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News From 2011

Mahogany Splendor hibiscus can be confused with purple Japanese maple, as both have dramatic, purple-burgundy leaves with coarse, deeply serrated edges. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
October 25, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Plant foliage colors tend to come and go in trends, and right now purple-leaved plants are popular. I think one of the best of the newer purple varieties is Mahogany Splendor hibiscus.

In the landscape, this plant provides awesome color. It is a vigorous grower that adds height and excitement.

Peanut prices have more than doubled in the past year, and Mississippi's peanut producers are benefitting from timely rains and minimal problems with disease and pests. (file photo)
October 21, 2011 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Timely rains in early September made a smooth harvest for Mississippi peanuts, a crop that is in high demand due to drought in other peanut-growing areas.

As of Oct. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast 2011 crop yields at 3,600 pounds per acre for Mississippi, the highest prediction for any of the peanut-producing states. Harvest began in mid-September and was 70 percent complete by mid-October. Producers were working as fast as they could to get the crop out of the ground after cold temperatures ended peanut maturity.

October 20, 2011 - Filed Under: Community, Food

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The staff at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Sales Store, located on Mississippi State University’s campus, is encouraging patrons to place orders now for the holidays and to take advantage of products that make great additions to the tailgate.

The store’s famous cheese and other products sell quickly during the holiday season.

October 20, 2011 - Filed Under: Technology

Many software programs and features can help you manage your digital photos with the click of a button.

After photos are downloaded to your computer, decide whether editing is required. Several photo editing software packages are available that can improve pictures by removing red eye, cropping or removing blemishes.

This scientific illustration depicts an adult crazy hairy ant, Nylanderia pubens, which was first detected in Mississippi in 2009. (Illustration by Mississippi Entomological Museum/Joe MacGown)
October 20, 2011 - Filed Under: Insects, Insects-Pests

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mind-boggling population numbers make the introduced hairy crazy ant a big, hairy problem in Mississippi.

The ant, known scientifically as Nylanderia pubens, was first detected in Mississippi in 2009, but the earliest U.S. record is from Florida in 1953. It was not reported as a serious nuisance in Florida until 1990. It was detected in Houston, Texas, in 2002, where populations quickly spread to at least 18 counties.

The ant is thought to have come from Argentina or Brazil originally and is now found in Hancock and Jackson counties in Mississippi.

Chickasaw County Master Gardener President John Walden, left, visits with "EXPRESS Yourself" artist Amanda Williams of Ackerman during the Art in the Park event in downtown Houston. Judy Duncan and Barbara Boydston of the T.K. Martin Center at Mississippi State University brought artwork and clients to the event, which was co-sponsored by the Master Gardeners, the Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers and the MSU Alumni Association's Chickasaw County chapter. (Photo by Scott Corey)
October 20, 2011 - Filed Under: Community, Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers

HOUSTON -- When Chickasaw County Extension director Scott Cagle brought Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers to Starkville, they were amazed by the services and artwork they saw at the T.K. Martin Center at Mississippi State University.

On the drive home, the group decided their community needed to learn about the center, which connects people with disabilities with assistive technologies.

Many Mississippi cooks have turned their favorite recipes into retail products with information from Mississippi State University's business and Extension Service experts. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 20, 2011 - Filed Under: Agri-business, Agricultural Economics, Food

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s talented cooks who want to turn their passion into a business can improve their chances of success with tips from the experts.

Anna Hood, Extension professor in Mississippi State University’s Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, has coordinated the Food as a Business conference since 1996.

October 19, 2011 - Filed Under: 4-H

JACKSON – A free, all-day event at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum on Lakeland Drive on Oct. 29 will celebrate more than 100 years of youth development programming for the state’s 4-H members.

American beautyberry is a Mississippi-native shrub that lives up to its name by putting on a show of bright purple berries in the fall. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
October 18, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Landscape Architecture

If you want something besides leaves to provide fall landscape color, take a good look at the American beautyberry. This Mississippi native shrub lives up to its name by putting on quite a show in the fall, with its clusters of bright purple berries.

Known botanically as Callicarpa americana, American beautyberry is frequently found on the edges of woodlands all across Mississippi. It is widely distributed east of the Mississippi River in the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast region. American beautyberry is also quite at home in the landscape.

Catfish that are bringing record high prices consume feed, which is also at its highest levels. Sue Kingsbury, now a retired Mississippi State University researcher, is feeding catfish in a pond at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Catfish feed, which is the biggest production expense, has increased 120 percent in the last decade. (File photo by Rebekah Ray)
October 14, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Catfish producers who are coping with record-high feed costs know that the strong market prices may not last much longer.

Jimmy Avery, aquaculture leader with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said years of pond acreage reductions are driving fish prices up. Unfortunately, the cost of producers’ biggest expense, feed, is also setting record highs. The end result could challenge consumers to afford this U.S. farm-raised product.

October 13, 2011 - Filed Under: Technology

Using a digital camera to take pictures is a relatively easy task, but deciding what to do with them afterwards is another matter.

Camera memory cards can hold hundreds of images, far more than the number that can be displayed on the refrigerator and around the house. Most people keep images on their computers, so it’s important to organize and identify the images for long-term reference.

Safety experts advise trick-or-treaters to carry a flashlight, wear shoes that fit properly, avoid long costumes that could cause tripping and use reflective tape on costumes and candy buckets. (Photo by Lisa F. Young/
October 13, 2011 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Community, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Planning ahead for Halloween can help keep the bandages on the mummy costume instead of an injured child.

Ted Gordon, Mississippi State University Extension safety specialist at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, advised both parents and homeowners to prepare for Halloween festivities with a few simple tips.

October 12, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mary Beck has been selected as the new head of the Department of Poultry Science at Mississippi State University.

Beck has served as a professor at Clemson University’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences since 2007. While there, she has held various leadership positions including chair of the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences. Prior to her position at Clemson, Beck worked as a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

October 12, 2011 - Filed Under: Peanuts, Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Row crop producers interested in baling peanuts and ratoon corn to use as hay are being urged by Mississippi State University experts to be aware of chemical residues.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the MSU Extension Service, said peanut hay is not labeled for animal consumption because of residual herbicides and pesticides that are not approved for forage production.

The Telstar dianthus' flowers have a fringed margin and are available in single, double and semi-double petal arrangements.
October 11, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Now is the perfect time to embrace your garden’s ability to support beautiful, colorful fall bedding plants.

Mississippi State University freshman Chris Wilbourn was never in the "doghouse" with Grenada County 4-H youth agent Jan Walton, but he spends lots of time there now as one of MSU's Bully mascots. Wilbourn credits 4-H in general and Walton in particular for drawing him to the state's land-grant university. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 10, 2011 - Filed Under: 4-H, Community

By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – One of Mississippi State University’s current mascots came close to not being a Bulldog at all.

Chris Wilbourn said he originally planned on attending the University of Mississippi and majoring in foreign languages, but his 4-H youth agent, Jan Walton, encouraged him to “just visit” the MSU campus. With a little help from his aunt, he was hooked.

Most of Mississippi's pumpkins are planted in June and July so they can be harvested in September and October for fall decorations. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 7, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Pumpkins, Commercial Horticulture

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi pumpkin producers have their work cut out for them growing their colorful crop in the heat of summer so pumpkins are ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations.

David Nagel, a horticulturist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said producers must plant and grow the crop at the toughest time of the year so it can be harvested in a narrow window of opportunity.

October 6, 2011 - Filed Under: Community, Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Local residents can get rid of their unused household medications at the third annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 29.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department are working together to facilitate the event, which will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in front of the Starkville Piggly Wiggly store at 118 Highway 12.

October 6, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Livestock, Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Old West days are long gone, but cattle producers still need to take steps to prevent the theft of livestock by modern-day cattle rustlers.

John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said cattle prices have been high during most of 2011, with record-high prices last spring. 

October 6, 2011 - Filed Under: Technology, Family

Fall is my favorite time of year. There is a cool breeze in the air that makes yard work bearable, and the beautiful fall colors start to appear in nature. The rich backdrop of red, yellow and orange makes fall the perfect time of year to get outside for family photographs.

Digital cameras make taking pictures a breeze. Thanks to our memory cards, we often depend on taking multiple shots rather than plan on taking a great shot the first time.