News From 2014
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most undergraduate college students are not interested in conducting research, but Sanitra Lawrence is not like most students.
Lawrence’s resume will reveal that she did more than sit in a classroom while earning her bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Mississippi State University this December. Each week in the summer of 2013, the Starkville native counted the swirskii mites on pepper plants as part of a research project.
Offering more research opportunities to undergraduates is a goal of the plant and soil sciences department.
STONEVILLE -- Mississippi’s agricultural industry is not going about “business as usual” above ground while the underground water supplies decline every year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Though electronic toys continually top children’s Christmas wish lists, a child and family development professor at Mississippi State University suggests non-toy gifts could be the best presents under the tree.
Louise Davis, MSU Extension Service professor and executive director of the Early Years Network, said non-toy gifts such as activities, memberships and classes can offer enriching, fun experiences that encourage intellectual, social and physical development.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist is taking her financial literacy message to television -- and winning awards for it.
In December, many gardeners look forward to taking a little time off from working in the landscape, but cool weather is a good time to apply a layer of mulch.
However, gardeners get some free help with the job at this time of year. I’m always in awe of the job that Mother Nature does mulching the landscape.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi producers had another successful year of peanut production, but the honeymoon phase for this crop is probably over.
Jason Sarver, peanut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said between 2005 and 2011, Mississippi growers produced an average of 18,000 acres of peanuts a year. The majority of this acreage was in the southern part of the state.
GOODMAN -- Fruit and vegetable growers can learn about the best seed for spring crops, equipment maintenance, and winter fruit crop activities during a Dec. 12 field day.
Experts from the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the MSU Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will present several educational sessions at the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Demonstration Farm Field Day in Goodman.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A record number of agriculture professionals attended Mississippi State University’s 2014 Row Crop Short Course, which has rapidly become one of the region’s top educational opportunities.
The workshop was held Dec. 1-3 in Starkville and brought together more than 440 farmers, crop advisers, university experts and industry representatives. It was offered by the MSU Extension Service.
Brrr…it’s cold out there…we need some cover!
Winter arrived early this year in Mississippi. Not only did humans notice, but so did the birds. Providing winter habitat in your backyard for birds is quite simple, as long as you have the essentials: cover, food and water.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sightings of sugarcane aphids on sorghum crops, commonly known as milo, have increased rapidly from one Mississippi county in 2013 to the entire northern and central portions of the state this year.
Seed treatment and increased crop monitoring will be crucial in preventing the pests from causing major damage to future grain sorghum crops in Mississippi, said Angus Catchot, a row-crops entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The peanut brittle at John and Peggy Guyton’s house looks like it might be made from a special family recipe, but they are not keeping their unique ingredient a secret: insects.
In fact, the Guytons used black soldier fly larvae to provide additional protein to peanut brittle whipped up in the microwave in a matter of minutes. Peggy also bakes banana nut bread with crickets and has several recipes featuring mealworms.
RAYMOND -- Holiday celebrations that include alcohol can put extra stress on those battling or recovering from alcohol addiction and their families.
“Around the holidays, alcohol abounds at parties and family gatherings,” said David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Being around alcohol and others who might be ‘old drinking buddies’ could drive temptation higher.”
Feelings of social isolation, whether perceived or actual, and anxiety can increase during the holiday season and trigger excessive drinking, Buys said.
I don’t keep it a secret that I think pansies are the perfect plants for cool-season annual beds. They are really easy plants to grow, and they provide great color during cold winters.
The Matrix pansy is always a great choice because of the way it displays flowers high above its foliage. But lately I’ve been admiring the unique trailing growth habit of Cool Wave pansies.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Students in Mississippi State University’s Horticulture Club will host their annual Christmas Plant Sale on Dec. 5.
This fundraiser, which will take place from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., supports club activities throughout the year. Students will be assisting shoppers in the campus greenhouses on Stone Boulevard behind Dorman Hall.
Poinsettias, Christmas cacti, succulents, living wreaths, mistletoe balls and ready-made table pieces will be available.
For more information, contact the MSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at 662-325-2311.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Before 1965, coyotes did not live in southern states east of the Mississippi River.
However, over the last 40 years, the coyote population has expanded rapidly for several reasons, including loss of larger carnivores such as red wolves and cougar, the introduction of coyotes to the area by humans, reduced trapping in the West and widespread timber harvesting.
Although it seems like Christmas decorations have been in the stores since Labor Day, what really tells me it’s beginning to look like Christmas is when the poinsettias hit the garden centers.
Poinsettias may be the perfect plant for the Christmas season. In their native Mexico, the poinsettia’s bright red flowers of are known as Flores de la Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, as they bloom each year during the Christmas season.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Compounding the chaos of the holidays with the recent loss of a loved one can make the entire season downright overwhelming.
Experts from Mississippi State University recommend that those coping with the loss of a loved one slow down amid the hustle and bustle of the season.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers can’t choose the weather or the prices they get for their crops, but they can choose the best seed for their growing conditions, thanks to research by Mississippi State University.
MSU conducts extensive official variety trials each growing season to document the performance of seed varieties under different growing conditions. MSU offers variety trial information on corn, cotton, grain sorghum, peanuts, rice, soybeans, wheat, oats and forage.
Valuable effort …
While dressing a deer this fall, there are some common parasites you may encounter. None of these parasites actually affects the quality of the deer meat, but it is important to recognize what they are.
Have you ever noticed little wingless critters crawling around on a deer’s belly? Those are louse flies -- also called deer keds. The adult flies shed their wings and become flightless. While at first glance louse flies resemble small ticks, they only have six legs.
RAYMOND -- E.G. “Gene” Morrison spent more than 40 years with Mississippi State University, where he devoted his career to research projects aimed at improving livestock production methods.
On Nov. 20, 2014, former colleagues, friends and family celebrated with him as the MSU Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station was named in his honor. Morrison, a native of Utica, served at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station facility as superintendent for 33 years, beginning in 1956.