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Feature Story from 2006

October 6, 2006 - Filed Under: Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi poultry companies responded to low broiler prices during the first quarter of 2006 by reducing bird numbers, which may be the reason for slight market improvements in recent months.

Tim Chamblee, poultry specialist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said the number of birds slaughtered was down, but third quarter broiler meat production was up less than 1 percent from the year before. He attributed the total weight increase to the trend toward higher live weights.

Phillip Jennings Turf Farm in Soperton, Ga., has acquired the rights to commercialize soilless sod produced with technology developed and patented by Mississippi State University. Phillip Jennings, left, the company's president and owner, and Mike Fulghum hold a completed section of soilless sod in a greenhouse ready to receive a new crop.
October 12, 2006 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- John Holmes dreams of one day shipping entire golf courses from Georgia to anywhere in the world. Holmes, global sales manager for Phillip Jennings Turf Farm in Soperton, Ga., may see his dream become a reality thanks to a product developed at Mississippi State University.

The MSU-developed product is a soilless sod that never touches dirt until it is put into place on a lawn, golf course, sports field or other location. It is grown from sprigs using cotton mats and nutrient-enriched water.

October 12, 2006 - Filed Under: Wood Products

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sweetgum trees are a common sight in forests across the South, but their usefulness in the lumber industry has been limited.

“The sweetgum tree is a species that is underused,” said Rubin Shmulsky, forest products associate professor in Mississippi State University's Forest and Wildlife Research Center. “Sweetgum lumber is prone to warp and the wood color and grain are erratic, which further limits its use for cabinetry and flooring.”

Lauren Beech, age 22 months, searches for the perfect jack-o'-lantern at the Circle Y Pumpkin Patch, near her home in Corinth. (Photo by Jim Lytle)
October 13, 2006 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Consumers may have trouble scaring up pumpkins for holiday decorations this fall.

David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said most growers whose fields were already dry at planting time chose not to plant any pumpkins this year if they did not have access to irrigation. Some growers with nonirrigated farms took the chance if their fields received some rain around the first of July and now are harvesting significantly reduced yields.

October 19, 2006 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family, Food Safety

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Halloween is supposed to be a night of fun for kids, but it can turn into a night of fright if people aren't cautious.

Thousands of children across Mississippi will be out on Oct. 31 dressed in costumes and going door-to-door in neighborhoods. Others of all ages will take part in parties and festivals designed with a fall flair. Most will have the opportunity to eat a lot of sweets.

Brown Widow spiders, such as this one located beside a window near the Mississippi Gulf Coast in late July, produce "spiny" egg masses that look like the fruit from a sweetgum tree. Newly arrived in Mississippi from Florida, these spiders are venomous, like their cousin the Black Widow. See larger view. (Photo by David Held, MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center)
October 19, 2006 - Filed Under: Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fake spiders receive special attention in Halloween decorations, but Mississippi's real spiders are true sources of tricks and treats all year long.

October 20, 2006 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi sweet potato farmers were not expecting a good crop after this year's drought, but producers are pleasantly surprised as harvest nears completion.

Benny Graves, executive secretary of the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council, said the crop should be fair to good overall. The drought should make the potatoes sweeter than normal.

“We're not going to have a bin-buster because of the drought stress, but quality is good,” Graves said.

October 26, 2006 - Filed Under: Community, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A degree program that requires students to spend extensive time on the golf course got an academic boost with the recent donation of a piece of state-of-the-art equipment to evaluate golf swings.

Denver-based GolfTEC Enterprises donated a $22,000 SEVA system in September to Mississippi State University's Professional Golf Management program. GolfTEC founders Joe Assell and Mike Clinton are PGM graduates who are sharing the success of their company with their alma mater.

Frank Davis displays one of the large cages developed for holding adult southwestern corn borer moths at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service facility in Starkville. (Photo by Linda Breazeale)
October 26, 2006 - Filed Under: Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Universities often offer parenting classes, but Mississippi State University recently held an international workshop focused on rearing the tiniest offspring: insects.

Initiated in 2000, MSU has hosted nine intensive short courses to teach people from all over the world the lessons crucial to rearing insects in a laboratory setting for research and commercial sales. The workshop is the only formal education on insect rearing provided by any university in the world.

October 27, 2006 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- There are always exceptions from one field to another, but Mississippi's cotton should produce near the five-year average despite the summer's drought, mostly because irrigated land boosted yields.

Mississippi farmers will harvest 1.21 million acres of cotton, which is about 10,000 acres more than last year. The predicted yield average is 833 pounds per acre, which is just under last year's yield and the five-year averages of 859 pounds and 869 pounds, respectively.

November 2, 2006 - Filed Under: Biofuels

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With demand for biodiesel on the rise, researchers are looking for ways Mississippi agricultural production can contribute more to this growing market.

Brian Baldwin, a Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, is identifying alternative crops that can grow in Mississippi and produce large quantities of oil. The highest oil-producing crops are tropical, but there are other plants that can be grown in Mississippi and yield more oil per acre than those currently being grown.

November 2, 2006 - Filed Under: Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Teaching and research capabilities in Mississippi State University’s Poultry Science Department have been expanded with the opening of a new poultry processing laboratory.

The facility is a scaled-back version of what students will find when they begin working in the poultry industry, said research coordinator Donnie Zumwalt.

“The laboratory contains the same type of equipment that industry is using and some they will use in the future,” he said. “It will give our students real-world experience while they are on campus.”

November 2, 2006 - Filed Under: Wood Products

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With just the click of a mouse, furniture manufacturers can “test drive” a management system to make their factories more productive. 

A computer simulation training model developed by researchers at Mississippi State University will be demonstrated during a Nov. 15-16 workshop at the Franklin Center on the MSU campus. The Simulating Lean Transformation in the Furniture Industry Workshop will include training with “lean production” principles. Lean production refers to the ability to produce more with less.

November 9, 2006 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While more than one singer has longed to “go home with the armadillos,” most Mississippians just want the annoying beasts to leave their yards alone.

Jerry Jeff Walker popularized the line in “London Homesick Blues,” but homeowners with a yard full of divots each morning feel no such love.

Pat Gaunt, interim head of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinarian Medicine aquatic diagnostic lab in Stoneville, gives medicated feed to fish sick with columnaris disease. (MSU Delta Research and Extension Center photo/Robert H. Wells)
November 9, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish

By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center

STONEVILLE -- A new antibiotic for aquaculture may become twice as useful against deadly bacterial infections plaguing farm-raised catfish if it receives proposed additional labeling.

November 9, 2006 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new endowed scholarship has been established at Mississippi State University in honor of Mississippi Farm Bureau president David Waide of West Point.

The scholarship is in recognition of Waide’s commitment to and efforts on behalf of Mississippi agriculture, said Vance Watson, MSU vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine.

November 9, 2006 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s fruit and vegetable growers can take part in the annual Deep South Fruit and Vegetable Conference and Trade Show Dec. 6-7 in Mobile, Ala.

November 16, 2006 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Christmas trees need special attention before, during and after their magical season under the lights.

Steve Dicke, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said producing Christmas trees is labor intensive. Growers have to be good retailers during the holiday season, and good farmers during the entire year.

November 16, 2006 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Christmas tree growers are facing a new and welcomed challenge in the coming years: keeping up with the increasing demand for their fresh products.

Steve Dicke, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers have been surprised by the recent surge of interest in live trees.

November 16, 2006 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Gift cards are gaining on clothing as the most popular gift to give at the holidays, but this seemingly fail-proof present often is not as popular with those who receive them.

Consumer Reports found in a recent survey that more than 23 million Americans have unused gift cards from last year worth a total of at least $972 million. Almost 1 in 5 of those who received a gift card in 2005 has not yet cashed it in for merchandise.

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