The major fruit crop in Mississippi is blueberries, with more than 2,000 acres in production. Since blueberries are native to the Southeast and grow well in the pine belt of south Mississippi, commercial production of blueberries has been important to the horticultural economy of Mississippi since the 1970s. Mississippi State University Extension personnel work with blueberry growers to achieve maximum production, but they also strive for management practices that are sustainable. Although blueberries are the dominant crop, other fruit crops are important on a smaller scale, such as bunch grapes and muscadines, tree fruits (apples, peaches, pears, plums, and nectarines), citrus (kumquat, satsuma, Meyer lemon), blackberries, strawberries, and various other alternative fruit crops like figs, mayhaws, and persimmons.
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.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A group interested in learning more about the ancient and popular art of winemaking will attend an upcoming workshop on the topic Sept. 15 at Mississippi State University.
The Growing, Making and Improving Wines Workshop will be at the A.B. McKay Food Research and Enology Laboratory on the MSU campus. The MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are offering the daylong workshop.
MCNEILL, Miss. -- Mississippi State University invites muscadine grape growers and those interested in growing these vines to an Aug. 26 field day in Pearl River County.
Topics for the annual Muscadine Field Day include pests, new varieties and vine management. MSU Extension Service, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service personnel will speak.
WAYNESBORO, Miss. -- The demand for fresh Mississippi blueberries may grow this year after a mid-March freeze hampered production in neighboring states.
Freezing temperatures during the crop's early growth stage on farms east of the state, especially in Georgia and North Carolina, caused production losses of up to 50 percent.
Meanwhile, 85 percent of Mississippi's blueberry crop was either in good or excellent condition as of May 15, according to a weekly crop progress and condition report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Producers interested in season extension for specialty crops and commercial strawberry production can learn about these topics during an upcoming field day.
The Season Extension and Commercial Strawberry Production Field Day will be April 4 at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station, located at 2024 Experiment Station Road in Crystal Springs. It begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.