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April 16, 1999 - Filed Under: Corn, Cotton, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers across Mississippi are moving some of their acres to cotton or soybeans based on poor prices and a bad year for corn in 1998.

Dr. Erick Larson, corn specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said last year's problems with aflatoxin have been the most significant factor keeping corn acreage low this year.

"Many growers are uncomfortable dealing with the risk of aflatoxin because it develops based primarily on environmental conditions over which the grower has little control," Larson said.

April 9, 1999 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most cotton growers haven't planted the first seed, but they are already making decisions for managing insects.

Continued poor market prices, a mild winter and location in the state are among the issues growers are considering as they make choices between transgenic cotton that is resistant to budworms and nontransgenic seeds. Timely plantings for an early maturing crop continues to be another part of the insect risk management strategy.

April 8, 1999 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The Biloxi area is celebrating its tricentennial this year -- 300 years! Like this beautiful city captures the hearts of visitors, the 1999 Mississippi Medallion winner, Biloxi Blue verbena will snare the hearts of gardeners throughout the state.

Biloxi Blue is one of four outstanding plants chosen as a 1999 Mississippi Medallion winners with Indian Summer rudbeckia, Tonto and Sioux crape myrtles rounding out the list.

April 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Feeding the newest four-legged member of the household can be a major expense depending on the size of the animal, but options are available to keep costs down.

Dr. Andrew Mackin, assistant professor of small animal internal medicine at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said commercial foods available have made today's pets better fed than any previous generation.

April 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Pets

By Lani Jefcoat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Health, life and property insurances are common purchases for Mississippians, but an additional option for pet coverage may appeal to people with significant investments in their animals.

Major illnesses, accidents or lost pets can result in significant financial or emotional stress for pet owners. The solution to these unexpected problems may lie in pet insurance policies.

April 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Pets

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bringing a new pet into the family isn't all fun and games. It is a decision best made by adults that allows children to gain a new best friend and learn responsibility and proper behavior around animals.

"Consider all the aspects of having a new pet before you rush out to get one," said Dr. Thomas Lenarduzzi, exotics and wildlife veterinarian at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "Consider size and temperament of the pet and the responsibility level of children involved."

April 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Training a puppy can result in more than a well-mannered pet, it can mean the difference between life and death for the animal.

According to figures released by the American Veterinary Medical Association, as many as 1 million people each year require medical treatment for dog bites. About 12 people die each year from dog attacks, and dog bites are the No. 1 public health problem for children 12 and younger, half of which have been bitten by a dog.

April 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Pets

By Lani Jefcoat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Animals, like humans, need vaccinations to protect them from serious and potentially fatal diseases caused by bacteria and viruses.

Newborn animals receive protection from antibodies in their mothers' milk. To be sure that newborns receive this protection, immunize mothers before breeding.

April 5, 1999 - Filed Under: Pets

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- From the pound or with a pedigree, a pet is still a pet. There are advantages and disadvantages to both purebred and mixed breed animals.

Dr. Thomas Lenarduzzi, a veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said both purebred and mixed breed animals make wonderful pets.

"Sometimes purebred animals have more predictable traits than mixed breeds, but hereditary diseases may be a problem for some purebred animals," Lenarduzzi said.

April 2, 1999 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Planting intentions announced Wednesday show Mississippi farmers reacting to low prices across the board by planting more cotton than last year.

Cotton saw the biggest gain in acreage, with 1.1 million acres projected for 1999 in Mississippi. Rice acreage also should be up, but not as high as originally intended. Both corn and soybeans acreage intentions are down for the year.

April 1, 1999 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Virginia willows, which are native to Mississippi, have received awesome reviews in Texas, North Carolina and Louisiana where they have been chosen as plant of the year.

You may know Virginia willows as the sweetspire or Virginia sweetspire. In addition to those names, selections like Henry's Garnet and Sarah's Eve may be available at your local garden center. Virginia willow is known botanically as Itea virginica. "Itea" is Greek for willow.

March 26, 1999 - Filed Under: Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wheat growers anticipate the final hurdles for this season's crop as they hope for respectable market prices at harvest time in early summer.

Dr. Erick Larson, agronomist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said many wheat growers took advantage of favorable planting conditions last fall despite the poor market forecast.

Wheat prices in October were around $2.40 per bushel, but March prices have rebounded slightly into the $2.50 range.

March 25, 1999 - Filed Under: Trees

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

American writer Joyce Kilmer may be most famous for his poem "Trees." I have often wondered what tree, if any, the New Jersey native was thinking about when he wrote that famous poem.

The tree that most assuredly is causing the traveler to pause now and gaze at her beauty is the dogwood. The bloom of the dogwood alone should make you want at least one for your yard, if not several.

March 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Contrary to what most children want to believe, jelly beans are not vegetables, even at Eastertime.

Like many other holidays, sweets abound at Easter. Parents should remember that moderation is the key to providing special treats for their children.

March 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Community

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- What do pillbox hats, drawstring pants, low shoes and the colors gray and pink have in common? They are the hottest spring fashions, of course.

Betty Fulwood, clothing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said retro fashions are of special interest this spring, as well as colors from the winter season such as gray accompanied by a variety of shades of pink.

The 50s and 60s lend classic styles of chemise and pillbox hats. Full skirts and tiny tops are consistent with the romantic look.

March 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An ongoing case of rice insurance policies changing after they were purchased has demonstrated why farmers should be more careful than ever in protecting themselves from crop loss.

American Agrisurance Co. recently reduced a special offer on Crop Revenue Coverage after the deadline had passed to buy insurance for spring planted crops. Farmers who had bought this insurance package, known as CRC-Plus, now had much less coverage than they were promised, and with the purchasing deadline expired, have no way to increase the coverage.

March 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Catfish, Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Growing crawfish with rice has become a common way to produce this popular shellfish, but the practice has been more successful in Louisiana than it has in Mississippi.

In 1997, Louisiana landed almost 23 million pounds of crawfish worth nearly $13 million. The state produced another 47 million pounds through aquaculture at a value of nearly $28 million. Much of this crawfish is consumed in the state, and very little leaves the South.

March 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Soils, Soil Testing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Homeowners sprucing up their lawns for spring should be careful using fertilizers as two of the most common types may harm area water quality if managed poorly.

Dr. Larry Oldham, soil fertility specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said movement of nitrogen and phosphorus from soils to water supplies raises water quality concerns.

March 19, 1999 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Crawfish are showing up in restaurants and stores in large numbers and at falling prices as crawfish season is in full swing.

Crawfish season extends from November through May, but peaks in April. Prices currently in South Mississippi range from about $1.19 to $1.49 a pound live, and $2.09 to $2.19 a pound boiled. Prices are expected to drop at least 20 cents a pound next week as more crawfish flood the markets.

March 18, 1999 - Filed Under: Vegetable Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Growing fresh produce for the picking doesn't always mean having an intensive garden, a square-foot garden or an acre or more. It can be as simple and fun as growing a basket of petunias, and baskets are where I would like to start.