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News Filed Under Agriculture

Two young girls sit on a colorful quilt among leaves in the grass as they play with a white and an orange pumpkin.
October 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a minor agricultural crop in Mississippi, but demand increases every year as consumers use them mostly for decoration.

Casey Barickman, Mississippi State University Extension Service vegetable specialist and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, said the state has an estimated 500 to 600 acres of pumpkins.

Dressed in a pink T-shirt and blue jeans, broiler grower Teresa Dyess stands next to two wagon wheels in front of a barn on her family farm.
October 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture, Poultry

In three days, Teresa Dyess shifted her business focus from produce to poultry.

The change began two years ago with an offhand remark from her husband, Joe Dyess.

 “He told a broiler grower in Wayne County we wouldn’t mind building pullet houses because we wanted to diversify our farm,” she said. “We didn’t think any more about it, and then the next day a poultry processor called and offered us a contract. A banker came the next day, and everything fell into place.”

Lanette Crocker, coordinator for the MSU Extension Service in Wayne County, said Teresa Dyess’ adaptability has helped her maintain success through the farm’s transition.

Two men kneel over a square test plot and feel the texture of the sod.
October 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Weed Control for Crops, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

Mississippi’s sod producers experienced good news and bad news from 2017 weather conditions. Jay McCurdy, turfgrass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the good news was a modestly warm spring with timely rainfall provided good growing conditions for most of the state’s sod farms. The bad news was the same weather promoted the growth of weeds and fungal diseases.

A sweet potato with a pink and brown outer surface is shown close up.
October 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi producers are growing 28,100 acres of sweet potatoes this year, but not one of those is below the northern third of the state.

What keeps growers in south Mississippi from planting the increasingly popular crop? Weevils are mostly to blame.

“Sweet potatoes grown in south Mississippi require more inputs to exclude weevils from fields and have stricter regulations as far as how and where sweet potatoes can be shipped and marketed,” said Stephen Meyers, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

October 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-business, Agri-tourism

Rehoboth Farms will host the upcoming Alliance of Sustainable Farms field day Oct. 20 in Pelahatchie. 

Topics include beekeeping, home canning, and expanding markets and sales opportunities. Attendees also will tour the family-owned farm where the owners grow and sell fresh produce and eggs, along with canned fruits, preserves, sauces and seasonings. The farm includes spaces that can serve as a venue for weddings, meetings and other large gatherings.

Woman pictured with arms resting on boxes labeled “Mississippi Sweet Potatoes.”
September 29, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture

Wouldn’t it be nice if entering a Mississippi State University classroom solved every midlife crisis?

At age 52, Sylvia Clark found herself at a crossroad as she reflected on her life as a small business owner and caregiver for her family. Reared on a Webster County farm, Clark married shortly after earning an associate’s degree and settled into her role as the wife of a Vardaman sweet potato farmer. Eventually, their children were grown and their parents no longer needed her care. With the support of her family, Clark enrolled at MSU in 2006 to finish her formal education in agriculture and extension education.

Photo shows mature, dried soybean pods hanging against a brown, natural background.
September 29, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Soybeans

Official numbers show Mississippi’s soybean crop is ahead of schedule and in good shape, but many fields have actually spent a wet month waiting for harvest.

Trent Irby, Mississippi State University Extension Service soybean specialist, said this delay -- caused by frequent, heavy rains -- impacted a portion of the state’s crop.

Close up of a head of grain sorghum full of tiny brown seeds, along with other plant heads in the field around it.
September 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Grains

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s grain sorghum acreage is at an historic low, and market prices are not much better, but yields should be good.

Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that when market incentives went away after 2015, so did farmers’ desire to plant grain sorghum, also known as milo. State growers may have planted 10,000 acres this year, the fewest since record keeping began in 1929.

September 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Dairy

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Families and students have an opportunity to tour Mississippi State University’s dairy facilities this fall.

The MSU Extension Service will host Breakfast on the Farm Oct. 27-28 at the Joe Bearden Dairy Research Center at 2128 Turkey Creek Road near Starkville. The event is open to preregistered school groups from 9 a.m. until noon on Oct. 27. Families and community members are invited to attend the next morning at the same hours.

A closed boll is seen on a cotton plant growing in a field.
September 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Rain, cool weather, more rain and some wind have slowed cotton maturation, but since the crop was a little behind schedule, the damage may be less than if harvest were already underway.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said recent weather is causing some yield loss, but it is hard to estimate how much.

“Being late to a degree helped the crop because rain did not string out open cotton, but given that we are running out of heat, we may have been better off with an earlier crop that had been defoliated and was standing up when the rain came,” Dodds said.

September 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuts

GREENVILLE, Miss. -- Pecan producers can learn the latest updates in their industry during an upcoming field day. 

The Mississippi Pecan Growers Association will host the 2017 Fall Field Day on Oct. 6 at Tri-Delta Pecans Inc., located at 537 Broadway Extended North in Greenville.

Topics include marketing, harvest, pecan grading, and food safety and quality control practices. Attendees will also tour the Tri-Delta Pecans cleaning and processing facility.

Two black cows in pasture
September 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Beef

The first shipment of U.S. beef to China in more than 13 years reached its destination in June, and Mississippi cattle producers are beginning to see modest rewards of new market access.

Current cattle prices in Mississippi are up from a year ago. Lightweight cattle are $1.67 per pound, while heavyweight feeder cattle are around $1.35 per pound. A year ago, lightweight cattle were $1.55 per pound, and heavyweight cattle were in the range of $1.17 per pound.

“The cattle market has exhibited strong demand through most of 2017 despite the increased supply of cattle in the U.S.,” said Josh Maples, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Prices have generally decreased over the past month, which is due to a combination of seasonal factors and the increased supply.”

September 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-business, Trees

CARROLLTON, Miss. -- Producers interested in growing fruit trees can learn about tree grafting and varieties during a Sept. 15 field day. 

Southern Cultured Orchards and Nursery in Carrollton will host the Alliance of Sustainable Farms event. Attendees will see a grafting demonstration, learn about varieties that grow well in Mississippi and tour the farm’s orchard.

The field day is free, but preregistration is required. Onsite check-in begins at 10 a.m. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. The field day begins at Stephenson’s Bluff, located at 1012 College St. in Carrollton. 

Harvesting corn at Simmons Planting Co. in Arcola, Mississippi, on Aug. 22, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
September 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi producers are optimistic that the remnants of Hurricane Harvey that moved through the state in late August were not enough to stop corn harvests from reaching a new record.

As of Aug. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 51 percent of the corn crop was harvested. Growers had a few more days to tackle remaining acres before rains came through the state. USDA estimated that 78 percent of the crop was in good or excellent shape.

Erick Larson, grain specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said many early yields exceeded 200 bushels an acre, with dryland acreage producing at almost the same rate as irrigated acres. The state’s record average yield was 185 bushels set in 2014.

Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corp. representative Mike Mullendore checks one of the cone-shaped traps located near a Mississippi State University research field on June 27, 2017. The traps evolved from U.S. Department of Agriculture research at the Robey Wentworth Harned Laboratory, commonly known as the Boll Weevil Research Lab at MSU. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton, Insects-Crop Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cotton will always have challenges, but few of them will ever compare to the boll weevils that thrived in Mississippi from 1904 until 2009.

“It is nearly impossible for this younger generation of consultants, scouts and growers to understand how hard boll weevils were to control and how much boll weevil control hurt beneficial insects and complicated cotton management,” said Will McCarty, who served as the Mississippi State University Extension Service cotton specialist during “the boll weevil wars.”

Award-winning farmer Paul Good examines cotton growing in Noxubee County during a Mississippi State University field tour on July 12, 2017. Good said he remembers a time when farmers did not grow cotton in the area, mostly because of boll weevils. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton, Insects-Crop Pests

MACON, Miss. -- Farmers' independent natures make them strong, but when agricultural producers join forces, they can take success to the next level.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, commended Mississippi farmers for their efforts to unite in the battle to eradicate boll weevils from the state.

“Historically, boll weevils were the prime pest in cotton fields. To control them, it took numerous pesticide applications,” he said. “Those treatments were costly and ate into the growers’ profit margins.”

Redbanded stinkbugs, such as this pest seen Aug. 17, 2017, on a soybean plant at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi, are very damaging, invasive pests showing up in large numbers this year in fields across the Southeast. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Don Cook)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers in Mississippi and the Southeast are urged to scout their fields closely for the redbanded stinkbug, a very damaging pest of soybeans that is being found in increasing numbers across the region.

Mississippi State University Extension Service specialists and researchers joined with their counterparts and crop consultants from Arkansas and Louisiana Thursday for an emergency forum on this dangerous insect.

Award-winning forage specialist Rocky Lemus, associate Extension and research professor at Mississippi State University, examines grass growing in 2015 research plots. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The National Association of County Agricultural Agents recently recognized a Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist for his outstanding efforts guiding forage producers.

Rocky Lemus, associate Extension and research professor, received the 2017 Achievement Award during the NACAA’s annual meeting and professional improvement conference in Utah. This award is given to agents with 10 years or fewer of service in Extension and who have exhibited excellence in the field of Extension education.

Dark clouds move toward Mississippi State University soybean and corn plots at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on Aug. 17, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton, Grains, Rice, Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s row crops have had enough rain, and most fields just need sunshine.

Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said corn is mature and will gain no benefit from additional moisture. In the first couple of weeks of August, skies were overcast or rain was falling across most of the state.

August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

PONTOTOC, Miss. -- Sweet potato producers, crop consultants, agricultural industry representatives and the general public will learn about ongoing Mississippi State University sweet potato research and outreach efforts at a field day Aug. 31.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host the event at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station, located at 8320 Highway 15 South in Pontotoc.

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