News From 2012
Gardeners getting ready for fall planting should consider dianthus, a versatile group of plants that grow well in Mississippi gardens and landscapes.
Dianthus come in annual and perennial selections. There are cool season and warm season varieties. I really like their color palette – we can grow a wide variety of pinks, purples and whites, along with bicolors. Dianthus is one flower that lets us keep a sense of landscape and garden color continuity across all the seasons.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Fish make up about 41 percent of the meat in the average Nigerians’ diet, but domestic supply falls short of that, forcing the country to spend $500 million a year on imported fish.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Commercially grown catfish in North America or Africa face similar challenges, a fact that sent one Mississippi State University veterinarian on a training mission to Nigeria in June.
Dr. Skip Jack, a professor of pathobiology and population medicine at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, spent almost three weeks teaching Nigerian catfish farmers, veterinarians and students about health issues related to their fish. He was part of the Farmer to Farmer project, teaching under the oversight of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A doctoral student in Mississippi State University’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences recently received a national fellowship from the Southern Regional Education Board.
Andre Payne of Mount Olive, Miss., was selected as a fellow for SREB’s competitive State Doctoral Scholars program, which works to increase the number of minority faculty members at universities in the South. Payne will receive $20,000 per year for up to four years of study.
By Dr. Rebekah Ray
MSU Delta Research and Extension Center
STONEVILLE – Mississippi State University scientists are evaluating a free software tool that can increase irrigation efficiency for the state’s soybean producers.
Having recently returned from a family vacation, I am all set to show off the more than 800 digital photos I took. In days gone by, we would have hooked up the slide projector and clicked through the carousel in a darkened living room. Today, we have more options.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Most people avoid thinking about animal cruelty, but two groups recently joined efforts to train and support law enforcement officials who encounter these cases across Mississippi.
Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Mississippi Animal Control and Protection Association hosted a course for animal control officers, veterinarians and others at MSU’s Wise Center on Sept. 13. The goal of the course was to increase awareness of animal cruelty issues and the laws related to them.
STONEVILLE – Mississippi State University will host row-crop producers for a conference dedicated to Mississippi Delta agriculture.
The Delta Crop Summit will be Nov. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at MSU’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.
Registration for the free event begins at 7:30 a.m. in the lobby of the Charles W. Capps Jr. Entrepreneurial Center.
For more than 30 years, those interested in home horticulture have been found at two events in early October that showcase landscapes and gardens.
The back-to-back events are sponsored by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES). The 39th annual Ornamental Horticulture Field Day is Oct. 4 at the South Mississippi Branch Station in Poplarville. The 34th annual Fall Flower and Garden Fest is Oct. 5 and 6 at MSU’s Truck Crops Experiment Station in Crystal Springs.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Landowners interested in increasing the return on their investment through recreational business can learn more about habitat management and new income opportunities at an upcoming workshop.
Specialists from Mississippi State University, state and federal agencies, and the private sector will share information about starting and managing a natural resource enterprise, such as wildlife watching, fee fishing, fee hunting and horse trail-riding. The workshop will be Nov. 13 at the Quail Hollow Ranch in Purvis.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Timely rains followed by sunny days provided optimal growing conditions for Mississippi’s grain sorghum crop, and yields may be higher than anticipated.
Mississippi producers planted about 63,000 acres in grain sorghum in 2012, up from 50,000 acres in 2011. The state ranked No. 8 nationally in grain sorghum production in 2011.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s soil and climate are ideally suited to producing sweet potatoes, a crop that gives the state a No. 2 national ranking.
Harvest began about Aug. 20 on Mississippi’s 22,500 acres of sweet potatoes. North Carolina comes in first with 64,000 acres. Acreage in both states varied little from last year. The Mississippi crop was valued at nearly $66.5 million in 2011.
CRYSTAL SPRINGS – The largest home gardening event in the Southeast will focus on more than healthy plants during the festivities in Crystal Springs on Oct. 5 and 6.
“Healthy Living – Healthy Gardening” is the theme for the 2012 Fall Flower and Garden Fest at Mississippi State University’s Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station. The 34th annual fall fest will take place from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission and parking are free.
The Let’s Go Walkin’ Mississippi initiative will kick off this year’s event at 9:30 a.m. Friday with a 1-mile fun walk.
PASCAGOULA -- Barakat Mahmoud is one of many Mississippi State University scientists whose work improves the safety and security of the global food supply.
The world population topped 7 billion in March 2012 and is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. Feeding this many people puts tremendous pressure on the food industry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Finding fall fun at a pumpkin patch or corn maze may be easier this year as new signs point the way to Mississippi’s agritourism operations.
Agritourism businesses combine agriculture and tourism to offer fun to visitors and additional revenue to the family farm.
Anyone living with students knows the challenge of creating a science fair project. For those of us who procrastinate, the challenge is even bigger.
When I was growing up, students had to do a science project every year starting in first grade. By the time I got to high school, I was a pro. I knew what I was going to do my project on; I would even do the project weeks ahead of time.
By Rebekah Ray
MSU Delta Research and Extension Center
STONEVILLE – About 80 farmers gathered for two North Mississippi peanut field days in late summer to learn how to cash in on one of Mississippi’s increasingly popular crops.
Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientists gave producers research updates and introduced new field harvesting techniques.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi veterinarians and livestock officials will address new swine flu concerns with increased educational messages and surveillance during the upcoming State Fair in Jackson.
Mark Crenshaw, swine specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said like humans, pigs occasionally get the influenza virus. Typical pig influenza viruses do not cross over to humans, but a new strain is proving to be an exception. As with all flu strains, frequent hand washing and other good hygiene practices are the best defense.
As we move into fall I’ve been paying attention to the combination containers that have looked so good through the summer months. Many of the flowering plants have started to fade. Colorful foliage plants can now transition from supporting roles to the stars of the containers.
One foliage plant in particular has been a standout lately. Persian shield, which is known botanically as Stobilanthes dyerianus, is typically considered a houseplant. But when added to a combination container, it has a lot of potential as a landscape plant.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi producers have the bulk of the state’s rice crop safely in storage, and yields may approach the record set in 2007 of 160 bushels an acre.
Nathan Buehring, rice specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said September’s weather was nearly ideal for rice harvest.
“Isaac slowed us down and put a little bit of rice on the ground that was ready to harvest, but overall, the harvest season has gone pretty well,” he said.