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Crop Report

Poor weather conditions often stretch out Mississippi's row crop planting season as overly wet or cool fields keep planters in the barn. (File Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
April 17, 2015 - Filed Under: Farming, Crops, Soils

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Seeing planters in the field is an expected part of spring in rural areas, but a lot of effort goes into making sure they run at the right time.

Planting season in Mississippi begins with corn in late February to early March and often runs into July as the last of the soybeans are planted after wheat harvest. The long planting window allows producers the opportunity to get a crop in the ground even when the weather is not ideal at typical peak planting times.

Saturated conditions complicated fertilizer application and delayed wheat across Mississippi. Stunted growth in low spots was visible in this Bolivar County wheat field on Feb. 27, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
April 10, 2015 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi wheat fields are making up for lost time after an extended cold, wet winter.

Agronomists with the Mississippi State University Extension Service said warm weather conditions are promoting growth of wheat planted last fall in the state. Most of it should be heading soon, if not already.

Don Respess, MSU Extension agent in Coahoma County, said the frequent late-winter rains made it difficult for growers to apply herbicides and fertilizer in a timely manner.

Soybeans remain Mississippi's largest crop with 2.3 million acres expected, according to a March 31 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (MSU Ag Communications file photo/Kevin Hudson)
April 2, 2015 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Crops

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Current crop prices do not clearly favor any one specific commodity, leaving growers to rely on budgets, risk management and crop rotations to guide their 2015 planting decisions.

Mississippi’s grain sorghum fields experienced a new insect pest in 2014 that could have caused significant yield losses to a large percentage of the crop.

Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Extension specialists and agents acted quickly to alert growers of the new threat, heading off almost certain yield losses.

Christmas tree producer Don Kazery Jr., left, discusses agricultural practices on his Hinds County farm with Stephen Dicke, a forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, on Nov. 6, 2014. Harsh weather conditions in 2014 and several years of high demand reduced the number of trees available in heavily populated counties. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
November 14, 2014 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

RAYMOND -- Consumers who want Mississippi-grown Christmas trees to deck their halls should shop early for the best selection every year.

“Choose-and-cut Christmas tree production in Mississippi is fairly flat because there are growers each year who retire,” said Stephen Dicke, a forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Growers still in the business are producing more trees each year, but demand in heavily populated counties is much higher than the supply of trees.”

Wheat acreage is expected to be down this year, but about half of the state's expected crop had been planted by early November. Blake Garrard was planting wheat Nov. 4, 2014, at the Mississippi State University Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
November 7, 2014 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Excellent summer crop harvests in recent years is partly responsible for a significant decrease in the amount of wheat being planted in the state this fall.

Official estimates are not yet available, but Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said he expects state farmers to plant less than 150,000 acres of wheat in 2014. Wheat planted in the fall is harvested early the following summer.

Mississippi trees are producing fewer pecans than normal this year, but consumers will be pleased with the size and taste of most nuts, such as these from an orchard in Oktibbeha County. This photo was taken on Oct. 31, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
October 31, 2014 - Filed Under: Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians love holiday recipes with pecans, but an off year may make the nuts more expensive and harder to find.

Eric Stafne, associate Extension and research professor at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, said the state’s pecan crop is forecast at 1 million pounds. The state produced 5 million pounds last year, and Mississippi’s average pecan harvest is 2-3 million pounds.

Wet weather during the growing season delayed pumpkin harvest and increased disease pressure for some Mississippi growers. These pumpkins were displayed at Mitchell Farms in Collins, Mississippi on Oct. 20, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
October 24, 2014 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

RAYMOND -- Pumpkins are popping up on porches across Mississippi, but some growers had trouble getting them there.

Many Mississippi pumpkin farmers experienced heavy disease pressure and a delayed harvest due to frequent summer rains.

Growers planted more acres this year, but harvested fewer pumpkins than usual, said Stanley Wise, Union County agriculture and natural resource enterprise and community development agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Cotton dislodged from bolls by heavy rains can still be harvested unless it is washed to the ground. This photo was taken Oct. 14, 2014, at the Mississippi State University Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
October 17, 2014 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The major storm that passed through the state Oct. 13 brought a lot of wind and rain but caused little damage to the state’s row crops, because most of them were already harvested.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures released Oct. 12, harvest was 87 percent complete for rice, 74 percent complete for soybeans, 98 percent complete for corn and 85 percent complete for sorghum. Only 38 percent of cotton had been harvested when the storm hit.

With peanut harvest near the halfway mark in Mississippi by Oct. 10, 2014, growers were seeing above average yields and quality pods. (File Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
October 10, 2014 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi producers are quite happy with the peanut crop they are harvesting in early October, and recent dry weather has provided excellent drying conditions.

“Overall in the state, we’re seeing above average yields, and the lowest grade I’ve heard is 68-69, which is the highest grade some growers have gotten in the past,” said Jason Sarver, peanut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Some peanuts have been graded as 80, which is a fantastic grade.”

With sweet potato harvest halfway done in Mississippi, growers are finding a beautiful but small crop. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/ Kevin Hudson)
October 3, 2014 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

VARDAMAN -- A dry September put a damper on Mississippi sweet potato production, but the rain in early October may help the crop remaining in the field.

Stephen Meyers, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said sweet potato fields received about an inch of rain Oct. 3.

“We’re optimistic that this rain will help size up the storage roots, but because of muddy conditions, producers will probably be out of the field for two days, and then resume harvest,” Meyers said.

Shrubs, trees, bedding plants and seasonal mums are displayed at Evergreen Garden Center in Louisville on Sept. 24, 2014. Gardeners bought more landscaping products in 2014 than in recent years. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
September 26, 2014 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Landscape Architecture

RAYMOND -- Mississippi’s horticulture industry is seeing an increase in business for the first time since Hurricane Katrina swept away a large chunk of the state’s infrastructure, inventory and markets.

“The nursery, greenhouse and landscape segments are looking up right now,” said Geoff Denny, horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “People are buying more of these horticulture products. We’re seeing an increased demand for trees, and we’ve actually got a deficit of trees right now.”

Mississippi hay supplies are expected to be low going into winter. Factors that contributed to low production include a very cold winter, a wet spring and an abundance of armyworms. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
September 19, 2014 - Filed Under: Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High demand for hay last winter, a wet spring and heavy insect pressure have all challenged the state’s pastureland, which means hay may be scarce this winter.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said these factors pushed the state’s hay inventories 20 percent lower than the three-year average.

Jack Haynes, a biological science technician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, left, works with Mississippi State University graduate students Felix Ogunola of Nigeria and Dafne Oliveira of Brazil as they collect corn samples from an aflatoxin test plot on Sept. 12, 2014, at the Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Center near Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
September 12, 2014 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Ample rains helped dryland corn close the yield gap between irrigated and nonirrigated fields, leading to what should be a new state yield record.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a crop production report on Sept. 11 indicating strong yield expectations.

“This year’s state record yield is forecast at 180 bushels per acre, 4 bushels per acre higher than a year ago and 2 bushels per acre higher than last month’s estimate,” said Brian Williams, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Rice in this Sunflower County field is nearing harvest on Sept. 3, 2014. Mississippi rice producers had harvested just 5 percent of the crop as of Aug. 29, but early signs indicate a good harvest. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
September 5, 2014 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice

RAYMOND -- Although most Mississippi rice growers battled frequent spring rains that delayed planting, hampered fertilization and challenged insect and disease management, early signs point toward a good harvest.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress and Condition Report released Sept. 2 indicated that 58 percent of the state’s rice crop is in good condition and 28 percent is in excellent condition. Five percent is harvested.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, examines cotton in the field at the MSU R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on Aug. 26, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
August 29, 2014 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton is looking good across the state as bolls open and harvest nears, but increased cotton acreage planted across the country means lower prices on this year’s crop.

In its Aug. 24 report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 17 percent of Mississippi’s cotton is in excellent condition and 54 percent in good condition. Nearly all the rest is in fair condition, and that should lead to a good yield for the state.

Trent Irby, Mississippi State University Extension Service soybean specialist, checks the maturity stage of soybeans planted at the R.R. Foil Research Center on the MSU campus Aug. 21, 2014. Mississippi soybean growers are expected to harvest a record yield this year. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
August 22, 2014 - Filed Under: Soybeans

JACKSON -- Mississippi soybean growers are on track to harvest a record yield this year despite the cool, wet weather that kept most producers behind schedule by two to three weeks.

Trent Irby, Mississippi State University Extension Service soybean specialist, said growers are optimistic about potential yield this season. The state’s average yield is currently projected to be 48 bushels per acre. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Aug. 12 Crop Production Report estimates Mississippi will harvest 2.2 million acres of soybeans.

Jeff Gore, an entomology expert with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, surveys white sugarcane aphid damage in a grain sorghum research plot near Stoneville, Mississippi, on Aug. 13, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Bonnie Coblentz)
August 15, 2014 - Filed Under: Grains

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Crops almost never go from potentially record yields one year to drastic acre reductions the next, but catastrophic aphid infestations coupled with low prices may force grain sorghum growers into that situation.

Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said if not for the white sugarcane aphid, the state would have one of the largest grain sorghum crops in recent history.

Cooper Farms, located in Smith County, offered a variety of colorful peppers at the Mississippi Farmers Market on High Street in Jackson, Mississippi, Aug. 5, 2014. Consumers increasingly turn to truck crops farmers for locally grown fruits and vegetables. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
August 8, 2014 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming, Fruit, Nuts, Commercial Horticulture

JACKSON -- Locally grown produce continues to increase in popularity on Mississippi’s kitchen counters, grocery shelves and restaurant menus as consumers seek fresher fruits and vegetables.

To get them, they often turn to the state’s truck crops growers, who traditionally sold their specialty items, such as tomatoes, berries, nuts and sweet corn, from the beds of their pickup trucks.

Catfish fry, like these in a 2013 laboratory file photo, should have benefitted from Mississippi's extended cool spring that contributed to a longer hatchery season. Numbers for restocking should be good since water stayed at the ideal spawning temperature longer. (MSU Ag Communications file photo)
August 1, 2014 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE -- There is a reason catfish do well in Mississippi: hot summers.

“An unusually cool summer like we have had can create nice days for people, but the temperatures have caused some problems for our catfish,” said Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture specialist at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center.

Simpson County producer Jimmy Welch's hayfield shows damage from Bermuda grass stem maggots on July 24, 2014. The pest feeds in the tips of developing stems. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
July 25, 2014 - Filed Under: Forages, Insects-Forage Pests, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

JACKSON -- Turf and forage producers in Mississippi need fewer clouds and more sunshine.

In 2014, forage producers raised an estimated 600,000 acres of hay across the state. There are about 60 farms producing sod for sale in the state.

Turf production…

The unusually harsh winter melted into a cool, wet spring and summer, which slowed spring growth and intensified diseases and last fall’s herbicide injury in sod, said Jay McCurdy, turf grass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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