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Crop Report

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.”

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.

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