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Crop Report

Many pecan producers, such as Peeples Pecan Orchard in Starkville, are waiting for rains to let up enough for them to harvest in earnest. Mississippi pecan growers are anticipating a better than average crop of more than 2 million pounds. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 30, 2009 - Filed Under: Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Pecans are one Mississippi crop not taking a beating from excessive fall rains, but until the pecans are out of the orchard, the crop is not out of the woods.

Pecan growers are trying to harvest a better-than-average crop and take advantage of good early-season prices. Experts anticipate a more than 2-million-pound pecan harvest in the state. The national crop is expected to be about 300 million pounds, up 100 million pounds from last year.

Non-stop rains since harvest began have cost Mississippi producers an estimated $371 million. These cotton plants stand wasting in a rain-saturated field on Mississippi State University's R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Facility. (Photo by Scott Corey)
October 23, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Near-constant rains during harvest-time cost Mississippi farmers an estimated $371 million in losses, and producers with crop insurance may be the only ones able to salvage much more from the fields this year.

These pumpkins found at J&A Farms and Nursery in Flora are among the few Mississippi pumpkins to have been harvested early or to have survived the heavy September and October rains. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 16, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Pumpkins

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Heavy rains in Mississippi and nationwide have decreased the number of pumpkins available for harvest, but not the quality of the pumpkins already pulled from the fields.

Pumpkins are popular in the fall for decorating and baking, but they are not a major crop for Mississippi, which only has a few commercial growers.

October 9, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

October 2, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Harvest season rains have robbed soybean growers of strong yields and bean quality, reducing profits in an already challenging year.

“We were harvesting a beautiful crop with outstanding yields before the rains came the last two weeks of September,” said Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Now that farmers are finally back in fields, we are seeing average yield losses of 5 percent to 10 percent.”

In addition to the yield losses, damage estimates average between 5 percent and 20 percent.

September 25, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Nearly 80 percent of the state’s corn crop is safely in storage, and the remaining acres are ready for harvest but stuck in wet fields getting rain-drenched for days.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the corn harvest is largely complete in the southern part of the state, including the south Delta. However, the corn in the northern areas of the state was planted later and most remains in the fields.

September 18, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Heavy rains, limited sunshine and high humidity in mid-September are threatening to damage the state’s major row crops unless dry weather returns soon to allow harvest to finish.

Soybeans are most at risk now because the bulk of the state’s crop was ready or almost ready for harvest when wet weather rolled into the state mid month.

Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the crop is only about 25 percent harvested.

September 10, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s timber owners are keeping a close watch on the national housing market with hopes that the worst economic times are behind them.

“Recovery in the U.S. housing market is key to Mississippi’s sawtimber markets, and it appears that the beginnings of a recovery are emerging,” said James Henderson, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Pending home sales and single-family construction have increased most months in 2009.”

September 4, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The weak economy and high costs of production have given poultry companies a strong incentive to curtail production in spite of increased prices.

Feed accounts for about 70 percent of the cost of broiler production. As feed prices have stayed high, production has lowered, reflecting a loss in revenue for the state’s growers.

““Compared to last year, fuel costs are down, but the general cost of doing business is making tight margins even tighter,” said Michael Kidd, head of Mississippi State University’s poultry science department.

August 28, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Though heavy rains this spring delayed some of the state's rice planting, warm, sunny days in June and July helped the crop along, and by late Aug., Mississippi farmers were pleased with the results.

Optimal planting for rice is before May 1, and 75 percent of the state’s crop made it in by that date. The remainder was late because of excessive rains during the first few weeks of May.

August 21, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s small cotton crop was looking good by late August, but with prices below break-even levels, producers will hold their breath until harvests are in.

John Michael Riley, Extension agricultural economist, said cotton harvest cash prices in Mississippi in mid-August were about 53-55 cents a pound. MSU crop budget estimators indicate the “average Mississippi producer” needs prices above 62 cents a pound to be in the black in 2009.

August 14, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Though cool temperatures and excess rain kept many Mississippi row crops from getting a good start this spring, they actually helped sod production.

Extra water allows many growers to cut back on irrigation. Once the sod establishes, there is not much else for growers to do, other than mow at regular intervals and maintain their market base.

August 7, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Catfish pond acreage in Mississippi continues to decline, with the high cost of production and poor prices partly to blame.

Jim Steeby, aquaculture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the entire U.S. catfish industry is downsizing. As of late July, Mississippi had 70,000 acres of catfish ponds, down from the high of 113,000 acres the state had in 2001.

July 31, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Three weeks of cool, rainy weather in July were just what the state’s soybeans needed, breathing new life into the struggling crop.

Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said weather extremes have affected the crop. Cold, wet spring weather delayed a lot of planting. Most of June was hot and dry and most of July was wet and cooler.

July 24, 2009 - Filed Under: Corn

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – While Mother Nature is showing corn producers a little mercy after her relentless drubbing earlier this year, the futures market is not.

Excessive rainfall early in the season caused many problems for the crop, but recent showers and temperatures in the 80s have kept plants healthy, allowing them to fill out ears.

July 17, 2009 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Low prices and below-average landings are making a poor season for shrimpers, but consumers are getting a great deal on high-quality Gulf shrimp.

Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Mississippi’s shrimp season opened late and in two phases. Normally the season opens in early June, and part did open June 7, but the rest did not open until June 25.

July 10, 2009 - Filed Under: Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s 2.1 million acres in forage production have struggled from one extreme to the other, and farmers are hoping for a little help from Mother Nature to produce an adequate 2009 crop.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said pastures and hay fields are just passing the midway point in the growing season.

July 2, 2009 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s 2009 cotton is shaping up to be more a story of how the mighty have fallen than another chapter in the reign of King Cotton.

A poor outlook on market prices and continued high input costs led many producers to move away from cotton, and wet weather during the April and May planting window kept even more acres out of cotton production. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Mississippi has 270,000 acres of cotton in 2009, the lowest on record. For comparison, Mississippi had 1.2 million acres of cotton in 2006.

June 26, 2009 - Filed Under: Watermelons

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fickle weather may have altered the production schedule for watermelons this year, but Mississippi growers will have plenty of the popular red fruit available for summertime eating.

“Growers started pulling melons last week and will be in full swing as the marketing season begins,” said George County agent Mike Steede of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “The melons look good and have filled out well.”

Mississippi blueberries, such as these near Richton, are experiencing strong yields in 2009. (Photo by Marco Nicovich)
June 19, 2009 - Filed Under: Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s fruit growers are harvesting about twice as many blueberries as they did last year, thanks largely to the lack of significant spring freezes.

John Braswell, Mississippi State University horticulture specialist at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, said growers in south Mississippi have just passed the peak of the 2009 harvest season.

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