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Crop Report

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.

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.”

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