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News Filed Under Crops

November 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cover crop usage is gaining momentum on Midsouth farms and will be a major focus of the 2017 Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course.

The MSU Extension Service will host the course at the Mill Conference Center in Starkville Dec. 4-6.

A pair of hands pull rich soil from the ground with green grass around it.
November 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Farming, Natural Resources, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A recent survey revealed that thousands of farmers are planting cover crops and reporting benefits from the practice.

While only a few respondents to the fifth annual cover crop survey were from Mississippi, the study revealed more landowners appreciate the practice of growing crops to protect and enrich the soil. Most respondents were from the Midwest in the survey conducted by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the Conservation Technology Information Center.

A green combine rolls through a peanut field. In the foreground, peanuts waiting to be harvested rest on the ground.
November 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Peanuts

Growers managed major disease problems in the peanut crop this year to produce high yields and good profits.

A brown marmorated stink bug with numerous small spots on its body and two white lines on its dark, brown antennae sits on top of a red and yellow apple.
October 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Fruit, Household Insects, Insects-Pests

Brown marmorated stink bugs took up residence in the Northeast nearly 20 years ago, but established populations of the destructive pest are now confirmed in the Southeast, including two reports in Mississippi.

Blake Layton, an entomology specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, is asking homeowners and producers to report any sightings of the insect. These insects are on a different level than other stink bugs in the South because of the damage they cause in fruit and the issues they cause when they invade buildings, he said.

About a dozen large, 50-pound bags of unshelled pecans are piled on top of a wood palet.
October 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuts

As the time for pecan harvest approaches, some Mississippians are contemplating adding new orchards or expanding or renovating old ones.

Eric Stafne, fruit and nut crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said growers want to capitalize on the demand for pecans, which is increasing domestically and overseas.

Defoliated cotton plants are ready for harvest.
October 25, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops

The Delta Agricultural Weather Center launched its real-time weather data website just as cotton producers were completing the 2017 harvest and anticipating next spring’s planting season.

Once cotton reaches maturity, farmers apply a harvest aid to force the plants to drop their leaves and open their bolls. They harvest the crop about two weeks later.

Two young girls sit on a colorful quilt among leaves in the grass as they play with a white and an orange pumpkin.
October 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a minor agricultural crop in Mississippi, but demand increases every year as consumers use them mostly for decoration.

Casey Barickman, Mississippi State University Extension Service vegetable specialist and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, said the state has an estimated 500 to 600 acres of pumpkins.

Two men kneel over a square test plot and feel the texture of the sod.
October 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Weed Control for Crops, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

Mississippi’s sod producers experienced good news and bad news from 2017 weather conditions. Jay McCurdy, turfgrass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the good news was a modestly warm spring with timely rainfall provided good growing conditions for most of the state’s sod farms. The bad news was the same weather promoted the growth of weeds and fungal diseases.

A sweet potato with a pink and brown outer surface is shown close up.
October 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi producers are growing 28,100 acres of sweet potatoes this year, but not one of those is below the northern third of the state.

What keeps growers in south Mississippi from planting the increasingly popular crop? Weevils are mostly to blame.

“Sweet potatoes grown in south Mississippi require more inputs to exclude weevils from fields and have stricter regulations as far as how and where sweet potatoes can be shipped and marketed,” said Stephen Meyers, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Photo shows mature, dried soybean pods hanging against a brown, natural background.
September 29, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Soybeans

Official numbers show Mississippi’s soybean crop is ahead of schedule and in good shape, but many fields have actually spent a wet month waiting for harvest.

Trent Irby, Mississippi State University Extension Service soybean specialist, said this delay -- caused by frequent, heavy rains -- impacted a portion of the state’s crop.

Close up of a head of grain sorghum full of tiny brown seeds, along with other plant heads in the field around it.
September 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Grains

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s grain sorghum acreage is at an historic low, and market prices are not much better, but yields should be good.

Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that when market incentives went away after 2015, so did farmers’ desire to plant grain sorghum, also known as milo. State growers may have planted 10,000 acres this year, the fewest since record keeping began in 1929.

A closed boll is seen on a cotton plant growing in a field.
September 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Rain, cool weather, more rain and some wind have slowed cotton maturation, but since the crop was a little behind schedule, the damage may be less than if harvest were already underway.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said recent weather is causing some yield loss, but it is hard to estimate how much.

“Being late to a degree helped the crop because rain did not string out open cotton, but given that we are running out of heat, we may have been better off with an earlier crop that had been defoliated and was standing up when the rain came,” Dodds said.

September 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuts

GREENVILLE, Miss. -- Pecan producers can learn the latest updates in their industry during an upcoming field day. 

The Mississippi Pecan Growers Association will host the 2017 Fall Field Day on Oct. 6 at Tri-Delta Pecans Inc., located at 537 Broadway Extended North in Greenville.

Topics include marketing, harvest, pecan grading, and food safety and quality control practices. Attendees will also tour the Tri-Delta Pecans cleaning and processing facility.

Harvesting corn at Simmons Planting Co. in Arcola, Mississippi, on Aug. 22, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
September 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi producers are optimistic that the remnants of Hurricane Harvey that moved through the state in late August were not enough to stop corn harvests from reaching a new record.

As of Aug. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 51 percent of the corn crop was harvested. Growers had a few more days to tackle remaining acres before rains came through the state. USDA estimated that 78 percent of the crop was in good or excellent shape.

Erick Larson, grain specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said many early yields exceeded 200 bushels an acre, with dryland acreage producing at almost the same rate as irrigated acres. The state’s record average yield was 185 bushels set in 2014.

Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corp. representative Mike Mullendore checks one of the cone-shaped traps located near a Mississippi State University research field on June 27, 2017. The traps evolved from U.S. Department of Agriculture research at the Robey Wentworth Harned Laboratory, commonly known as the Boll Weevil Research Lab at MSU. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton, Insects-Crop Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cotton will always have challenges, but few of them will ever compare to the boll weevils that thrived in Mississippi from 1904 until 2009.

“It is nearly impossible for this younger generation of consultants, scouts and growers to understand how hard boll weevils were to control and how much boll weevil control hurt beneficial insects and complicated cotton management,” said Will McCarty, who served as the Mississippi State University Extension Service cotton specialist during “the boll weevil wars.”

Award-winning farmer Paul Good examines cotton growing in Noxubee County during a Mississippi State University field tour on July 12, 2017. Good said he remembers a time when farmers did not grow cotton in the area, mostly because of boll weevils. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton, Insects-Crop Pests

MACON, Miss. -- Farmers' independent natures make them strong, but when agricultural producers join forces, they can take success to the next level.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, commended Mississippi farmers for their efforts to unite in the battle to eradicate boll weevils from the state.

“Historically, boll weevils were the prime pest in cotton fields. To control them, it took numerous pesticide applications,” he said. “Those treatments were costly and ate into the growers’ profit margins.”

Redbanded stinkbugs, such as this pest seen Aug. 17, 2017, on a soybean plant at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi, are very damaging, invasive pests showing up in large numbers this year in fields across the Southeast. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Don Cook)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers in Mississippi and the Southeast are urged to scout their fields closely for the redbanded stinkbug, a very damaging pest of soybeans that is being found in increasing numbers across the region.

Mississippi State University Extension Service specialists and researchers joined with their counterparts and crop consultants from Arkansas and Louisiana Thursday for an emergency forum on this dangerous insect.

Dark clouds move toward Mississippi State University soybean and corn plots at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on Aug. 17, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton, Grains, Rice, Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s row crops have had enough rain, and most fields just need sunshine.

Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said corn is mature and will gain no benefit from additional moisture. In the first couple of weeks of August, skies were overcast or rain was falling across most of the state.

August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

PONTOTOC, Miss. -- Sweet potato producers, crop consultants, agricultural industry representatives and the general public will learn about ongoing Mississippi State University sweet potato research and outreach efforts at a field day Aug. 31.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host the event at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station, located at 8320 Highway 15 South in Pontotoc.

August 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets, Greenhouse Tomatoes, Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Other Vegetables

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Produce growers, packers, industry suppliers and others can learn the requirements of the new federal Produce Safety Rule during one of three upcoming workshops around the state.

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