 boats went out for the opening day. To date, the bulk of the production has been medium, 36- to 40-count shrimp, a reference to the number of shrimp needed to make a pound.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A mild winter and unusually productive spring means Mississippi dairy farmers are enjoying good milk yield from their cows, but low prices and high input costs are making profits scarce.
Lamar Adams, dairy cattle specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said production costs are at or near record highs and milk prices are down about 21 percent from last year primarily due to high levels of domestic and global milk production.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A rapidly maturing 2012 wheat crop proved to be a timing challenge for Mississippi growers.
The state’s growers planted 480,000 acres, up from 360,000 acres the previous season. They were inspired by strong market prices and the record-average yields of 64 bushels per acre grown last year.
“Harvest is two or three weeks ahead of schedule, but we aren’t seeing exceptional yields like last year,” said Erick Larson, small grains specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s blueberry growers have found their thrill this spring as ideal weather conditions resulted in abundant, high quality fruit.
“Right now, berries are coming in fast and furious in the southern half of the state,” said Wayne Porter, a Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Lauderdale County who specializes in horticulture. “I was at a farm this morning, and they were bringing them in as fast as they could ship them out and make room for more.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Warm spring weather sent cotton farmers to the fields as early as the first week of April, and cotton stands are ahead of normal and looking good.
IAs of May 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Statistics Service estimated the state’s cotton was 68 percent planted and 45 percent emerged. The five-year average for this same date has the crop just 31 percent planted and only 12 percent emerged.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s top agricultural commodity weathers economic storms by responding quickly to shifts in demand, and economists at Mississippi State University predict 2012 will be a year of recovery.
In 2011, Mississippi ranked fourth in the nation in broiler production, with more than 765 million birds produced on 1,478 farms. The broiler industry represented over $2.21 billion in value for the year.