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September 12, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After a season of mostly favorable weather conditions, rice growers are seeing the first signs of a promising crop as harvest begins.

"Rice looks good so far and the yields seem promising, but with only about 10 percent harvested, it's too early to make solid predictions," said Dwayne Wheeler, Tunica County area rice extension agent.

Cool temperatures hurt stands early in the spring during planting time, but weather conditions were more favorable throughout the growing period, particularly while rice was heading.

September 11, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Red Holly hybrids are a new group of hollies noted for their deep burgundy color on new growth. These are all seedling selections from the Mary Nell variety.

Hollies are some of the very best shrubs or small trees for the Mississippi landscapes. They come through as troopers in the coldest of winters. Then when azaleas wilt in the hottest summers, hollies stand firm.

September 5, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton, Insects-Crop Pests, Insects
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton farmers and their nemesis, the boll weevil, begin their traditional fall routines with 1998 on their minds.

The verdict is still out on 1997's crop which battled all season to overcome late plantings in cool, wet conditions.

Dr. Blake Layton, extension cotton entomologist at Mississippi State University, described the state's crop as "the most erratic crop we've ever seen." Still, he said Mississippi growers should harvest a better-than-average crop.

September 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Many people believe purple coneflowers are worthy of awards, but now it's official.

The Perennial Plant Association named Magnus purple coneflower as its Perennial Plant of the Year for 1998.

Purple coneflowers, known botanically as Echinacea, have long been favorites with gardeners in the South and now have found their way to the health food aisle in stores as a medicinal plant.

September 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community, Vegetable Gardens
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND -- Seeds are the only things breaking out from prison plots in one Mississippi facility, but the prisoners are still happy with the results.

Inmates at the Hinds County Penal Farm are eating better and costing taxpayers less money, thanks to a gardening program at the facility.

Bill Maily, Hinds County extension agent, helps run the Mississippi Vegetable Demonstration Project at the prison. Meal costs dropped from $1.68 to about 43 cents, saving more than $20,000 a month. The farm feeds the about 200 inmates, and supplements meals at the two Hinds County jails.

September 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Technology, Family
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- People are becoming more cautious when they read the want ads, but they should not let their guard down when surfing for opportunities on the Internet.

The increase of computers at home and the increasing desire to work at home is driving many opportunity seekers to the Internet.

Dr. Beth Duncan, extension home-based and entrepreneurial business specialist at Mississippi State University, said the Internet is one more avenue scam artists use to hook people.

September 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Food Safety
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite recent scares, Americans have the safest foods in the world, but consumers can take extra precautions to see that it stays safe.

Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said consumers play a vital role in food safety.

"Anyone who prepares food is responsible for its safety," she said.

September 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Community, About Extension
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The state didn't expand its borders, and no county lost size, but Mississippi is now home to 83 counties, at least on paper.

On July 1, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians became the state's newest "county," as identified by the Mississippi State University Extension Service. While not an actual location, the 83rd county includes eight Choctaw communities in six counties.

September 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Pets

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Unusual, offensive pet behaviors can shock and bewilder owners, but look for a treatment plan before giving up and getting rid of the animal.

Any animal can resort to undesirable behavior, even an adult pet that has been well behaved for a long time. In fact, many owners have the animals euthanized.

August 29, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Poultry
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When heat and humidity challenge the state's poultry industry, broilers lose every time, but this summer has been kinder than usual on the birds.

Up until the first of August, Mississippi broiler growers had not seen serious losses to heat stress. Before that, the cooler weather was a blessing to poultry growers, keeping deaths to a minimum.

Bill Goodwin is the extension agent for Scott County, the state's leading poultry producer. He said some broiler deaths to heat stress are unavoidable each year.

August 28, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central MS Research & Extension Center

From the simplest backyards to the most complex gardens, any landscape can be made more beautiful by the presence of birds.

Birdbaths and feeders are readily available at all garden centers and can put you on the road to identifying birds you never knew were around. Attracting an assortment of colorful birds to your lawn is an effortless project the whole family can enjoy.

August 22, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forages
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- You've got to make hay while the sun shines, but Mississippi producers have not seen many clear skies at key hay cutting times.

Despite a late start, many state farmers were completing the second or third cutting of the hay season by the middle of August with hopes weather will allow one more. Mississippi's hay production probably will reach just 90 percent of normal levels.

August 21, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Harvesting flowers is as much fun as picking tomatoes. Many of us began our flower design efforts as children when we picked dandelions or other wildflowers for mom.

Many of our ancestors had special sites for cutting flowers. I suppose they not only took time to smell the roses, but brought them indoors for enjoyment.

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Food, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Americans are realizing that better diets lead to better lives, but after making it clear they aren't willing to sacrifice great tastes they've enjoyed for years, the food industry has been compelled to respond.

As many Americans try to form better eating habits, the food industry is using modern technology to ensure healthy foods also taste good.

Dr. Zahur Haque, professor of food technology at Mississippi State University, said Americans started moving away from high fat diets about ten years ago.

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soil Testing
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Testing soils in the fall means better prepared soil and one less thing to do in the spring.

Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said there is very little difference in results between spring and fall testing. Because of this, he recommended getting soil testing done in the fall.

"If the soil test calls for corrective action, you have an entire winter to plan your fertility program," Oldham said. "It's often easier to get into the field in the fall for samples than during the more hectic spring planting rush."

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Wildlife
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Enthusiastic dove hunters should not let the excitement of the first major fall hunting season cloud their judgement for a safe and legal hunt.

Dove shoots traditionally trigger the beginning of the fall hunting season.

Mississippi is divided into two hunting regions with three different dove seasons each. Dove season will be legal in the northern portion of the state from Sept. 6 through 27, from Oct. 11 through Nov. 9 and again from Dec. 27 until Jan. 3.

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Farming, Soil Testing
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Testing soils in the fall means better prepared soil and one less thing to do in the spring.

Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said there is very little difference in results between spring and fall testing. Because of this, he recommended getting soil testing done in the fall.

"If the soil test calls for corrective action, you have an entire winter to plan your fertility program," Oldham said. "It's often easier to get into the field in the fall for samples than during the more hectic spring planting rush."

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Pets
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A lot of emergency first aid that works for injured humans also helps hurt animals.

Dr. Roger Wilbur, community practice veterinarian at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said people can do a lot to help injured animals. The goal is to quickly and safely get the animal to a veterinarian.

Common injuries requiring first aid for animals are bite wounds, gunshot wounds or injuries from being hit by a car.

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Pets
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If the adorable puppy in the window of the pet store is an aggressive breed, prospective owners should think twice before taking it home.

Dr. Richard Hopper, extension leader of veterinary medicine at Mississippi State University, said genetics and environment contribute to a dog's aggressive nature.

"Some dogs have a greater tendency towards aggression than others, but aggression usually is promoted or worsened by the dog's environment and experiences," Hopper said.

August 15, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The harvest season is approaching for Mississippi's "big three" row crops, and it's been a difficult year for some producers.

"There's a lot of variation in this year's soybean crop," said extension soybean specialist Alan Blaine. "Depending on who you talk to, it's either one of the best ever or one of the worst. On average, the 1997 soybean crop in Mississippi is a good one."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's estimate for the state's soybean crop is about 55 million bushels, up from more than 54 million harvested last year.

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