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Crop Report

April 3, 2009 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – High market prices and low input costs continue to make soybeans an attractive crop that will gain acres in 2009, but apparently not as many as originally predicted.

John Anderson, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said market watchers have been eager to see soybean acreage predictions. He said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Prospective Plantings Report released March 31 was greeted “with a lot of anticipation in the marketplace.”

March 27, 2009 - Filed Under: Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's wheat is emerging from the winter with the same potential as last year’s record yield, but many opportunities remain for Mother Nature to spoil the final outcome.

Although the weather at planting time was favorable, the profit potential for wheat was not. The result was a wheat acreage decline of about 50 percent from last year, when growers averaged 62 bushels per acre on 485,000 acres.

October 31, 2008 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- State producers are harvesting the last of a large and generally good soybean crop after a scare from late summer rains that threatened to ruin most of the crop.

Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said about 95 percent of the state's soybeans were harvested by the end of October. The only beans remaining in the field were late-planted soybeans in the northern part of the state and along the river where spring floodwaters delayed planting.

October 24, 2008 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton farmers are trying just to put the season behind them after a year of struggling with the crop once called “king” in Mississippi.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said much of the state's crop looked good until early August, when tropical weather brought untimely rains to areas of the state.

October 17, 2008 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Pumpkins do not grab the headlines as a significant crop, but they fill a niche for many Mississippi farmers who need to supplement cash flow.

“It's best to spread your effort out with several different enterprises because your farm is a business, after all,” said pumpkin producer Clay Meeks of Tippah County, who also grows soybeans and strawberries, and raises cattle. “It helps to have money coming in at different times of the year.”

October 10, 2008 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sweet potato yields and quality appear to be favorable despite rains that have harvest season running seven to 10 days behind schedule.

Calhoun County Extension director Charles Fitts said growers in Mississippi's sweet potato heartland are looking for good weather to finish harvest by the first week in November.

“If rainy weather slows growers down too much, potatoes will be at risk of losing quality when the ground freezes,” Fitts said. “So whenever field conditions are good, growers are working as quickly as possible.”

Rains, cooler weather and high humidity during corn harvest are causing problems for producers. This ear of corn in Holmes County shows evidence of sprouting and grain deterioration. (Photo by Bob Ratliff)
October 3, 2008 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Corn farmers are finally completing harvest of what is possibly the state's second-highest average yield, but abundant rainfall caused delays, made harvest more difficult and hurt some grain quality.

Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said repeated rains, relatively low temperatures and high humidity prevented corn from drying in the field as quickly as it should have.

September 26, 2008 - Filed Under: Nuts

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The spring freeze, summer drought and fall hurricane season of 2008 may have affected yield potential in many pecan orchards, but the industry watchers remain cautiously optimistic about the crop.

“Some of the trees have come back and are loading up pretty good with pecans,” said David Ingram, plant pathologist with the Mississippi State University Central Research and Extension Center in Raymond.

Excessive rains from recent hurricanes have damaged Mississippi's cotton crop, leading to boll rot, hardlock and seeds sprouting in the bolls. (Photo by Will McCarty/MSU Extension Service)
September 19, 2008 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Repeated, drenching rains from storms Fay, Gustav and Ike brought Mississippi's cotton crop from an anticipated above-average yield to one that appears to be average or below.

“With cotton acres being down, we really needed to hit a home run this year to retain the acres we had and to keep all the gins and the cotton industry infrastructure,” said Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

He said the state's cotton crop as a whole looked above average by Aug. 1, but it didn't last.

September 12, 2008 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's soybean crop is getting some “R and R,” but rather than producers having an easy time, their crop is battling seed rot and soybean rust.

Trey Koger, Mississippi State University soybean specialist at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said about 5 percent of the state's soybean crop was harvested by mid-September. In an average year, the crop would be about 30 percent harvested by that point.

September 5, 2008 - Filed Under: Rice

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rice production in Mississippi this year boils down to a tale of two different crops in the field.

Farmers typically start planting rice about April 1 of each year and conclude around May 15. This year, only 75 percent of the crop was in the ground when untimely rains came during the latter part of the planting window. The wet weather pushed rice planting well into June, which meant 25 percent of the crop suffered a late start.

August 29, 2008 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Tropical Storm Fay was in the first wave of challenges facing Mississippi farmers during the 2008 harvest season as growers wait to see what future storms may bring.

Mississippi State University agronomists are reporting some benefits but mostly problems from recent wet, humid conditions. They all agree the timing of the storm called Gustav could hurt much more.

August 22, 2008 - Filed Under: Swine

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fuel, feed and packers have Mississippi pork producers over a barrel.

According to statistics from the National Pork Board, Mississippi's hog production numbers over the last seven years (2000-2006) averaged about 470,000 head, which includes market hogs, feeder pigs and sows. But from 2005 through 2007, the average was about 434,000 head. Production at the end of 2007 totaled 412,000 hogs valued at $63 million.

August 15, 2008 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Corn prices were too good to last, and after growing the most expensive corn crop ever, Mississippi farmers are hoping to bring in high enough yields to still make a profit.

John Anderson, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said prices have been “melting down” since about mid-July.

August 8, 2008 - Filed Under: Cotton

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton farmers are having a good production year despite a late start, but time is running out for prices to catch up.

Mississippi State University Extension agronomist Darrin Dodds said a wet spring across Mississippi's cotton-growing areas in east Mississippi and the Delta delayed planting.

July 25, 2008 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The volatile fuel market has caused nightmares for every farmer, but the problem is particularly vexing for sod producers who cannot escape the added cost of looking good.

Sod has to be trimmed and mowed at least twice a week to maintain good appearance and health before sale. Grass practically sells itself when it is luscious and in shape. But these frequent trips with the mower increase fuel use.

July 18, 2008 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The mortgage crisis and high fuel costs are working against timber markets in 2008.

James Henderson, assistant forestry professor with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said prices for pine pulpwood were increasing early in the year, but higher fuel costs are pressing midyear prices downward, and pine sawtimber prices have been trending downward since the summer of 2007.

July 11, 2008 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Challenged by rains throughout the planting season, Mississippi's soybeans now face make-or-break conditions as they await uniform showers to complete their growth and fill out beans.

“This crop is later than in recent years because early spring rains kept us from planting much of the crop as early as we would have liked,” said Trey Koger, soybean specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. “We are at a crossroads where we need a rain to keep most of this crop going in the right direction.”

Shrimp boats line the public docks in Biloxi after spending the night harvesting in the Gulf. Shrimp lovers are finding good supplies, but prices are up this season. (Photo by Bob Ratliff)
July 3, 2008 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The price of shrimp is up this season, but so is the cost of getting Mississippi's shrimp harvest to market.

The Mississippi harvest began June 17, with early-season wholesale prices up from 10 cents to $2 a pound, depending on size, said David Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Biloxi.

June 27, 2008 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Strong market prices and the ability to cope with less moisture than most crops have Mississippi's peanut growers expanding their acreage again this year.

Peanuts have been increasingly popular since the Farm Bill ended the quota system in 2002 and allowed farmers to plant as many acres in peanuts as they wanted.

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