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News Filed Under Crops

February 8, 1999 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Crop insurance is on sale for farmers in Mississippi at nearly a 30 percent discount, but growers have to act quickly to take advantage of this reduction.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $400 million in disaster relief to subsidize buy-up crop insurance premiums. Buy-up insurance provides the highest levels of coverage at an increased cost to farmers. The relief money reduces coverage cost, but must be bought by Feb. 28. Other emergency financial assistance is available for areas that had multiple year losses or single year disasters.

February 8, 1999 - Filed Under: Corn, Cut Flowers and Houseplants

By Rebekah Ray

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Aflatoxin takes its toll on Mississippi corn production, but two scientists at Mississippi State University have recently released a weapon to fight the fungus.

U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service plant geneticist Paul Williams and plant pathologist Gary L. Windham developed the germplasm Mp715 that was released by the USDA-ARS and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

December 21, 1998 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi cotton growers chose to plant fewer acres in 1998 knowing the world market offered little promise. The hot, dry summer prevented a repeat of 1997's record yields, but growers still managed to harvest near the five-year average.

Dr. John Robinson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, predicted the 1998 farm-gate value of Mississippi's cotton will be about $541 million, down 16 percent from the previous year. Cotton felt a triple whammy from reduced acres, smaller yields and lower prices.

December 14, 1998 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A program aimed at improving soybean yields in Mississippi helped farmers produce 1998 soybean yields that, despite the drought, averaged 45 bushels an acre, 20 more than the state average.

December 14, 1998 - Filed Under: Soils, Water Quality

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Numerous Mississippi farmers are planting vegetation buffer strips between crop land and waterways to improve water quality and fight erosion.

Dr. Larry Oldham, soil specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said buffer strips are narrow strips of grass or trees between crop land and surface waters that slow the water coming off crop land.

November 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The success of this year's peanut crop depended at harvest on how far away it was from Hurricane Georges, but all areas suffered from drought in the growing season.

Joe Morgan, owner of M&M Farms in Forrest County, said overall yields on his 1,090 acres of peanuts were about the lowest he has ever gotten. His 8-year average yield is 3,334 pounds an acre. This year he averaged 3,013 on irrigated land and less than 2,000 pounds on non-irrigated land.

October 23, 1998 - Filed Under: Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Holiday cooks may want to shop early while prices and supplies last for locally grown pecans.

"The 1998 crop could be the lowest crop in growers' memories," said Dr. Freddie Rasberry, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "The few pecans that were set early on were lost to drought stress and the hurricane."

October 16, 1998 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The success of the 1998 pumpkin crop depended on the availability of August rains or irrigation. For most growers, this wasn't their year.

Pumpkins grow best in dry and warm (but not hot) conditions, said Dr. David Nagel, Extension horticulturist at Mississippi State University.

"They are drought tolerant, but not that tolerant. They aren't desert plants," Nagel said. "Two of the state's pumpkin growers who irrigate had a great year, but the rest of the growers were lucky if they had an average year."

October 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Crops, Agricultural Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many state producers will remember 1998 as a farming disaster as low market prices compounded yield losses from heat, drought and hurricane.

Corn and soybeans took the biggest hit as low yields matched lower prices. Production value for both fell 32 percent from 1997 even though acreage this year was higher than last.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Cotton, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most cotton and soybean farmers relaxed as Hurricane Georges hung a hard right after landfall, but for Southeast Mississippi growers, the results were devastating.

Dr. Alan Blaine, agronomist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers across the state with fields almost ready for harvest were working around the clock to avoid the predicted heavy winds and rain.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Nuts

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When Hurricane Georges blasted through coastal Mississippi last week, the pecan crop took a beating, but nurseries escaped with light to moderate damage.

Extension agricultural agents in some southern counties described significant damage to pecans and trees.

John Wesley, Stone County Extension agent, called this year's pecan harvest in his county a complete loss. The crop was only about three weeks from harvest.

September 25, 1998 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Like other Mississippi crops, the sweetpotato crop is reaching the end of a long, hard row, but its tropical nature has prevented catastropic results.

Chickasaw County agent Charlie Fitts said the majority of sweetpotatoes are the Beauregard variety, which has been one of the most successful varieties in recent years.

September 18, 1998 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi soybean growers are going into harvest hoping to survive a year of bad yields made worse by bad prices.

Early in the growing season, high temperatures and drought were the crop's worst enemies. Non-irrigated and early maturing Group IV soybeans were hardest hit. As harvest neared, prices fell, compounding the disastrous effects of low yields.

Yields have averaged 25 to 27 bushels an acre, compared to 1997's average of 31 bushels. Prices are currently about $5.30 per bushel, rather than a normal price of $6.80.

August 24, 1998 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High levels of aflatoxin have devastated much Mississippi corn, and while producers will want to salvage something from the crop, feeding it to wildlife is not a good option.

Dean Stewart, wildlife specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said low levels of aflatoxin, a toxic chemical byproduct of grain mold, can kill some birds, while larger animals can tolerate much more.

"Don't put aflatoxin corn out for the deer even though it probably won't kill them, because it can kill smaller animals that get into it," Stewart said.

August 21, 1998 - Filed Under: Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High nighttime temperatures have left farmers concerned about yields, but they won't have long to wait as harvest has already started in some areas.

Dr. Joe Street, rice specialist with Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center, said the 1998 rice crop looks pretty good.

"It was hot and dry this summer and we're not yet sure what the high nighttime temperatures will do to yield," Street said. "We're in the wait-and-see mode."

August 7, 1998 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cotton was on the road to success in early July until weather stress, insects and diseases forced the crop to take a detour.

Dr. Will McCarty, cotton specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the August crops are a far cry from the fields a month earlier.

"I don't know if I've ever seen a crop develop this fast and then back up just as fast," McCarty said. "We had the motherload of crops until hot, dry weather, insects and diseases took their toll."

July 31, 1998 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As if the drought wasn't hard enough on this year's corn crop, growers now prepare for harvest with the threat of yield-reducing corn borers and a drought-related fungus.

Dr. Scott D. Stewart, assistant Extension entomology specialist in Raymond, said most of Mississippi's crop has damage from corn borers, especially in the Delta counties.

July 17, 1998 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent, unseasonal rains are just what the doctor ordered --the plant doctor, that is.

Most of the state received several inches of rain the second week of July, ending drought-like conditions that were taking their toll on nonirrigated crops. Corn was one of the hardest hit by the lack of rain at a critical growth stage, followed by cotton, soybeans and pastures that were suffering.

Dr. David Shaw, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station weed scientist, said most farmers received more than the proverbial million dollar rain.

July 10, 1998 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent rains across parts of the state breathed new life into some parched soybean fields, but much of the state's crop is still in critical need of moisture.

Storms have brought more than an inch of rain to parts of northeast and central Mississippi, while other areas, including most of the Delta, did not get any.

Dr. David Shaw, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station weed scientist, said soybean yields will drop significantly if the rest of the crop does not get rain in seven to 10 days.

June 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Fruit

By Marcela Cartagena

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Strawberry wine may have a place on country music charts, but Mississippi State University wine researches are looking to score with the state's own blueberries.

"Blueberry wine tastes different," said Dr. Juan Silva, associate professor in MSU's Food Science and Technology Department. "It has a softer and less acid flavor than grape wine."

Silva said the blueberries are shipped from South Mississippi, near Collins and Poplarville, to make this 12 percent alcohol wine.