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Crop Report

Watermelons at a roadside fruit stand in south Mississippi shed the heavy afternoon rains last Wednesday. Weather conditions during most of the growing season helped the state's fields develop large, flavorful melons this year. (Photo by Scott Corey)
July 2, 2010 - Filed Under: Watermelons, Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Good growing conditions are contributing to a bumper crop of tasty watermelons for Mississippians.

David Nagel, a Mississippi State University Extension Service horticulturist, said rains and cool temperatures delayed plantings but warm temperatures later contributed to rapid development. Harvests began in mid-June and peak each year around the Fourth of July.

“We’ve had plenty of warm temperatures and sunshine to produce large and sweet watermelons this year,” Nagel said. “The more sunny days we have, the sweeter the melons.”

June 25, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE  – Many Mississippi dairy farmers are wary about 2010 after the past 18 months proved to be one of the most financially challenging periods ever for the industry.

“2009 is a year most Mississippi dairy farmers would like to forget because of the huge financial hit they suffered as the price they were paid for milk plummeted about 40 percent,” said dairy specialist Lamar Adams of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Farmers lost about $1,000 per cow last year.”

June 18, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Fruit

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

BILOXI – Despite high yields and good-quality berries, a delayed harvest and low prices are impacting blueberry growers.

Blueberry growers started harvesting in late May and early June, about two weeks behind schedule.

June 11, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s small wheat crop was nearly harvested by the second week of June, and farmers brought in lower-than-average yields.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said individual wheat fields varied greatly in bushels produced.

“The state’s yield should average about 50 bushels an acre, which is a little lower than average, but some producers may harvest yields as high as 80 bushels or more an acre,” Larson said.

Mississippi's cotton crop was planted later than usual and faced a variety of challenges early in the growing season. (Photo by Scott Corey)
June 10, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s young cotton crop has already faced a list of challenges including flooding, late planting, insects and now drought.

“It’s been a challenge from the word go,” said Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We went from an almost perfect planting season last year to one that seems to have continually fought us this year.”

June 4, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After three years of depressed timber markets, prices are increasing because of strong demand for forest products and low inventories of logs following the year’s wettest months.

David Jones, assistant forest products professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the first half of 2010 showed a marked increase in demand for a number of forest products and price increases in most timber product categories.

These young cotton plants are in a weed control study at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. They are in the five- to six-leaf growth stage and therefore no longer vulnerable to damage from thrips. (Photo by Rebekah Ray)
May 28, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Spring rains have been kind to most Mississippi farmers, and conditions are offering cotton one of its best starts in recent years.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the state’s crop has been slightly ahead of schedule.

“The weather has not caused a significant amount of replanting, but there are always exceptions, and if you are one of those farmers, it is significant,” Dodds said. “We also have had some fields needing replanting because of herbicide damage.”

Nolan Brooks measures out catfish feed as part of a research project at MSU's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. (Photo by Rebekah Ray)
May 21, 2010 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE -- The state’s catfish industry -- battling high feed costs, low prices and foreign competition -- is seeing many acres come out of production as producers fight to remain profitable.

In 2009, 15,000 acres of ponds went out of catfish production, and more are expected to leave production this year. Mississippi continues to lead the nation in catfish production and acreage, but the state’s current 65,000 acres is 43 percent short of its peak of 113,000 acres in 2002.

Jeff Gore, assistant research professor at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, checks the root development on a research plot of peanuts planted on April 20. (Photo by Rebekah Ray)
May 14, 2010 - Filed Under: Peanuts

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi peanut growers will finish planting on time and will fare better than last year as long as Mother Nature cooperates.

Peanut planting began the first week of May and is slated to wrap up by June 1.

“Planting is going well so far thanks to the moist soil,” said Mike Steede, Mississippi State University Extension Service director in George County. “We need the moisture for the seeds to germinate. The rain we got in the beginning of the month has created some optimal conditions for now.”

Production and sales of eggs have helped Mississippi's poultry industry survive a tough economic downturn for the past two years. (Photo by Scott Corey)
May 7, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Poultry

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s poultry industry is cautiously optimistic that the economic doldrums of the last two years -- brought on by the high costs of energy, feed and debt -- may finally be over.

Insider talk of expansion, new export markets and domestic consumption of eggs and breast meat may be indicators the upswing has begun.

Steven Felston, an agricultural assistant at MSU's Delta Research and Extension Center, is flushing a recently flooded rice field on April 16, 2010. (Photo by Rebekah Ray)
April 30, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Crops, Rice

STONEVILLE – Mississippi’s 2010 rice crop is ahead of schedule and looking good, even after strong storms swept through the state in April.

Nathan Buehring, rice specialist at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center, said growers had about 75 percent of the crop planted by the end of April. In the last two years, the majority of the planting took place well into May.

April 23, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Having about half of the Mississippi soybean crop planted by late April is allowing producers to breathe a little easier when they look back on the disastrous year they had in 2009.

Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, urged producers not to make decisions for this year based on the anomalies of last year.

A Mississippi State University worker at the Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Verona takes advantage of the ideal weather for corn planting on April 7. (Photo by Scott Corey)
April 16, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s 2010 corn crop is off to a promising start after recent sunny skies and favorable soil conditions gave farmers a chance to plant and manage their fields.

The shortened strawberry harvest has not affected the quality of the berries. Growers report that they are harvesting berries of excellent quality. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
April 9, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Fruit

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE --  A cold winter may have delayed strawberry harvesting, but it did not affect the quality or taste of berries.

Mississippi strawberry harvest usually begins in mid-March, but this year, cold weather pushed harvest back to the second week in April.

“Temperatures were about 10 degrees lower than normal, which pushed planting back a week and in turn, delayed harvesting by a few weeks,” said Wayne Porter, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Lauderdale County.

Sunny skies on March 26 provided perfect conditions for planting this corn on George Ray Walker's farm near Stoneville. This 12-row planter is preparing a plot for a nitrogen-rate plant population study for researchers with Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center. (Photo by Rebekah Ray)
April 1, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

By Linda Breazeale
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton will not be returning to the throne in Mississippi, but growers are slightly more enthusiastic about this former king than they have been in recent years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual prospective plantings report March 31, and Mississippi producers are predicted to plant 340,000 acres of cotton. That is an increase of 11 percent from 2009 but is a far cry from the 1.2 million acres planted in 2005 and 2006.

March 26, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's winter wheat crop is smaller and later than normal because of fall rains, and a colder-than-normal spring may limit the crop's yield.

Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Mississippi's wheat acreage is expected to be well short of the 10-year average of 225,000 acres.

Trees at the Swedenburg Christmas Tree Farm in Columbus appear to be in good shape for the 2009 holiday season. Many Mississippi growers expect sales to increase because of travel cutbacks and plans to stay home. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
November 6, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Christmas Trees

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi Christmas tree growers will probably see their sales increase again this year as more people stay home to celebrate the holidays.

Current economic problems have forced many people to tighten their budgets, resulting in less travel. Families who stay home still want a festive celebration, and natural Christmas trees offer a traditional touch.

Many pecan producers, such as Peeples Pecan Orchard in Starkville, are waiting for rains to let up enough for them to harvest in earnest. Mississippi pecan growers are anticipating a better than average crop of more than 2 million pounds. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 30, 2009 - Filed Under: Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Pecans are one Mississippi crop not taking a beating from excessive fall rains, but until the pecans are out of the orchard, the crop is not out of the woods.

Pecan growers are trying to harvest a better-than-average crop and take advantage of good early-season prices. Experts anticipate a more than 2-million-pound pecan harvest in the state. The national crop is expected to be about 300 million pounds, up 100 million pounds from last year.

Non-stop rains since harvest began have cost Mississippi producers an estimated $371 million. These cotton plants stand wasting in a rain-saturated field on Mississippi State University's R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Facility. (Photo by Scott Corey)
October 23, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Near-constant rains during harvest-time cost Mississippi farmers an estimated $371 million in losses, and producers with crop insurance may be the only ones able to salvage much more from the fields this year.

These pumpkins found at J&A Farms and Nursery in Flora are among the few Mississippi pumpkins to have been harvested early or to have survived the heavy September and October rains. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 16, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Pumpkins

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Heavy rains in Mississippi and nationwide have decreased the number of pumpkins available for harvest, but not the quality of the pumpkins already pulled from the fields.

Pumpkins are popular in the fall for decorating and baking, but they are not a major crop for Mississippi, which only has a few commercial growers.

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