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Producers planted much of Mississippi’s soybean crop early, allowing it to avoid many late-season threats from diseases and insects. These soybeans were growing July 25, 2017, on the Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Soybeans
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most of the state's soybean crop has a very good yield potential despite some challenges coming late in the season.

Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said growers planted more than 60 percent of the crop in April.

"We had more soybeans planted in April than we've had in years," Irby said. "We had several windows that month where it was warmer than usual and dry enough to plant, and growers took advantage of those planting opportunities."

Water hyacinths produce lovely blooms on Mississippi water surfaces during the summer, but this aggressive and invasive plant blocks light, stops photosynthesis for the plants growing below the surface and eliminates oxygen in the water. Freezing temperatures will kill plants, causing additional water quality problems. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/ J. Wesley Neal)
July 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although water hyacinth is beautiful and quite stunning when in bloom, it is not a desirable plant in ponds.

Water hyacinth floats gracefully on water surfaces. Its inflated, spongy stems feature attractive flower spikes adorned with up to 20 blue, yellow and light-purple flowers. It is common on many of Mississippi's navigable waterways, including the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and the Pearl River drainage. Native to tropical South America, water hyacinths feel right at home with Mississippi's warm summers and fertile waters.

Purslane such as this Mojave Mixed selection thrive in patio containers and hanging baskets that take advantage of its spreading and trailing growth characteristics. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
July 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Purslane has long been regarded as a garden weed, and it's no wonder: A single plant can produce more than 50,000 seeds. I've seen purslane growing in coarse gravel and cracks in concrete. If the area is moist, you can find purslane, and I have removed many as weeds.

But I’m having a change of heart. Purslane is one of the older plants I'm interested in adding back to my coastal Mississippi landscape and garden. It's a succulent that thrives in high summer temperatures, and that makes it a perfect flowering annual for our hot and humid summers.

Keep dogs on leashes while on nature trails to keep them from chasing or harassing the wildlife. Bring all trash and leftover food with you when your outdoor adventure concludes. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
July 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Whether fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, photographing or wildlife watching, all outdoor enthusiasts should practice "Leave No Trace."

Leave No Trace is a set of seven easy-to-follow principles meant to reduce manmade negative impacts on the environment.

Mississippi growers harvested just 40,000 acres of wheat in 2017 -- well below the average of about 200,000 acres -- but they saw good yields despite a challenging growing season. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Wheat
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi growers produced good wheat yields despite planting historically low acreage and experiencing challenging conditions this year.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state growers harvested an estimated 40,000 acres of wheat in 2017, averaging an estimated 63 bushels an acre. Average wheat planting is about 200,000 acres annually, but it was as high as 500,000 acres in 2008. The state's record high wheat yield per acre is 64 bushels, set in 2011.

Brett Rushing, an assistant professor at Mississippi State University, discusses various planting and maintenance methods used on four native wildflower plots at the MSU Coastal Plains Branch Experiment Station in Newton on July 13, 2017, during the Wildflower Field Day. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
July 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Natural Resources, Environment
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

NEWTON, Miss. -- Travelers on Mississippi highways and interstates may have noticed colorful stands of native wildflowers planted in various sites for the last two years.

Part of the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi project, these patches of flowers and grasses serve as testing areas for roadside plantings that project coordinators hope will attract tourists and provide colorful habitat for pollinators for years to come. Initiated in 2015, the project is coordinated by Keep Mississippi Beautiful and supported by Mississippi State University and several state agencies.

Wild pigs have been part of the landscape in the Southeast since Hernando de Soto released them in the 1500s as a source of food for settlers. In the last 20 years, the nuisance animals have increased their range and population in Mississippi, threatening native wildlife and causing millions of dollars in damage to crops, land, timber, structures and farm equipment each year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Steven Tucker)
July 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment, Forestry, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Wild pigs have roamed parts of the Southeast since Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto introduced them as food for early settlers in the 16th century. But during the last two decades, Mississippi has experienced a rapid uptick in the spread of the nuisance animal.

The extended family of Ruby D. Rankin, 1960-2017, gathered Monday to celebrate the dedication of the local farmers market in honor of her 33 years as a community leader with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
July 19, 2017 - Filed Under: County Extension Offices, Farmers Markets
By Ms. Leah Barbour
MSU Extension Service

DEKALB, Miss. -- For 33 years, Ruby D. Rankin was the face of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Kemper County, and her sudden death in early May surprised and saddened the local community.

More than 100 people gathered at a building dedication ceremony Monday in the Extension office in Kemper County to honor Rankin's life, service and impact on local individuals, various organizations and the entire community. The Kemper County Board of Supervisors honored Rankin's many accomplishments by naming the local farmers market in her honor.

July 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Economic Development, Rural Development, Technology
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Expansion of high-speed internet to rural Mississippi areas is the focus of a new publication from the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Mississippi has the lowest broadband access in the nation, with 36 percent of the state's residents lacking the infrastructure. Roberto Gallardo, an associate Extension professor in the Center for Technology Outreach, said this problem leaves residents of those areas at a disadvantage.

July 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment, Fisheries, Forestry, Invasive Plants, Marine Resources, Water, Wildlife
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

BILOXI, Miss. -- Individuals interested in learning more about conservation of Mississippi's natural resources can attend the Coastal Mississippi Master Naturalist class.

The seven-week course begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, located at 1815 Popp's Ferry Road in Biloxi. Classes meet once a week at various locations through Oct. 17. Weekday classes meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Weekend classes begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

Gardeners sometimes use heavy pruning to control crape myrtle size and shape, but these goals are better achieved by choosing the right plant to fit the space. This Bourbon Street Dwarf Crape Myrtle is an excellent choice for a small area. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
July 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Landscape and Garden Design
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

There is one plant that absolutely is the flower of the South: the crape myrtle. Who can resist the colorful flower clusters on display from early summer through late fall?

The spectacular flowers are actually large panicles, or branching clusters composed of many small flowers. These panicles can be more than 8 inches long, and colors range from white, to shades of pink and purple, to rich reds. There are even bicolor flowers like my favorite Pink Peppermint.

Gary Windham, a research plant pathologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, inoculates corn that is part of an aflatoxin study at Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on July 13, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
July 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Early or not, Mississippi’s corn crop is well on the way to its best yield in years, barring any major disasters.

Erick Larson has spent more than two decades as the Mississippi State University Extension Service corn specialist. Larson said 2017 weather generally has been better than he can remember for any past growing season. Timely rains in some areas and cool nights during the crucial early grain-filling periods were important keys.

Retreating into its shell will not protect this box turtle from most road dangers. If conditions are safe, render aid by moving or encouraging snakes and turtles off roads in the directions they are already headed. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
July 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With the temperature rising daily, it is getting more common to spot turtles and snakes basking on the roads. Being aware of this change in reptile behavior can help drivers avoid hitting them.

July 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Forestry, Urban and Community Forestry
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Urban Forestry Summer School on July 28 will use Catalpa Creek on the Mississippi State University campus as a living laboratory for training and demonstration.

MSU faculty will teach at the school, hosted by the MSU Extension Service and the Professional Arborists Association of Mississippi. The event will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the College of Veterinary Medicine on the MSU Henry H. Leveck Animal Research Farm, commonly called South Farm. Signs will direct visitors to the actual location.

July 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Rice

By Kenner Patton
MSU Extension Service

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Rice producers can learn about the latest research on production and disease management during the Mississippi State University Extension Service Rice Producer Field Day Aug. 2.

The program will begin at 3 p.m. at the Charles W. Capps Jr. Entrepreneurial Center at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. The three-hour event includes field tours of research plots with MSU rice researchers.

Natasha Haynes, Mississippi State University Extension agent in Rankin County, advocates choosing one local ingredient to spotlight in a menu, such as this squash growing at the Southern Heritage Garden at the Vicksburg National Military Park on June 13, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bonnie Coblentz)
July 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets, Agri-tourism, Food, Nutrition
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- Foods grown on Southern farms should end up on Southern tables, especially when those tables are in the state’s many historic bed-and-breakfasts.

That was the message Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel sent home with participants in a recent workshop.

“Nobody wants to go to a Southern B&B and not experience the food, so think about serving local foods,” said Brent Fountain, Extension nutrition specialist.

July 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Creating Healthy Indoor Childcare Environments
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Two state agencies are collaborating on a Mississippi program designed to keep child care centers healthy and safe.

Creating Healthy Indoor Child Care Environments is a workshop series that offers training to child care providers and continuing education credit required for licensure. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi State Department of Health Office of Child Care Licensure sponsor the series.

The Black and Bloom salvia is one of the first summer perennials to start blooming. This tough plant survives and thrives in hot summers. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
July 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Home gardeners in Mississippi need colorful plants that hold up to the hot conditions we have every year. One group of plants that is a great choice for summer color is salvia, which includes both perennial and annual top performers.

The annual Salvia Splendens, as the name suggests, can't be beat. It is commonly called scarlet salvia, but it comes in a variety of bright colors.

With proper stocking ratios and active management, small ponds can provide fun fishing opportunities and food for the table. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
July 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Stocking ponds with largemouth bass and bluegills is the most common management strategy used in Mississippi, but this combination is not ideal for ponds smaller than one acre.

In these tiny ponds, other species -- either by themselves or in combination -- can usually provide higher quality fishing opportunities than the traditional bass and bluegill approach. One great choice for small ponds is catfish, which provide easy fishing and excellent table fare.

Increasing aeration rates per acre is one emerging method Mississippi catfish producers are using to improve efficiency in smaller ponds. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Catfish
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

DODDSVILLE, Miss. -- Production is the least of Ben Pentecost's worries for his catfish farm this summer. If anything, he has too many fish.

"I think our supply is larger now than in recent years, and demand is about the same," said Pentecost, co-owner of the Pentecost Brothers catfish farm in Sunflower County. "We have a backlog of bigger-sized catfish, which processors are pushing back on, but the fish keep getting even bigger the longer they stay in the ponds."

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