News Filed Under Crops
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rains may help pecans grow plump, but the nuts first must survive the increased challenge of diseases that attack quality and threaten losses.
David Ingram, Mississippi State University's associate plant pathologist at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond, said parts of the state have been hit hard with scab disease. Some varieties, including Desirable and Pawnee, were hit harder than others, such as Owens.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton farming in Mississippi was just another part of the national way of life affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
National cotton markets were headquartered in building 4 of the World Trade Center before the attacks. When all airplanes were grounded across the United States, Mississippi cotton was at its peak need for defoliation before harvest, which is done by aerial application.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Late August rains that devastated much of the state's row crops at harvest appear to have spared rice from much of the losses.
Joe Street, rice specialist at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said 15 to 20 percent of the rice is down, or lodged, because of the rains.
"Harvest was just getting started when the rain began," Street said. "It delayed harvest for 10 days or so and caused some lodging. Much of the rice that is down and some of the rice still standing has germinated."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Late summer rains are pushing Mississippi yields to the verge of a multi-crop disaster.
Will McCarty, leader of Extension plant and soil sciences at Mississippi State University, said the list of rain-related problems or potential problems is a long one. Excessive moisture and warm temperatures are causing seeds to rot and/or sprout in the heads of grain sorghum, soybeans and cotton in some areas. Saturated soils are increasing the risk of winds putting some crops on the ground and complicating the upcoming harvest.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many soybean farmers across the state are seeing great yields cut in half or more as heavy rains are causing seed deterioration before the crop is harvested.
Group 4 soybean varieties that were ready for harvest are being hit the hardest from a week of rains that came near mid-August. Specialists have identified the disease that is deteriorating the seed in the pods as phomopsis. Yield losses are estimated as high as 50 to 60 percent in some fields.
MISSISSIPPI STATE &endash; A better-than-expected national forecast for cotton production is not helping the troubled price outlook for growers as they approach the harvest season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released production estimates on Aug. 10. The outlook for corn and soybeans appears more favorable than that for cotton. The report predicts a 7 percent national decrease in corn production compared to the 2000 crop. Soybeans are only increasing slightly, up 4 percent nationally. Cotton will make the biggest national increase, up 16 percent.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Much of the state's soybeans, like Mississippi's other row crops, are benefitting from August showers, but some fields still are lacking.
"The rains have been very variable. Everyone doesn't want rain on the same day or in the same amount," said Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "We really needed (tropical storm) Barry to come right through the middle of the state the first week of August and provide a good general rain, but that didn't happen."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Just as Good Friday signals the time to get the spring garden in the ground, August's heat is the indication that it's time to plant the fall garden.
David Nagel, horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said now is the time to plant tomatoes, peppers, squash, sweet corn, peas and beans.
"Summer gardens typically wind down in early August when the temperatures start being consistently above 95 degrees," Nagel said. "That's when you clean the garden out and plant the fall garden."
MISSISSIPPI STATE - Nature gave corn a hand this year with moderate temperatures and scattered rains, and Mississippi producers are expecting to harvest near record-high yields.
Erick Larson, grain specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the crop should be ready for harvest on schedule by mid-August. Favorable weather and low insect and disease pressure mean harvests should approach the record high 117 bushels an acre set in 1999.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Five years of eradication efforts are making the boll weevil a scarce pest in Mississippi cotton.
The most recent counts show the state has less than 1 percent of the boll weevils it had in fields last year. By late July 2000, about 1.1 million boll weevils had been trapped in Mississippi's cotton fields. This year, 10,442 have been captured. Last year's numbers were down more than 50 percent from the previous year.
VERONA -- Dr. Lester Spell, Mississippi's Commissioner for Agriculture and Commerce, will be the featured speaker along with other activities at the upcoming North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Agronomic Row Crop Field Day.
Farmers can learn the latest research results and recommendations at the Aug. 8 event from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.at the Lee County AgriCenter on Highway 145, south of Verona.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rice farmers have a very good reason for hoping temperatures don't get any hotter than they are now: rice pollination is reduced when it's much above 95 degrees.
Joe Street, rice specialist in Stoneville with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the crop was progressing well by the second week of July despite recent heat.
"We're actually a little ahead of schedule in a lot of cases," Street said. "Everything is looking good right now."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's 1.7 million acres of cotton got off to a good start and are developing well as the crop heads into mid-season.
Farmers planted 400,000 more cotton acres than in 2000, bringing the state's acreage to the highest level it's been since 1974. Soybean acreage is way down, and this year is the first in nearly 40 that cotton acreage has exceeded soybean acreage.
Will McCarty, cotton specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said planting started in early April and was finished in mid- to late-May.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Watermelon harvests have begun in some Mississippi counties, but homegrown supplies are slower for other parts of the state.
George County extension agent Mike Steede said some harvesting started the first week of June for the county's 600 to 700 acres of watermelons, and the biggest challenge this year has been the recent rains.
"Up until the tropical storm (Allison), we were having a dry growing season," Steede said. "About 70 percent of the county's crop is irrigated, so the rains mainly helped the smaller, non-irrigated fields."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dry conditions in April and May, especially in the Delta, played havoc with Mississippi's corn crop this spring, leaving the root systems confounded about which way to go.
Erick Larson, corn specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said wet conditions delayed planting some, but most of the crop was in the ground by the end of April.
By Charmain Courcelle
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A search for alternative fuels may uncover an additional source of income for Mississippi farmers and provide a solution to the waste disposal problems encountered by the state's agricultural industry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi farmers have the rest of the season to wait and see if the state's earliest soybean planting ever will pay off in a good crop this year.
Ideal spring planting conditions enabled state farmers to get about 85 percent of the crop in the ground by the middle of May, a pace that was 30 percent ahead of normal. Much of what remains to be planted will go onto fields that are double-cropped with wheat or are waiting on much-needed moisture.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rice acreage is inching back toward 1999 levels, and April conditions helped propel the crop to a strong start for the 2001 growing season.
Mississippi growers planted 323,000 acres of rice in 1999 before poor market prices caused a 30 percent decline last year. This year, the prediction is for growers to plant 225,000 acres, about 5 percent more than in 2000.
By Allison Matthews
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Plenty of cold weather this winter and a steady upswing of temperatures this spring helped secure a prosperous season for Mississippi's blueberry crop.
"We're looking forward to an excellent season because by the end of April we've had no damage from late cold spells. We'll have as close to a 100 percent crop as we've ever had," said Waynesboro grower Jerry Hutto.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi cotton growers will vote in June on the continuing efforts to hold boll weevils at bay.
Five regions of Mississippi have been engaged in five-year plans to eradicate cotton's No. 1 pest from all fields. Last year was the first year since the early 1900s that Mississippi cotton growers did not lose any yield to boll weevils. To maintain that ability, growers in the state's hill region will have to agree to assessments supporting the organized eradication efforts.