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Crop Report

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.”

These watermelons at Charlie's U-Pik near Lucedale, Mississippi, are among the earliest in the state on June 3, 2015. The majority of Mississippi's 3,000 acres of commercial watermelons will be ripe the Fourth of July, but growers will be harvesting into August. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
June 19, 2015 - Filed Under: Watermelons, Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber

LUCEDALE, Miss. -- Mississippi watermelon growers battled frequent rains to get their crops planted and ready in time for the Fourth of July and other summer celebrations.

David Nagel, horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the crop is smaller and later than normal.

“If the sun doesn’t shine, the leaves don’t make sugar, plants don’t grow and we have smaller watermelons,” Nagel said. “Recent sunny days are allowing some of the crop to catch up. Melons may still be small, but they will be sweet and firm, or crisp.”

Holstein cows graze at the Joe Bearden Dairy Research Center in Sessums, Mississippi, on June 11, 2015. Increased production and international competition are bringing down milk prices for dairy producers across the state. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
June 12, 2015 - Filed Under: Dairy

DECATUR, Miss. -- Max Anderson has set an auction date. Soon, he will sell all of his 150-cow dairy herd.

Anderson will then mark the end of 38 years in the dairy business after taking over his family’s Newton County farm. After a widespread dairy economic crisis in 2009 that put him and many of his peers in debt, he finally bounced back after a profitable 2014.

“It would be foolish to dig that hole again,” Anderson said. “No one in the next generation wants to take over the dairy, and it seems like the time is right. There are more reasons to get out than stay in.”

Blueberries are ripe for the picking across much of the state if rains will allow opportunities for harvest. Bushes are loaded with berries, such as these photographed on June 2, 2015, in Poplarville, Mississippi. (Photo by Eric Stafne)
June 5, 2015 - Filed Under: Fruit

POPLARVILLE, Miss. -- Frequent rains have complicated harvests and triggered some disease issues, but Mississippians’ love for blueberries will not be dampened.

Luis Monterde, a blueberry grower near Purvis, said it takes a lot of patience to grow blueberries.

Persistent rains are causing planting delays for the third straight year across Mississippi. This cotton plant was growing at the Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on May 20, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
May 29, 2015 - Filed Under: Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi cotton will need a warm, dry fall to counter the mostly wet spring and thrive in 2015.

Darrin Dodds, Mississippi State University Extension Service cotton specialist and research professor in the MSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, said heavy springtime rains caused planting delays for the third straight year. Generally, a week-long dry spell in mid-May has been sandwiched between extended periods of consistent rainfall. Dodds said producers made quick and substantial progress planting during that interim.

Tom Tabler, poultry science professor with the Mississippi State
May 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Poultry, Avian Flu

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi poultry farms remained free of avian influenza as of May 15, and growers are intensifying existing biosecurity measures to keep flocks safe.

Mark Leggett, president of the Mississippi Poultry Association, said growers and companies are working together on biosecurity.

“Whenever possible, integrators and growers are limiting visits to farms and company facilities to reduce traffic onto their property,” Leggett said. “We are all highly motivated to prevent outbreaks in Mississippi.”

Despite insect challenges last year, grain sorghum acreage in Mississippi is expected to hold steady. This young sorghum was photographed in the Mississippi Delta April 30, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
May 8, 2015 - Filed Under: Grains

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Grain sorghum acreage seemed likely to decrease dramatically in Mississippi in 2015 when sugarcane aphids damaged the state’s 2014 crop, but excellent prices kept acreage strong.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Mississippi growers are expecting to plant about 90,000 acres of grain sorghum, or milo, this year. This is slightly lower than the number of acres planted in 2014.

Although half the state's anticipated rice acreage was planted by late April, frequent rains have halted most planting in recent weeks. This rice field in Washington County, Mississippi, was photographed April 28, 2015. (Photo by Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station/Richard Turner)
May 1, 2015 - Filed Under: Rice

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- On paper, Mississippi’s rice crop is right on schedule, with half the crop planted by late April, but the reality is that recent rains have left planting at a near standstill.

In the Crop Progress and Condition Report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 49 percent of the state’s rice was planted and 30 percent emerged by April 26.

Frequent rains pushed both corn planting and corn emergence behind schedule in Mississippi. This corn was photographed April 21, 2015, in Starkville at Mississippi State University. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
April 24, 2015 - Filed Under: Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Almost three-fourths of the state’s corn crop has been planted, but many areas -- especially farms outside the Delta -- still have been too wet to plant.

“Rainfall has definitely delayed corn planting this spring and been our major production limitation,” said Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We’ve got areas of the state where they were able to plant most of their intentions, and other areas where they haven’t even gotten their machines out of the shed yet.”

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