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News From 2014

Beautiful purple flowers and tolerance for drought make Vitex an outstanding small tree to be grown in the full sun of Mississippi landscapes. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
November 10, 2014 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Through the year, I get quite a few questions concerning landscape issues, plant care and plant identification. Answering questions and helping home gardeners find success in their gardening endeavors is fun.

I’ve gotten questions from as far away as California. I have to admit that some of the questions make me think I’m on a game show called “Stump Gary,” and I learn a thing or two researching the answers. This question and answer time feels kind of like two gardeners sharing landscape tips across the back fence.

Here are a couple of questions I’ve recently received:

Dr. Cyprianna Swiderski, an associate professor with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, works with an equine patient in this file photo. Swiderski is the next chair of the Morris Animal Foundation's Large Animal Scientific Advisory Board. (Photo by the College of Veterinary Medicine/Tom Thompson)
November 7, 2014 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Equine

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Morris Animal Foundation has named Dr. Cyprianna Swiderski, associate professor in the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, chair of its Large Animal Scientific Advisory Board.

Swiderski, an equine internist who studies airway disease in horses, credits Morris Animal Foundation with the early support of her research that helped to give it credibility. The foundation is a nonprofit organization and is the largest private funding source for research to advance the health of companion animals, horses and wildlife.

Wild hogs reproduce quickly, have few natural predators and can cause damage and spread disease, making them more than a mere nuisance to humans. (Photo by iStock)
November 7, 2014 - Filed Under: Environment, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wild hogs are a nuisance and potential danger to farmers and landowners throughout the United States. Brought to the Americas by early Spanish explorers as a livestock animal and later transported by hunting enthusiasts, wild hogs have spread rapidly throughout the Southeast.

One reason wild hogs are a growing problem is they can adapt quickly to a variety of temperatures, climates and conditions. They also reproduce rapidly and have few, if any, effective predators, other than humans.

Wheat acreage is expected to be down this year, but about half of the state's expected crop had been planted by early November. Blake Garrard was planting wheat Nov. 4, 2014, at the Mississippi State University Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
November 7, 2014 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Excellent summer crop harvests in recent years is partly responsible for a significant decrease in the amount of wheat being planted in the state this fall.

Official estimates are not yet available, but Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said he expects state farmers to plant less than 150,000 acres of wheat in 2014. Wheat planted in the fall is harvested early the following summer.

Dr. Linda Farris of the Animal Health Center in Brookhaven examines an artificial insemination rod during a Mississippi State University reproduction workshop for cattle producers on March 15, 2013. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
November 6, 2014 - Filed Under: Beef, Equine

PRAIRIE -- Buyers shopping the Mississippi State University horse auction may be surprised to see bulls in the online photo lineup this fall.

This is the second year for horses in the annual Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station’s production sale to be auctioned online with eBay-style bidding. All the animals are available for viewing at

November 4, 2014 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism

NATCHEZ -- Owners of agritourism enterprises can learn new ways to market their businesses during an upcoming meeting in Natchez.

The Mississippi Agritourism Association Meeting will be held on Nov. 17 and 18 at the Natchez Grand Hotel. The Mississippi State University Extension Service is sponsoring the educational event.

Topics include organizing a media day, merchandising and retail tips, hosting a farm-to-table dinner, and marketing and advertising.

November 4, 2014 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Fruit

GOODMAN -- Fruit and vegetable growers can get information to help them prepare for spring planting during a Nov. 21 field day.

Experts from Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and Alcorn State University will present several educational sessions at the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Demonstration Farm Field Day in Goodman.

Mississippi State University Extension Service regional agronomic crops specialist Dennis Reginelli shows students cotton at the FARMtastic Mighty Crops station on Nov. 11, 2013. The third annual FARMtastic will take place this year from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Nov. 10-15 at the Mississippi Horse Park near Starkville. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
November 4, 2014 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agri-tourism, FARMtastic

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Third-graders attending an agricultural event at Mississippi State University Nov. 10-15 will be able to tell their parents about the sources of food, clothing and other common products.

November 3, 2014 - Filed Under: Community

PICAYUNE -- The public can look back at the early days of Mississippi’s Piney Woods region during the 12th annual Piney Woods Heritage Festival on Nov. 14 and 15.

The traditional skills, crafts and arts of the region’s people will be displayed at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune.

Visitors will view educational displays and skills demonstrations including blacksmithing, quilting, spinning, basket-making and more.

Jeff Parrett, currently of Wheeler Lumber and past president of the Railway Tie Association, left, presents Terry Amburgey, Mississippi State University professor emeritus and Giles Distinguished Professor, with the association's lifetime merit award. (Photo by Gary Coleman/Coleman Photography)
November 3, 2014 - Filed Under: Wood Products

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University professor emeritus recently received a national honor for his lifetime of service.

The Railway Tie Association, or RTA, executive committee gave Terry Amburgey, a Giles Distinguished Professor, the 2014 Award of Merit for his contribution to the industry. The award is given at the executive committee’s discretion and has been awarded only two other times since the association was formed in 1919.

Redbor kale, seen here with Butterfly Red Penta, is an outstanding variety with colors that intensify as temperatures get lower. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
November 3, 2014 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

This weekend, the thermometer in my garden got down to the low 30s and left me wondering if I’ve seen the last of my tomatoes and peppers. But it also reminded me that it’s time to transition to plants that thrive in lower temperatures.

Ornamental kale is one of my favorites for the cool season. There are so many different colors and leaf textures to add landscape interest. Don’t plant a single type. Mix and match for increased visual interest.

October 31, 2014 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Producers who register by Nov. 26 will attend the annual Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course for free and gain information to make them more productive and profitable.

The 2014 Row Crops Short Course will be held at the Bost Extension Center at MSU Dec. 1-3. Those who register after Nov. 26 must pay $40 to attend.

Teaching the next generation about wildlife management, especially responsible hunting, will help ensure future stewardship of diverse and sustainable wildlife populations for all Americans to enjoy. (MSU Ag Communications/File Photo)
October 31, 2014 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife

By James E. “Jim” Miller
Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Aquaculture
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hunting is about individual responsibility. Aldo Leopold, the father of wildlife management, said, “A particular virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact.”

Mississippi trees are producing fewer pecans than normal this year, but consumers will be pleased with the size and taste of most nuts, such as these from an orchard in Oktibbeha County. This photo was taken on Oct. 31, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
October 31, 2014 - Filed Under: Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians love holiday recipes with pecans, but an off year may make the nuts more expensive and harder to find.

Eric Stafne, associate Extension and research professor at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, said the state’s pecan crop is forecast at 1 million pounds. The state produced 5 million pounds last year, and Mississippi’s average pecan harvest is 2-3 million pounds.

Karen Coats, a lab technician at the Mississippi State University Plant Disease and Nematode Diagnostic Laboratory, begins testing a soil sample to detect nematodes on Oct. 23, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
October 30, 2014 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soil-dwelling nematodes cannot be seen with the naked eye, but the damage they do to crops shows up in dollar signs.

“We have a tremendous problem in Mississippi soybeans since multiple nematode species can impact soybean producers,” said Tom Allen, Extension plant pathologist at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. “Nematodes can bring a soybean crop to its knees, and other crops in the state suffer losses from these parasites as well.”

October 29, 2014 - Filed Under: Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine veterinary resident has received a national award for neurological research.

Bill Hamrick, a wildlife associate with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, constructs a corral trap, which wildlife biologists contend is the most effective method for reducing rapidly growing numbers of pigs. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Brian Utley)
October 28, 2014 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

RAYMOND -- Many Mississippians enjoy the sport of hunting wild pigs, but trapping is a better way to control the rapidly growing population that is destroying forests, damaging agricultural resources and threatening native wildlife in the state.

2015 Mississippi Medallion winner Delta Jazz crape myrtle, developed by Mississippi State University, has leaves that emerge a raspberry-maroon and then turn mahogany-brown, accenting large clusters of pink flowers in late summer. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
October 27, 2014 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Many Southerners (in general) and Mississippians (in particular) base their new plant selections on the annual recommendations from the Mississippi Medallion Selection Committee. The committee has just announced three winners for 2015: Delta Jazz crape myrtle, Suburban Nancy Gayle daylily and Top Pot scaevola.

Delta Jazz crape myrtle…

October 24, 2014 - Filed Under: Economic Development

INDIANOLA -- The Mississippi Make it in America team is providing a free Reshoring Opportunities Workshop Oct. 30 at the Capps Center in Indianola, Mississippi.

The workshop’s goal is to assist companies in bringing advanced jobs back to Mississippi by enhancing skills and building competitiveness. Several units within Mississippi State University are part of this effort, including the Franklin Furniture Institute in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.

October 24, 2014 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University plant virologist has been invited to join the prestigious executive committee of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, or ICTV.

Sead “Sejo” Sabanadzovic, a professor in the MSU Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, was elected to the elite group of 18 international experts who serve as the leading authority on describing, identifying, naming and classifying viruses. Sabanadzovic is one of only three plant virologists on the executive committee.