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A Lycoris, pink/red flower with no foliage, better known as the spider lily or naked lady.
September 11, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

This is the time of year many gardeners have been waiting for all summer.

If you’re thinking about the cool front that blew through this past weekend, I’m afraid you’re incorrect. What I’m talking about is the emergence of naked ladies in gardens all across Mississippi.

I’m talking about the seemingly magical plants known botanically as Lycoris. Common names include magic, surprise or resurrection lily, but some gardeners simply call them nekkid ladies.

a nest built by mice using insulation and a variety of other materials
September 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

Now is the time of year when many of us notice the pitter-patter of small feet in our attics or walls.

Complaints of mice in and around homes are common in the fall. The house mouse is one of the most troublesome and costly rodents in the United States. House mice damage structures and contaminate food sources meant for humans, pets, livestock and other animals.

During the fall, both the house mouse, which spends most of its life in human dwellings, and the deer mouse, which spends warm seasons outside, are searching for food and warm shelter to nest and breed during the winter.

Two black cows in pasture
September 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Beef
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

The first shipment of U.S. beef to China in more than 13 years reached its destination in June, and Mississippi cattle producers are beginning to see modest rewards of new market access.

Current cattle prices in Mississippi are up from a year ago. Lightweight cattle are $1.67 per pound, while heavyweight feeder cattle are around $1.35 per pound. A year ago, lightweight cattle were $1.55 per pound, and heavyweight cattle were in the range of $1.17 per pound.

“The cattle market has exhibited strong demand through most of 2017 despite the increased supply of cattle in the U.S.,” said Josh Maples, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Prices have generally decreased over the past month, which is due to a combination of seasonal factors and the increased supply.”

Man examining a pine tree for evidence of beetles
September 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Trees, Forest Management, Forest Pests
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi is having a breakout of tiny beetles that use pheromones to gather sufficient numbers of reinforcements to overwhelm healthy trees.

Current Mississippi Forestry Commission flyovers indicate nearly 5,000 separate Southern pine bark beetle outbreaks across the state. Outbreaks can range from just a few trees to more than an acre of infested and dying pines.

Outbreaks are especially bad on national forestland, but homeowners and private landowners are also experiencing the problem.

September 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-business, Trees
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

CARROLLTON, Miss. -- Producers interested in growing fruit trees can learn about tree grafting and varieties during a Sept. 15 field day. 

Southern Cultured Orchards and Nursery in Carrollton will host the Alliance of Sustainable Farms event. Attendees will see a grafting demonstration, learn about varieties that grow well in Mississippi and tour the farm’s orchard.

The field day is free, but preregistration is required. Onsite check-in begins at 10 a.m. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. The field day begins at Stephenson’s Bluff, located at 1012 College St. in Carrollton. 

These Lucky Pink pentas offer a rich pink color on branching, compact plants.
September 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service
I’m often asked which flowering plants I think are best for our landscapes and gardens. This is not a simple question!
 
Through the Southern Gardening column and television program, I try to highlight great garden plants. Of course, these flowering plants happen to be my current favorites. That means my list of favorites is in a constant ebb and flow, as many readers know.
 
Today, I want to tell you about a landscape star that is shining brightly while others have faded pretty badly as we near the end of the meteorological summer. Today’s star is the penta. The reference to stars is very apt, as one common name for this plant is Egyptian Star Cluster.
Harvesting corn at Simmons Planting Co. in Arcola, Mississippi, on Aug. 22, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
September 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Corn
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi producers are optimistic that the remnants of Hurricane Harvey that moved through the state in late August were not enough to stop corn harvests from reaching a new record.

As of Aug. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 51 percent of the corn crop was harvested. Growers had a few more days to tackle remaining acres before rains came through the state. USDA estimated that 78 percent of the crop was in good or excellent shape.

Erick Larson, grain specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said many early yields exceeded 200 bushels an acre, with dryland acreage producing at almost the same rate as irrigated acres. The state’s record average yield was 185 bushels set in 2014.

Four fourth-grade girls show off their personal identification cards that are passes to federal parks.
September 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Natural Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Those of us with a strong connection to the natural world know that attachment was born and strengthened through personal experiences we had outdoors as children, generally when family members took us outside to spend time, relax or have fun.

A new nationwide program began in 2015 with hopes of increasing access to federal public lands for fourth-grade students, along with the goal of establishing connections to the outdoors. Every Kid in a Park begins its third year on Sept. 1, 2017. Every fourth-grader has easy access to a free pass for admission to public land from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2018. 

August 29, 2017 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Home gardeners and horticulture professionals can learn about the latest plants, research and gardening techniques during the 39th annual Fall Flower & Garden Fest on Oct. 13 and 14. 

These Daybreak Charm Supertunias are thriving in a basic, 25-gallon container that has been dressed up with vertical wooden slats. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
August 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

This year has been a challenge in my home landscape and garden.

First, we have had a lot of rain: more than 93 inches and counting collected in our Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network rain gauge. If you’re interested in being a volunteer rain reporter for them, go to http://www.cocoraahs.org for more information. I’ve seen so many waterlogged landscape beds and lawns that just won’t dry out.

The second big challenge was the heat. When it’s not raining, the high temperatures and humidity have maintained heat indexes that make me -- and many others gardeners -- just stay indoors. Surely that yard work can be put off until October.

But I’ve taken the steps to make my gardening an easier chore

The 2017 Gulf of Mexico dead zone, primarily off the coast of Louisiana, recently measured 8,776 square miles, the largest ever recorded in 32 years of monitoring. Reducing the size of the hypoxic zone is important to ensure continued productivity of the Gulf fishery. (Data source: N.N. Rabalais, Louisiana State University and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium; R.E. Turner, LSU. Funding: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, http://www.gulfhypoxi
August 25, 2017 - Filed Under: Environment, Marine Resources
By Dr. Austin R. Omer
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A new record has been set in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is not one to brag about because it threatens a multibillion-dollar fishing industry.

The most recent Gulf dead zone measured in the summer of 2017 was the largest ever recorded in 32 years of monitoring. It covered 8,776 square miles, which is closer to the size of New Jersey than the average zone size of 5,309 square miles. Reducing the size of the hypoxic zone is important if we want to ensure continued productivity of the Gulf fishery.

With a new sawmill in central Mississippi and the prospect of more being built, timber plots like this one at Coontail Farm in Aberdeen will be a good investment long-term despite middling timber market conditions now. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
August 25, 2017 - Filed Under: Forestry, Timber Harvest
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The combination of a middling timber market, a pine beetle infestation and wet weather is doing Mississippi tree farmers no favors this year.

Fortunately, a new sawmill in the state and the prospect of increased manufacturing gives reason for optimism long-term.

Biewer Sawmill began operations this year in Newton. Glenn Hughes, a forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said this indicates an upswing for the state’s forest product industry.

August 25, 2017 - Filed Under: Rural Health, Mississippi Well Owner Network
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi homeowners with private wells have three opportunities to learn how to enhance the quality of their drinking water sources.

The Mississippi Well Owner Network, a program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will hold workshops at the Extension offices in Wayne County Sept. 26, Pearl River County Oct. 24 and Tate County Nov. 16. Each workshop begins at 6 p.m.

Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corp. representative Mike Mullendore checks one of the cone-shaped traps located near a Mississippi State University research field on June 27, 2017. The traps evolved from U.S. Department of Agriculture research at the Robey Wentworth Harned Laboratory, commonly known as the Boll Weevil Research Lab at MSU. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton, Insects-Crop Pests
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cotton will always have challenges, but few of them will ever compare to the boll weevils that thrived in Mississippi from 1904 until 2009.

“It is nearly impossible for this younger generation of consultants, scouts and growers to understand how hard boll weevils were to control and how much boll weevil control hurt beneficial insects and complicated cotton management,” said Will McCarty, who served as the Mississippi State University Extension Service cotton specialist during “the boll weevil wars.”

Award-winning farmer Paul Good examines cotton growing in Noxubee County during a Mississippi State University field tour on July 12, 2017. Good said he remembers a time when farmers did not grow cotton in the area, mostly because of boll weevils. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton, Insects-Crop Pests

MACON, Miss. -- Farmers' independent natures make them strong, but when agricultural producers join forces, they can take success to the next level.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, commended Mississippi farmers for their efforts to unite in the battle to eradicate boll weevils from the state.

“Historically, boll weevils were the prime pest in cotton fields. To control them, it took numerous pesticide applications,” he said. “Those treatments were costly and ate into the growers’ profit margins.”

The hot-pink flowers of Fireworks gomphrenas have little, yellow tips that capture the essence of a celebratory explosion. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
August 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Last week, it was extremely hot in the trial gardens at the South Mississippi Branch Station in Poplarville while we were shooting new TV segments of Southern Gardening. While my crew and I were literally wilting in the heat and humidity, there was one group of plants that seemed to be taunting Mother Nature to bring it on.

That plant was gomphrena, and I'd hate to meet it in a dark alley.

To prevent medical identity theft, store documents that contain personal information in a safe place, and shred them for disposal. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management, Fraud and Identity Theft
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Much attention is focused on preventing identity theft to safeguard finances, but medical identity theft can be just as devastating.

Susan Cosgrove, family resource management area agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Newton County, said medical identity theft occurs when a thief steals personal information to use to obtain medical care, buy prescription drugs or commit Medicare fraud in the victim's name.

Redbanded stinkbugs, such as this pest seen Aug. 17, 2017, on a soybean plant at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi, are very damaging, invasive pests showing up in large numbers this year in fields across the Southeast. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Don Cook)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers in Mississippi and the Southeast are urged to scout their fields closely for the redbanded stinkbug, a very damaging pest of soybeans that is being found in increasing numbers across the region.

Mississippi State University Extension Service specialists and researchers joined with their counterparts and crop consultants from Arkansas and Louisiana Thursday for an emergency forum on this dangerous insect.

Award-winning forage specialist Rocky Lemus, associate Extension and research professor at Mississippi State University, examines grass growing in 2015 research plots. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The National Association of County Agricultural Agents recently recognized a Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist for his outstanding efforts guiding forage producers.

Rocky Lemus, associate Extension and research professor, received the 2017 Achievement Award during the NACAA’s annual meeting and professional improvement conference in Utah. This award is given to agents with 10 years or fewer of service in Extension and who have exhibited excellence in the field of Extension education.

Dark clouds move toward Mississippi State University soybean and corn plots at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on Aug. 17, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton, Grains, Rice, Soybeans
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s row crops have had enough rain, and most fields just need sunshine.

Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said corn is mature and will gain no benefit from additional moisture. In the first couple of weeks of August, skies were overcast or rain was falling across most of the state.

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