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Crop Report

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.

More than 100 sweet potato growers in Mississippi planted 23,200 acres of the crop this year. That is second only to North Carolina in the U.S. by acreage. (Photo by MSU Extension, Kevin Hudson)
October 30, 2015 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

VARDAMAN, Miss. -- Untimely dry conditions will likely hurt this year’s sweet potato crop in Mississippi, but increasing demand is keeping prices high enough for growers to remain optimistic.

Stephen Meyers, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a wet spring delayed planting for one to two weeks. Dry fall conditions limited growing progress and will keep yields from reaching full potential.

Large pumpkins just right for jack-o-lanterns await selection at a store in Starkville, Mississippi, on Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
October 23, 2015 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi pumpkin growers live for conditions like they have seen in 2015.

This pecan at Pecan Hills Farms in Raymond, Mississippi, is open but not quite ready for harvest on Oct. 8, 2015. The state’s harvest is delayed by a few weeks because of the dry summer. (Photo by MSU Extension/Susan Collins-Smith)
October 16, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuts

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Despite a wet spring followed by a dry summer and fall, Mississippi should have average pecan yields in 2015.

Libby Beard, co-owner of The Flower Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi, left, and Anna McCain, Warren County Extension agent, look over some of the fall bedding flowers available on Oct. 7, 2015. (Submitted photo)
October 9, 2015 - Filed Under: Fruit, Commercial Horticulture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- If inquiries about new or expanded businesses are the heartbeat of Mississippi horticulture, then agricultural economist Alba Collart knows 2015 is a healthy year for the industry.

Collart, assistant professor of agricultural economics with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said horticultural crops are important to Mississippi’s agricultural economy. These specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and products grown for environmental horticulture, also known as the green industry.

Harvest of the state’s soybean crop was about two-thirds complete by the first of October. These soybeans were drying out Sept. 19, 2015 at the Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
October 2, 2015 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Erratic yields in Mississippi’s early-planted soybean crop reflect the extremes of temperature and rainfall farmers faced during the spring and summer of 2015.

“This season was one of extremes,” said Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We went from cool, wet conditions in early spring to hot and dry during a critical point of the season, and that has taken a toll on yield for some of our acres.”

Eddie Stevens, supervisor for the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center at Mississippi State University, left, and Erick Larson, an associate research/extension professor, examine grain sorghum in a herbicide study in fields on the north side of campus on Sept. 24, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
September 25, 2015 - Filed Under: Grains

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- After causing significant challenges in 2014, sugarcane aphids did not catch Mississippi’s grain sorghum growers by surprise this year.

“We are not sure if sugarcane aphids were not as bad as last year or if we just did a better job using insecticidal seed treatments,” said Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “One big difference was that we were more educated in our control efforts. No one was caught by surprise, and everyone had budgeted for control.”

Pigs and hogs feed at Palo Alto Farms in West Point, Mississippi in this file photo. Consumer preference is one reason interest has been growing in people in the state raising pigs on pastureland for their own consumption. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
September 18, 2015 - Filed Under: Swine

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Low feed costs and steady demand are keeping the playing field level for Mississippi swine producers, but the bottom line at year’s end will be down from 2014 totals.

Mississippi’s value of production for hogs was $153 million last year. No estimates are available for 2015, but hog prices have been much lower than they were in 2014, while hog numbers were higher at the first of the year.

Mississippi State University researcher Jason Sarver, right, examines the condition of peanuts in a Leflore County, Mississippi, field on Sept. 10, 2015. With him, from left, is consultant Bruce Pittman and grower Justin Jeffcoat. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Chad Abbott)
September 11, 2015 - Filed Under: Peanuts

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi farmers planted more peanuts in response to economic factors that made the crop an attractive choice this year, but a lack of rain now has them expecting average yields.

Mississippi has 42,000 acres of peanuts this year, up 45 percent from what was planted in 2014. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 84 percent of the crop is in fair to good condition.

Mississippi State University Department of Plant and Soil Sciences senior research associate Wayne Philley, left, and MSU seniors Abram Diaz of D’Iberville and Aaron Tucker of Carthage measure how far a golf ball rolls over different varieties of bermudagrass at the R. R. Foil Plant Science Research Center Sept. 4, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Nathan Gregory)
September 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Sod supply in Mississippi is slowly rebounding in 2015 after a major shortage of the commodity last year.

Jay McCurdy, turfgrass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said turfgrass remains in short supply this year due to a decline in acreage and recent harsh winters.

Workers harvest rice on Aug. 24, 2015, at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Bobby Golden)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Rice

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Rice harvest has begun in Mississippi, but only time will tell how many acres were actually planted and how good yields will be.

“There’s not a lot of yield reports yet, but I think we’re going to have a good crop,” said Bobby Golden, rice agronomist with the MSU Extension Service and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. “It probably won’t be as good as last year, but we set records the last two years running.”

Housing starts across the country climbed in July to their highest rates in almost eight years, but current overall average stumpage prices in Mississippi are hovering near where they were at this time in 2014 because of a timber surplus. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
August 21, 2015 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s timber industry is holding steady this year from 2014 as both the U.S. housing market and the demand for lumber continue to improve gradually.

State average stumpage prices for hardwood sawtimber declined sharply in the second fiscal quarter of 2015 from the first quarter, while pine sawtimber prices increased. Hardwood sawtimber is down compared to a year ago, while pine sawtimber is slightly higher.

 Gary Lawrence, Mississippi State University nematologist, examines cotton growing at the MSU R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on Aug. 11, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
August 14, 2015 - Filed Under: Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The cold, wet spring slowed cotton development by about 10 days, and now producers are battling plant bugs, bollworms and dry weather to bring their crops to harvest this year.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said bolls on most of the cotton across the state should begin to open by mid- to late August.

Stem maggots burrow into bermudagrass, which causes the top portion of the stems to die and plant growth to stop. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
August 7, 2015 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi forage producers are taking the good with the bad and dreading the ugly. The state’s pastures have produced ample grass, but they have also suffered from abundant weeds and stem maggots, and fall armyworms may soon cause even more problems.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said summer rains have produced good growing conditions for pastures and hay production across the state. Mississippi has about 760,000 acres in hay production.

Low prices and an unusual season are making it difficult for Mississippi fishermen to harvest the state's shrimp crop. (Photo by MSU Extension/Dave Burrage)
July 31, 2015 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi fishermen remain intent on harvesting this year’s shrimp crop in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico despite low prices and a season paused and restarted.

Dave Burrage, Mississippi State University Extension professor of marine resources at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, said the shrimp season first opened June 3, closed June 19 when shrimp were too small, and then reopened July 13.

“This season has been an anomaly so far,” Burrage said.

The majority of the state's corn is rated in good or excellent condition despite spring rains that delayed planting and detrimental heat in recent weeks. This photo was taken June 12, 2015, in Sunflower County. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
July 24, 2015 - Filed Under: Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wet spring weather prevented Mississippi farmers from planting as many corn acres as they intended, but despite the heat, the crop is mostly looking good in fields across the state.

“We should have a good crop this year, but it won’t be a record,” said Erick Larson, Mississippi State University Extension Service corn specialist. “The planted acreage is down from what was intended because it was terribly rainy during spring planting, which delayed planting and restricted corn acreage.”

Irrigated soybean fields have an advantage over soybean crops grown on dry land during summers when temperatures are above average. (Photo by Kat Lawrence/MSU Ag Communications)
July 17, 2015 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi soybean farmers are projected to harvest the most acres in over 25 years despite narrow planting windows and issues getting the crop established.

Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said planting challenges as a result of wet spring weather hampered early plantings, but the crop has rebounded despite recent hot weather with sporadic rain relief.

Shade from the summer sun is necessary to keep cattle cool and their feed intake high. These cattle were at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center at Mississippi State University in Starkville July 8, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
July 10, 2015 - Filed Under: Beef

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Record beef cattle prices are making Mississippi producers happy to be in the business this summer.

Brian Williams, a Mississippi State University Extension Service agricultural economist, said 400- to 500-pound Mississippi calves are selling for $282.50 per hundredweight, and 700- to 800-pound steers are selling for $200 per hundredweight.

“Mississippi feeder cattle prices are higher this year than a year ago by about $20 to $30 more per hundred pounds,” Williams said.

Dry, muggy June conditions have not stopped soybeans from thriving this growing season. Planted soybean acreage is more than 50,000 acres in excess of the forecast made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in March. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
July 2, 2015 - Filed Under: Crops

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Producers of Mississippi’s four major row crops have managed heavy spring rains followed by extended windows of muggy but mostly dry June conditions with mixed results.

These weather extremes have had different effects on corn, cotton, soybean and rice crops across the state, depending on the crop and the planting time.

With consumer demand high and input costs down, Mississippi catfish producers are stocking their ponds at high rates this year. (File Photo by MSU Ag Communications)
June 26, 2015 - Filed Under: Catfish

RAYMOND, Miss. -- High consumer demand and lower input costs have Mississippi catfish farmers filling their ponds to the brim.

“Consumer demand has stayed pretty high, and that has farmers stocking at high rates, even though pond acreage is down by almost 8 percent from last year,” said Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. “We are optimistic that consumers are still out there and demanding a U.S. farm-raised product.”

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