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2009 Mississippi Crop Damage

This Web page was developed in response to the significant crop damage that has occurred throughout the state recently because of heavy rain. Its purpose is to help monitor the situation, provide a location for producers and others to find information, and provide a central location for producers to ask questions and receive feedback. (Please send or call with questions and suggestions. Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses have been provided.)

Links to other Web sites that may be helpful to Mississippi producers in dealing with these difficult situations will be added on an ongoing basis. This site will be a work in progress, so please help make it more useful.

Note: The Crop/Economic Data and the Situation Statements are not calculated and/or written on the same day. Therefore, some discrepancies may exist.

Crop/Economic Data

Crop Progress for the week table
Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA, Jackson, MS

Economic losses
Source: Mississippi State University Department of Agricultural Economics. Updated 12/4/09
John Michael Riley, (662) 325-7986, email:
John D. Anderson, (662) 325-1788, email:

Situation Statements

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Extension Soybean Agronomist Trey Koger says the USDA/FSA has started its disaster assessment process, but that can't be finalized until the crop is harvested.  Leighton Spann, from the Farmweek Television show, talks with Koger. (10-23-09)

The crop progress report lists 82 percent harvested by the week ending November 8th. Approximately 18 percent of the state's crop was harvested in one week. This is extraordinary considering how wet and messy fields were and, in a lot of places, still are. Of the 18 percent harvested last week, yields and quality were excellent for some (40 to 65 bu/A and < 10% damage) and unfortunately very bad for others (11 to >90 percent damage). It will some time to harvest the remaining 18 percent of the states crop as a decision has to be made whether or not to harvest depending on insurance requirements, the ability to sell them, and determining whether a salvage buyer will purchase them if an elevator will not. The weather looks good again this week. Growers should be close to harvesting the acres that are harvestable. A large percentage of this remaining crop will in all likelihood not be harvested due to the inability to find a buyer of very poor quality soybean. (11-09-09)

See previous statements >>

Dr. Trey Koger
(662) 207-1604

Corn/Grain Sorghum
Corn harvest is now 99 percent complete - no further updates. (11-10-09)

See previous statements >>

Dr. Erick Larson
(662) 325-4071


MSU agricultural economists calculate Mississippi farmers are suffering an estimated $485 million value loss in 2009. Cotton is expected to lose 48 percent of its potential value and soybeans about 44 percent of their value, with an overall row crops loss of about 30 percent of the potential value.

Cotton harvest progressed from 14 percent the first week of November to 94 percent by November 22.  Harvest should have been wrapping up over the past few weeks; however, that’s when the biggest gains were made.

Cotton yields range widely depending on location, rainfall amounts, and variety.  Some fields are yielding as low as 200 pounds an acre to some as high as 1,400 pounds.

Damage seems to be less as farther north in the Delta; however, in the southern Delta, cotton was planted a earlier and rainfall appeared to be more prevalent.

Hard lock and boll rot problems are responsible for much of the reduced yields. In addition to reduced yields, problems with fiber quality have also been observed.  Reports of high micronaire as well as poor color grades have been common.  Some producers are also receiving prep discounts which are less common than other fiber quality discounts.  Prep discounts are for smoothness or roughness of the cotton fiber.  Harvesting, handling, and ginning can all affect the amount of preparation discount that is received.

See previous statements >>

Dr. Darrin Dodds
(662) 325-4072

Rice is over 95 percent harvested. With another week of favorable weather, rice harvesting will essentially be over. Yields will be down from last year by approximately 5 to10 percent. Quality will be down by approximately 5 to 10 percent as well. (11-11-09)

See previous statements >>

Dr. Nathan Buehring
(662) 686-3301

Things are looking a little better for peanuts. Currently, the southern end of the state is at 95 percent dug and 70 percent combined. The northern part of the state had a better week last week as well. Approximately 40 percent have been dug and 20 percent combined. We are estimating that about 200 acres have been abandoned at this point and others are deteriorating rapidly. At this time it appears that we will have at least a 30-40 percent yield reduction this season. Yields are ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 pounds per acre and will probably average around 3,000 pounds. Grades have been extremely high. (11-12-09)

Michael Howell
(228) 865-4227

Sweetpotato harvest is wrapping up for 2009 although 50 percent of the crop remains in the field. Two months of rain caused an above average crop to rot in the field. Most growers have cleaned and returned their equipment to storage sheds. Drying soils now support harvest implements of other crops, but sweetpotatoes are another story. Soils are still too wet for efficient harvesting of the underground crop. Every remaining field has huge numbers of rotten roots that make efforts futile. Growers realize the 2009 crop is a major disaster and are now making plans to locate seed stock for next year. Sweetpotatoes are vegetatively propagated from roots produced the year before and growers were not able to harvest sufficient seed for 2010. Growers are searching for seed stock from North Carolina and Louisiana, but supplies are very limited. Another negative being faced is lending freezes. Lending agencies are concerned with cash flow of this high-input, high-value crop. If producers cannot show lenders a profitable farm plan for 2010, 15–20 percent of Mississippi’s sweetpotato producers may be lost. While there are many hardships, a limited supply of high quality sweetpotatoes are currently for sale. This small crop will demand a premium price and should be depleted by Christmas. (11-10-09)

Dr. Bill Burdine
(662) 456-0517

Unharvested, abandoned crops may provide added economic opportunities for producers. Although standing water has prevented producers from harvesting some crops in many parts of Mississippi, white-tailed deer and waterfowl will forage on these crops. Corn is often used as a high-energy food source for deer in supplemental food planting programs. Standing corn is very attractive to deer, especially in the late-season when the acorn crops have been depleted. Flooded grain and soybean fields can attract waterfowl in great abundance. However, no manipulation of any kind (e.g., disking, rolling, bush-hogging, burning, etc.) can be performed on unharvested crops if the cropland will be hunted for waterfowl in winter 2009-2010. If manipulated croplands are hunted for waterfowl, the hunters are subject to violation of baiting regulations and could suffer harsh penalties. It is legal, however, to hunt waterfowl amid flooded unharvested crops as long as the crops are not physically manipulated in some way.

Please refer to the following Web sites for more information:

Also, specific questions regarding migratory waterfowl can be directed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, Jackson, MS, (601) 965-4469.

Grains and soybeans that have been submerged may be more susceptible to spoilage, which may make those crops unattractive to waterfowl except to provide cover and concealment. As long as the corn ears remain above water the corn should remain viable and attractive to wildlife.

Producers that have not considered leasing their property to hunters may be missing an opportunity for additional income, and minimize the economic loss due to flooding. If you are considering seasonal hunting leases, please review the following Extension publication on hunting lease legalities: (10-23-09)

Dr. Bronson Strickland
(662) 325-8141

Links to other areas of interest:

Pending Federal Disaster Assistance Legislation

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