News From 2014
In the cold and dreary winter months, when color in the landscape can seem like an unachievable goal, gardeners need to rely on plants with features other than flowers to brighten the areas around our homes.
Last week, I shared my thoughts on the landscape potential of yaupon holly. This week, I want to tell you about another red-berried beauty. Pyracantha is a great choice for the home landscape, as its colorful berries can add beauty and interest to any winter landscape.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As the days get colder and food sources for wildlife become scarce, people worry about wild animals being able to survive the winter without supplemental feeding.
Even in the relatively mild Mississippi winters, wildlife food sources go dormant and temperatures can dip below freezing -- especially at night.
TYLERTOWN -- Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University will celebrate 25 years of bringing management and marketing information to dairy producers in early January.
The 25th annual Mississippi-Louisiana Dairy Management Conference will be Jan. 8 at the Southwest Events Center in Tylertown. The MSU Extension Service and the LSU AgCenter plan and conduct this annual event to meet the educational needs of dairy farmers in both states.
Winter is a challenging time in the landscape and garden. We’re limited in annual color options, and even my old favorites, pansies, may not be enough. That’s why we need to learn to rely on the backdrop of the summer, our landscape shrubs.
It seems these plants realize this is the season for them to step up and carry some of the load. You could call winter the berry season, as these red, colorful fruit are on display.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University scientists strive to establish sustainable best practices in the application of slack wax for the wood composites industry.
Slack wax is a waterproofing agent used in the production of composites, including particle board, oriented strand board, fiberboard and laminated strained lumber. The wax improves the dimensional stability of composites, thus improving performance.
By Beth Baker
Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Mississippi State University
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A simple step toward improving water quality is as close as the home bathroom cabinet.
Many people take medications, whether prescribed or over-the-counter. Many also use a variety of personal care and household products, such as perfumes, hand sanitizer, sunscreens and cleaners.
RAYMOND -- Poultry experienced some moderate increases in 2014, grabbing the No.1 spot among Mississippi’s commodities for the 20th straight year.
The industry ended November with a preliminary estimated total production value of $3.1 billion, a 6.4 percent increase from 2013.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s beef cattle producers just experienced the best year in history, and 2015 looks equally promising.
Mississippi State University Extension Service agricultural economist John Michael Riley said droughts in cattle-producing states, especially in 2012, resulted in tighter supplies, while consumer demand for beef has remained strong.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A potentially record-setting production year made soybeans a billion dollar crop and Mississippi’s third-largest agricultural commodity in 2014.
Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said soybeans are expected to yield a record average of 52 bushels an acre.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite low prices for many commodities, the overall projected totals for Mississippi’s crop values should top $7 billion for the third straight year and essentially match the record set in 2013.
John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said his preliminary estimate of 2014’s agricultural production values, excluding government payments, is over $7.7 billion.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After some people open Christmas presents, they might find themselves the recipients of new devices they would have avoided but now feel compelled to use.
Learning how to navigate such a device -- whether it is a smartphone, tablet, digital media player or e-reader -- can seem a daunting task to those who are not technologically savvy. Resolving to implement a new gift into routine activities in 2015 can be an easy first step toward getting the most out of that new gadget.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A production bump has helped forestry maintain its status as Mississippi’s second largest agricultural commodity.
James Henderson, associate forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, estimated the state’s 2014 harvest value was $1.28 billion, which represents a 13.8 percent increase from the $1.13 billion in production reported in 2013.
Since 2009, the least productive year since the recession started, the state’s forest harvest value has increased 48 percent.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Smoking can be a hard habit to kick, but it can be done with the right amount of determination.
Quitting smoking is at the top of many smokers’ New Year’s resolutions list. Smoking is a dangerous health risk, and quitting would contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said two main factors trigger smoking.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Studies show many Mississippians are not good at managing their money, so some may use the new year as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf financially.
A 2013 Gallup poll found that just 32 percent of Americans put together a monthly budget to track income and expenses. Even fewer actually stick with it. The results add up to significant debt. Federal Reserve statistics indicate the average household owes $7,281 on credit cards. When looking only at households carrying credit card debt, that average debt rises to $15,608.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The countdown to the holiday break has begun, and parents and caregivers looking to keep kids occupied and happy should focus on the basics.
Instead of turning to technology as a primary source of entertainment, parents can take the opportunity to strengthen family relationships and stimulate learning in simple, free and fun ways.
Louise Davis, director of the Early Years Network at Mississippi State University, emphasized the importance of interaction to child development.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- New Year’s Resolutions can be difficult to maintain, but one that is worth keeping is getting more sleep at night.
David Buys, state health specialist for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said a lack of sleep can lead to serious problems at home, on the job and on the road.
Some folks think winter can be boring in the garden and landscape. But just when temperatures start to drop, one of my favorite flowering plants decides to suddenly strut its stuff for all to see.
Wherever cassia is planted in the landscape, the tropical-looking flowers are sure to create winter interest.
The prolific winter blooms of winter cassia make it a show-stopping plant. The effect is heightened because the brightly colored blooms seem to appear out of nowhere. Winter cassia is also called Christmas Senna because it is commonly in full glory at this time.
COLLINS -- Nearly a dozen veterans left south Mississippi with fuller luggage after Covington County quilters surprised them with early Christmas gifts.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University hosted approximately 4,000 children, teachers and visitors Oct. 6-10 at the annual MSU Wood Magic Science Fair.
“We had another successful fair,” said Rubin Shmulsky, head of the MSU Department of Sustainable Bioproducts. “It was a fun-filled, busy week when children traveled from all over the state to learn about forestry, sustainable bioproducts and wildlife.”
One of the most useful tools for hunters, besides their weapons, is a tree stand.
The basic function of a tree stand is to elevate hunters off the ground to improve their visibility of an area. A good tree stand location can also provide cover and prevent game from detecting human scent.