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Crop Report

Irrigated or not, most Mississippi soybeans are growing well in the midseason weeks thanks to timely showers. These Noxubee County soybeans are part of the state’s 2.05 million acres on July 21, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- July rains hold a special place in soybean growers’ hearts – and in their pocketbooks.

“July is typically a very hot, dry month, but it’s also one when soybeans still need water to grow and fill out pods,” said Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “There have been some exceptions, but most growers have been lucky to get some showers to help their crops along.

Peaches displayed for sale on a bright blue table. Production and sale of peaches, strawberries and other fruit and vegetable truck crops are on pace to be strong once again this year. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
July 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Farmers Markets, Organic Fruit and Vegetables

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Favorable weather and a steady consumer appetite for local produce are keeping Mississippi’s truck crop industry strong.

The state now has more than 80 farmers markets, compared to 52 in 2010. These markets make up the main avenue through which truck crop growers sell their goods, but local produce can be found with more frequency on grocery store shelves during the growing season. This trend reflects the shift in consumer preference.

Mississippi’s growers harvested about 80,000 acres of wheat and averaged 58 bushels per acre in 2016. These amber waves of grain (left) are in a Coahoma County, Mississippi, field on May 23, 2016. David Wade (right) knows his Coahoma County, Mississippi, wheat would have produced better yields if persistent spring rains had not stunted the crop’s development. He is standing in his wheat field on May 23, 2016, shortly before harvest. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Reduced acreage, average yields and low prices have added up to another tough year for Mississippi wheat farmers.

The state’s wheat appears to be on track for a third consecutive year in which the value of production was cut in half from the previous year.

Mississippi State University Extension Service agricultural economist Brian Williams said wheat production values were $154.5 million in 2013, $71.7 million in 2014 and $31.5 million in 2015.

High demand for fingerlings to stock ponds is keeping catfish supply tight and resulting in profits for Mississippi’s catfish industry. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
July 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- As demand for catfish remains high, the only components of its production trending down this year in Mississippi are pond acreage and the price of feed.

Producers are receiving an average of $1.12 to $1.21 per pound of catfish and paying less than $380 for a ton of feed. To Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, those data are good news for the bottom line.

Deodar weevil damage is easily identified by the wood-chip cocoons the insects make for larvae under the inner bark. Central Mississippi landowners will continue to experience increased pressure from these pests because of extreme drought and an extended fall in 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
July 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Natural Resources

RAYMOND, Miss. -- An increase in housing starts in 2015 strengthened Mississippi’s timber industry, and stronger demand for sawtimber products used in construction are helping give the industry a boost this year.

James Henderson, an associate professor of forestry with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said timber ended the year with a total estimated harvest value of almost $1.67 billion.

Emily Grace Barnette is ready to take this watermelon home from the Starkville Community Market on June 21, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
June 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Watermelons

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Watermelons need ample water to grow, but rains also contribute to disease pressure, and cloudy skies reduce the melons’ sweet taste.

David Nagel, a horticulturist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said dry conditions hurt the size of melons that were not irrigated, but their flavor should be excellent.

Mississippi’s shrimp season, which opened June 6, is mostly yielding small brown shrimp. However, hot weather and warmer water in the Gulf is creating ideal growing conditions for the shrimp. (File Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Selling directly to the public takes longer, but it allows fishermen to make some profit from a shrimp season that has been below average so far this year in Mississippi.

Dave Burrage, commercial and recreational fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said shrimp landed in Mississippi have been small through mid-June.

Mississippi’s rice crop was mostly in good or excellent condition in early June. This field in Washington County, Mississippi was photographed June 8, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bobby Golden)
June 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Rice

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It was clear by early June that spring’s wet, cool weather caused few issues for Mississippi’s rice crop, as growers got it planted on time and the emerged crop  looks good overall.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that as of June 5, the crop was 99 percent planted and 97 percent emerged. Of that acreage, 78 percent was in good or excellent condition, and 20 percent was in fair condition.

Rabbiteye blueberries make up 80 to 90 percent of the Mississippi’s blueberry crop. Recent dry weather has made harvesting easier than normal. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/File)
June 3, 2016 - Filed Under: Fruit

POPLARVILLE, Miss. -- The first half of June is usually a busy time for blueberry growers in Mississippi, and this year is no different, as recent dry conditions have expedited the crop’s harvest.

A few scattered small-market “U-Picks” can be found in north and central portions of the state, but most of the commercial activity is happening south of Interstate 20, where rain has been in short supply lately. Wayne County boasts the highest blueberry production in the state.

Increased milk production nationwide is driving down profits for Mississippi dairy farmers. (Photo by Kat Lawrence/MSU Extension Service)
May 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Dairy

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- An abundance of cool-season grasses and legumes means plenty of forage for Mississippi dairy cows, but increased nationwide milk production is driving down profits for the state’s producers.

Producers are receiving $12.75 per hundredweight, or about $1.10 per gallon of milk. A year ago, they were being paid just under $20 per hundredweight.

Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the sharp decrease is driven by supply.

Good planting weather in mid-May is allowing Mississippi cotton growers to get the crop planted quickly. This seedling cotton was growing on a Leflore County farm May 19, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 20, 2016 - Filed Under: Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cotton producers made rapid planting progress in mid-May on increased acreage, hoping the recent trend of high yields will continue in a year of low prices for all crops.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said dry weather during the second week of May allowed farmers to kick planting into high gear.

Clear skies have been rare sights as Mississippi farmers started planting their 2016 crops. This soybean planter is establishing a variety trial in a Sunflower County field on May 10, 2016. (MSU Extension Service photo/Greg Flint)
May 13, 2016 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring rains created their typical obstacle course for Mississippi soybean growers trying to get fields planted as soon as possible.

“Growers are covering a lot of ground this week (May 8-13) trying to plant before the next rain,” said Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Frequent rains have made the planting season a challenge. Growers are planting all they can between these rains. Even with these challenges, we are only slightly behind where we were last year in terms of planting progress.”

Rocky Lemus (left), forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, explains successes and challenges with fescue growing at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center. Lemus led tours during a Forage Field Day near Starkville, Mississippi, on April 7, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A cool, wet spring delayed growth of several summer grasses, but not the weeds that compete for space in fields and pastures across Mississippi.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the state has about 903,000 acres of bahiagrass and 770,000 acres of bermudagrass.

These Merced variety strawberries growing at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs looked good on April 21, 2016, despite rainy spring weather that has increased disease pressure on most of Mississippi’s crop. Researchers at the station are conducting a strawberry variety trial to help Mississippi producers choose the best performing varieties for the state. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
April 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Fruit, Commercial Fruit and Nuts

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Record-breaking rain and cloudy skies this spring increased disease problems in most of Mississippi’s strawberry crop and decreased the sweetness of the popular berries.

“It’s been one of the wettest Marches in years statewide, and the wettest March in history for Jackson,” said Bill Evans, a horticulture researcher with Mississippi State University. “When strawberry plants get wet and stay wet, they get diseased.”

Mississippi placed 14.5 million broiler-type chicks for meat production during the week ending April 16. In about five weeks, those chicks will be the size of these broilers, which were growing on a Chickasaw County farm on April 15, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Poultry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi poultry and egg companies are poised for expansions to fill the national gaps caused by the 2015 bird flu outbreaks in other states.

Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said companies are looking for more broiler growers or additional barns on existing farms.

Frost, cool nights and heavy rain are challenging newly emerged corn, such as this Noxubee County, Mississippi, corn photographed April 12, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Frequent spring rains and standing water have kept farmers out of their fields, reducing expectations for the state’s corn crop.

Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said growers are struggling to plant the amount of corn they intended. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted Mississippi’s corn acreage would be 800,000, up 57 percent from last year’s 510,000 acres.

Wheat is shown growing in a R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center test plot at Mississippi State University April 6, 2016. Due to poor planting conditions and a saturated market last fall, producers planted only 90,000 acres of the state’s winter crop, which is less than half of the 200,000-acre average. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Winter conditions did not significantly affect wheat development in Mississippi, but acreage of the state’s only cold-season row crop is expected to be much lower than normal due to poor planting conditions last fall.

Erick Larson, corn and wheat specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said 90,000 acres of wheat were planted last fall. The normal acreage is usually around 200,000 acres. Producers planted 230,000 acres in 2014 and 150,000 acres in 2013.

Like jets lining up on a runway, Mississippi growers are ready to take off and resume their planting as soon as the weather allows. Shaifer Bell of Huddleston Planting Co. is at the controls of this tractor as he plants corn near Metcalfe, Mississippi, on March 30, 2016. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center Communication Department)
April 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Crops

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Crop decisions made in January based on markets and profit potential may be cloudy memories for growers waiting on fields to dry out enough to allow spring plantings.

Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said growers have purchased seed and locked in their planting intentions, unless rains prevent timely plantings. Few changes will be based on the market’s response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Prospective Plantings Report released March 31.

Expect to pay anywhere from $7 to $10 per foot for a choose-and-cut Christmas tree this year. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
November 13, 2015 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

SAUCIER, Miss. -- Christmas tree growers in Mississippi expect a 7 percent increase in sales this year, but unfavorable spring and fall weather may hurt future supplies.

Stephen Dicke, a forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said growers successfully controlled insect and disease problems this year. However, a wet spring followed by a dry summer and early fall caused some growers to lose up to half of their 1-year-old trees.

Wheat acreage is expected to be up from last year, but the ground across most of the state was too dry to plant through October. Blake Garrard is shown planting wheat last fall at the Mississippi State University Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
November 6, 2015 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi farmers are expected to plant as much as 200,000 acres of wheat this year, but very little had been planted by the end of October because of exceptionally dry weather since August.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said several factors limited wheat acreage last year, but wheat planting intentions are fairly strong this year if weather allows planting to proceed soon.

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