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Crop Report

The 37th annual Sweet Potato Festival will be held Nov. 6 in Vardaman. This new poster promotes Vardaman sweet potatoes and will be displayed at the festival.
September 17, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – 2010 is shaping up to be a sweet year for Mississippi sweet potato growers, a total change from the rains that destroyed 75 percent of last year’s crop at harvest.

Benny Graves, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce’s Bureau of Plant Industry, summed the year up by saying the Vardaman sweet potatoes are back.

September 10, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

STONEVILLE – Early planting and higher-than-average temperatures have led to Mississippi’s earliest rice crop harvest to date.

Optimal planting for rice is before May 1, and favorable conditions allowed most of the state’s crop to make it in by that date. Then, hot summer temperatures accelerated the crop’s maturation process, allowing more than half of Mississippi’s rice to be harvested by early September.

September 3, 2010 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE --  Catfish farmers have until Sept. 23 to enroll in a recently approved governmental program to earn educational benefits and cash incentives.

Catfish farmers have struggled as the cost of production, the national economy and competition from foreign products have each taken a toll, pushing Mississippi acreage to its lowest levels in 30 years. In an effort to help farmers continue producing quality fish and remain competitive in the world market, the U.S. Department of Agriculture certified a Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers program on June 25.

Paul Battle (left), owner of Battle Sod Farm in Tunica, came to Mississippi State University's turf field day at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center on Aug. 24. He spoke to Mike Towles of Atkins Landscaping, Inc. in Germantown, Tenn., while the two men were in the plots of the university's tall fescue cultivar evaluation trial. (Photo by Bonnie Coblentz)
August 27, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The lingering recession continues to impact Mississippi’s turfgrass industry with total sod acreage down as a portion has been switched to row crop production until the economy improves.

Wayne Wells, Mississippi State University Extension Service turf specialist, said the state has about 4,500 acres of turf and about 50 sod producers. The largest producers each have about 300 to 500 acres of turf production.

Phat Le, captain of the Mississippi III, discusses cleanup of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with Extension Fisheries Technician Peter Nguyen. Many fishermen and shrimpers are working as oil spill cleanup contractors for BP. (Photo by Scott Corey)
August 20, 2010 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

BILOXI – Shrimp landings may be way below average this season, but the quality of Gulf shrimp is still good.

Shrimping began on time when state waters opened on June 3. Because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, partial closures were implemented beginning on June 8. By July 1, state waters had completely closed.

August 13, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Irrigation, Crops, Cotton, Corn, Soybeans, Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Record-breaking heat is forcing Mississippi producers to manage crops more carefully than normal to bring what looks like successful yields to harvest.

Temperatures in the Delta, which is home to the majority of the state’s row crops, have set as many as five record highs during the first week of August.

Nancy Lopez, a physical scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Stoneville, said some daily records from Greenville to Vicksburg were broken consecutively in August. July also was unusually hot across most of the state.

August 6, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Insects-Crop Pests, Cotton

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Successful planting got Mississippi cotton off to a strong start, and prospects look good for the crop as long as growing conditions and demand remain favorable.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said 2010 has been one of the state’s most successful cotton plantings yet.

“It all went off without a hitch for the most part and wrapped up the first week of June,” Dodds said.

July 30, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Swine, Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Today’s economy means people are eating out and purchasing meat products less often, but cattle and hog producers have learned to make the most of tough times.

Livestock producers reduce their cattle herd sizes and hog numbers to reduce the amount of meat on the market and bolster the product prices, which remain at the mercy of the economy.

John Michael Riley, a Mississippi State University Extension Service agricultural economist, said producers work hard to keep their product affordable when money is tight.

July 23, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forages, Insects-Forage Pests

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi forage producers are experiencing a major invasion of fall armyworms for the second consecutive year in pastures and hay fields across the state.

Blake Layton, a Mississippi State University Extension Service entomologist, said fall armyworm populations were unusually heavy last year with treatable populations reaching north Mississippi relatively early in the year and eventually extending into Tennessee. In 2010, the southern part of Mississippi needed treatments starting in early June.

July 16, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Delayed planting and high summer heat have not kept Mississippi’s soybean crop from looking good as of mid-July, though fields ranged from just planted to nearly ready to harvest.

Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the crop was planted a little later than usual statewide, but many acres in northeast Mississippi were not planted until almost July.

July 9, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Favorable early conditions got Mississippi’s corn crop off to a good start, but most parts of the state could use more rain to make this year a successful one.

Corn is in the later stages of maturity, and harvest is slated for early August through September if conditions are right.

Watermelons at a roadside fruit stand in south Mississippi shed the heavy afternoon rains last Wednesday. Weather conditions during most of the growing season helped the state's fields develop large, flavorful melons this year. (Photo by Scott Corey)
July 2, 2010 - Filed Under: Watermelons, Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Good growing conditions are contributing to a bumper crop of tasty watermelons for Mississippians.

David Nagel, a Mississippi State University Extension Service horticulturist, said rains and cool temperatures delayed plantings but warm temperatures later contributed to rapid development. Harvests began in mid-June and peak each year around the Fourth of July.

“We’ve had plenty of warm temperatures and sunshine to produce large and sweet watermelons this year,” Nagel said. “The more sunny days we have, the sweeter the melons.”

June 25, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE  – Many Mississippi dairy farmers are wary about 2010 after the past 18 months proved to be one of the most financially challenging periods ever for the industry.

“2009 is a year most Mississippi dairy farmers would like to forget because of the huge financial hit they suffered as the price they were paid for milk plummeted about 40 percent,” said dairy specialist Lamar Adams of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Farmers lost about $1,000 per cow last year.”

June 18, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Fruit

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

BILOXI – Despite high yields and good-quality berries, a delayed harvest and low prices are impacting blueberry growers.

Blueberry growers started harvesting in late May and early June, about two weeks behind schedule.

June 11, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s small wheat crop was nearly harvested by the second week of June, and farmers brought in lower-than-average yields.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said individual wheat fields varied greatly in bushels produced.

“The state’s yield should average about 50 bushels an acre, which is a little lower than average, but some producers may harvest yields as high as 80 bushels or more an acre,” Larson said.

Mississippi's cotton crop was planted later than usual and faced a variety of challenges early in the growing season. (Photo by Scott Corey)
June 10, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s young cotton crop has already faced a list of challenges including flooding, late planting, insects and now drought.

“It’s been a challenge from the word go,” said Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We went from an almost perfect planting season last year to one that seems to have continually fought us this year.”

June 4, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After three years of depressed timber markets, prices are increasing because of strong demand for forest products and low inventories of logs following the year’s wettest months.

David Jones, assistant forest products professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the first half of 2010 showed a marked increase in demand for a number of forest products and price increases in most timber product categories.

These young cotton plants are in a weed control study at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. They are in the five- to six-leaf growth stage and therefore no longer vulnerable to damage from thrips. (Photo by Rebekah Ray)
May 28, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Spring rains have been kind to most Mississippi farmers, and conditions are offering cotton one of its best starts in recent years.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the state’s crop has been slightly ahead of schedule.

“The weather has not caused a significant amount of replanting, but there are always exceptions, and if you are one of those farmers, it is significant,” Dodds said. “We also have had some fields needing replanting because of herbicide damage.”

Nolan Brooks measures out catfish feed as part of a research project at MSU's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. (Photo by Rebekah Ray)
May 21, 2010 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE -- The state’s catfish industry -- battling high feed costs, low prices and foreign competition -- is seeing many acres come out of production as producers fight to remain profitable.

In 2009, 15,000 acres of ponds went out of catfish production, and more are expected to leave production this year. Mississippi continues to lead the nation in catfish production and acreage, but the state’s current 65,000 acres is 43 percent short of its peak of 113,000 acres in 2002.

Jeff Gore, assistant research professor at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, checks the root development on a research plot of peanuts planted on April 20. (Photo by Rebekah Ray)
May 14, 2010 - Filed Under: Peanuts

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi peanut growers will finish planting on time and will fare better than last year as long as Mother Nature cooperates.

Peanut planting began the first week of May and is slated to wrap up by June 1.

“Planting is going well so far thanks to the moist soil,” said Mike Steede, Mississippi State University Extension Service director in George County. “We need the moisture for the seeds to germinate. The rain we got in the beginning of the month has created some optimal conditions for now.”

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