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Crop Report

Chickasaw County farmer Doil Moore checks a young watermelon that will be ready before Fourth of July celebrations. (Photo by Linda Breazeale)
June 24, 2011 - Filed Under: Watermelons, Fruit, Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s sunny skies are producing sweet watermelons and blueberries just in time for Fourth of July tables.

David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said most of the state’s fruit crops saw very little rain as they approached maturity. Fortunately, many of Mississippi’s commercial watermelon and blueberry plots have irrigation and plastic mulch to help protect plants from droughts.

June 17, 2011 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE – About 40 percent of the state’s peanut acres are under extreme drought, and unless rains come soon, it’s going to be a very bad year for the state’s crop.

Mike Howell, Mississippi State University Extension Service peanut specialist, said drought delayed some planting in early May until a timely rain allowed the rest to be planted.

June 3, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Despite higher milk prices, the dairy industry struggles to make significant profits because of high production costs and lack of rain.

The current average price for milk is about $19 per hundredweight. In May 2010, the price was $15, up considerably from $11.60 in May 2009.

May 27, 2011 - Filed Under: Catfish, Disaster Response, Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

BILOXI – The oyster industry is bracing for extreme losses as freshwater from the Mississippi River flows into the western portion of the Mississippi Sound.

“Oysters are stationary and cannot escape as the freshwater displaces the salt water they need,” said Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Oysters just cannot survive long periods of freshwater, so we are expecting significant mortality, maybe even 100 percent.”

May 20, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops, Rice

STONEVILLE -- Fields along the Mississippi River may be flooded, but the majority of the state’s rice crop is farther inland and needs either more water or time to dry after heavy rains caused other rivers to overflow.

Nathan Buehring, rice specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said rice fields do not need to be flooded until after the plants are about 6 inches tall. Farmers often will “flush” water over the field to prompt early growth.

May 13, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Catfish, Disaster Response

MISSISSIPPI STATE – With all eyes focused on the Mississippi River’s epic floodwaters, catfish producers contemplate its potential impact on their already stressed industry.

Jimmy Avery, aquaculture leader with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said if the river crests as high as predicted, several catfish farms in the south Delta, particularly those in Sharkey, Issaquena and Yazoo counties may be affected.

Wheat fields along the Mississippi River and tributaries are under or going under water in the Great Flood of 2011. (File photo by Linda Breazeale)
May 6, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming, Agricultural Economics, Soybeans, Disaster Preparedness

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers were gambling along the Mississippi River long before casinos were built, but as they watch water flood over their fields, all bets are off.

The river is predicted to crest in Vicksburg around May 20 at 57.5 feet, which is 14.5 feet above flood stage and 6 feet above the previous record.

Robert Martin has been watching the mighty Mississippi and its tributaries ebb and flow past Delta fields for 40 years. He is the Sharkey and Issaquena county director for the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Timber took a beating from several tornadoes that went across the state April 27. This timber along Highway 403 in Mathiston was in an area among the hardest hit that day. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
April 29, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops, Grains, Disaster Response

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The tornadoes of April 27 took a toll on Mississippi’s agriculture, with timber, the state’s No. 2 most valuable agricultural commodity, taking the biggest hit.

Massive storms have swept the state all month, bringing hail, torrential rains and tornadoes. Wednesday was the worst day, with the majority of the damage scattered across the northern part of the state.

April 21, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi soybean farmers have started planting in spite of unpredictable spring weather that has brought strong wind and heavy rains to some areas while leaving other regions dry.

About 10 percent to 20 percent of the soybean crop is planted.

April 15, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Crop producers have been busy planting corn, and while those in drier areas are nearly finished, those in wetter areas are trying to catch up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the crop was 79 percent planted by April 10. The bulk of the acres yet to be planted are in northeast Mississippi, where frequent rains have kept producers out of soggy fields.

Mississippi's strawberry growers are finding that consumers prefer the taste of the state's fresh berries. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
April 8, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Fruit

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The strawberry business in Mississippi may be small, but growers are finding big business with consumers who prefer to buy locally.

“The Mississippi strawberry is as red on the inside as it is on the outside,” said Brooks Brownlee, who owns Brownlee Farms in Marshall County and grows five acres of strawberries. “Commercial strawberries have a whitish color and air pockets on the inside, but our berries are fresh-tasting throughout.”

Agricultural Technician Rodney Coleman disks a soybean field on March 21, 2011, for spring planting at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center. Located in Stoneville, the MSU experiment station covers almost 4,300 acres. (Photo by DREC Communications/Rebekah Ray).
April 1, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops, Grains, Soybeans, Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With the excitement of drivers at a NASCAR start, farmers are ready to begin the 2011 growing season.

The first fields out of the starting gate are corn fields.

Erick Larson, small grains specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said growers were approaching the halfway point in planting this year’s corn crop by the end of March. They should complete planting by the end of April.

March 25, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops, Wheat, Grains

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A drier-than-normal winter has put this year’s winter wheat crop in good shape as it heads into the heavy growth stages of spring.

Erick Larson, grain agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the state has about 300,000 acres of wheat. This figure is up from the meager 125,000 acres harvested in 2010, but down from the recent high of 520,000 acres planted in 2008.

Mississippi growers will have a good crop of trees to sell this holiday season. Most choose-and-cut farms will open on Thanksgiving Day, and the rest will be open by the Saturday after Thanksgiving. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 29, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Christmas Trees

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

VERONA -- With less than a month to go, Mississippi’s Christmas tree growers are counting down the days to what may shape up as a great year.

The trees mature enough for sale have good color and have filled out nicely, despite periods of dry weather statewide and too much rain in some areas of the state.  Most species of Christmas trees grown in Mississippi take five years to mature, which makes one-fifth of a grower’s crop marketable each year if new seedlings are planted after the holiday season.

Mississippi pecan growers should see average yields as they begin harvesting the 2010 crop. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 22, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Nuts

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Although Mississippi pecan growers’ hopes for high yields were dashed by lack of rain, they still anticipate having a good crop to sell.

Pecans fill out between late August and the end of September. Timely rains are necessary for nutmeat to fully develop, but Mississippi did not get those rains this year, said David Ingram, plant pathologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Mississippi lawn and garden centers are providing pumpkins in a variety of sizes for fall displays, such as this one at the Oktibbeha County Co-op on Oct. 15, 2010. Dry conditions this year reduced the size and number of Mississippi's carving pumpkins, but miniature varieties are abundant. (Photo by Linda Breazeale)
October 15, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Pumpkins, Commercial Horticulture

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Halloween is surrounded by mystery, and one of the greatest mysteries to Mississippi farmers is why anyone would want to grow pumpkins.

David Nagel, vegetable specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said pumpkins are hard to grow in Mississippi because of the late-summer weather, but farmers are eternal optimists.

October 8, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops, Cotton, Corn, Soybeans, Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Intense summer heat did a number on the state’s major row crops, and the crops that did best were those planted early and irrigated.

Cotton and soybeans appear to have come through the year in the best shape, but corn and rice look better than expected.

Freshly harvested peanuts are unloaded from a peanut combine on a farm in the Lackey Community near Aberdeen. (Photo by Scott Corey)
October 1, 2010 - Filed Under: Peanuts

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Demand for Mississippi peanuts could be up because of season-long production problems in Georgia and Alabama.

“Peanut crops in the central areas of Georgia and Alabama are hurting,” said Malcolm Broome, executive director of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association. “If our farmers can get the crop out, they may see some price improvement because of the anticipated decreases in supply.”

September 24, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming, Agricultural Economics, Lawn and Garden

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi’s horticulture hard, but the current economic conditions could be even more devastating to this important green industry.

Mengmeng Gu, assistant professor of ornamental horticulture for Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said nurseries and greenhouse businesses are experiencing different challenges.

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.


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