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Crop Report

Warm temperatures starting in February allowed Mississippi's corn crop to get an early start, and 90 percent of planned acreage was in the ground by mid-April. (Photo by Scott Corey)
April 13, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A warm spring made early corn planting possible, and despite frequent rains, the statewide crop was about 90 percent planted by mid-April.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said corn planting should be completed soon if rains don’t halt progress.

Mississippi strawberry growers began harvesting this popular fruit two weeks earlier than usual because of warmer temperatures statewide. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
April 5, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An early strawberry season delights consumers, but growers must keep an eye on this spring’s fickle weather to protect their delicate and valuable crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts Mississippi farmers to plant 1.75 million acres of soybeans, down by 70,000 acres in 2011. This will mark the third consecutive year of reduced soybean acreage in the state. Soybeans remain the leader in the state's planted acreage. (2011 Photo by Kat Lawrence)
March 30, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Crop rotation benefits and market prices remain the driving forces behind farmers’ planting decisions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s prospective plantings report, released March 30, forecasts 4.67 million acres planted in nine Mississippi crops, an increase of 3 percent from total acreage in 2011.

John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said farmers probably are making their decisions to plant or not to plant soybeans and corn based on rotational needs.

Wheat, such as this growing in Washington County, was pushed ahead of schedule by a warm winter that presented many challenges for the crop to overcome. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Rebekah Ray)
March 23, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A winter that quit before it got started challenged the state’s wheat crop, resulting in a below-average crop as it enters the homestretch.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said warm winter temperatures pushed the crop’s development ahead of schedule. Harvest could begin a few weeks early, in mid-May.

It takes four years to grow Mississippi Christmas trees to the popular 6 to 8 feet tall size. About 900 trees can be grown per acre, such as these growing in Chunky on the Lazy Acres Plantation. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 28, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Christmas Trees

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Freshness is the key to quality Christmas trees, and with choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms scattered across the state, all Mississippians can get a great tree every year.

John Kushla, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, said locally grown trees can look great for weeks when they are put in water immediately.

Peanut prices have more than doubled in the past year, and Mississippi's peanut producers are benefitting from timely rains and minimal problems with disease and pests. (file photo)
October 21, 2011 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Timely rains in early September made a smooth harvest for Mississippi peanuts, a crop that is in high demand due to drought in other peanut-growing areas.

As of Oct. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast 2011 crop yields at 3,600 pounds per acre for Mississippi, the highest prediction for any of the peanut-producing states. Harvest began in mid-September and was 70 percent complete by mid-October. Producers were working as fast as they could to get the crop out of the ground after cold temperatures ended peanut maturity.

Catfish that are bringing record high prices consume feed, which is also at its highest levels. Sue Kingsbury, now a retired Mississippi State University researcher, is feeding catfish in a pond at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Catfish feed, which is the biggest production expense, has increased 120 percent in the last decade. (File photo by Rebekah Ray)
October 14, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Catfish producers who are coping with record-high feed costs know that the strong market prices may not last much longer.

Jimmy Avery, aquaculture leader with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said years of pond acreage reductions are driving fish prices up. Unfortunately, the cost of producers’ biggest expense, feed, is also setting record highs. The end result could challenge consumers to afford this U.S. farm-raised product.

Most of Mississippi's pumpkins are planted in June and July so they can be harvested in September and October for fall decorations. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 7, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Pumpkins, Commercial Horticulture

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi pumpkin producers have their work cut out for them growing their colorful crop in the heat of summer so pumpkins are ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations.

David Nagel, a horticulturist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said producers must plant and grow the crop at the toughest time of the year so it can be harvested in a narrow window of opportunity.

Brad Spencer, of Spencer and Sons Farms in Calhoun County, tests a bed of sweet potatoes near Vardaman Sept. 28 to see if they are ready to harvest. (Photo by Scott Corey)
September 30, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The state’s sweet potato crop appeared to be doomed before it started, but a late soaking allowed this hardy crop to yield average harvests after a tough year.

Bill Burdine, area agronomic specialist in Chickasaw County with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said quality may be slightly above average for this crop, which started a little behind schedule.

Tropical Storm Lee's rains saved much of this year's pecan crop and growers are expecting good yields. (file photo)
September 23, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Nuts

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The summer drought could have severely affected this year’s pecan yields, but thanks to Tropical Storm Lee, growers are optimistic about the crop.

The entire Southeast experienced a dry growing season until Tropical Storm Lee hit in early September.

“The rains were very timely and needed,” said David Ingram, plant pathologist with the Mississippi State University Central Research and Extension Center in Raymond.

A spread-out planting season means the state's soybean crop will be harvested from early September until the end of October. (file photo)
September 16, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Tropical Storm Lee brought rain across the state Labor Day weekend with mixed results -- mostly good -- for the state’s soybean crop.

Rain that weekend ranged from a few hundredths of an inch in northwest Mississippi to as many as 10 inches in some soybean-growing areas. Whether it brought much-needed moisture to dry fields at an ideal time or halted harvest depended on when the crop was planted.

September 9, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Tropical Storm Lee brought much-needed rains to Mississippi’s parched fields and pastures but minimal flood and wind damage.

Late-season tropical storms can be costly, even devastating, when winds and pounding rains may whip plants and complicate harvests. When Lee swept through the state over Labor Day weekend, most of Mississippi’s crops either had been harvested or needed one last rain before harvest.

Rainfall amounts…

September 2, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s cotton has overcome one hurdle after another all season, and fall weather is all that stands between respectable yields and the finish line.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said “challenging” is the one word that sums up the 2011 cotton crop.

Yields look good so far for Mississippi's rice harvest, which began in mid-August. Reduced yields are expected on rice that was pollinated in the extreme heat of early August. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Rebekah Ray)
August 26, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The yield of early-planted rice looks good so far, but only time will tell how seriously the high heat of early August will cut into yields from later-planted fields.

Nathan Buehring, rice specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said harvest began in mid-August and will proceed at full speed until completed, probably by the first week of October.

“Those who have a good feel for yield have been pleased with what they’re harvesting so far,” Buehring said. “It won’t be a bumper year, but we should be average.”

August 19, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The continuing decline of the housing market and the lack of new construction is taking its toll on Mississippi’s turfgrass industry.

Wayne Wells, Mississippi State University Extension turf specialist, said the state’s turf sales are down because of slow home sales and a lack of new construction.

Demand for locally grown fruits and vegetables has helped the state's farmers find more market options, such as the Mississippi Farmers' Market, adjacent to the State Fairgrounds in Jackson. (Photo by Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce)
August 12, 2011 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Increased consumer interest is positively impacting producers of Mississippi’s truck crops, which include fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers.

Rick Snyder, vegetable specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the rapid growth of the local foods movement has increased demand for truck crops.

“With farmers’ markets in nearly every county of Mississippi, producers no longer have to travel far to find an outlet for their produce,” Snyder said. “Some growers sell at two, three or more markets each week.

August 5, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forest Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE – It’s not the heat or drought but the economy, specifically poor housing starts, that are causing grief for Mississippi’s forestry industry in 2011.

James Henderson, forestry economist and management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the slow economy is hurting the industry.

“There’s no good news for the pulpwood markets, and pine saw timber prices are the lowest they’ve been since the national housing construction downturn started in 2006,” Henderson said.

Poultry remains Mississippi's largest agricultural commodity, producing 10 percent of the nation's poultry supply. (File Photo)
July 29, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE – As summer heat rolls through Mississippi, poultry growers must keep a watchful eye on their cooling equipment yet begin planning for winter.

“The biggest issues growers face are heat in the summer and cold in the winter,” said Danny Thornton, MSU Extension poultry specialist. “Good management practices are the main strategies for dealing with the weather, from maintaining fans and blowers to making sure back-up generators are ready at all times.”

July 22, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi could join Texas, Oklahoma and other southeastern states in widespread shortages of hay and forages if dry conditions continue.

Rocky Lemus, forage and grazing systems specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said Mississippi cattle producers are seeing about 50 percent losses of pasture and hay production.

“The southwestern part of the state is very dry. Spotty showers have provided some relief, but much more rain is needed statewide,” Lemus said.

July 15, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops, Corn

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi farmers planted another large corn crop, but this year’s corn is suffering from lack of rain.

This season’s plantings are spread over a wide time window because of frequent rainfall north Mississippi. The majority of the crop in the Delta and south Mississippi was planted during late March, but plantings in northern counties were delayed well into May.

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