The process of planting this year’s soybean crop in Mississippi has been anything but normal.
The only consistent variable has been rain, and a lot of it -- from an unusually wet winter and spring to the stormwater the state received from Hurricane Barry. Growers have done their best to plant in tight windows of time when both the clouds and the ground were dry. A long, stop-start planting season has been the result.
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- The third week of March is usually the beginning of rice planting season in Mississippi, but fields were not dry enough to hold tractors until May in most locations.
Many growers were still scrambling to get rice in the ground by early June due to unusually high rain amounts in the first quarter of 2019. While more than 90 percent of the crop had been planted as of June 3, only 74 percent had emerged, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is well behind the five-year average of 92 percent emerged by this date.
Mississippians looking for locally grown Christmas trees have several varieties to choose from but should be prepared to shop early for the best selection.
John Kushla, a Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist and research professor who specializes in agroforestry and Christmas trees, said there are several ways to test for freshness when choosing the perfect tree at a tree farm.
Dry fall weather in recent years delayed wheat planting and reduced acreage significantly, but rains in 2018 are creating a different problem for wheat producers.
Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said wet soils have delayed fall harvest in some areas. Harvest of other crops is the foremost priority before effort and acreage are devoted to wheat.
An application of peanut fungicide costs $15-20 per acre, so growers are relieved when they catch a year like 2018 when disease pressure is low.
While statewide peanut acreage is down significantly from last year -- about 25,000 acres compared with 42,000 in 2017 -- the crop benefited from good growing conditions, with average yields of 2 tons per acre.
Most of Mississippi’s corn and rice crops had been harvested when prolonged, late-September rains soaked much of the state, but the wet weather could not have come at a worse time for soybeans and cotton.
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi growers will produce about 20 percent more rice this year, mostly thanks to additional acres planted over 2017’s total.
Larry Falconer, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said early forecasts predict national yields near last year’s 7,400 pounds per acre.
“National acreage is up about 20 percent. In Mississippi, the increase is slightly more at 23 percent,” Falconer said. “It helped that, at planting time, prices were slightly better than the previous year.”