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Crop Report

A variety of stresses, including saturated soils, can cause kernels at the tips of corn ears not to fill out. This ear was photographed July 1, 2014, at Mississippi State University's R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
July 18, 2014 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Who knew Mississippi corn growers should worry about bears?

The bears are not in the fields eating the crop; they are in the market, eating the profits. When economists refer to a bear market, they are talking about declining stock prices over a prolonged period, usually a 20 percent or larger decline.

Brian Williams, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said several factors have pushed corn prices down in recent weeks.

Mississippi cattle, such as this one on the Beaverdam Fresh Farms in Clay County, Mississippi, on July 8, 2014, eat less and grow slower during the hottest months. While Mississippi has not faced extremely dry conditions in recent years, the state's herd numbers are still down, just like those in drought-stricken regions. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
July 11, 2014 - Filed Under: Swine, Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cattle and hog prices are soaring to record highs, causing producers to debate whether to sell their valuable animals or expand their herd sizes for the future.

“It’s hard not to sell when prices are this good and the pull of the feedlot is so strong,” said John Michael Riley, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

As producers continue to reduce herd sizes nationally, prices should remain strong, but the result will be fewer animals available to sell in the future.

The Master Stephen sets off into the Mississippi Sound off of Biloxi to catch shrimp. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Dave Burrage)
July 3, 2014 - Filed Under: Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI -- Mississippi shrimpers had an excellent opening day, a fact that had them pleasantly surprised.

Based on reports from just two of Biloxi’s three shrimp dealers as of July 1, fishermen landed 790,000 pounds of shrimp in the first week. Last year, all three Biloxi shrimp dealers reported total first-week landings of 541,000 pounds of shrimp.

Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said hot, dry spring weather is considered good for shrimp crops, but the state got the exact opposite this year.

Blueberries in this Hinds County yard are beginning to ripen on June 25, 2014. A cold winter and spring delayed blueberry maturity and harvest for growers throughout the state. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
June 27, 2014 - Filed Under: Watermelons, Fruit, Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber

JACKSON – Party planners may have a hard time finding Mississippi-grown watermelons and blueberries for July 4th celebrations this year.

Unfavorable weather slowed maturity and increased disease pressure for both crops. Much of the state’s blueberry crop is grown in south Mississippi, and most of its watermelons are grown in the southeast quarter of the state. Acreage for both crops remains steady. Blueberry producers grow about 2,700 acres, and watermelon growers have about 2,400 acres.

Darrin Dodds, Mississippi State University Extension cotton specialist, says cotton producers remain optimistic about their crop even though planting was frequently interrupted and spread out over a longer period of time. Dodds spoke to producers June 17, 2014 at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU MAFES/David Ammon)
June 20, 2014 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi cotton producers remain optimistic about a crop that is up significantly in acreage despite frequent planting delays.

The state is expected to plant about 400,000 acres of cotton in 2014, about 40 percent more than last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on June 15 that cotton was 98 percent planted. USDA rated 65 percent of the crop as “good” or “excellent,” but 32 percent was rated “fair.”

Soybeans in this Copiah County field look good on June 11, 2014, despite muddy conditions that have pushed farmers throughout the state two to three weeks behind on weed control. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
June 13, 2014 - Filed Under: Soybeans

JACKSON -- Although most of the state’s soybeans have been planted, Mississippi famers will have to deal with the consequences of this spring’s wet weather for the rest of the growing season.

“We never want to wish away a rain in June,” said Trent Irby, Mississippi State University Extension Service soybean specialist. “But growers are and will continue to experience some issues because of the excess rain we’ve had.”

Irby estimates the state’s largest row crop is 90 percent planted, and some fields are already in the reproductive stage.

Rainy conditions have prevented Mississippi rice growers from flooding fields as they wait for the ground to dry enough to apply herbicides and fertilizer. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
June 6, 2014 - Filed Under: Rice

STONEVILLE -- With Mississippi’s rice crop about two weeks later than normal, growers will have narrow windows of opportunity to perform necessary management as it grows.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 92 percent of rice was planted by June 1. Seventy-four percent of the crop that has emerged was in good to excellent condition.

Bobby Golden, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station agronomist in Stoneville, said the late planting and heavy rains in late May are making management a challenge.

Abandoned corn silage silos dot the Mississippi countryside as towering monuments marking the locations of former dairy farms like this one in Oktibbeha County on May 30, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
May 30, 2014 - Filed Under: Dairy

TYLERTOWN -- Mississippians looking to raise a glass to celebrate “June is Dairy Month” with local producers may be drinking their milk alone.

Walthall County Extension agent Richard Hay has seen a drastic change in dairy numbers in his county since he arrived in 1984.

“We had more than 200 dairy farms when I started my Extension career in Walthall County. Today, the number is closer to 14,” he said. “The good news is if you are still in the business, you are one tough dairy farmer.”

Peanut plants are coming up in this Leflore County field on May 22, 2014. Warm, sunny days at the beginning of the growing season helped Mississippi producers get most of their crop planted by mid-May. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
May 23, 2014 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Peanuts

JACKSON -- Most peanut growers are on schedule despite the cool, wet weather that hit Mississippi at the beginning of May.

“We are in pretty good shape all over the state,” said Jason Sarver, peanut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. “The cool, wet spell we had set some folks back, but only by a week or so. Depending on this summer’s conditions, their harvest might be pushed a little later, but nothing extreme.”

A week without rain in early May gave Mississippi producers a chance to catch up with spring planting. This cotton on Mississippi State University's R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center was planted before the late-April rains. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Bonnie Coblentz)
May 16, 2014 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Frequent rains kept farmers indoors through much of April, but clear weather in early May allowed them to play catch-up on row-crop planting.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that planting of most of the state’s row crops is back on schedule after the wet early spring. Corn is the first crop planted in Mississippi and much of it was planted on schedule. As of May 11, USDA reported cotton is 45 percent planted, rice is 68 percent planted, grain sorghum is 42 percent planted and soybean is 55 percent planted.

These 5-week-old broilers inside a Mississippi State University poultry house on March 27, 2014, are part of Mississippi's poultry industry, valued at $2.9 billion in 2013. Nationally, poultry is projected to expand throughout 2014 and beyond. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
May 9, 2014 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The poultry industry is riding a wave of success, propelling it from a strong 2013 into another year with promises of favorable market prices and lower production costs.

John Michael Riley, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said several issues will influence poultry profits in 2014.

Harvest began later than usual for Mississippi's strawberries, such as these picked at Reyer Farms in Leake County on April 29, 2014, but cooler weather may extend the season. (Submitted photo)
May 2, 2014 - Filed Under: Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Unseasonably cool temperatures in the wake of historic tornado activity could be a boon for the state’s strawberry growers.

“The weather over the past few days has been tough, but it’s still early in the strawberry season,” said Brooks Brownlee of Brownlee Farms in Red Banks, Mississippi. “This year has been the latest start we’ve ever had -- we just started picking on April 24. But the cool weather that delayed the crop may be a good thing and prolong our season.”

Frequent rains are putting much of Mississippi's corn planting about two weeks behind schedule. This corn was planted March 14 and was growing on the Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on April 21, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
April 25, 2014 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Spring rains are delaying the state’s corn planting much as they did in 2013, but growers will not complain if the season ends with another record harvest like last year’s.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the crop was just 64 percent planted by April 20, putting it farther behind than it was at this time last year and well behind the five-year average of 87 percent planted. It takes five to 10 days after a rain before growers are able to resume planting in saturated soils, and frequent rains have kept most growers from planting as intended.

Mississippi's timber industry may see increasing demand for Southern pine lumber as new home construction rates continue to rise. This pine was growing in Monroe County on Sept. 12, 2013. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
April 17, 2014 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forages

JACKSON – Hay producers need warmer temperatures and drier ground to catch up with production this spring.

“Everything is shaping up to be late with all the wet, cool weather we’ve had,” said Charlie Bush, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Simpson County. Simpson was one of the counties where some fields flooded after most areas in central Mississippi received between three and 10 inches of rain between April 5 and 7.

Mississippi's timber industry may see increasing demand for Southern pine lumber as new home construction rates continue to rise. This pine was growing in Monroe County on Sept. 12, 2013. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
April 11, 2014 - Filed Under: Forest Economics, Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Markets for Mississippi’s sawtimber and pulpwood are bouncing back from the economic recession, but the industry is not improving across the board.

“Slowly but surely, markets for sawtimber are beginning to grow again after the sharp declines seen after the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the ensuing recession,” said James Henderson, associate Extension professor of forestry at Mississippi State University. “But the closing of the International Paper mill in Courtland, Ala. will have an impact on north Mississippi’s pulpwood markets.”

Mississippi State University Extension Service cotton specialist Darrin Dodds examines on April 3, 2014, cotton seeds he will use in seed treatment research trials on the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Miss. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
April 4, 2014 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Memories of last year’s bumper crops have Mississippi farmers eager for fields to dry out so they can plant the 2014 crop.

Market potential remains the first consideration when making crop choices.

“Prices are driving growers’ planting decisions,” said Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Mississippi corn is trading about $2.50 per bushel lower than a year ago, while Mississippi soybean prices are slightly higher than a year ago.”

Erick Larson inspects wheat on March 25, 2014, that has broken winter dormancy and is actively growing on Mississippi State University's R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center. The Extension agronomist said the cold winter slowed wheat maturity, allowing it to better withstand the early-spring freeze. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
March 28, 2014 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- This year’s cold winter slowed wheat growth so the late-March freeze across much of Mississippi probably did not cause major damage to the state’s wheat crop.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most wheat across the state had not reached a growth stage where it would have been sensitive to freezing temperatures when the cold returned on March 26.

Christmas tree farmer Bob Shearer, of Purvis, uses a shearing machine to trim trees on his farm. Producers anticipate a 7 percent increase in Christmas tree sales this year. (Submitted photo)
November 8, 2013 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Thanks to impressive live Christmas tree sales last year, customers seeking the best Christmas trees may need to buy early this year.

Mississippi producers are expected to plant more than 400,000 acres of wheat this fall. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
November 1, 2013 - Filed Under: Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Fall planting of the state’s winter wheat crop is on schedule, and early-season growth looks good in fields planted so far.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Oct. 27 report, 28 percent of the state’s expected wheat crop had been planted. Unlike spring, when all row crops were well behind schedule, this estimate puts wheat exactly on track with the five-year average.

Even after a late start, a favorable growing season allowed for a timely harvest of Mississippi's rice, such as this grown at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the crop was 96 percent harvested by Oct. 20, 2013. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Keri Collins Lewis)
October 25, 2013 - Filed Under: Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE – After a late start for the planting season raised fears that a hot August could damage the crop, Mississippi’s rice has yielded a high-quality harvest.

The Oct. 20 U.S. Department of Agriculture crop progress and condition report indicated the state’s rice crop was 96 percent harvested. The crop’s quality was rated as 50 percent good and 25 percent excellent.

Tim Walker, rice agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said grain quality is based on several factors, including translucence.

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